There was a fine spread of talent at Sale tonight despite some notable absences, probably due to the aftermath of the Bank Holiday and various festivals, however Mark and Jan hosted an evening which produced an eclectic mix of songs opening with Allan Taylor's It's Good to See You. Then Paul Riley lamented incarceration with the Folsom Prison Blues before Carl then had a Change of Heart and Ged told us what life was like on The Old Trapeze. Next up there was a warm welcome for two visitors from across the Pennines, Huddersfield to be relatively precise! Robert Fowler with a fine rendition of the German Clock Winder and Phil Sykes, accompanying himself with an electronic piano with the lovely song, Stan Roger's Mary Ellen Carter were well received. Karina then sang Sailor's Life and Trevor followed with The Rivers Run Free before newcomer Tony sang St Patrick's Battalion about a unit of Irish immigrants who defected from the US army and fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American war of 1846 to 1848. Jo, with an old favourite Both Sides of the Tweed then sang a Scottish song while Merdy, a Scot, came up with I've Got Leather on My Shoes and Jim and Lynne sang happily about the Leaving of Liverpool. Robin then turned to one of his favourites by Chris de Burgh, Snows of New York before Pete was completely right with War Drags On as was Colin Rudd with his poignant song Illness Isolation before Zoe Mulford sang a new song she'd learned by William Joliffe, Laughlin Boy, and Eric sang Jacques Brel's Port of Amsterdam. More fairly newcomers Bridie and Ian concluded the first round with Rita McNeill's Working Man and Mark, alluding to the recent death of Neil Armstrong, took us up to the interval with Donovan's 1972 take on the space race The Intergalactic Laxative.
After the interval and raffle Robin and Isobel, are they the Contra or Band gave us a lovely rendition of Alan Bell's Bread and Fishes which Colin followed with his Landscape with Figures. Phil Sykes then sang Tom Waites' In the Neighbourhood and Robert Fowler the Laggan Stream leaving us hoping they make the journey across the Pennines again soon! Ged then had us all chuckling with Step It Up and Go and Trevor then bewailed the loss of the Ellan Vannin with Bridie and Ian following with Ride On and Carl was again in fine voice with Eric Bogle's Wish I Was Home Again and Pete responded with a lovely version of Paul Simon's Kathy's Song. Next was Merdy with Bob Seger's In My Time and Jim and Lynne then roused us with Ordinary Man with Paul Riley next rocking us along with his Bottle of Wine. Tony then sang a song by the Felice Brothers, Wonderful Life, and Karina sang the beautiful McCrimmon's Lament followed by Eric with his The Sea. Coming toward the end of the evening Mark and Jan bemoaned the fate of a conscripted lover with the Blue Cockade and Zoe finished a wonderful evening of song with The Blackest Crow and Si Kahn's The Water Flows from the Mountain.
Robin and Jean made it two good ones in a row as they started off together for Johnny Cope sung and played on guitar by Robin and accompanied by Jean with her bodhran. They were swiftly followed by Ruth, Kath and Stan with Owensborough and Heather McNeill playing and singing Indian's Head named after the rocky outcrop shaped like an Indian's Head and said to be the guardian of souls. Next Peter wished Goodbye to the Old and Mark and Jan made The Wish which gave Banjo John and John Condy on gob-iron the San Francisco Bay Blues. Jean then related the gory details of the Dead Man's Stitch and in a similar vein Carl how Cursed Be The Caller with his knock, knock, knock while Kamran, however, was bang up to date with his hilarious self penned song telling how I lost my girl to the book Fifty Shades Of Grey. On a more serious note Pepper Street sang Mick's latest great song, There Won't Be Another Sunset, followed by Guitar Brian with Ten Cents A Dance as he invited us to imagine him as Ruth Etting the blond flapper, difficult, before Stella led a rousing chorus from the room for Wild Mountain Thyme. Stella's significant other Brian then boasted I Can Jump Puddles as Jim and Lyn took their guitar and bodhran for a walk round Kilgary Mountain, otherwise known as Whisky In The Jar, and Rod urged Think It Over. Kathie Taylor then played Dribbles Of Brandy and The Butterfly on her flute and Charles sang an unaccompanied Martin Carthy song which he didn't know the title of before Ged gave us a very theatrical version of Frankie & Johnny and Colin sang his own brilliant Nora Jones.
In the interval Kate told us about Pauline Jones and gave details of the funeral and her CD being sold on behalf of Christie's Hospital and she managed to sell all but one which was a great response. The raffle also went well with an extra offering of homemade elderberry and apple jam by Jean which fortuitously Kate won. The sheer enormity of it fairly blew her away when she realised it was in one of those teeeeny breakfast pots that only does two rounds of toast but it is a great taste. Mick Hare also publicised the Day of Folk at Warrington in October where SALE FOLK CLUB will be running one of the Rolling Folk Clubs so be prepared to come and perform.
To start the second half Richard Gray beseeched us to Let The Winds Blow and Isabel brought the house down with a breathtaking rendition of Mozart's Clarinet Quintet on the recorder which all but had Guitar Brian Crying courtesy of Roy Orbison. Heather then sang the equally interesting Walking On Sunday by Anthony John Clarke as Ruth, Kath and Stan went all nautical with Birds And Ships followed by My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean. Peter then wanted to Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan) as did Colin with his own Manchester City song 80 Years Of Football At Maine Road while Carl also took to the floor with his own All At Sea which is a tribute to lady sailors. Jean then stepped up with Hippies And Hairies backed by her Q Chord before Mark & Jan were extolling the virtues of their Little Red Rooster and Jim and Lyn were away with the Star Of The County Down. This left Kamran Going Down The Road Feeling Bad with his slide guitar and Rod celebrating The Wakes of Robby Robertson and Stella similarly impressed by the Broom o' The Cowden Knowes. Brian was more serious with The Ghost On The Canvas by Glen Campbell before Kathie came up with Jellyroll and Ged got the Fort Worth Blues. Glimpsing the fishing line Pepper Street suddenly got Something Like The Blues written by John Condy and they finished with something so catchy that Jean joined them on bodhran but forgot to ask what it was called. Everyone sang along and it finished a really great night because it was I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water.
A slightly slow start for Mick Hare and Heather Kenyon but their personal magnetism soon had the room filling up as Don & Heather roused everyone with Red Rose Cafe before Ged calmed them all by demanding they Take A Whiff On Me which reminded Trevor of Sunday Morning Coming Down. Paul then got the Hesitation Blues as Robin announced I'm Gonna Be A Country Boy Again leading newcomer John to say Sally Don't You Grieve. Who is Sally? Colin then bravely sang Zoe's Our Lady Of The Highway and Poet David feistily told us Larne Says No but Merdy reckoned everything was Wonderful Tonight as Ed went off Down To Louisiana. Zoe herself then took the floor with a special request from young Freya for My Aunt Maxine and followed it up with another favourite, Road Songs. Rob, however, prefers the sea and was off on the Grey Funnel Line as Mark was recovering from last night's real ale with Sticks Wold Harvest Song but Rod preferred to be off after that Brown Eyed Girl of Van Morrison. Possibly inspired by the weather Carl then sang about the Summer Breeze as Peter claimed I Shall Be Released but Richard just reckoned It's Called The Blues. Newcomer John then returned to be Shackled And Drawn as Merdy tilted at The Windmills with Colin warning that we were making The Same Mistakes Again leaving Carl off flying his Kites and Keep The Change Bob Down By The Water.
Te raffle and much socialising later Paul started the second period by telling us This Wheel's On Fire as was Isobel's recorder for O'Carolan's Hewlett prompting Rod to take to the road with These Boots Are Made For Walking. Mark next was bemoaning his lazy Little Red Rooster but Trevor retorted Now I'm Easy and Peter was taking the Last Train And Ride. Robin was then inviting us to Meet Me On The Corner but Rob for one was off on The Mill Outing and Ed was too busy telling us it's a Hard Life For A Hypochondriac. On a more convoluted note Richard next declared, I'm In Love With My Shrink, while Don & Heather extolled the virtues of ladies wearing Black Clothes while Isobel was still in good form with Stomach Steinway Man. Hurtling towards a climax Keep The Change Bob then dedicated his latest song, Don't Look For Tomorrow, to his Uncle, Ged dedicated his monologue Stock Pot to Zoe who in turn honoured us with her latest composition Sister Sail which in its final form will be on her next album that is already well on the way to completion. We can't wait.
A very satisfying evening delivered by Stan, Kath & Ruth who led a list of great performers in an eclectic programme of song, music & mirth for a very receptive audience. They started with Moonshadow followed by Ged who was Rolling In My Sweet Baby's Arms and Rob who was honest in saying I Wish I Was Back In Liverpool. Banjo John was then spritely enough with his Al Jolson Medley of Four Leaf Clover, California and Carolina and Jan, with Mark, was delightful with her Welsh song Suo Gan but it didn't stop Kamran Going Down The Road Feeling Bad. In search of some chorusing Don & Heather remembered the Rare Auld Times whereas Jim & Lynn, with excellent Bodhran, partook of some Rare Old Mountain Dew and Jo sought after The Mystics Dream. Carl was next in an anti war mood with Eric Bogle's Waltzing Matilda while as a nod to the Olympics Paul sang about the racehorse Stewball leaving Robin to celebrate the anniversary of his Leaving Of Liverpool. Making a welcome return Ellie sang Roy Orbison's In Dreams followed by her friend and newcomer John Wright who sang Memories Of Love and then John Condy with his banjo version of Midnight Flyer. Nancy Kaplinski's Lake Charles was Ed's first contribution followed by Colin's anti-war song Arthur McBride and Isobel with Danny Beck and The Rope Waltz. Diane then exhorted Send In The Clowns in her first solo debut as Keep The Change Bob pleaded rock me mama like a Wagon Wheel, originally sketched out by Bob Dylan and later completed by Old Crow Medicine Show and certified gold, and Brian serenaded the Grapefruit Moon by Tom Waits. Banjo John then came back with Mister Sandman swiftly followed by Jim & Lynn with The Belle Of Belfast City, Colin with another anti-war song The Eve Of Destruction and Rob with Ellen Vannin to take us up to the interval.
Another bumper raffle later Contraband were asked to get the ball rolling in the second half with Ye Jacobites and Paul also had us singing with The Old "97" as did Jan & Mark with No Use Crying. Ellie did another great job on Kathy's Song but Kamran insisted Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out followed by Thousands Are Sailing by John Condy, who was surely thinking sub-consciously of the Olympics as was John Wright with Jogging. Ed, meanwhile, was cursing The Birds who mess his windows as Keep The Change Bob was relating the story of Tecumseh Valley and Stan, Kath & Ruth were remembering The Forsaken Mermaid. This left Ged to tug our heart strings with The Last Picture Show before Contraband raised us up with The Star Of The County Down.