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Newspaper No 314 24 February 2015

A totally sublime evening as new faces mingled with old and lapped up the great social mix and excellent entertainment hosted and started off by DON & HEATHER as they confessed they may not have ALL THE ANSWERS. In a world of his own BANJO JOHN was off to the RED RIVER VALLEY while JIM & LYNN were away with PEGGY GORDON and ROBIN was inviting COME HOME PADDY REILLY to come home. More to the point JO asked COME KISS ME LOVE which had PETE running for the FREIGHT TRAIN and SUE blatantly saying DON'T MARRY HER HAVE ME. Quite why but this had GEOFF off and FALLING LOVE AGAIN which made ED think of THE GAMBLER and DAVE BOULTON fantasise about a lady called THE FLOWER OF NORTHUMBERLAND. On a different tack DON & HEATHER had us thinking of the Mexicans trying to get ACROSS THE BORDERLINE into the USA while back home BANJO JOHN was busy CLEANING WINDOWS and GEOFF was musing with the lovely tune HECTOR THE HERO. Running late RICHARD GRAY fell through the door and was immediately invited to perform and he responded with his own MAIN STREET RANT and even JO was somewhat demented with Iris' CALLING FOR YOU as was PETE with his own MELLOR ROAD BOOZING BLUES after the flat he used to live in. Just in time to cheer us up SUE pleaded BRING ME SUNSHINE and JIM & LYNN threatened to TELL MY MA but ROBIN was happier with the true love of JOCK O' HAZELDEAN. Then as we approached the interval with a mini climax DAVE unsheathed his concertina for LORD FRANKLYN and to his amazement was followed ED who had always planned to sing about the amusing antics of JACUZZI JOE (and his funky concertina) to which RICHARD might have replied Lawdy Lawdy but instead sang OH SUSANNAH.

A big raffle of 9 prizes saw a lot of smiling faces before another late arrival PAUL come up with a little known Dylan song GOOD AS I'VE BEEN TO YOU and DAVE sang a song inspired by his elderly Mum, I'M HANGING ON HERE TO THE END which had a good few of us thinking. Fortunately, GEOFF & SUE struck a diverting note with their LADY OF PLEASURE as did ROBIN in a different way with LONG BLACK VEIL and JIM & LYNN who were off after the SPANISH LADY. With his own solution PETE said I'm just waiting for the day when I SHALL BE RELEASED which appealed to RICHARD who was stuck in traffic on his way to the folk club and ROLLING DOWN IN IDLE before ED had everyone marvelling at his BANTHAM COCK which certainly had no time for the TROUBLE IN MIND that PAUL then sang about. Again transporting us, this time to Australia, FREE SPIRITS told us of the DIAMANTINA DROVER while RICHARD reminded us that YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND which didn't stop JIM & LYNN saying goodbye to MUIRSHEEN DURKIN and heading for the gold rush. More leisurely SUE & GEOFF headed off on the SLOOP JOHN B whereas at the altar ED was told to TREAT MY DAUGHTER DECENT and DAVE gave us clear warning not to become ALLERGIC TO WHISKY. A brilliant night!  

Newspaper No 313 17 February 2015

A bumper crowd turned out to help Ann celebrate her birthday with the usual great buffet of excellent sandwiches and chips. JANICE & MICK galvanised the many performers into providing fitting entertainment by leading off as GRASSROOTS with GOING BACK and KATH & STAN responded with DINK'S SONG before EDDIE unveiled his new cello for the FLORAL DANCE. Soon on her feet JO told us of MY LOVELY SON as DAVE BOULTON took to the highlands with LIZZIE LINDSEY and SUE & GEOFF also departed with I'LL FLY AWAY. On the contrary we welcomed back ZOE who invited WON'T YOU COME ON IN just time for ARTHUR'S protest song about the rich THREE LITTLE PIGGIES and to see ROB off to SOUTH AUSTRALIA. For ROBIN it was all BREAD AND FISHES as JOHN CONDY was playing THE HIGHWAYMAN to which BRIAN responded NEVERTHELESS it's a living. DON & HEATHER were metaphorically KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER and dying of thirst as DAVE COWE saw the funny side in THE RAILWAY CARRIAGE DWELLING but PAUL was off to SWEET CAROLINA and GRASSROOTS uprooted to GEORGIA. Coming up to the interval KATH & STAN chased after the WAYFARING STRANGER as JO talked about FAIR AND TENDER LADIES and ARTHUR went dewy eyed over MISS JONES.

Ann & Brian provided the great birthday buffet and in a special raffle Rosaleen won the White wine; Paul won the Prosecco; Sue & Geoff took the Pancakes & lemon; Heather got the Mascot and Gillian went home with some Thorntons Chocolates before JOHN CONDY chased after the GALWAY GIRL. Back to basics ZOE then told us about the ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES to which FREE SPIRITS said it would all be different ON THE NEXT GO ROUND which of course is what genetics is all about. Next our reluctant heroine ANN took the floor with LET ME BE YOUR LADY and GEOFF was quite stern with HE'LL HAVE TO GO before EDDIE celloed the tune HORSE'S BRAWL. Back on form ROB then had us all back in LIVERPOOL TOWN as DAVE BOULTON told us of his fighting dog CHAMPION HE WAS A DANDY and DAVE COWE told us two stories THE SWORD SWALLOWER & WHOOPS. In a flash SUE was up with her ukelele for COUSIN JACK and GRASSROOTS with the link between ENGLISH RAIN and LOOKING FOR THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER. In determined mood PAUL said I AIN'T GONNA BE TREATED THIS WAY and ROBIN was off as a COUNTRY BOY leaving DAVE BOULTON to tell of the Wager in which he nearly lost his LITTLE GREY 'OSS. Coming to a grande finale ZOE was in the BIRDHOUSE, FREE SPIRITS had absolutely NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL as KATH & STAN led us aboard the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND to take us all home.

Newspaper No 312 10 February 2015

A nice surprise greeted the regulars this week when they arrived to find they were celebrating Dave Boulton’s birthday as PETE go the ball rolling with ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS (Dylan) and JOHN CHILCOTT went all modern with the HAZY SHADE OF WINTER (P Simon) leaving BANJO JOHN to dig in the archives for SWEET GEORGIA BROWN. Another moment in history came from PHIL who was enjoying the best fare at FRANKLYN'S TABLE as JIM & LYNN took us across the sea for the GALWAY SHAWL and even JO had us all LEAVING ON A JET PLANE. Then it was KAMRAN’s turn with a new arrangement of YOUR CHEATING HEART as MARK rocked us with LAY DOWN SALLY before JAN came up with MOLIANNWN. In more lyrical mood CARL had us all humming along with IF WISHES WERE FISHES before KEVIN went a cappella with the story of LORD FRANKLYN but PAUL was more to the point when he sang NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT as was DAVE BOULTON when he told us what happens when POVERTY KNOCKS. Next COLIN sang one of his favourites CUT ACROSS SHORTY (Cochran) as did DON & HEATHER with their own pre-celebration of Valentine’s Day I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY while RICHARD GRAY was more circumspect with his IF. Heading for the interval the early birds got a second shot and BANJO JOHN gave us all the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES and JO was equally sombre with WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN before JOHN CHILCOTT took us up to the break.

Along with the buffet thanks to Dave and Marina the raffle saw the Prosecco go to Alan who gave it to Dave for his birthday who then donated it for next week’s raffle; the Jumping Jacks to Barry; Chardonnay to Joan; the Moisturiser to Heather; the Chocolates to next week’s birthday girl Ann; the CD to Alan and the Water Bottle to Paul. 

Who better to start the second half then COLIN with his own ALL THE WAY FROM VALPARAISO (I will watch you when you go) and LYNN & JIM responded well with A MON LIKE THEE as did PETE with his own WHOLE LIFE THROUGH. Again KEVIN was brilliant with his a cappella GREY FUNNEL LINE as was DAVE BOULTON with his own dietary advice 5 A DAY and KAMRAN played up a storm with DEATH LETTER BLUES. Again with his own song RICHARD sang about the LADY OF THE MORNING as JAN & MARK chased after the little RED ROOSTER which left PHIL trying to CATCH THE WIND to which PAUL replied MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU. There was no road, however, when the three spirits HEATHER, DON & PAUL set out on THE WESTERN PLAINS and it was probably a boreen green where LYNN & JIM were with the STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN and DAVE BOULTON with his own dedication to the sessions THE MUSIC & THE CRAIC. Reaching for a fine finish JAN & MARK hit the spot with the rousing BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND followed by PHIL with THE WELL and the three spirits HEATHER, DON & PAUL rounding up the flock with THE DIAMONTINA DROVER. Top class evening and thanks again to Dave & Marina.

Newspaper No 311 3 February 2015

Despite the cold weather 4 dozen people turned out to have a good time with ROBIN & PAUL who hosted at least 20 performers to entertain even more listeners as ROBIN headed down the road with BOBBY McGEE. With even older material BANJO JOHN took us back with SHINE as did JIM & LYNN with YELLOW IS THE COLOUR before PHIL gave us one of his historical songs about the Middle East in LEAGUE OF NATIONS. Deep in the tradition FAIR PLAY went for the NIGHT VISITING SONG as JO claimed he was KILLING ME SOFTLY with his song before GRASS ROOTS sang about ELIZABETH. After discovering one in his garden EDDY celebrated with THE FOX and GEOFF & SUE celebrated the SUMMERTIME just as PETER announced TONIGHT I'LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU which we were all grateful for. Again going back in time GRAEME treated us to his interpretation of STACK-O-LEE just as DON & HEATHER were deciding they were PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE and ERIC was claiming JE SUIS CHARLIE. Then MICK came out alone searching for MR TAMBOURING MAN as PAUL boarded the OLD 97 and BANJO JOHN had us all joining in with the ST LOUIS BLUES. All this brought JO to her feet for the SOUND OF SILENCE and EDDY unbuckled his melodeon for the HUNTSMAN'S CHORUS leaving FAIR PLAY to say GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL.

After a great raffle all donate to "Help for Heroes" ROBIN opened the second half with THE BATTLE IS OVER before JIM & LYNN explained when AN OLD MAN CAME COURTING as ERIC tried TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE but I'm not interested SUE said WHEN I'M CLEANING WINDOWS. From back in 1983 PHIL then came out with SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY (U2) as GRASS ROOTS turned in anticipation to AUTUMN LEAVES and EDDY turned to O'CAROLAN'S DRAUGHT leaving GRAEME to delve deep for his SUGAR PUDDING & RAG MAMA. Next PETER claimed it's NOT FOR YOU but DON & HEATHER went ahead with their own DANCES FOR DOLLARS and GEOFF led a band up for ONE FOR THE ROAD as MICK claimed SHE BELONGS TO ME. Finally we could feel the crescendo as PAUL invited us to TAKE 'EM AWAY followed by FAIR PLAY with NOWHERE MAN and GEOFF & SUE rightly claiming THIS IS THE LIFE which left GRASS ROOTS to set about BRINGING ON ALL THE GOOD TIMES which they well and truly did as we whistled our way into the street.