JUNE - 2014

Newsletter No 282 24 June 2014

A nice gathering of about 40 turned out for JAN & MARK to lead through a great range of music, song and verse as they kicked off with WORRIED MAN BLUES. Then to our delight the lovely LYNN was back with JIM after an enforced break and they got a special cheer as they sang the HIGHWAY MAN and even BANJO JOHN paid his own tribute with HEY, GOODLOOKIN' before PHIL got serious with RUSSIANS AND AMERICANS and ED took us off to IRELAND'S GREEN SHORE. It was not for long though as CARL related Jake Thackray's story of the LANDLADY'S DAUGHTERS which had JO to the airport and LEAVING ON A JET PLANE and being joined by the rest of us from the volume of the chorus. Threatening a new poem next week DAVID told us of Kuwait's SHIFTING WHISPERING SANDS which ad PAUL away PUTTING ON THE AGONY and ROB setting sail on the GOOD SHIP CALABAR in anticipation of his sailing to the Scillies. This made EDDIE remember OLDHAM'S BURNING SANDS and in DON & HEATHER urged everyone to LET YOUR BANJO RING even THE WEAVER'S DAUGHTER as sung about next by FAIR PLAY which only left ARTHUR to tell us about THROWING OUT THE DEBRIS which he is doing to accommodate his 30,000 books in his new house. Quite why this prompted BANJO JOHN to think of GEORGIA ON MY MIND and JAN to muse about THE BLACKSMITH and PAUL to come up with a TWO DOLLAR BILL was beyond us and it was thank goodness for LYNN & JIM putting us straight with THE IRISH ROVER.  Coming up to the break JO sang about MY LONELY SON which left CARL to comment on the value of coal with BLACK DIAMONDS.

A bumper raffle saw Kath take home the Wine, Chris took the biscuits, Alan grabbed the box of tea bags, Martin needed the new 2015 Atlas of UK to get home and Heather streaked in for the Truffles.

Opening the second half MARK went all trad with THE TOWN OF OSWALDTWISTLE followed by EDDIE who led a band up with Jimmy Shand's BLUEBELL POLKA as a prelude to FAIR PLAY'S excellent MOONSHADOW. Still on a maritime theme ROB sang about THE GREY FUNNEL LINE as PHIL prepared himself for LIFE IN DARK WATER leaving ARTHUR with the role of cheering us up with his LOVE IN ANY LANGUAGE. It didn't work as DAVID warned us what happens when we open THE BOX CALLED WAR but still DON & HEATHER had us skipping away with their DANCES FOR DOLLARS. Still in heavy mood PHIL was all serious about CAREER MOVES as were FAIR PLAY on the BANKS OF THE OHIO before PAUL invited us all to COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE. Then EDDIE gave us a big surprise by proving the melodeon could go classical with LA REJOUISSANCE by Handel as ROB lined up his own classic MILL OUTING by our old friend Trevor Morton and ARTHUR loaded his own classic ALL THE WAY FROM DONEGAL. Lining up a big finish JIM sang the beautiful PERHAPS LOVE as ED gave us some CHILDHOOD MEMORIES (Dement) only to be recalled to the stage for a band up with DON, HEATHER & PAUL for ALL THE GOOD TIMES as indeed they had been for another great night.

Newsletter No 281 17 June 2014

Even the closure of the M60 and problems on the A56 couldn't dampen the return of JOHN CONDY to host the evening with KAMRAN and make it into another excellent evening of music and song. JOHN kicked off with WICHITA LINEMAN quickly followed by BANJO JOHN with GREEN GROW THE RUSHES-O which left JOHN CHILCOTT pleading TAKE ME BACK AGAIN, fresh from doing his washing up in the garden. As far as JO was concerned she would sooner have heard THE SOUND OF SILENCE but there wasn't any as we joined in anyway. Next TREVOR claimed that ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE and KAMRAN asked the question DADDY, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN (Catfish Keith) leaving ED to sing THE HANDSOME CABIN BOY claiming it to be "the only real folk song tonight" - disputed! CARL then launched into THE LONE BADGER, requested by Ed as Carl couldn't think what to do. ED then told the hedgehog joke, be careful of Reliant Robins, prompting PAUL to set out RAISING A RUCKUS TONIGHT. Then it was back to some class with JOHN CONDY and Tams' SCARECROW followed by a funny story by KATE about her and Heather and SONNY'S DREAM by TREVOR. Appropriately JO then came up with FAIR AND TENDER LADIES to which BANJO JOHN responded with BABY FACE by Whispering Jack Smith 1926 all of which was too sickly sweet for KAMRAN who launched into the SUGAR DIABETES BLUES with JOHN'S harmonica. JOHN CHILCOTT then asked us to TAKE A MESSAGE TO MARY as CARL went to the station to catch ANOTHER TRAIN (Pete Morton) and PAUL said take her a BOTTLE OF WINE with resounding chorus. Then followed a sincere confession from ED with O LORD IT'S HARD TO BE HUMBLE again with lusty chorus as we headed into the break.

From the raffle Rhonda took home the Wine, Alex won the Mug, Joan went off with the Chocolates one of Newcomers escaped with the Malteasers before JOHN CONDY cheered us up with HERE COMES THE SUN as did JOHN CHILCOTT with Tom Paxton's WHO'S NEED PASSING DREAMS AROUND all of which left PAUL with the WALKING BLUES played on slide banjo?!? All KAMRAN could say was SO RELAX so ED went off TEACHING MY WORM HOW TO SWIM. On her feet again and confusing us with a "Stand up Club" KATE told us another story this time about customs officers which somehow made PAUL think of getting away with the KEY TO THE HIGHWAY and JOHN CONDY was off with Kamran DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL which was just the kind of place where STACK-O-LEE got shot by KAMRAN. For ED and Stack-o-lee that certainly was GOODNIGHT IRENE. Coming up to a rousing finish PAUL told us IF IT WASN'T FOR THE FENCES (Marshall) which made KAMRAN exclaim O WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING as JOHN CONDY hastily assembled his supergroup to blast us homeward with THE MIGHTY QUINN to end a great night.

Newsletter No 280 10 June 2014

A very entertaining and enjoyable evening was set well on its way by JAN & MARK sailing off on the BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND to the sound of FAIR PLAY playing a couple of tunes TWILIGHT & BODMIN RIDING and KAMRAN’S reply was TRUE LOVE WAYS as PAUL set out on dry land in the NEW RIVER TRAIN. Skipping along JO was absolutely SALLY FREE AND EASY while CARL was getting people off to work with KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK but EDDIE was still LAZING ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON and ALAN was telling us what he would do if he had WINGS. Any way up ED reckoned it was NO TIME TO CRY (Iris Dement) and COLIN was convinced it was JUST MAKE BELIEVE but despite that GEOFF still observed that THE OLD BOYS ARE LEAVING. Next ERIC was that MAN AT THE DOOR as FAIR PLAY were off chasing WINDMILLS and KAMRAN was ridding himself of the CHUMP MAN BLUES. No wonder JO cried out HALLELUJAH and ALAN asked WILL I SEE THEE MORE as PAUL went underground with DARK AS A DUNGEON and EDDIE was IN THE CELLAR COOL singing a drinking song leaving COLIN crying out with the O LORD I WANNA DIE BLUES. On a more cheerful note JAN extolled the virtues of THE FACTORY GIRL and MARK set out to test himself with THE MEMORY SONG as we approached the interval.

A bumper raffle saw Mark win the Wine, Eddie take home the Roses Chocolates, Rhonda escape with the special Tea and Pam take home the Toiletries as CARL set off down PENNY LANE to which GEOFF rather mischievously said FAREWELL MY LOVE as PETER was BEATING TIME. Then ERIC was next on his feet telling us IT WASN’T ME THAT WENT TO SEA, IT WAS THE SEA which ED pronounced an unmitigated DISASTER while JAN & MARK told him DON’T THINKS TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT. However, it was often inevitable ALAN said WHEN THE SNOWS OF WINTER FALL (Graham Miles) as were the GOOD MORNING BLUES reckoned PAUL to which COLIN replied I DON’T GIVE A TOSS ABOUT YOU while PETER went off to meet LORETTA. To get us back on an even keel EDDIE was then inspired to play FISHER’S HORNPIPE, the TRUMPET HORNPIPE & the SAILOR’S HORNPIPE to which FAIR PLAY suitably replied THE WATER IS WIDE but not in these SMALL TOWNS sang CARL (Pete Morton) although possibly in a WINDY HARBOUR reckoned GEOFF (Pete Abbott). Coming to a close ERIC came with THE DEVIL who must have been ED at this point as he confessed he was FED UP WITH THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY to end up on a high note. 

Newsletter No 279 3 June 2014

A happy night full of chat and laughter was guided to best effect by hosts ED & SUE who asked BANJO JOHN to open the evening with MAC THE KNIFE from way back in 1928 and then FAIR PLAY reclaimed BLACK WATER from Free Spirits before ED was asked to PUT ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE. Then CARL rose to tell us ALICE WILL NEVER DO MOONBEAMS NO MORE to which JO replied with YOU'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG (Iris Dement) and PAUL sang the tragedy of STAGOLEE. We then had an interesting newcomer in ALLEN OGG who sang a song that his niece had recorded in Australia and had broadcast on the radio several times, WHAT'S IT TO YOU, only then to tell us that for over fifty years his name has been spelt in many ways other than the correct one so here's to right version ALLEN OGG and hope to see you again soon. Well up to date KAMRAN sang a one-year old Robbie Williams’ number called GO GENTLE before CHRIS sang the SPIRAL STAIRCASE with such increased speed towards the finale that it made us all dizzy climbing the steps. Fortunately, LIN & SUE recovered in time to do a CLOG DANCE to perfect accompaniment from ED & PAUL.

JO then returned to start the second round with MY YOUNGEST SON as ED took advantage of Dave Boulton's absence to sing about THE FLUSHERS and BANJO JOHN had us all singing along with LUCILLE. Still in good form CARL next did one of Jez Lowe’s lesser known numbers, TWO UP TWO DOWN, before CHRIS reminisced from his days at primary school by singing CHALK DUST leaving KAMRAN to borrow Ed’s 12-string and have us all singing along to DAYDREAM BELIEVER. With his own song ALLEN OGG next revealed more about himself with THE WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER before PAUL performed a lovely Joan Baez number, JACK-A-ROE, and FAIR PLAY brought us up to the interval with LET THE MYSTERY BE followed by THE NIGHT VISITING SONG. 

The raffle yielded a bottle of wine, a tin of biscuits, a box of chocolates and a beauty box with the tin of biscuits being shared amongst the crowd.

Act 2 started with ED donning a bloody crepe bandage around his head and making everyone laugh with his Irish accent and his BARREL OF BRICKS before CARL was more serious with THE GIANT and PAUL confessed he had the DEEP RIVER BLUES. Another selfie next came from ALLEN OGG with PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE before KAMRAN was next in the down in the dumps with BLACK HOSE BLUES but to cheer us all back up again FAIR PLAY hit the GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL. In tandem CHRIS then addressed the MERMAID AND THE SEAGULL before SUE performed a solo CLOG DANCE as ALLEN OGG girded his loins for LIFE (DON'T YOU KNOW). Then we had KAMRAN borrowing a song from Arthur Marshall, OLD BONES STILL DREAM accompanied by PAUL with the harmonica before the favour was returned when PAUL accompanied by KAMRAN on guitar gave us TROUBLE IN MIND. Reminded by Janice’s version of this song a few weeks ago, CHRIS took the opportunity to play and sing FACTORY GIRL as ED went back to a favourite topic with FLOG 'EM FLAY 'EM AND HANG 'EM leaving FAIR PLAY to finish this cosy and friendly evening with THE FORSAKEN MERMAID. Brilliant!!


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