JULY - 2014

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Newsletter No 287 29 July 2014

A slightly slow start gave way to an avalanche of visitors who raised the ambience and lifted all our performers to give of their very best as DON & HEATHER first gave us a history lesson with their CONQUISTADORES. The
next with the baton was 
BANJO JOHN who took us off to the ALABAMA JUBILEE as ROBIN was singing about OLD DOGS, CHILDREN AND WATERMELON WINE and JOHN CHILCOTT was in La Mancha celebrating DON QUIJOTE. Also eulogising KAMRAN had the ORIOLE COOKIE BLUES because he reckons they are horrible and COLIN was equally unhappy with things in THE LAND THEY CALLED MAKE BELIEVE but not too sure whether JO was happy or sad with KILLING ME SOFTLY. However, ED was definitely upbeat with THE COWBOY SONG as was JAN with MARK and DON'T IT MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE but CARL had mixed feelings about Jez's GALLOWAYS. Also confusing was MIKE COSGRAVE'S song MICK RYAN'S LAMENT about two brothers who sought freedom in Amerikay but ended up Unionised and were slain fighting for it and HELEN & DAVE HOWARD followed with JAMIE RAEBURN who was convicted and transported to Van Diemen's land although allegedly innocent but KAMRAN, on the other hand was clear about the virtues of DOCTOR JAZZ (Jelly Roll Morton). So uplifted was BANJO JOHN he had us doing the CHARLESTON but JOHN CHILCOTT was still melancholy with SALLY DON'T YOU GRIEVE and JO was bemoaning WHEN I WAS IN MY PRIME (Pentangle). On a flying visit newcomer LESLIE was the real article with MY BONNIE LIGHT HORSEMAN as was COLIN for RAGLAN ROAD and HELEN & DAVE taking us to the interval with THE RIGS OF THE TIME.

A bumper raffle saw Sue's friend get the wine, Helen took the Roses Chocolates, Joan got the Whiskey Marmalades and Marian won the Shower Gift Set before two more newcomers from Oregon, USA, CHARITY & CALLUM, took to the floor for WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU only for CHARITY to sing her solo version of WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD. Leaping to the challenge MIKE & DAVE then set sail on ST BRENDAN'S VOYAGE as MARIAN now having recovered her voice surprised us with ONLY REMEMBERED from the musical Warhorse. JAN & MARK then had us rattling along with their highlighting of the conflict between creationists and JAMES ROBERT DARWIN as RICHARD GRAY came up with his own THE STORIES OF MY LIFE and CARL was again on top form with I SAW A STRANGER WITH YOUR HAIR (J Gorka). Enough seriousness said ED as he embarked on MY HUSBAND'S GOT NO PORRIDGE IN HIM (L Barker) and LESLIE was also very funny with his version of MR & MRS DUNN before JAN & MARK again had us rocking with their LITTLE RED ROOSTER. Fundamentally KAMRAN suddenly claimed I WANT ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER just as COLIN was warning that we were all ON THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION, has things ever been any different, but RICHARD was claiming to have see LAND AHOY. Also more upbeat CARL reckoned there will always be ANOTHER TRAIN (P Morton) as ED told us about the exploits of is BANTAM COCK and MIKE told us what a great place is CARRICK-A-REDE. On such a high HELE & DAVE invited MIKE to join them for the finale YOU WON'T MAKE OLD BONES only to bring Carl and Colin to their feet to lead us in the forgotten last verse about the rich and powerful giving us all grief to climax a mega night. T'was ever thus!! 

Newsletter No 286 22 July 2014

Despite the heat a fair crowd turned out for RUTH, KATH & STAN who hosted the evening and got it off to a swinging start with WINDMILLS (Alan Bell) followed by EDDIE with STAN with the ASHOKAN FAREWELL. Despite this BANJO JOHN warned SOMEDAY YOU'LL BE SORRY as GRACE & FREYA paid us their annual visit for the famous CUP and CLAPPING song from Perfect Pitch YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE. However ALAN confessed IT ALL SEEMS SUCH A LONG TIME AGO as OMAR played MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY which for CARL is WHEN FATE AND CIRCUMSTANCE COLLIDE. Maybe it is how JO met a WAYFARING STRANGER to which MATHEW replied with his own DON'T TELL ME ROMANCE IS DEAD that had DAVID looking at things FROM A DISTANCE. COLIN'S view was that we all have GOD ON OUR SIDE as CHRIS danced off with the MAGINOT WALTZ (McTell) and BANJO JOHN went off to cash in his chips since THERE'S A PAWN SHOP ON THE CORNER. In relaxed mood CHARLES was ON THE BANKS OF THE NILE and OMAR found himself IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING but PHYLLIS admitted MY GOT UP AND GO HAS GOT UP AND WENT as FAIRPLAY gave us the THE LAST GOODBYE. Instrumentally EDDIE came up with a couple of tunes DOUBLE LEAD THROUGH and DARK GIRL DRESSED IN BLUE making COLIN pose the question WHERE DO YOU GO TO MY LOVELY. Next DON & HEATHER observed how at times we all get PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE which JO interpreted as HARD TIMES leaving ALAN to ask WHAT'S IT TO YOU. Singing his own recorded song MATHEW celebrated THE CROCODILE as CARL commented on the world with BLOWING IN THE WIND and CHRIS did much the same with BARGES (McTell).

The interval brought the usual chat and raffle after which DON & HEATHER got us all singing with the GALWAY SHAWL continued by CHARLES with LONDON DANNY before EDDIE played some TUNES BY O'CAROLAN. For his sister in the audience DAVID performed THE BOX before MATHEW shot off after SUZANNE who CARL thought was floating off on a SUMMER BREEZE. Full frontally ANN suddenly burst out with a lovely rendition of LET ME BE YOUR LADY FOR TODAY MISTER (Karen Carpenter) which had ALAN going all WILD EYED and COLIN chasing after MR TAMBOURINE MAN. Toward the finale FAIR PLAY captured the mood of EL CONDOR PASA as did CHRIS with the German RUDIGER (Knoppler) but still it left MATHEW to exclaim DON'T ASK WHY. Finally EDDIE who was in great form all night played the PIG ANKLE RAG as DON & HEATHER said it must be time to LAY DOWN THE BORROWED GUITAR which we did and all went happily on our way.

Newsletter No 285 15 July 2014

An evening of rare variety two dozen in the audience being entertained royally by ten excellent performers presented by the new team of SUE BENTHAM & ANN LOMAX who encouraged us all to great heights. DON & HEATHER urged us on with LET YOUR BANJO RING with CHRIS brilliantly warning us that we might not make OLD BONES and ROBIN reckoned that it might also be true on the STREETS OF BALTIMORE. This all made MICHELLE get the ELK RIVER BLUES as she set off for SAMMY'S BAR and COLIN was in praise of THE MALLARD as was ANN & DON who were fishing for THE TROUT. Back again CHRIS next sang his own song about THE TOURISTS as MICHELLE set out for KELVIN GROVE and DON & HEATHER declared that they were RARE OLD TIMES. In the same part of the world MIKE sang of the GALWAY SHAWL as ROBIN decided to sing the LAST FAREWELL and COLIN told us the story of the MIDNIGHT WATCHMAN. All traditional MICHELLE sang of THE CUCKOO and also traditional DON & HEATHER celebrated WHISKEY IN THE JAR before CHRIS exclaimed THIS IS THE PLACE. Coming up to the interval ROBIN & DON took us off to SOUTHERN SKIES as COLIN asked WHERE DO YOU GO TO MY LOVELY and MIKE confidently stated YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE HARLAN ALIVE as the raffle girls got ready to circulate.

The second half started with DON & HEATHER singing their FLOWERS ON THE WATER for Kate as MICHELLE declared I AIN'T GOT NO HOME IN THIS WORLD NO MORE and MIKE celebrated the first Irish person to   migrate to America via Ellis Island with the THE BALLAD OF ANNIE MOORE. This brought out our first surprise of the evening when KATE took the floor with the BONNIE GEORGE CAMPBELL followed by ROBIN telling us he was a COUNTRY BOY again which encouraged HELEN to really surprise us with A BELL, A BOOK, AND A CANDLE to which CHRIS replied YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND and COLIN vowed I WILL WATCH YOU WHEN YOU GO. This nicely brought us into the finishing straight with DON & HEATHER adding their bit to the tribute to Scottish Pipers with CALLING DOON THE LINE which urged ROBIN to come up with JOCK O'HAZELDEAN and CHRIS to delve into the past for MICHAEL IN THE GARDEN (McTell) to complete a great night when some new performers felt able to rise to their feet and begin the journey to the stars. 

Newsletter No 284 8 July 2014

Non-football fans or true folkies as Brazil bit the Teutonic dust and several of our members hit the high lights on a rare night of variety and quality. With HEATHER & PAUL in the chair PAUL invited us all to WALK RIGHT IN as BANJO john prepared to SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL to which FAIR PLAY replied BEAUTIFUL as were THE VERDANT BRAES OF SCREEN sung beautifully by JAN. Somehow this took MIKE COSGRAVE back to his country and western days for THREADBARE ALIBI and it also stirred BAZ to unsheathe his Melodeon for MOLLY MALONE as DON & HEATHER skipped off to the ROSEVILLE FAIR. Things definitely continued on the up as ANN rose with DON to sing THE TROUT followed by KAMRAN with the AVALON BLUES and ARTHUR who reminisced with she played tambourine with a silver jingle at THE Y'ALL COME BACK SALOON. Suitably aroused this reminded BANJO JOHN of the TIN ROOF BLUES and caused PAUL to think of the JUG BAND BLUES and FAIR PLAY to decide to carry out a CENSUS. By way of a complete changed JAN transformed herself into a FIVE FOOT FLIRT as BAZ became an instrumentalist for EDELWEISS and MIKE sang his own song DANCING MOLLY. No wonder KAMRAN came up with IF YOU WANT ME TO LOVE YOU and DON & HEATHER sang the metaphorical KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER before ARTHUR took the Premier Poetry Spot with TRANSLATION by Roy Fuller leaving BANJO JOHN to take us to the break with a mega band up for MAINE'S BLUES also known as THE 219 BLUES with cracking solos from PAUL (Harmonica) and KAMRAN (Guitar).

The grand raffle sent the box of tea home with David, the Prosecco find a home with Kate, the Whisky Marmalade go home with Ros, the bunch of Roses escort Joyce to the door and their friend waltz off with the handcream. Then PAUL teased us with WHITEWASH STATION BLUES as FAIR PLAY went off with the HEDGER AND DITCHER and MIKE told us about SWEET COUNTY KERRY with his own song and shortly before she departed JAN sang out SEE YOU NEXT SUNDAY. Back on the mill theme DON & HEATHER had us singing to POVERTY KNOCK as did KAMRAN who introduced the HANDY MAN and ARTHUR who told us where to find the BELLS OF HEAVEN. It's all UNCLE TOM COBLEY to me reckoned ANN as FAIR PLAY pointed out the RIDER IN THE RAIN and PAUL sang us YOU MAY SLIP. This left MIKE to take us back to his ROOTS and KAMRAN to exclaim YOU RASCAL YOU as we all realised that ALL THE GOOD TIMES WERE PASSED AND GONE as PAUL, HEATHER & DON led us singing into the street with everyone joining in a big band up. Magic.

Newsletter No 283 1 July 2014

This was a top class evening in which the star turned out to be a huge surprise. Don & Heather got the ball rolling with FREE SPIRITS truthfully saying IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU as BANJO JOHN prepared to go WAY DOWN UPON THE SWANEE RIVER and PAUL certainly had RAMBLING ON MY MIND. Then philosophically STEVE told us the only way to success is to BE MYSELF but in abstract mode JO was chasing the GHOST OF THE ROSE while JIM & LYNN were bemoaning the fate of BELFAST MILL. Down to basics ROBIN was clear that IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN as was ED in getting advice from THE GAMBLER but all ways up PHIL was clear in saying I WISH WE'D ALL BEEN READY. All this left KAMRAN tilting at WINDMILLS and BANJO JOHN back in the USA for THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT ON MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME and worse with PAUL off GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD. This left STEVE feeling his lady friend was MISSING OUT as JO took herself off to the SCARBOROUGH FAIR to nicely set up Heather's 94 year old Mum PHYLLIS to knock everyone's socks off with a wonderful performance of A CRABBIT OLD WOMAN (Phyllis McCormack). 
Undaunted JIM & LYNN had us all singing lustily THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY as PHIL told us the truth behind THE DARK AND ROLLING SEA and ROBIN sang an old favourite, WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Coming up the break ED then told the story of WILLY THE WANDERING OUTLAW and KAMRAN confessed I NEVER GET TIRED OF YOU before latecomer PETE KING sang his latest song WE ARE THE WATER.

Another bumper raffle saw the Wine go to Lynn, the Chocolates go home with Ann, the two jars of Pate go to Robin, the Handcream and Hair Shampoo find a home with Phyllis and the Old Manchester Book with Pete.

PETE KING himself then gave us an excellent interpretation of MOON RIVER as ROBIN set off for DENVER leaving PHIL to unbelievably claim that NOTHING EVER HAPPENS which is certainly not true in Sale Folk Club. JIM & LYNN then took to the floor with the Johnny Cash favourite 40 SHADES OF GREEN as KAMRAN confessed to CARELESS LOVE and ED admitted he was still LEARNING TO PLAY THE GUITAR. Aren't we all?
Picking up the pace again 
PAUL proceeded to STEP IT UP AND GO as PETE KING went to his considerable back catalogue for CUCKOO and THAT GIRL leaving DON to point out that these were RARE OLD TIMES. Somewhat uncertain of himself KAMRAN confessed to the HESITATION BLUES and JIM told us what THIS OLD GUITAR has done for him over the years as PHIL set out after SHOALS OF HERRING all of which left FREE SPIRITS to send us skipping into the street with ME AND BOBBY McGEE to end a top class evening.