Newsletter No 358 29 December 2015

Back from the Canaries ED & SUE were greeted by friends old and new as amongst the great turn out we found some very familiar and some we see less frequently returning for a top night of excellent music and craic. BANJO JOHN soon had us in the mood with his TIGER RAG followed by DON & HEATHER with PAUL who had us singing away with THE DIAMANTINA DROVER and then JOHN WILLIAMS with the WHITE HARE. Then with an upbeat version came PETE with Dylan's DON'T THINK TWICE before, HILARY with the more sedate CAROLAN'S WELCOME and ED with a great version of another one from Bob Dylan, DREAM. And then, after years of absence, came the welcome return of ALBERT with his own HOUSE OF EMPTY DREAMS followed by the ultimate occasional JEAN, from North Yorkshire, who sang Graham Moore's LISTEN ON THE WIND. Thus enlivened PAUL determined to STEP IT UP AND GO while more seductively ANN pleaded LET ME BE YOUR LADY FOR TODAY which caused EDDIE to look at things FROM BOTH SIDES NOW before another welcome visitor, SUE BARGH, rose to sing Joni Mitchell's URGE FOR GOING which certainly had us all definitely wanting to stay. Then with no sign of the threatened storm BANJO JOHN still had the ST LOUIS BLUES but more optimistically JOHN WILLIAMS looked forward to the MISTLETOE MILE, and why not but HILARY was more pessimistic reminding us of Noah' Ark with THREE HA'PENCE A FOOT. All this had PETE looking to the day when I SHALL BE RELEASED but still in festive mood ALBERT simply wanted TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE and JEAN took us all back to WWll with HOME LADS HOME, a poem put to music by Sarah Morgan. Also in a nostalgic mood JOAN read A TRIBUTE TO MARY HAWE from her Mum's book to take us to the interval.

A big raffle saw Joyce win a big fruit cake, Pete win the wine. Ian win a Christmas Pudding, Eddie take the Biscuits and Heather Kenyon win a CD before ED had us all in pleats with the fate of THE JOGGER. On the other hand ANN told us the fan forgave THE FOLK SINGER instead of dumping him whereas DON, HEATHER & PAUL were optimistic she who DANCES FOR DOLLARS would come out on top. EDDIE then gave us a short recital of THREE CAROLS: PATAPAN (French), The Angel to the Virgin came and Virgin most pure which certainly didn't give PAUL the HESITATION BLUES but certainly stimulated HILARY to play CAROLAN'S RECEIPT. Then, as if sensing the mood for a climactic finish, SUE BARGH had us all singing DONNA, DONNA, DONNA (J Baez) which gave ALBERT reason to tell us about his VISIONS for which JEAN sang him an IRISH BLESSING. Appropriately PAUL recognised it would be a LONG JOURNEY HOME for some especially EDDIE reckoned for THE SHEEP STEALER for whom all PETE could say was MAY YOU NEVER. Appropriately JOHN WILLIAMS then rose to his feet for two great songs the GODDESS OF MIDWINTER and GREEN TREES leaving DON, HEATHER & PAUL to lead the raising of the roof from the lusty singing of RED ROSE CAFE before suggesting we lay down the borrowed guitar aka ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD and get of home before New Year. Magic!!

Newsletter No 357 22 December 2015

A host of talented performers and an excellent audience were greeted by mulled wine and mince pies greeted us as DON & HEATHER set the tone with their ROMANY JACK followed by BANJO JOHN who was in WINTER WONDERLAND and JO was in THE BLEAK MIDWINTER. Going with one of his favourites JAMES told he AIN'T MISBEHAVIN as JUDE introduced him to PRETTY POLLY and PAUL RILEY retorted GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN. More seriously ANN told us the legend of THE LORELEI and JOAN recited TWO POEMS from her Mum before DON & HEATHER stayed on their original theme with GYPSY WOMAN. Back from the bar ARTHUR MARSHALL was in suffering still so we got RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER SINGS THE BLUES as BANJO JOHN shot off to California as the LITTLE OLD WINE DRINKER ME whereas ANN & JO went north for AMAZING GRACE. For JAMES this was all A SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE as MARIAN went traditional for TAR BARREL AND NAIL and RICHARD GRAY went for his own WISE MAN'S TALE. Arriving late but still very welcome DAVID was seasonal with HALLELUJAH followed by JONATHAN & CHARLIE with a song we can't remember but it led to BANJO JOHN'S Pantomime with John, Joan, Ann, Pete and Martin giving us a good laugh with an excellent interpretation of CINDERELLA. Magic!

In the interval Banjo John donated a bottle of Whisky, Joan gave a bottle of White wine and Kate gave a bottle of Mulled wine to add to the Big Raffle which resulted in us finally reaching the cumulative Christmas grand total of £257.00 sent to the Children's Adventure Farm Charity. Then opening the second half another late arrival PAUL had all trilling to HOTEL CALIFORNIA followed by PETE with his own great song MADAME WHISKY and then the new duo of PAUL RILEY & JUDE singing about JOHN RILEY. Recovered from his thespian activities BANJO JOHN went back in time for MARGIE as DAVID went back to a Crowded House for BETTER BE HOME SOON and then MARIAN again went trad with SPINDLE BOBBIN AND SPOOL AWAY. Next JOAN recited CRISIS, the only fictional story her Mum ever wrote, as RICHARD decided to sing his song about the MANCHESTER HIGHWAY just as ANN was DEFYING GRAVITY. Called on once again JAMES declared he was WILLING while PAUL confessed to the BAD MAN BLUES just as JUDE was ROLLING DOWN THE RIVER before HEATHER KENYON gave us a rare performance of what A POLITICALLY CORRECT CHRISTMAS would be like. This time PAUL RILEY rose up with the New Seekers MORNINGTOWN and PETE gave us a great rendition of another classic WOODSTOCK as DAVID prepared a couple from the Beach Boys, GOD ONLY KNOWS & WOULDN'T IT BE NICE and JAMES dug deep for SWEET LORRAINE leaving DON & HEATHER to marvel at the excellent nature of the evening and Pete's borrowed guitar with ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD. Tops!! 

Newsletter No 356 15 December 2015

A full house and a fair eclectic mix for our Christmas Party was well stewarded by KATH & STAN into a great start to the festive season. Suitably BANJO JOHN defied the Bookies with WHITE CHRISTMAS before HILARY went east for CHINESE MELODIES 1 & 4 and KATH & STAN went down to the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH. BRIAN couldn't help but ask for HOW LONG to which KAMRAN replied LIFE WILL GET YOU IN THE END as JANET went all angelic with DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR. On a serious note PHIL turned to BLIND (Deep Purple) as ANN decided to have us all singing VAIR ME ORO V AN O as did JAN with his version SUMMERTIME. Not content with that PAUL wanted to RAISE A RUCKUS TONIGHT but MICK reckoned NOTHING RHYMES (G O'Sullivan) despite JANICE with MICK saying it will only make you STRONGER. Back with Christmas JO led us all for SILENT NIGHT as IAN returned to the weather for FOUR STRONG WINDS before JOAN had us all seeing the funny side of life with TALES FROM HER MUM and THE OLD BUS. Philosophically PETE declared IT'LL SHINE WHEN IT SHINES just as DON & HEATHER told us WHEN SHE WEARS BLACK CLOTHES she can do just what she likes as did DAVE COWE's CLIVE THE FEARLESS BIRDMAN. Another slant on things came from JOHN CONDY with THE REBEL JESUS to which PETE KING replied with his customary new song WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO and JONATHAN turned to Sting for the HOUNDS OF WINTER. Finally what would we do without MARK & JAN and their Christmas mini-Panto entitled THE IVY AND THE HOLLY to take us up to the break with a Big Buffet and Chips.

The usual bumper raffle with all proceeds (£73.00) going to the Children's Adventure Farm Charity saw Heather win a CD, Martin win a DVD, Ian win the Biscuits, Hilary win the Wine, Kate win the Cava, Hilary win more Biscuits, Phil win the Smellies, Rosaleen take the cake and Joe win the Christmas Pudding. Then ROBIN got the ball rolling again with THE LAST FAREWELL and CARL sang one of his latest songs YOUNG ANNIE IN BLUE before ROB took up his guitar with harmonica form MARK for IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU. In good form KATH & STAN told us the sad BALLAD OF DAN MOODY but on the other hand JAN was simply HAPPY unlike HILARY who spent CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE WORKHOUSE but nobody believed it so GRASSROOTS told us it was all LIES. On a completely different tack BRIAN told all women are CRAZY ABOUT AN AUTOMOBILE before IAN celebrated Salford with DIRTY OLD TOWN but again PHIL seemed to be sadly all TANGLED UP IN BLUE. All contrasty JAN & MARK revealed the secrets of ROTTERDAM but more simply KAMRAN told us I'm ROLLING IN MY SWEET BABY'S ARMS leaving DAVE COWE to tell us about STONE SAINTS. Unable to resist adding to the £1,000,000 royalties Noddy Holder makes every year JOHN CONDY sang MERRY CHRISTMAS (Slade) and PAUL did the same with MARY'S BOY CHILD whereas PETE was more to the point with LIGHT MY FIRE. Still having fun in Trafford Park JOAN told us of more exploits SKATING WITH DANGER which ROB did when picking up the guitar again for RING OF FIRE which left FREE SPIRITS to asking everyone to TAK' A DRAM with them and then sing their way into the street with Paxton's RAMBLIN' BOY to end a night of great fun and frolics. 

Newsletter No 355 8 December 2015

An absolutely excellent evening loads of top talent brilliantly hosted into great
entertainment by MARK & JAN who started it all off with a rousing version of YE JACOBITES followed by KATH & STAN taking the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND and PETE  announcing I'LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU. With an affair to remember JOHN  CHILCOTT explained the LONG BLACK VEIL as BANJO JOHN told us there are always  CHANGES as GEOFF introduced FOTHERINGAY. Next JO celebrated the 12 GATES TO  THE CITY before BRIAN played more chords in AS TIME GOES BY than we knew existed  making ROBIN was dragged by his love through the STREETS OF BALTIMORE so wonder  CARL sang JEALOUS GUY. In complete and welcome contrast JOAN then told us WHAT MI  MOTHER DID and SUE sang SONGBIRD before DON & 
HEATHER had us all off to the RED  ROSE CAFE. Back by the wall ROB then led the chorus to COME WRITE YE DOWN and  MIKE COSGRAVE introduced his COUSIN JACK before, after too long away, we were really  glad to see and hear COLIN RUDD with his interpretation of ELEANOR RIGBY.  Interestingly it was then this year ED's turn to sing A SPACEMAN CAME TRAVELLING  but PHIL had full rights to Al Stewart's GETHSEMANE AGAIN before PAUL had us all  aboard THE OLD 97. Coming up to the interval JOHN CONDY confessed I BELIEVE IN  FATHER CHRISTMAS which had JAMES reaching for the COCAINE and RICHARD racing  off FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.

The break saw the first of all the raffles up to Christmas which will be donated to The Children's Adventure Farm Trust Charity. Bill won the Whisky. Paul won the Wine, Martin  won a CD, Bill won the Liqueurs, Sue won the Christmas Puddings and gave them to Kate,  Martin won the Box of Biscuits and gave them to Heather's Mum before also winning the  Mince Pies (he does buy a lot of tickets). No wonder CARL then came up with ALL YOU  NEED IS LOVE but PETE was HURT and BRIAN was off KILLING THE BLUES which PAUL  thought was the result of CARELESS LOVE. Fortunately, PHIL had us seeing the funny side  of MY PERFECT COUSIN as JAMES told us about THE GLORY OF LOVE which in a way was  ED's theme in the FASTEST MOBILE LIBRARY IN THE WEST while KATH & STAN were  something else with THE MAN IN THE MOON. Before his departure RICHARD had us all  seek SHELTER FROM THE STORM as SUE & GEOFF wished us Merry Christmas the  Hawaiian way with MELE KALIKAMAKA leaving ROB vowing to GO TO SEA NO MORE and,  seasonally, ROBIN to ask us to TAK' A DRAM, This led JOHN CONDY to reckon it could  lead us to DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL and MIKE was a bit sentimental with  CALEDONIA to which MARK & JAN assured us it was NO USE CRYING as we headed for  the door after a belting night. Magic!

Newsletter No 354 1 December 2015

Starting the gentle freefall to Christmas hosts PAUL & ROBIN led the way with PAUL telling he would ROLL IN MY SWEET BABY'S ARMS whereas BANJO JOHN went back hundreds of years for his MARGIE long before SUE could have claimed WHEN I'M CLEANING WINDOWS. Seeking some light relief GEOFF sang about ROY ROGERS riding tonight which for ROD on his return sounded like The Faces' ALL OR NOTHING as KAMRAN & BANJO JOHN assembled to pay homage to DR JAZZ.  Back from his rock climbing exploits ROB then gave us the Centipede Song I WISH I WAS BACK IN LIVERPOOL whereas PETE celebrated MARY FROM DONEGAL as ANN prepared to WELCOME BONNY BRID (Samuel Laycock). Welcoming Robin back from his cruise DON & HEATHER invited the reformation of Free Spirits with DIAMANTINA DROVER prompting ED to set our ALONG THE VERDIGRIS (Paxton) and ROBIN himself to chime in with MR DREAMSELLER. Coming round again BANJO JOHN insisted we should ROLL A SILVER DOLLAR as latecomer DAVE stepped up to the plate with E Costello's OLIVER'S ARMY and GEOFF kindly responded to an earlier request with TWILIGHT TIME. For ROD it was all becoming a bit of a TEQUILA SUNRISE to which KAMRAN advised SO RELAX (Leon Redbone) before BANJO JOHN again went back to 1851 for SWANEE RIVER which left us all needing a break.

In the usual bumper raffle Rod and Allan won Wine, Ann won the perfume, Kate took the CD and Barry got the Christmas Puddings before starting the second half PAUL posed the question WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL as another latecomer RICHARD told us he had fallen asleep but arrived to sing his own ABANDONED but ED was wide awake for Joan's request IT'S ME MARGARET! Seriously PETE told us the HEART IS LIKE A WHEEL as DAVE decided to sing us a WHISKY LULLABY and ROBIN told us the story of behind the SNOWS OF NEW YORK. What with all the talk of bad weather DON, HEATHER & PAUL said it was the ideal setting for the song FOREVER AND A DAY as ROB set out on his MILL OUTING and equally sad RICHARD told us what SYLVIA'S MOTHER SAYS. Again GEOFF & SUE directed us towards a cheery note with a join-in SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES followed by PETE who decided he was GOIN' TO KANSAS CITY with the same backing as did KAMRAN to say GOODNIGHT IRENE. Giving us the hint DAVE announced that he'd got a TICKET TO RIDE but ED completely missed it confessing I GOT STONED. Heading for the door with full chorus ROB led us off with the GOOD SHIP CALABAR, followed by RICHARD with the BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER and finally FREE SPIRITS with ROLLING HOME which we soon were with a spring in our step. Great!


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