May 2012

Newsletter No 179 - 29 May 2012

It was hot outside and it was hot inside as Don & Heather kicked off by taking everyone down to the Red Rose Cafe where Banjo John invited us to Have A Drink On Me before Pete told us his own story of The Greenland Whale. Colin Rudd then treated us to his latest song and contrasting views of David Beckham but unaffected Brian went on to sing I'm Sorry accompanied in his customary style with fistfuls of 5 and 6 string guitar chords. Then it was the return in full of the Family Taylor with daughter Kathy's flute joining Mark for Blackthorn Stick and Donnybrook Fair and then sticking around to sing seven days are in the week in Almost Every Circumstance with Jan. Guitar Dave next sat us down and said I'm going to tell you The Story Of My Life but Ged retorted What You Gonna Do When Death Comes Creepin' In Your Room or when you are Down Where The Drunkards Roll asked John Condy. In the soup reckoned Rob just like the Ellen Vannin. Dave from the corner, however, was off Trotting To The Fair while Carl was away with Mr Dreamseller but Merdy preferred the more natural Wild Mountain Thyme and newcomers Dave & Les were next Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night but Ed had to confess, I Got Stoned And I Missed It. To bring us up to the interval Banjo John related the story of Joshua who shunned his girlfriend and married her young stepmother, Pete explained why he was so happy with I Shall Be Released but Rob put the tin hat on it with his own Victor The Elephant whose problem with flatulence had us all running for the exit.

The raffle distributed bottles of wine to Merdy and Theresa, a bottle of olive oil to Les and a lovely bunch of Lilies to Isobel to send them home happy and on the restart Dave & Les confessed they were in Paradise and John Condy exclaimed that it must be the Will Of The People. Merdy took his bottle back to his roots with Caledonia, however, Guitar Dave reckoned he should give it back and Return it To Sender while Dave from the corner was off with The Fisherman Of England leaving Isobel to play 2 tunes and leave us to name them ourselves. The Taylor Family were next up with Lukey's Boat before Brian gave another old favourite, At Last, and Ed was sat on by The Fat Lady's Bum. Carl reminded us of Jez's barkless dog Aloysius while Colin was off to the Tambourine Man and Ged went to Where The Fog Was Blue which led Dave & Les to go Killing The Blues. Our Shangri-La was what John Condy was then seeking but Pete reminded us off those worse off who Ain't Got No Home courtesy of Woody Guthrie but despite that Carl was off flying Simon Dupree's Kites. More down to earth, Ed lauded the prowess of his Bantam Cock as did Ged with his Jellyroll to which The Taylor Family retorted, I'll Tell My Ma, and Guitar Dave could only say is that Why Don't You Love Me Like You Used To. Last but not least we all raised the roof with Rob's South Australia to send us off into the night. Magic !!

Newsletter No 178 - 22 May 2012

It was close to the record night with Pepper Street wringing 42 songs and poems out of the massively talented twenty two performers who with the very appreciative audience filled the place to very near capacity. The roof was raised from the very first Pepper Street song which was Mick's There Won't Be Another Sunset with the singing breaking out immediately after to Banjo John's Nobody's Sweetheart Now and then the listening ears were tuned in to Arthur's Harmonica Joe. All set then! Well not quite since Rob reneged on his folk song alphabet claiming not enough time to learn X, Y & Z so he started again with The Alabama. Unconcerned Don & Heather were soon rattling Across The Great Divide with great audience participation before Kamran blinded us with science with The Universe Song leaving Eric to extol the virtues of Carruthers. Peter Roberts next reminded us of the world record orchestra of 1581 guitars who also played Jimi Hendrix' Hey Joe but Carl was happy to sing us possibly Eric Bogle's best song, Safe In The Harbour and Dave in a lighter vein exclaimed, "Some Girls!" This led Dave the Poet think of his two favourites in his Light Hearted Maiden and Brian to reminisce about when he was Sweet Sixteen while Merdy was over the border with Jock O' Hazeldean. Ged next related the story of Duncan And Brady who got himself shot as Elvis nearly did by all the women in the room when he delivered his somewhat misogynistic poem Friends before Doreen excellent riposte, I Love You, which clearly chronicled how much men need their partners. Mark then introduced us to Sam The Skull in his version of a thick Glaswegian accent so we understood it possibly less than Jan's Moliaanwn Moliaanwn to which we could all at last sing the chorus before Jean became all Royal with her own Jubilee contribution Comfy Rolls telling us in the process that a Camilla is now the upper class rhyming slang for a Rolls (Royce). Come on ... Camilla Parker Bowles?!?. Isobel was next on her feet to give us the lively Blackthorn Stick and Kesh Jig to which Ruth, Kath & Stan replied, Beautiful, and Janice reckoned, Cruel, before Banjo John had us trilling to Mr Sandman to take us up to the interval.

Much socialising and in a fine raffle later Kamran won the Jammy Dodgers after complaining that they were very difficult to find. Could that have been a fix?!?!?

Still on track for the record attempt Diane & Brian began the second half with Don't Laugh At Me and Pepper Street jazzed us up with John's Something Like The Blues. Peter was unequivocal when he sang Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You and Jan & Mark were also clear with their No Use Crying but ever upbeat Dave was off on his Morningtown Ride. Coming thick and fast Carl answered a special request for some Thackray with the lesser known The Blacksmith And The Toffee Maker and Jean told us how the duplicitous George Villiers was the subject of Georgie Porgie Pudding And Pie but to Kamran it was still a Sunny Afternoon. Trying to curry favour and make a comeback, Elvis with accompaniment from Dave, pleaded When Will I Be Loved but Doreen reckoned it would have to be on a Blind Date and Rob thought his best chance was in Liverpool Town. Suitably inspired Arthur then appropriately sang for us Love In Any Language and Janice reinforced that emotion with I'll Stand By You but Don & Heather provided somewhat of a caveat with The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness. Merdy then sang Your Favourite Song which was his favourite song and soon became our favourite song which inspired Isobel to give us her interpretation of The Lark In The Clear Air and Ruth, Kath & Stan to tell us of The Forsaken Mermaid before Ged to take the evening by storm with his Bob Dylanesque interpretation of The Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly which was an absolute "Tour de force" which Eric could only follow with Me, Me, Me to end what had been a truly memorable evening.

Newsletter No 177 - 15 May 2012

Sue Bentham & Heather Kenyon brilliantly led another lively evening was started by Brian of the big Guitar Chords singing True Love Ways but Banjo John rapidly shot off at a tangent with Beale Street Blues while Jan revelled in the Verdant Braes Of Scree. Trevor was again in the company of Simon and Garfunkel with Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream and still on that side of the Atlantic Robin was braving the Snows Of New York only for Merdy to bring him back home to the Connemara Coast. Wistfully Janice mused You'll Never Be The Sun with Don & Heather wondering whether she was Past The Point Of Rescue but Jim was looking on the bright side with two short poems from his Anthology. Paul certainly wasn't with his song about The Titanic nor was Carl with Jez Lowe's I've Never Been Nearer To Nettles and Pepper Street singing It Must Have Been A Dream certainly didn't explain it. Jo was next up with that great song She Moved Through The Fair leaving Ged to relate the story of Louis Collins by Mississippi John Hurt and Pete Roberts to sing his own Beat The Drum. Colin then transported us to San Francisco while Isobel had us in the fields looking the Day Flower. Banjo John then came back with John Condy for Johnny Be Good who then as Pepper Street with Mick had Boats To Build leaving Diane and Guitar Brian to confess I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do and Dave to eschew such sentimentality for his Jellied Eels.

The interval flew by with David winning the chocolates and passing them round before Paul opened up with Tell Old Bill over which Robin drew a Long Black Veil for which Janice reckoned he had a Hard Time Heart. Trevor then continued his theme with Sparrow by Paul Simon and Don & Heather had peace talks with their band Contraband for Reconciliation. Jim was next with another short poem A Gift Of Water followed by Mark who whistled Carrickfergus as Merdy told us I've Got Leather On My Shoes. Ged had still got that Fort Worth Blues while Jan had looked at Both Sides Now which Pete could see for himself since he was All Along The Watchtower. Then it was Isobel's turn to enlist the help of Contraband with the story of Ye Jacobites as Carl then pondered on a Champion Life which his team Man City now have for the year. Guitar Brian, now Diane-less, was all philosophical with Nevertheless whereas Mick in the form of Pepper Street with John was more assertive with his own song And She Belongs To Me. Jim's short poem explained the Purpose Of Practice but Pete was off Rolling In My Sweet Baby's Arms and Paul was Sitting On Top Of The World. Jan & Mark were both off with The Blue Cockade but Ged, with Here I Am, was still with Mississippi John Hurt leaving Merdy to be all philosophical with In My Time and Janice to claim he's Killing Me Softly with his song. Finally it was Don & Heather's turn to enlist Contraband for a great goodnight song, Dandelion Wine, which sent everyone home on a high.

Newsletter No 176 - 8 May 2012

Back to normal this week with a decent house full kicked off by Don & Heather with old favourite Ringsend Rose which immediately sent Pete Roberts down to St James' Infirmary and Kath & Stan chasing that Wayfaring Stranger. This all left Kamran a bit Diddy Wa Diddy and we bet Mike Dixon also felt that way in Rounding The Horn. Trevor next went back to his youth with S & G's Kathy's Song which had Pepper Street off Crossing The Border with a new song from Mick and they hung around to back Janice for Dumbarton's Drums. Alan then went searching for the light, literally, which was a place bright enough for him to read A Conversation Piece about the Ecumenical St Mary's Church with some of his own memories which gave us a laugh. By way of a complete contrast, Robin thought he would cheer us all up with the Massacre Of Glencoe which took place in 1697 when in an act of treachery 38 people were killed and another 40 women and children died of exposure after their houses were burned. Colin Rudd was then in thought provoking mood with the story of the Little Tin Soldier and the ballerina before Rob reached W in his Folk Alphabet to regale us with When First I Landed In Liverpool and Brian went all schmaltzy with Moonlight Becomes You. Jo returned with Hayley Westenra's Let Me Lie and the Poet David was reminded of his own verse London Derry, which was modelled on Jez Lowe's London Danny, all of which prompted Ged to become much more basic with I Love My Loving. Carl then turned the experience which led to him composing his song Magical Sky which was much more surreal than Richard Knott's own observation, See That Girl Sitting On The Fence which he turned into a brilliant instrumental, and Stanley Accrington's Testimony Of James Device which was based on the true story of Pendle's Witches.

After much socialising and the raffle Richard Gray started the second half with his own Where Did The Good Times Go and Eddie had two tunes by O'Carolan to delight us with, Dream and Miss Hamilton, before sanity was well and truly dispatched by Rob with the action packed Who Killed Cock Robin leaving Trevor to comment A Most Peculiar Man. Mike Dixon then had us all singing along with Allan Taylor's Los Companeros leaving Isobel to blow our minds instrumentally with her big tenor recorder with Harvest Home and Irish Washerwoman before Pete Roberts confessed in his own song that Madame Whisky came to his aid at a trying time in his life. Brian was still in a romantic mood claiming I'll Dream Of You Tonight which prompted Kath & Stan to hit that Goodnight Loving Trail but Stanley Accrington told his story on an elemental level in The Hadron Tale. This had Ged hitting the road on his Vincent Black Lightening which had Kamran observing that You May Leave But This Will Bring You Back which didn't discourage Pepper Street who were waving us goodbye as they sang John's See You In The Sunset before Janice joined them to sing Mick's Songs Of The Planet to complete this somewhat ethereal segment of the evening. This left Richard Knott to ask The Question, his own song accompanied by John Condy's blues harp, and Contraband (Heather, Isobel, Don & Robin) to respond to the question "Why don't you play and sing on a Tuesday Night?" with Steal Away and Dandelion Wine to end a really great night.

Newsletter No 175 - 1 May 2012

A smaller turnout than usual greeted Ruth, Kath & Stan who hosted the evening and started off with No Telling what a love song can do which had Paul singing the Worried Man Blues. Banjo John was much more optimistic with Hey Good Looking which always works for us even though David recited his very thoght provoking The Box. Ed resumed the levity by singing about the man who stirred his coffee with his thumb, the Logger Lover, and Rob kept up the humour with The Tank leaving John Condy to rue meeting the Galway Girl. Colin Rudd just had to sing his City Song (6-1), and we don't blame him, which moved Brian to break into That Lucky Old Sun to finish the round which only encouraged Ruth, Kath & Stan to shoot of to the Horncastle Fair. Banjo John was still in a good mood with Carolina Moon followed by John with the Highwayman, a Jimmy Webb Song, and Rob with the Irish Hymn, Until We Meet Again (Gaia) since he was up to the letter U in his folk alphabet soup. This left Paul with Trouble in Mind and Colin contemplating the Seven Oceans, his own song, and Brian getting all romantic with The Nearness of You. David the poet was then again on his feet with his own WD40 (William & Dominic) before Ed gave us the Bronchial Dilating Blues but thankfully not literally. Eddie, who had turned up by now, sang Bushes & Briars which set up Ruth, Kath & Stan for a visit to a Dirty Old Town and Banjo John for a trip Down in Honky Tonk Town to end the half.

The Raffle with Wine Bubbly & Chocolates, which were kindly circulated by the winner, went well before Eddie started the second session with Little Ball of Yarn. Brian then took off to the Tequilla Sunrise leaving John Condy to comment Here Comes the Sun and Rob, up to the letter V, to perform his self penned poem Victor The Flatulent Elephant which was a cultural highlight ?? Paul lamented that Nobody Loves You When You're Down & Out and certainly not when Ed decides to Flog 'em Flay 'em & Hang 'em. David reacted by givng his own humorous Wedding Speech but Colin was of with Mr Beaujangles which reminded Eddie of the Summertime Blues. Kath, Stan & Ruth were more rural with the Hedger & Ditcher while Paul was saying Mary Don't You Weep and Brian had That Certain Smile. Ed next exolled the virtues of his Bantam Cock while Colin advised that You never Know The Moment and Eddie sang Buddy Holly's What to Do which left John to sing us to the end with The Mighty Quinn which nicely befitted this small but cosy and enjoyable evening.

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