A lovely surprise greeted us with the return of our friend Zoe Mulford from the USA after a 3 month visit including a successful tour with many interesting gigs so the evening promised to be of really high quality and we were not disappointed. Ruth, Kath & Stan went up to the next level when they set the ball rolling with Blackwater and Banjo Pickin' Girl and a serious Arthur Marshall followed with his own soulful Mist On The Green. Banjo John kept up the tempo with an excellent version of Midnight Special, with a nod to the seriously ill Johnny Silvo, as did John with his instrumental Cafe Ambleside and Kamran with Richmond Woman Blues. Next Brian claimed The Carnival Is Over and David explained some of his problems with golf and some of Ireland's problems with his From A Mis-Stance and Don & Heather clearly wouldn't have it any other way with I May Not Have All The Answers. Zoe then stated why I Want To Be Like My Aunt Maxine and then in a new song confessed she always wanted Coyote to catch Road Runner and wished he had Coyote Wings while on a more serious note Carl paid tribute to those lost in November 1975 in the Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald and heavy in another way Ged wished his ex-colleagues well for today's strike but warned them what the bosses do at such times with Joshua's Gone Barbados. Robin responded in a lighter vein with a country medley starting with Fraulein and including Blackboard Of My Heart and Honky Tonk Angels which prompted Isobel to tootle a couple of Hornpipes, Eric to hold our attention with Meanwhile and Ann C to close the first round with The Female Drummer. Banjo John then claimed innocent purity with Ain't Misbehavin' followed by Brian with Don't Cry Out Loud and John with Jez Lowe's Will Of The People leaving Don & Heather to lift us up to the interval with Let Your Banjo Ring.
Kamran broke the ice of the second half by telling us his was Nobody's Dirty Business but his own to which Ruth, Kath & Stan replied with the 1897 Gospel song, Beautiful. Giving us a choice we all chose Arthur Marshall's Misogyny Rag, and it served us right as he had us chorusing falsetto, while Ann C was at the Honiton Lace and Ged went for an old American hymn, Here I Am. Eric was then very complimentary (sic) with his Club Singer's Lament leaving Robin to shoot off over the Braes Of Killiecrankie-o and Carl cursing The Brigadier. Zoe then swiftly responded to David's request for her Lady Of The Highway and Isobel responded with a couple of Mazurkas before David commented on The Apostrophe In Ireland. Starting a third round Kamran gave us the quite different Mississippi John Hurt version of Delia and Ann C confessed Still I Love Him as did Arthur with Lately I've Been Dreaming. Eric & John then blasted us with Bad Moon Rising but Robin calmed us all down with Chris de Burgh's Snows Of New York as did Carl with Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street. This left Ged to cheer us up with Desolation Row and Zoe send us all home happy with her welcoming Answer The Knock At The Door and her celebratory American Wake. Welcome back Zoe!!
Despite Jan being sadly missed and we wish her a speedy recovery Mark managed to soldier on with Rob in support to steward an evening full of variety. Eric led the chorusing throng with Carruthers and Mark himself had us all singing to The Little Pot Stove leading Banjo John to conclude You Meet The Nicest People In Dreams to which Ged retorted you've Been On The Job Too Long. With a request Don & Heather again offered a chorus opportunity with The Galway Shawl as did Stewart Robertson making his debut with I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing to which Poet David replied with a couple of riddles Mr Anomaly and Beg Your Pardon. Then from the corner came a very quiet but sweet version of Scarborough Fair from Carl before Pepper Street sang Mick's pertinent For Stephen Lawrence and Arthur Marshall blew our socks off with Mrs McGarrity's Last Dance. Jean Finney was equally funny with Eric Bogle's I'll Not Sing Any Bob Dylan but Brian was all serious with I Know Her So Well as was Rob with The Grey Funnel Line. At this point arrived the surprise of the evening in the form of Thea Spiers and Emma Sweeney who came to play and promote their new Manchester Fiddle School. A set of Old Time Tunes, a set of Irish Tunes and a rousing reception later and they were off to a gig in Rotherham with the promise to return and many vowing to take up the violin if taught by such accomplished artists. Pepper Street saw them from the premises with John's See You In The Sunset followed by Eddie with Le Rejuissance and Mark with his own The Town Of Oswaldtwistle. Ged next came up with his excellent version of Barb'ry Allen followed by Banjo John with the full version of After You've Gone to take us up to the break.
A bumper raffle saw Heather going home with the picture of Altrincham Downs by Basil D Morrison, an original and collectors item, Chris took the wine, Jean the Fruit Cake and Joan the Stollen before Rob started us off for the second with T' Mill Outing by old friend Trevor Morton. Arthur then literally came up with his skit Heavin' On A Jet Plane, heartily chorused, Colin also gave us an insight into his life with his No Chance On Hitting On You but Don & Heather played it safe by offering another chorus with Farewell To The Gold. Here, There and Everywhere went Charles before this time Carl took centre stage with John Prine's poignant Hello In There to be followed by Stewart with the Beatles' Something. This was Some Enchanted Evening reckoned Brian before Jean took us back to WW2 with Normandy Orchards and Eddie's Bold Grenadier kept up the war theme. Rob sighed I Wish I Was Back In Liverpool, Ged was OK as he told us I Got Mine but Arthur was more vociferous as he stunned us with his own tale I'm Going To Drown My Cat. Fortunately Carl returned us to some sanity with Rafferty's Stuck In The Middle With You but Jean soon put an end to that with The Chicken, her own story of Poultrycide. Brian tried to smooth the ruffled feathers with Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, which we were sure Jan was singing back home nursing her damaged arm, Don & Heather reclaimed The Diamantina Drover and Mark sailed away on The Sloop John B before Pepper Street wrapped up a great evening with River, River Have Mercy On Me. Brilliant.
Another great evening with a large number of excellent performances to an even larger and appreciative audience kicked off by Don & Heather with Rob's request for Rare Ould Times and so they were to prove. Banjo John reckoned that Only The Heartaches could stand in our way as Ruth, Kath & Stan reminded us of the The Forsaken Mermaid and Rob recalled the end of the war with Granddad. Poet David then explored the twists and turns of Londonderry as did Paul with The Old 97 but Big Brian was more practical with Right Said Fred. Mark then was that Little Red Rooster but Jan returned to base with The Bells Of Aberdovey and Kamran was The Candy Man. Carl next sang Jez Lowe's I Wish I'd Never Been Born, surely that can't be true, and Ed took us on a visit to see the Queen but Robin went with Hank Williams to Rock My Cradle. Love was the theme when Ged pleaded Put On Your Red Dress Baby and Brian confessed I Left My Heart In San Francisco while even Colin wanted a New Town Girl and Jean celebrated the barmaid getting her man with What Can I Get You. A brilliant instrumental version of Heartbreak Hotel told us where Richard Knott was coming from as did Guantanamo Bay from Richard Gray and The Pawn Shop On The Corner In Pittsburgh Pennsylvania from Banjo John as he hurried off home. Or was he off to pawn his banjo as the interval arrived?
The many prizes in the raffle included a nice bottle of wine from Ann & Michael and a great picture of The Downs, Altrincham by Basil D Morrison donated by Martin before the second half got off to a flying start with Ruth, Kath & Stan's Hard Times. Charles, who sussed us out last week, then came out of hiding with These Days by Jackson Brown, nice job, and Paul celebrated it with Tom Paxton's Bottle o' Wine chased down with Rob's Red Roses. Rather appropriately after the sad news of Johnny Silvo's serious illness, Kamran then sang a nice version of Midnight Special and Jan & Mark's sentiment was to say So Here's To You. Robin then tipped his cap to another John with an excellent rendition of the Jacobite song Johnny Cope. Eric then explained what can happen if you get Drunk, his Jacques Brel translation, as did Big Brian with I'm A Gnu fighting for identity as was Guitar Brian with You'll Never Walk Alone who associated himself with all the Liverpool supporters. Despite all his efforts Ed still only reached 99 on The Widow's Moor and Ged was having Restless Nights before Jean told him What A Man Needs. Richard Gray was in no doubt that he would Rather Have A Rising Than A Setting Sun which in Richard Knott's eyes made it a Lovely Day whereas Eric settled for The Healing Power of Lust. Realistically Ruth, Kath & Stan settled for leading us in singing about that Dirty Old Town to which Kamran replied Bring Me Sunshine and Don & Heather wrapped it all up with the suggestion that we should Steal Away and everyone willingly complied. Magic!
Having contracted a sore throat Ed turned to Don & Heather to break the ice which they did with a respectful nod to the people who dies in the WW2 singing Normandy Orchards and Banjo John did the same in a gentler way with Lily Marlene. Then it was back to folk with Tit Willow from Accordion John and Diamantina Drover from Pepper Street who followed it with a trip to meet Mick's Orson Street Girls. Ged then took a look at life through the girl on The Old Trapeze while Rob was off to South Australia and Paul played the Morris tune Shepherd's Hay on his harmonica. Another view of life came in Colin Rudd's You Never Know The Moment as it did in Ann C's What'll The Neighbours Say and Kamran's Juliet. Brian then guaranteed Sue would give him another song by going all romantic with Embraceable You but Carl commented that sometimes it is The Kindest Way to move on before Eric returned to the theme of romance with Where Do You Go To My Lovely to start the trilogy of songs he sang to celebrate Sarah's birthday.
In round two Banjo John was found to be Leaning On A Lampost while Colin swore he would never make The Same Mistake twice leaving Ann C to sing us all The Highland Fairy Lullaby. To rev up the proceedings Don & Heather then led us all in singing John Prine's classic The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness as did Pepper Street with Keep Your Distance before singing John's own See You In The Sunset. The Blind Willie McTell classic Stole Rider Blues was next contributed brilliantly by Kamran as was Paul's composition I Owe It To Myself before Eric's earth mother Gaia expressed his feelings on the state of the world. Rob, however, was happy as those who had Thousands Or More as was Accordion John with a great version of Amazing Grace and Brian who was content to be All By Myself. By popular demand Carl then ended round two with Jake Thackray's The Lodger.
Rob kicked off round three with the requested Good Ship Calabar followed by Paul's harmonica version of The Keel Row and Soldier's Joy. Brian then claimed I Will Always Love You as Wendy reached for The Blue Tonic which both gave Kamran The Travelling Riverside Blues. Ann C didn't want To Die An Old Maid before Carl related Jez's badger story The Big Fear and Accordion John invited us Under The Bridges Of Bury. Coming up to the end of a good evening Don & Heather celebrated friendship with Rambling Boy and kept the singing going with The Borrowed Guitar setting up Eric for his Terrible Tale of Mary Morgan which prefaced Pepper Street's grand finale of The North West Passage and I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water.
Well! They came, they sent for extra chairs and they celebrated the 3rd year of Sale Folk Club with gusto. With Don & Heather in charge it was pedal to the metal as they kicked off with Rare Ould Times and we were soon On The Road To Freedom with Mike as Ruth, Kath & Stan set off for The Bay Of Biscay complete with a banjo, recorder and violin, great sound. Then, You're A Lady, espoused Brian to no one in particular leaving John Condy to scoff, I'm Alright Jack, and Kamran to take us back to 1926 with Sam McGee's and some excellent finger picking in The Foot Dancers Choice. Rob next reminded us of his version of subtle with Anthony Clare but thankfully Lucy gave us a touch of class with Joleen as did Ed with Bob Dylan's To Ramona. Welcome back Ed!! Jean Finney was next on her feet to tell us a True Story as was Colin Rudd with The Curse Of Anna's Stare, demonstrating the young never listen to their elders, and Carl with his inverse Magical Sky, examining a perennial clash of cultures. Mark & Jan were having none of this with their demonstration of Love And Happiness which was all too much for Ged who invited everyone to Take A Whiff On Me but Richard Knott retorted that, one way or the other, it was just The Story Of Love. By way of something different, Robin, Isobel, Don & Heather then came together in a grouping as Contraband and after a false start got off the ground with the lively No-hopers, Jokers and Rogues which had everyone singing but Richard Freeson was in no doubt about his So Called Acting Career before old friend Bernice also had us all trilling to The Galway Shawl. Unusually, Fire And Rain brought Stella & Brian together whereas Cookie And Lila did it for Mikey before a song about a Cornish Painter by The Thumps brought us to the interval buffet and raffle.
The second half was equally hectic as John Condy unveiled the Werewolves Of London for the last time this year and Lucy sang her own The Roads but to Ged it was all Trouble In Mind. Ruth, Kath & Stan were also philosophical with No Telling What A Love Song Can Do which prompted Kamran to think of a Gal Named Willie May and Stella to think The Water Is Wide and everyone seemed to agree as they sang along. Brian also has us murmuring away to It's Impossible as did Richard Knott to his instrumental version of Carrickfergus but Ed demanded lusty singing for Keith Marsden's The Funeral Song since we had also had to send out for extra chairs. Then the appearance of Services Club Secretary Jim prompted kindred spirit Colin Rudd to give his 80 Years Of Football At Maine Road another airing and Mike celebrated another sporting hero Bendigo, a boxer from the Nottinghamshire area, and Mark & Jan were celebrating the rooster in You're Long Gone. Rob was still Courting Too Slow, Mikey was claimed I Wanna Be A Rock Star and Bernice was more concerned about Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow but Robin, in a poignant moment singing a Jean Finney song with her in the audience, was asking if when he was gone Will Someone Remember My Name? Finally The Thumps brought us to a thumping conclusion with a song detailing our dependence on fossil fuel simply called The Oil Drum. Amazing!