Newspaper No 346 29 September 2015
A sublimely pleasant evening as people start to return from holidays started on a serious note with PETE singing ST PAUL'S SONG but PAUL couldn't wait to STEP IT UP AND GO but for NICHOLAS he was in a TROUBLED TOWN (Jake Bugg). On a completely different level ANN was certainly DEFYING GRAVITY as was MIKE COSGRAVE with is original version of the Furies COME BY THE HILLS with an O'Carolan tune interspersed and similarly ROBIN with his own parody of a PUB WITH NO BEER (Slim Dusty). It was then back to basics when JO told us ONCE I HAD A SWEETHEART and KAMRAN explained sometimes we LOVE IN VAIN leading DON & HEATHER to introduce the vagaries of KILLING THE BLUES. Moving up country ED reminded us of RAMONA as GRASS ROOTS sang a new song from Mick Hare, WITHOUT YOU, whereas CHARLIE & JONATHAN went shooting off to AMERICA. This prompted MIKE to return with the SHATTERED CROSS and in similar vein ANN lamented ALL MY TRIALS will soon be over but in complete contrast PAUL was SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Somehow this made NICHOLAS think of life in jail for I'VE GOT STRIPES which didn't divert DON & HEATHER from Alison Krauss' WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL as we went into the interval.
The raffle saw the Olive oil go home with Jo: the Wine will be consumed later by Joan: the Chocolates departed with Rita & Alan: and the Risky Business CD was pocketed by Alan. Then in a good mood PETE was soon on his feet with HERE COMES THE SUN but sadly ED was wheezy with the BRONCHIOLE DILATED BLUES prompting KAMRAN suggest we GO GENTLE on him (Robbie Williams). Next we had a demonstration of how truth is stranger than fiction as JOAN told us about her Saturday LOST IN LYTHAM before ROBIN & ANN got lost in the country medley of PRETTY FRAULINE, THE BLACKBOARD OF MY HEART and HONKYTONK ANGELS leaving GRASS ROOTS to also relate a true story with the background to Mick Hare's JACKDAW. Another true story is the Irish migration to America related by MIKE in THOUSANDS ARE SAILING and PAUL was pretty sure that at the time there was plenty of the GOOD MORNING BLUES before ED went on to relate the ultimate blues story about BURNTBLACK AND SON the undertakers. In contrast DON & HEATHER sang about the girl who DANCES FOR DOLLARS but ROBIN had other intent with his PEACEFUL EASY FEELING as did PETE who we all know has a HEART OF GOLD. Coming to a close ANN related the story of LORELEI who lured the sailors on to the rocks in the Rhine before KAMRAN told us he was GOING TO BROWNSVILLE and GRASS ROOTS wound things up nicely with another of Mick's songs SI TU DOIS PARTIR - LETS GO TOGETHER.

Newspaper No 345 22 September 2015

A quiet but delightful evening back with many of their friends saw HEATHER & DON hosting on their return and reclaiming the DIAMANTINA DROVER for starters. Back from climbing in Spain ROB was soon FATHOMing THE BOWL as fresh in his eighties BANJO JOHN was doing the CHARLESTON. On the other hand CARL recalled his time sailing with Rob and Mark and recounted his dad taught him from his time at sea, THE COOK AND DECKIES, to which JOHN CHILCOTT commented WHEN WE WERE GOOD. This brought JOHN CONDY to the floor and he decided to reclaim the GALWAY GIRL with his own great version before PHIL sang Steve Knightley’s ROOTS bemoaning the over willingness of the English to turn to other cultures and not value their own. This left JAN & MARK somewhere between TEMPTATION AND SALVATION STREET as PAUL was off with the DRIFTING BLUES and ED was way ALONG THE VERDIGRIS. Still a bundle of energy BANJO JOHN almost took off with his version of TIGER RAG but fortunately JOHN CHILCOTT calmed us down with his quiet SALFORD SUNDAY before DAVID gave us his politically slanted SEE HOW THE COLD PLAY. Again rousing us to chorus ROB told us he was as happy as them who have got THOUSANDS OR MORE which made CARL think it must be like having AN INVISIBLE SUN and to JAN & MARK it was like fishing for the whale on THE BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND. Still on a reclamation theme JOHN CONDY treated us to his latest rendition of ACROSS THE BORDERLINE before PHIL again tested us, as he does, with Al Stewart’s THREE MULES (don’t ask just Google it) leaving PAUL to take us to the interval with THE MORNING BLUES.

After much catching up the raffle saw Ros win the wine, Alan win the Whisky Marmalades and Sue the big tin of Chocolates which she immediately passed round several times before ED led off the second half with RED HEADED ANNE followed by DAVID with THREE TUNES ending with GREENSLEEVES. Still COURTING TOO SLOW or not at all was our ROB before CARL lifted us with his great song parody of THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR and then shock horror JAN sang HE’S GONE TO MARRY ANOTHER. Definitely not MARK, then, to which he responded DRINK GOOD ALE. Miles away PAUL was next SITTING ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY which might have prompted PHIL sing in praise of PLYMOUTH before JOHN CONDY poured cold water on life with John Prine’s SOME HUMANS AIN’T HUMAN. Cheering us up with his own humorous take on thinks DAVID told us SOME PEOPLE ARE FRIGHTENED most of all of taking their car to the garage to which ED added his contribution of the Dubliner’s  COMICAL GENIUS. Building to a climax ROB complained about them knockin’ ‘em down, THE OLD PUBS, and JAN & MARK sang in praise of the LITTLE RED ROOSTER before PHIL introduced us to CADENCE AND CASCADE only for DAVID to take us UP THE JUNCTION and then to cap it all ED, PAUL, HEATHER & DON announced that ALL THE GOOD TIMES ARE PAST AND GONE and they were as we all tripped into the street well satisfied.

Newspaper No 344 15 September 2015

It was soon apparent that this was no ordinary evening when KATH & STAN opened up with Ewan McColl’s SWEET THAMES FLOW SOFTLY and then asked BANJO JOHN to begin the celebration of his 80th birthday with the DARKTOWN STRUTTERS BALL. Not surprisingly PETE joined in with IF NOT FOR YOU and PHIL chipped in TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE. Then JO celebrated another hero in JOE HILL as did ED with AL BOWLEY by Richard Thompson and which gave SUE the UKELELE BLUES. ROBIN then invited us to MEET ME TONIGHT IN LAREDO to which GEOFF replied with Jim Causley’s SUMMER END and with a nod to the rugby crowds PAUL enacted the DUELLING CHOIRS with MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT ASHORE & SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT. Keeping up the pace KATH & STAN next gave us THE BALLAD OF DAN MOODY and PETE had those ST JAMES’ INFIRMARY BLUES but not surprisingly BANJO JOHN was RUNNING WILD. Where does he get the energy asked JO as she explained I LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME. Back again CHARLIE & JONATHAN then came up with RICHARD COREY by Simon & Garfunkel as ROBIN tucked into the WATERMELON WINE and GEOFF & SUE promised I’LL FLY AWAY. Coming to the break PHIL played WELCOME and THE CLOWN, two Canadian tunes, but ED told us I LIKE MY WOMEN A LITTLE ON THE TRASHY SIDE as PAUL pleaded TAKE AWAY THESE CHAINS FROM ME.

The half time interval was made extra special when Banjo John and his wife Connie treated us to one of The Service Club’s special Sandwiches and Chips Buffet followed by the raffle which saw Kath win the Rum flavoured beer: Ella win the Picture frame: Alan win the Wine: and Jill take home the Bath Cream before KATH & STAN asked us HOW WILL I EVER BE SIMPLE AGAIN? Reprising their previous success CHARLIE & JONATHAN came back with those LYING EYES as PHIL took us to the ISLANDS of King Crimson and SUE introduced us to COUSIN JACK. Still rocking BANJO JOHN sang JAZZ ME BLUES which PETE swore BRING OUT THE BEST IN ME because GEOFF & SUE told us WALTZINGS FOR DREAMERS. Teaming up ROBIN & PAUL sang about the STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN and ED was DOWN IN LOUISIANA but KATH & STAN were up with THE MAN IN THE MOON. Coming round to a big finish PAUL sang about BIG BAD BILL as  BANJO JOHN gave us the ST LOUIS BLUES and PHIL brought in the SISTERS OF MERCY but the real climax came with a band up of PAUL, ROBIN, ED, KATH & STAN for the big favourite WAGON WHEEL. Happy birthday Banjo John and many more of them!!

Newspaper No 343 8 September 2015

There was nothing to disappoint those who attended a very pleasant evening at Sale last night with MARK and JAN as hosts, whilst numbers were modest the quality was nonetheless very high! Appropriately MARK and JAN started the first round with a bit of LOVE AND HAPPINESS and then BANJO JOHN sang MR TAMBOURINE MAN with PHIL hard on his heels with another Dylan song, SIMPLER TWIST OF FATE. Almost immediately PETE ROBERTS was heading off in a BIG YELLOW TAXI and JANET was up in the SOARING SKIES. Then there was a welcome appearance from JOHN CONDY who contributed the third Dylan song of the evening, CHIMES OF FREEDOM and not to be outdone PAUL JOHNSON maintained the Dylan theme with TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME followed by CARL with the ever popular NORWEGIAN WOOD. The other PAUL (RILEY) was next with TELL OLD BILL and KAMRAN, away from his hole in the road, gave us James Taylor’s HANDY MAN. It was then obvious that ED had been watching the latest BBC drama and was inspired to sing the Jim McLean version of the story of LADY CHATTERLEY to be followed by a duo, JONATHAN & CHARLIE making their debut acoustic appearance and producing an excellent version of the Eagles’ song, LYIN' EYES. Sadly, having only rehearsed the one this was their only contribution for the evening but we hope to hear more from them in the future! Up for a second time BANJO JOHN had us a rocking and rolling with ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN before PETE was off over Mike Chapman’s RABBIT HILLS. With one from his favourite Al Stewart PHIL sang SONGS OUT OF CLAY which prompted JANET to ask someone to BRING ME A ROSE before CARL took us up to the break with SINATRA AND I.

After the raffle which saw Alan take away the bottle of wine JAN, accompanied by MARK, sang the Beautiful South Song ROTTERDAM before JOAN rose to tell us the story of JOSIE'S DESK a lovely nostalgic snapshot of past times written by her Mum. DAVID SERGEANT was next with ALONE AGAIN NATURALLY and ED took us back to the days of coal pit struggles with THE BLACKLEG MINER. Then with his atmospheric self penned SMOKE THROUGH AUTUMN LEAVES the floor was KAMRAN'S before PAUL RILEY became JOHN THE REVELATOR and JOHN CONDY followed him with UNICORNS. Then unusual for him PETE found himself DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL and equally serious PHIL sang Larry Norman’s GOODBYE FAREWELL a song he wrote when not expecting to recover from a serious heart attack in 1992. He lived to be 61. DAVID SERGEANT was next with his own picturesque song, WEIRD DREAMS, followed by CARL with HERE'S A HEALTH TO THE COMPANY just as PAUL was GOING DOWN THE ROAD. Then with Pink Floyd’s currently appropriate ON THE TURNING AWAY came JOHN CONDY followed by ED with his little ditty about THE FLY. Finally coming to a climax KAMRAN Sang Rev Gary Davis’ OH GLORY HOW HAPPY I AM and MARK and JAN brought a very pleasant evening to an appropriate close with THE END OF THE LINE.

Newspaper No 342 1 September 2015

A great audience and loads of performers this as PETE kicked off with the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY FAIR chased by BANJO JOHN and C.C. RIDER + blues harp. JO was next out in a LONG BLACK VEIL as FAIR PLAY came p with DINK’S SONG and newcomer PAUL JOHNSON recalled the DAYS OF 49. Then Charley’s son GUY stepped up to show us how it should be done with Norah Jones’ DON’T KNOW WHY which was a dress rehearsal for a school concert in which he is to play the guitar and sing the vocal. It was then good to see and hear CARL sandwiched between the two youngsters and back to his best with SCARBOROUGH FAIR as ALICE rose to play the penny whistle for ALOUETTE JAUNTE ALOUETTE followed by JOHN CHILCOTT with his version of FIRE AND RAIN to end the generation swings. ED was also serious THE POOR DITCHING BOY as was ROBIN for BREAD AND FISHES and it certainly brought the best out of JOAN with her memories of Trafford Park in MILL LIFE and ANN who had us all singing with VAIR ME ORO VAN O. Reaching deep into his song book ARTHUR then sang one of his own NOTHING FOR THE REFUGEES to prove how little has really changed and to some extent PAUL’S song was the same, SUGAR PUDDING a.k.a. Keep Your Fingers Off It, before CHARLEY herself sang QUEEN OF WATERS. All this left BANJO JOHN telling us I’M FLYING HIGH with JO telling him in that case I’m CALLING FOR YOU. You’d better do it BEFORE THEY CLOSE THE MINSTREL SHOW sang FAIR PLAY in which case I SHALL BE RELEASED replied PETE as we reached the mid-session break.

PAUL struck a brave note with the story of the Irish rebel JAMES CONNELLY and in particularly good voice ROBIN was in a similar mood with THE LAST FAREWELL before MIRIAM rose with REYNARDINE. No wonder this all put CARL in mind of OLD BONES (J. Lowe). More light heartedly ANN invited us to ride with her in THE SHABBY OLD CABBIE to which ED replied in that case PUT ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE and ARTHUR played a fiddle medley of THE HUMOURS OF GLENDART & MORRISON’S JIG and before he could put it down PAUL insisted ARTHUR’S fiddle and FAIR PLAY accompanied CORNBREAD AND BUTTERBEANS. Thinking of other beautiful things PETE came up with SUNSETS and PAUL returned with JOE HILL’S LAST WILL prompting ROBIN to take us all off for the MINGULAY BOAT SONG. Philosophically CARL told us WE’LL MEET AGAIN as ED came up with some CHILDHOOD MEMORIES and FAIR PLAY wistfully told us sadly MY LOVE HAS GONE before our spirits were finally raised by PAUL, ROBIN, ED, FAIR PLAY and all playing and singing us into the street with ALL THE GOOD TIMES. Magic!


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