Wind and water permitting a nice group assembled to celebrate the start of our new season which coincided with Derrick's birthday so it was party time and everyone was in the mood initially set up by Don & Heather who opened with a visit to sunny Spain to meet The Conquistadores who certainly knew how to party over in South America. Trevor then made us think with his Gold Watch Blues before Paul went off to Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms and Merdy put it down to The Life Of A Man. Arthur Marshall attributed it all to the second coming of Noah with no animals on board only rich people. When they all died they certainly didn't have all the Things That Matter which Kamran sang about and Anne C summed it up another way with False, False Have You Been as did Colin with Denver's I Think I'd Rather Be A Cowboy. Ged's solution was to sing I Will Fly Away and certainly Guitar Brian agreed with When Your Body's Had Enough Of Me and Pete, after Dyson With Death decided on Whole Life Through. Robin and Isobel then broke the mold in several ways with Plaisir D'Amour with treble recorder and some nice finger picking while Ed was still Just Learning To Play The Guitar and John Condy was taking to recitation with George Carlin's A Modern Man. This prompted David to rise up with his Shifting Whispering Sands about the depleted uranium found after the Iraqi war but Charles insisted we go Dancing At Whitsun. Paul then started us off again with The Reverend Mr Black, Don & Heather led us all in the great chorus of Sonny, Peter had The Going Home Blues, Anne C Claimed I Must Love Him Still and John Condy took us to party time with Pharaoh.
A nice buffet, several presents for Derrick and the Raffle which is keeping Merdy in Wine and Sue in Chocolates led us on to the second half without flinching as Trevor had us all singing our heads off with Donovan's Colours. Brian was suddenly all romantic with Embraceable You but Robin went for the Watermelon Wine before Arthur told us what it was like Back At The House after a bereavement. Kamran continued his master class of lyrical guitar playing with Smoke Through Autumn Leaves with Charles following the exploits of Gypsy Davy before Ged warned If It Keeping On Raining The Levee Gonna Break. Merdy then surprised us with the lovely song Red Velvet by Ian Tyson and Ed followed with Jacuzzi Joe requested Carl who sadly wasn't here and quite why but this reminded David of Walter de la Mare's Clouds. Anne C then led a collective approach to Three Drunken Maidens as did Robin to Fraulein, Blackboard Of My Heart and Wild Side Of Life prompting Ged requesting Lay A Pallet On Your Floor. Kamran clearly preferred One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer and John Condy went to Dylan for When The Ship Comes In before Ed, with Nancy Dearest Nancy, set Arthur up for the big finish. This he supplied admirably with Down At Murphy's Bar and Ironing My Gold Fish Flat.
It was a good night if perhaps a bit thin on the ground for us due to massive problems on the roads caused by the long tailbacks everywhere following an accident on the M6 with some people taking over an hour to get to us. Jean and Robin, however, got on with it in robust fashion by urging John Condy to give us a rousing start with Mighty Quinn which nicely set up Banjo John for Little Old Wine Drinker Me and Kamran for Big Road Blues. Keeping it lively the Robin and Jean axis of guitar and bodhran worked well for the Wild Colonial Boy and Guitar Brian also caught the mood with Tequila Sunrise providing the ideal platform for Peter to sing the Kinks Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon before passing round a big tin of chocs to celebrate his birthday, congratulations Peter! They were very much appreciated as Jean with her Qchord set out Stately as a Galleon leaving Jan watching the wheat with the lovely Bugeilio 'r Gwenith Gwyn and Mark telling us Don't Think Twice it's all right. Jo then went a cappella to remind us that there are still Hard Times knocking around which prompted Ged to board the Midnight Special with his very nice slide guitar and Richard Knott to try and convince us that it Doesn't Matter Any More. It did to Paul who told us about Railroad Bill with his banjo and Tony who sang about The Preacher and the Slave from way back in 1911 as it did to John Condy who warned us I fought the Law and the Law Won. Determined to be cheerful Banjo John reckoned that When You're Smiling everything is OK but Jo still had those Irish Blues and Kamran with his slide guitar was convinced there is to be a Judgement Day. How could there be sang Robin & Jean when The Battle Is Over by John Denver so much so that Guitar Brian pulled out another John Denver classic, This Old Guitar.
After the usual half-time break birthday boy Peter opened second half with a tribute to the fair sex with My Lady's A Wild Flying Dove which prompted Jean to respond with Joyce Grenfell's cockney song I Don't Arf Love Ya before Jan and Mark went after the Blue Cockade and then sang Jez Lowe's inverted tribute to Charles Robert Darwin. This led Ged to retort that they had Been On The Job Too Long and Richard Knott to reckon it's The Shape I'm In, his own composition, and David the poet to suggest they had all had too much Dead Dog Scrumpy. Late arrival Isobel then took the floor and thrilled everyone with The Rabbit Man, Henry's Cat and by special request Mozart's Clarinet Quintet to which Paul could only reply with BB King's Darling You Know I Love You and Tony could only shoot off To Ohio with his guitar and mouth organ.
Having been round the room twice we then played folk club roulette with everyone having a random number. The last performer then shouted out a number to blindly choose the next and so on.
The first picked were Mark & Jan who raised us up with It Takes A Worried Man To Sing A Worried Song and the next lucky dip was Ged with Mule Skinner Blues followed by Peter, ta for the chocs, with She Belongs To Me which prompted us all to sing happy birthday to all the birthday boys Peter, Barry and Derrick. Next lucky dip gave us Paul and Brown Ferry Blues with John Condy finishing the night with a fabulous rendition of Richard Thompson's Bee's Wing. You wouldn't want it any other way.
Everyone had a good time last night and we were all to have a busy evening with everyone performing three times and a few even producing a fourth song. Kath, Ruth & Stan opened with Dirty Old Town and Brian then gave us Just When I Needed You Most to cheer us all up before Paul had us Going Down the Road Feeling Bad. Rob next sang the story of The Last Leviathan and Ged lamented How A Poor Man Can (or cannot) Stand Such Times and Live before Tony, on his second visit to Sale, sang The Lakes of Pontchartrain. Jo then told us mysteriously that she Lives Not Where She Loves and Kamran gave us Don 0'Vans well known song Colours with Ian & Bridie left Making Up the Miles. Next Anne mischievously told us to Catch Me If You Can before Ian, from the North East on his second visit to Sale, gave us Jez Lowe's London Danny immediately followed by the second biggest surprise of the night when Alan Grace, having just walked into the room, was asked to sing Don't Ask Me Where I've Been. So nobody did! This left Kath, Ruth & Stan to tell the tale of Anna Lee and Kamran, obviously on some theme around Colours, sang his own comment on current popular literature, Fifty Shades of Shine before Tony performed a cover version of the Christie Moore song Viva la Quinta Brigada. Rob was then again Courting Too Slo....w, imagination needed re: Clappering but Ged cheered up proceedings with Seven Curses and Guitar Brian who was in the know sang I Know Why and So Do You. Anne then went Hopping Down in Kent before Ian & Bridie gave us Jez Lowe's Coal Town Days to leave Paul Putting on The Agony. Ian then sang Allan Taylor's song Some Dreams and Alan Grace ended the first session with the brilliant Three Bears.
Paul won the raffle and surprisingly opted for the wine sic, other prizes went to Kamran who took the Duran Duran vinyl and Chocolate went home with Barry.
Tony resumed the music with This Land Is Your Land followed by Kath, Ruth & Stan who then went in search of The Road To Eldorado, Eric Bogle's version, not sure if anyone's found it yet, but Paul thought it might be on the Streets of London. It was good to see Anne in such good form and she sang Whistle, Daughter, Whistle next with Rob replying Come Write Me Down and Ian and Bridie responding with After All These Years. Ian was next busy with a song called Guiding Light and The Evening Star and Kamran respond with a song of ocular mendacity, Lying Eyes but Brian reckoned it was best When You Say Nothing At All. Ged then told the story of Stack o' Lee as Alan Grace hastened us towards closing time with God Speed The Plough and Kath, Ruth & Stan gave what was almost The Last Goodbye but Ian & Bridie returned to wow us with Gordon Lightfoot's Sundown before Ian closed the evening with a song known to all, Jonathan King's Everyone's Gone to The Moon to send us foot tapping home.
Well, another good night had by all and it was a great evening with lots of variety well stewarded by Ed & Sue. Pete opened with a few jokes and a story about his various flatmates and then sang a song about the flat they all shared, Mellor Road Boozing Room, which prompted Carl to sing a favourite for many, Singing The Ages Down, and everyone joined in lustily before Ellie sang a lesser known Neil Diamond song, Pretty Amazing Grace. Ed then got up to announce Brian's 70th Birthday that very day and, of course, serenaded him with Now You're Pushing 70 which caused a lot of merriment and was taken in good part by Brian who expressed how close it was to the mark particularly the bit about being only as old as the woman you feel. Rob then stood at the front instead of by the door and sang The Old Pubs leaving Jim and Lynn to bring an Irish flavour with The Orange And The Green followed by Jo who wnt the full English with Scarborough Fair. After a very funny story about a romantic episode before he married, John sang Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway, which was very appropriate to his story and Kamran, who has himself recently been diagnosed with Diabetes, sang a self-penned Sugar Diabetes Blues with John Condy accompanying him with his harmonica. It was excellent. John Condy then remained at the front and sang a recently learned Richard Thompson song, Pharoahs, to which Robin responded with Bruce Springstein's Eerie Canal and Rod gave us a very unusual version of The City Of New Orleans. Eric was next up with Grandmere, a Jacques Brel song we hadn't heard for approximately two years before Birthday Boy Brian came up to sing a lovely John Denver song, I'm Sorry, but not before John Condy incited the audience to sing Happy Birthday with much gusto! Then we were able to welcome Hurdy Gurdy Player, Rory, who delighted us with a traditional tune, the title of which he had not a clue, and those sitting at the back stood up to get a better view of the performance and Rob got into trouble for moving seats for that very purpose before Kath, Ruth & Stan had to leave the manning of the door and the counting of monies to treat us all to Rider In The Rain. Merdy's contribution was then The Prettiest Girl In Truro, followed by some discussion about the location of Truro, before Arthur pre-empted his song Forty Years Down by telling us how much he was paid for a gig in 1972 and then the amount he earns when he playing with bands now in 2012 which is exactly the same amount and we all thought he had got better! Colin finally completed the first round with his song Targets so we then suspended play for 20 minutes whilst we sold the raffle tickets and replenished our drinks.
The raffle went on for some time as Merdy had the majority of winning tickets extracted from the box and he insisted on them being re-raffled, what a gent!! John Condy started after the break with another Richard Thompson song, Beeswing, and Rod got us into the rock and roll mood by playing Proud Mary which had us dancing in the aisles before Jim sang Peggy Gordon whilst Lynn once again delighted us with her bodhran playing, what a team!! Kath, Ruth and Stan were again dragged away from their money counting to give us a superb Ain't No Sweet Man and John gave us another John Denver song, Back Home. Robin and Isobel then joined forces to play and sing Chris de Burgh's Peaceful Waters and Ellie continued the John Denver theme with Fly Away with Pete coming up to with a Tom Paxton number You May Be Slow. Rory next played two tunes on his hurdy gurdy, a Scottish Wedding tune and one called Light and Dark with his playing of this extraordinary instrument certainly causing a lot of interest as everyone was mesmerised at this point. Eric sang an out of date political song called Dear George but Merdy was more wistful with The Ballerina Of The Bay. Kamran then went back to his first love playing and singing the Stack O' Lee Blues followed by a request by Ellie for Carl to sing his most difficult and very funny Jake Thackray song, On Again, On Again, which he did to the great delight of the audience, particularly Joan, leaving Isobel to play a perfect Day Flower. Rob was then on his feet to sing The Process Man followed by Arthur's beautiful moving song, I Should Have Brought You Roses, after which Ed sang the penultimate song, a rousing version of Rough Justice, leaving Colin to close a super evening with Poor Man's House.