Newsletter No 270 25 March 2014

With some watching the football a slightly smaller but quality crowd gathered as MARK went recruiting for the BLUE COCKADE. Meanwhile MICHAEL BURNS was rooting in WILL REED’S BARN while BANJO JOHN was at the DARK TOWN STRUTTERS BALL and ED was leading McALPINE’S FUSILIERS. After a story PETE sang of DICK DARBY and KAMRAN announced that PROSAC MADE ME STAY while DON & HEATHER were equally sceptical about the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS. On an anti-war theme CARL lamented about WILLY McBRIDE but equally downbeat ROB warned of COURTING TOO SLOW and DAVE BOULTON warned of the dangers at sea with WHITE SQUALL. This all led to PAUL having the GOOD MORNING BLUES and JAN telling of failed love LAGGAN LOVE and RICHARD GRAY asking WHERE ARE THE GOOD TIMES. Nowhere to be found when have the FOLSOM PRISON BLUES reckoned BANJO JOHN but MARK said it’s best if you DON’T THINK TWICE especially if like PAUL you have the JUG BAND BLUES. Again MICHAEL delighted us with another of his brilliant compositions HONEST TOM DUNCAN as did DAVE BOULTON with his MEN WITH THE WILL TO MOVE MOUNTAINS before PETE admitted I LOVED A LASS and BANJO JOHN said his was SWEET LORRAINE as he took us to the interval.

The interval raffle saw birthday girl Kate win the wine, Rosaleen win the big tin of Quality Street and Jan win the quick drying sports towel.

Kicking off the second half ROB took us on the GOOD SHIP CALABAR while DON & HEATHER had us herding sheep with the DIAMANTINA DROVER while KAMRAN was chasing the CANDY MAN. On a serious note ED asked WILL THE TURTLE BE UNBROKEN as CARL went off after the LADY ELEANOR and PETE was aboard the CUTTY WREN while on the other hand RICHARD was aboard his BEAUTIFUL DIAMOND AND THE LOVELY ROSE. Remembering those who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War MICHAEL gave us his JAMES KEOGH while DAVE sang his own SAYING GOODBYE TO THE FISHING and CARL tipped his cap to the miners with BLACK DIAMONDS. More upbeat PAUL exhorted PEOPLE GET READY but KAMRAN warned of those CHUMP MAN BLUES while ROB went fantasmagorical with MARTIN SAID TO HIS MAN. On an even keel DON & HEATHER finally celebrated the LITTLE POT STOVE while ED celebrated the opposite sex with SHE IS WOMAN but MARK & JAN were still RUNNING LIKE A TURKEY through the corn to end a great night.

Newsletter No 269 18 March 2014

A quite different mix of people and performers graced the boards tonight with JANICE BELL & MICK HARE organising great entertainment for our audience with MICK giving us ALL MY LOVING and BANJO JOHN declaring I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE before the new combination of HELEN & CHRIS blew us away with PIPER TO THE END. Encouraging a sing-along HEATHER & DON recalled the RARE AULD TIMES as DAVE metamorphosed into ROBIN HOOD and JOHN went working for the PHAROAH. Sailing to California LYNN & JIM said goodbye MUIRSHEEN DURKIN and PAUL said let's STEP IT UP AND GO as COLIN broke open the story of MARY MAGDALEN. For JO it seems THE CARNIVAL IS OVER as DAVID warned about opening THE BOX and JANICE & MICK told us about DAVY. Next ROBIN was in fine voice for COME BACK PADDY REILLY as newcomers FRAN & FRED marvelled at A NIGHT LIKE THIS and CARL considered the fate of the miners in THE BALLAD OF JOHN COLLIER. Then debutant PETE finally found his feet with WHO'S THE FOOL NOW as MARK took off for FIDDLER'S GREEN and JAN took off with TEDDY O'NEILL. Coming to a peak with a lovely song ARTHUR treated us to his AUTUMN LEAVES and PETER KING responded with his own tribute to his father BLUE SKIES TURN GREY. Before pumpkin time BANJO JOHN waltzed us over the CAROLINA MOON and HELEN delighted us with her NOLA.

A bumper raffle saw the wine go home with LYNN & JIM, the chocolates went to ANN & BRIAN, the biscuits went home with HEATHER KENYON before STEVE got the CD. 

JANICE & MICK then started the second half with her great song STRONGER as HELEN played her accordion for THE FERRYMAN and LYNN & JIM ran off saying I'LL TELL ME MA. Philosophically 
FRAN & FRED were straight to the point with MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME and PETER KING eulogised about THE SEA as PETE concentrated on carrying SIXTEEN TONS. Then DAVE was THE MAN IN THE MOON as FREE SPIRITS bemoaned the BLACK WATER on their land and MICK & JANICE sang his great anti-war song HE'S COMING HOME before FRAN & FRED lightened us up with THE YODELLING SONG. Still in great form PETER KING gave us his SWANSONG before CARL celebrated female stamina with ON AGAIN as JAN & MARK reached THE END OF THE LINE as CHRIS told us how YOU WEATHERED THE STORM.

Newsletter No 268 11 March 2014

A storming Birthday Party Night for Marina was brilliantly hosted by Ruth, Kath & Stan aka FAIR PLAY who invited JIM & LYNN to start the evening with CITY OF CHICAGO. Themselves FAIR PLAY told the story of BLACK WATER and DAVE BOULTON gave his own experience with A HARD LIFE ON THE POTS before BANJO JOHN as only interested in AFTER YOU'VE GONE. That could have been ED with the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER or even COLIN who had the NORAH JONES BLUES or even JO with MY LONELY SON. More upbeat PAUL extolled the virtues of ANGELINE THE BAKER and MICHAEL BURNS celebrated the Stockport sculpture of THE BUCK AND DOG as TONY tuned up for his own TUESDAY NIGHT BANJO COMPOSITION. Way over in the US CARL was passing down BAKER STREET as IAN played another batch of notes all in the right order for STAY CLOSE TO ME, an instrumental by Tommy Emmanuel, while ARTHUR was declaring  I'M JUST WEARY OF THE COLD. At least ROBIN had that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING as PETE went off to THE NORTH COUNTRY FAIR before DON & HEATHER sang MARINA, MARINA, a parody of Corrina, Corrina, to celebrate her birthday. BANJO JOHN was on that MIDNIGHT SPECIAL while FAIR PLAY were sliding down from BYKER HILL and JIM & LYNN were off to see A MON LIKE THEE.

In the interval Dave Boulton provided a brilliant buffet with chips for ourselves and his partner Marina who also received a signed card and a special bottle of Jack Daniels. In the raffle TONY won the wine, IAN won the flowers, JOAN won the chocs, HEATHER won the biscuits and LYNN got a Ukulele book. 

The second half started with ARTHUR away DANCING IN DUBLIN whereas ED reminded Marina that 50 was not the END OF THE LINE but COLIN reminded us that for some the MALVINAS were. With his banjo TONY again was solo for two tunes OLD JOE CLARK and JUNE APPLE as MICHAEL then got out his mandolin for his own GENOESE HORNPIPE leaving CARL to promise that there will always be ANOTHER TRAIN. Still counting up his 12 fingers IAN played another excellent instrumental Tuesday Night Piece followed by DAVE BOULTON who was on about BURSLEM WAKES while PAUL was away ROLLING IN MY SWEET BABY'S ARMS. Then ROBIN, PAUL, DON & HEATHER aka FREE SPIRITS went down the mine for DARK AS A DUNGEON before PETE sang his own BEST IN ME and FAIR PLAY went off on the GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL leaving JIM & LYNN chasing PADDY McGINTY'S GOAT. In humorous mood ARTHUR then roamed the STREETS OF LONDON - NOT as DAVE celebrated his LITTLE GREY 'OSS and ED pleaded TREAT ME DAUGHTER DECENT leaving PAUL, ROBIN, HEATHER & DON as FREE SPIRITS to ask WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN followed by THIS TRAIN IS BOUND FOR GLORY and WHISKY IN THE JAR to end a cracking evening.

Newsletter No 267 4 March 2014

Yet another superb night as we did the half ton with a great mix of newbies and plenty of regulars and occasionals all stewarded brilliantly by KAMRAN & PETE into top class entertainment for our large audience. PETE started the ball rolling with CLAUDIA to which BANJO JOHN retorted I'M FLYING HIGH while DAVE BOULTON was out ON THE CUT. Then ALAN told us IT ALL SEEMS SUCH A LONG TIME AGO as ROB implored us to COME WRITE YE DOWN while CARL was away with MR DREAMSELLER. Next up BRIAN played a delightful MALAGUENA, a lot of notes in the right order, as ED was away in BOB DYLAN'S DREAM to which JO replied YOU'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. Doing his rounds JOHN CONDY then took us to the THE CAVES OF JERICHO as JAN & MARK went off into the ASHGROVE and KAMRAN explained the origin of the AVALON BLUES. Taking a leaf out of Jez Lowe's book CHARLES described the fate of LONDON DANNY before COLIN told of the YANKEE LADY who was definitely in for more than IAN's TEN PERCENT. Newcomers PHIL & MO debuted with COUSIN JACK as PAUL got those BLACK BOTTOM BLUES and IAN went off with a tasty RAG PICKING instrumental as ROBIN confessed he wanted to be a COUNTRY BOY AGAIN. Not surprisingly Poet DAVID was reminded of his own LONDON DANNY from Londonderry as FREE SPIRITS aka DON, HEATHER, ROBIN & PAUL took us all for a drink in RED ROSE CAFE for the interval.

An interval of re-fuelling with drinks and chips led to the raffle in which Chris won the Wine, Marina won the Chocolates, John took the CD and the Short Breads found a good home before COLIN was requested to celebrate 80 OF YEARS OF FOOTBALL AT MAINE ROAD. Next PETE put on his RAMBLING SHOES as CHARLES decided to be GYPSY DAVY and BRIAN developed the LOCOMOTIVE BLUES. Coming together to hunt him down JAN & MARK were then after CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN as CARL examined the stress of moving FROM CLARE TO HERE which was nothing compared to IAN's BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND. A lesson in life from PAUL told us NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT and DAVE BOULTON chipped in with IF YOU HAD A BRAIN YOU'D BE DANGEROUS to which KAMRAN invited them to COME ON IN MY KITCHEN. Next ROB, the one armed ice climber, sang PULL DOWN LADS to which DON & HEATHER had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL as ALAN told us what it was like on THE ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE, terrible we reckoned. It wasn't that great in PHIL & MO's FOG ON THE TYNE as JOHN CONDY pleaded OH BOATMAN and ED related the disasters ON MY WAY TO WORK which left DAVE BOULTON to explain the POTTER'S ALPHABET which was clear as mud by the time he had finished to end a brilliant night.


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