Newsletter No 266 25 February 2014
A different mix of performers and audience but all skilfully organised into a great night by SUE & ED BENTHAM who invited FREE SPIRITS to open with WAGON WHEEL. On their heels HELEN played TOBY a test piece by Ivor Beynon while COLIN declared YOU FEEL MY LOVE and PETE went out to SHOWER THE PEOPLE. Back again because it was half term OMAR played THE SPY WHO WENT OUT TO THE COLD on his clarinet to which ED replied HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS and FAIR PLAY responded with two tunes BUTTER PEAS & WINSTER GALLOP. We were then delighted by the creativity of MICHAEL BURNS with his MARYPORT MYSTERY as we were with JANICE & MICK singing THE FACTORY GIRL and then in full agreement with MICK who sang SAM STONE by John Prine. TONY then sang about SYLVIA'S MOTHER and JOHN WILLIAMS introduced the BALLOON as CHRIS eulogised about the FAIR MAIDS OF FEBRUARY. For KAMRAN it was all about YESTERDAY as ROBIN went down by THE RIVER and PAUL asked O SINNER MAN where you going to run to? As the interval loomed DON & HEATHER took us to Australia to meet the DIAMANTINA DROVER and RICHARD GRAY told us about the appearance of the FOUR BLOOD MOONS.
During the break we had the raffle and Robin won the wine, Martin won the chocolates, Christine won the room perfumer, Janice took the biscuits and Omar won the CD of His Worship and the Pig and to restart HELEN played LA VIE EN ROSE. Also leaving early OMAR played his GRADE 3 EXAM TEST PIECE before COLIN informed us that YOU NEVER KNOW THE MOMENT as CHRIS set sail on BARGES. Interestingly KAMRAN then played BOOK DANCES CHOICE and FAIR PLAY sang and played about HARD TIMES before ED failed to gain the respect of every female in the room with WOMAN. In a different arrangement JANICE supported MICK for HE'S COMING HOME before MICK supported JANICE for WILD MOUNTAIN SIDE. JOHN WILLIAMS then introduced CRAZY BOY as PETE walked ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER and TONY bemoaned THIS GOD DAMN HOUSE. Still in creative mood MICHAEL sang THE LITTLE COUNT and RICHARD GRAY sang his LADY OF THE MORNING as PAUL told us of his WALKING BLUES. In the tradition ROBIN led us with THE ROSE OF ALLENDALE and FAIR PLAY were walking 10,000 MILES as JOHN WILLIAMS returned to No1 WELLINGTON ROAD. This left FREE SPIRITS to warn of washing your hands in MUDDY WATER to end a great night.
Newsletter No 265 18 February 2014
We had a great debut by the new team of ROBIN BUTLER & PAUL RILEY who promised to RAISE A RUCKUS TONIGHT. Doing their best DAVE BOULTON remembered harder times with FIVE A DAY while KAMRAN went all poetic with his own take on JABBERWOCK and BANJO JOHN told us THERE'S GOLD IN THE MOUNTAINS. Next PETE told us BLUES RUN THE GAME whereas ADAM thought they were THE KEYS TO THE HIGHWAY to which MARK & JAN announced they were GOING TO JACKSON and JO decided to stay IN THE GHETTO. We next found FAIR PLAY by THE BANKS OF THE OHIO leaving HELEN to unsheathe her violin for two Scottish tunes MOUNT STUART HOUSE and THE SWEET MAID OF GLENDARUEL and FREE SPIRITS to bemoan THE SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS, ROBIN remained on his feet to claim THE BATTLE IS OVER as ROB, returning from his he-man heroics in Italy rose to take us to SOUTH AUSTRALIA and the guitar trio of CHARLES, LIZ & ROSIE played their favourite CHELSKI before Poet DAVID went off from a mis-stance with THE FAIRWAY IS GREEN. The wreck of the ELLEN VANNIN was remembered by IAN before ED and DAVE BOULTON came together to claim they were JUST TWO FOLKASAURUSES, actually one of Dave's own songs nicked by ED, and BANJO JOHN promised to SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER. In determined mood ADAM said he was GONNA LIVE FOREVER as FAIR PLAY went NIGHT VISITING and MARK & JAN were hunting down CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN as JO took us to the interval with IRISH BLUES.
During the raffle Alan won the wine, Paul won the His Worship and the Pig CD donated by Dave, Marina won the Pears, Ian & Jenny won the Chocolates, Kath & Stan took the Biscuits and Chocolate bars went out to Alan, Marina, Mark & Ian before ROBIN started the second half with THE LAST FAREWELL as ROB departed on THE GREY FUNNEL LINE which inspired KAMRAN to sing OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING. Coming up with another of his creations DAVE BOULTON sang BRICKS AND WATER while IAN was also still on the water with THE BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND and PETE pondered DAYS GONE BY which prompted HEATHER & DON to remember the achievements of THE CONQISTADORES. More humorously ED sang about THE JOGGER and PAUL had us all join in with MAMA DON'T ALLOW but despite that ADAM took us all off to THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN to which MARK & JAN were soon LONG GONE and KAMRAN found a DEAD SHRIMP at which FAIR PLAY recommended we LET THE MYSTERY BE. As we headed to the close PETE was still WILLING and ED was somewhere BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE SKY as ROB told the story of THE MILL OUTING and IAN scooted off on THE BLACKPOOL BELLE leaving just time for FREE SPIRITS to assemble a big band up with Heather, Robin, Don & Paul joined by Ed as lead singer and Dave Boulton on Bass Guitar for ALL THE GOOD TIMES as indeed they were.
Newsletter No 264 11 February 2014
A great Birthday Party for Alan, who treated the full house to sandwiches and chips, was kicked off in pre-Valentine style by DON & HEATHER who took us off to the ROSEVILLE FAIR which sent BANJO JOHN and KAMRAN off into the SWEET BY AND BY and gave KAMRAN the STOLE RIDER BLUES. Off to the Emerald Isle JIM & LYNN sang about the FORTY SHADES OF GREEN whereas COLIN sang about SEVEN OCEANS to which ARTHUR commented topically and amusingly that THE WATER KEEPS ON RISING. So inspired DAVE BOULTON wheeled out his own great song SNOWDONIA as CARL went off flying KITES and JO was off with a WAYFARING STRANGER to whichJANICE with MICK decided TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE. Flying solo MARK told us the story of THE LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA and after too long STELLA rose to tell us IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU and PETE was moved to sing his own song STORM IS RISING which dedicated to his wife Jan. BRIAN then told us about THE FIRST DAY OF JUNE while ED was off DOWN ALONG THE VERDIGRIS and RICHARD GRAY reminisced about a traffic jam with his ROLLING DOWN ON IDLE to which ROBIN, PAUL, HEATHER & DON aka FREE SPIRITS replied with WAGON WHEEL. Taking us up to the buffet BANJO JOHN remembered Shirley Temple with the GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP and ARTHUR introduced us to his own MR HENRY who if he won the lottery would spend most of his money on whisky and women and probably waste all the rest.
In the interval Alan was presented with a signed card and a nice bottle of whiskey and the bumper pre-Valentine Raffle gave away a bunch of roses, a single rose, a box of chocolates and a bottle of Champagne before COLIN gave us a PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST written by Pete Morton. MARK then reported the ROUT OF THE BLUES while PAUL had the DRIFTING BLUES and ROBIN was telling the story of JOCK O'HAZELDEAN. In memory of their prison gigs JANICE & MICK then sang the appropriate I WISH I KNEW HOW IT FELT TO BE FREE while MICK insisted we celebrated life with his new song IF YOU ARE HERE (get on with it). BRIAN pleaded with us to FIND ME as PETE was out in the natural habitat with THE RABBIT HILLS and STELLA was walking through the BROOM OF THE COWDENKNOWES. Then a special birthday request by Alan brought RICHARD forward with the BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS which prompted ED to sing his longest song THE MANCH and KAMRAN also went against the clock with GOING DOWN TO BROWNSVILLE. Heading to a climax JIM with LYNN was that WILD COLONIAL BOY and DAVE BOULTON told us that the COMPLIMENTS RETURNED which left FREE SPIRITS to suggest we all TAK' A DRAM and drink to Alan's health. Very fitting!
Newsletter No 263 4 February 2014
So many new faces for a night of amazing quality brilliantly guided by MICK HARE & JANICE BELL who started us on a high with JANICE'S own STRONGER. Sure as eggs are eggs BANJO JOHN reckoned T'AIN'T NO SIN and DOREEN in surreal mood went off with ONCE THERE WAS A SEAGULL as back to earth MIKE COSGRAVE celebrated the first immigrant to the UA through Ellis Island with THE BALLAD OF ANNIE MOORE followed by HELEN & DAVE HOWARD who were also on an Irish theme with THE BANKS OF THE LEA. On a different tack CHRIS HEARN reminded us of bureaucratic pains in the neck with JOBSWORTH before HELEN RICH blew us away with the brilliant GYPSY MOOD written specially for the accordion. ROBIN then to us away to THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE andDAVE COWE recited the PIPE BAND KILT SONG leading FAIR PLAY to invite us all FOLLOW ME HOME. A more basic arrangement was told by ED with that great song RED HEADED ANNE as CARL stepped to warn we might not make OLD BONES and DON & HEATHER exposed the dangers waiting for the young woman who DANCES FOR DOLLARS. In a different way DAVE BOULTON warned us of card games with HERE'S TO YOU TOM BROWN as MICHAEL BURNS stepped up tell how we all take DIFFERENT PATHS some of which PETE reckoned leave us hoping I SHALL BE RELEASED. A study of relationships led ARTHUR MARSHALL to think about MR & MRS SMITH who barely speak to each other and KAMRAN to reflect on STAGOLEE who shot Billy over a Stetson hat and ALAN to think of YE JACOBITES before JANICE & MICK summed it all up with NOT 'COS I WANTED TO as we reached the interval.
A bumper raffle saw Ruth take the wine, Dave Cowe win the Sports Towel, Chris take the biscuits and Robin win the chocolate Brazils before HELEN RICH, persuaded to stay on for another tune, wowed us with the TEN PENNY BIT. This all left ALAN a bit WILD EYED but un-deterred MICHAEL BURNS brilliantly played us TWO WALTZES which left KAMRAN t contemplate 50 SHADES OF SxxxE and ED to tell about his BRONCHIODILATED BLUES. In the same vein CHRIS HEARN went a long way for his SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES whereas much closer to home HELEN & DAVE HOWARD told us about the life of JACK ASHTON and DOREEN delighted us a Facebook exchange with her daughter who claims I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DUST. More distant ROBIN offered support to a friend feeling lost in THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK just as DON & HEATHER were remembering a homeless young woman they had met with their tribute STREET CHILD while PETE celebrated someone who has everything with SHE BELONGS TO ME. Moving towards a climax MIKE COSGRAVE teamed up with DAVE HOWARD to give us LITTLE SADIE and DAVE BOULTON had us all singing to the LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN before ARTHUR MARSHALL declared we are OUTWARD BOUND and FAIR PLAY said let's get off to WHERE RAVENS FEED and we all agreed as we headed into the night. Fabulous!!!