Three dozen souls survived Christmas while the rest were still embroiled in the festivities and they missed an excellent evening with three new performers, one all the way from Auchtermuchty. Corrina, Corrina was a bluesy start from Don & Heather but Rob replied I Wish I Was Back In Liverpool with the centipedes to which Brian advised, Try A Little Tenderness. Richard Sails then invited us to go down to Yarmouth Town, for obvious reasons, but our first newcomer Kevin from Auchtermuchty told us the more poignant tale of the Sailor's Wife waiting and hoping her husband comes home from the sea in one piece before David fulfilled the request for another taste of Dead Dog Scrumpy. This prompted Carl to come up with another unusual dog story, Jez Lowe's Aloysius that wouldn't bark, swiftly followed by another first timer Jo who sang the Irish Blues and, on the same Celtic theme, Robin, inspired by the Scottish presence in the room took the high road off to the Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond. Ignoring all this good cheer Ed then sang Poison to recall the occasion when Sue forgot to tell him the kettle was filled with de-scaler and he made gravy with it that he poured on to his dinner and nearly killed himself: on a similar note Jean Finney then sang M.Y.O.B. after recounting the time when she asked the name of a nice plant one of her teachers had on the window sill and when told Mind Your Own Business she was upset because she thought she liked her: and on a grander scale Keep The Change Bob topped it all with Wind That Shakes The Barley.
A lovely surprise greeted us with the return of our friend Zoe Mulford from the USA after a 3 month visit including a successful tour with many interesting gigs so the evening promised to be of really high quality and we were not disappointed. Ruth, Kath & Stan went up to the next level when they set the ball rolling with Blackwater and Banjo Pickin' Girl and a serious Arthur Marshall followed with his own soulful Mist On The Green. Banjo John kept up the tempo with an excellent version of Midnight Special, with a nod to the seriously ill Johnny Silvo, as did John with his instrumental Cafe Ambleside and Kamran with Richmond Woman Blues. Next Brian claimed The Carnival Is Over and David explained some of his problems with golf and some of Ireland's problems with his From A Mis-Stance and Don & Heather clearly wouldn't have it any other way with I May Not Have All The Answers. Zoe then stated why I Want To Be Like My Aunt Maxine and then in a new song confessed she always wanted Coyote to catch Road Runner and wished he had Coyote Wings while on a more serious note Carl paid tribute to those lost in November 1975 in the Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald and heavy in another way Ged wished his ex-colleagues well for today's strike but warned them what the bosses do at such times with Joshua's Gone Barbados. Robin responded in a lighter vein with a country medley starting with Fraulein and including Blackboard Of My Heart and Honky Tonk Angels which prompted Isobel to tootle a couple of Hornpipes, Eric to hold our attention with Meanwhile and Ann C to close the first round with The Female Drummer. Banjo John then claimed innocent purity with Ain't Misbehavin' followed by Brian with Don't Cry Out Loud and John with Jez Lowe's Will Of The People leaving Don & Heather to lift us up to the interval with Let Your Banjo Ring.
After last week's standing room only another fifty odd people filled the room for a craicing evening led superbly by Mark & Jan Taylor who asked Ged to open the proceedings with Working On The Railroad accompanied by John Condy playing one of his Harmonicas. Robin then sang Chris De Burgh's Restless Heart followed by Karen & Shelley in great voice with The Sparrow, Jonathan with Blues From The Game and Mark & Jan who were out on the 30-foot Trailer. Colin Rudd then asked If Tonight and Banjo John mourned Delia's Gone which prompted Richard Sails to go to The Bellringing. Pepper Street were anticipating the New Year early with Don't Let Me Into This Year With An Empty Heart while Rob was singing in praise of the Alabama and Heather McNeill went all melancholy with Jar Of Hearts by Christina Perri. Paul then gave us that great Morris tune Rule Britannia Princess Royal while Carl went to Thackray's Aloysius before the welcome return of Claire with her magic flute for Sweetness Of Mary with John Condy and finally Richard Gray reckoned you are alright With God On Your Side to end the first round. Jonathan opened the second innings with John Prine's Donald And Lydia followed by a rampant City Of New Orleans from Pepper Street and Sweet Lemeney from Richard Sails.
A great end to September was hosted by Don & Heather who started us off with Gerry Rafferty's bit frippery, I Live Under A Coconut Tree, swiftly followed by Kamran who had drilled a hole in his finger specially to get the real anguish into Honey Where You Been So Long which sounded like another version of Corrina, Corrina. Ruth, Kath & Stan next reminded us of our youth with The Night Visiting Song, Paul was Jackaroo and with a split personality Mike was Clancy, Dooley and Don McLeod. Then we had a tour de force from Jonathan Beech who had written his Dear Abby after reading the Daily Telegraph agony column, very funny and true, Ed was in The City Of Chicago but Rob was still going round The Old Pubs before they knock them all down. Robin then excelled himself with Now The Buffalo's Gone as did Ged with his unique version of Sweet Thames Flow Softly, with all the verses, and Carl reflected on the battles fought by the Salvation Army with his Looking For The Sun. A bit Of Fun came from Wendy but David was much more serious with his perspective on Ireland in From A Distance as was Eric with his contemplation of death in I'm Next taken from Brel's J'Arrive. Pepper Street were next down and dirty in that Black Muddy River just as Ian, on his way to work from Saltburn via Manchester Airport, walked through the door to sing about The Contender after finding us on the internet prompting Ruth, Kath & Stan to advise us to Let The Mystery Be. All of this lifted Karen's mood sufficiently to sing Follow The Heron's Home and Ian to come back with Ralph McTell's In The Dreamtime and Pepper Street to give us The Broad Majestic Shannon as we reached the interval.
Carl started off the evening with Dandylion Clock and Kath & Stan were then on their feet to introduce the Wayfaring Stranger before diving down to the Sweet Sunny South which triggered Big Brian to break out with Jambalaya. Robin became altogether more serious with the Last Farewell and Arthur fantasised about Summer in December before Kamran broke out with a Guitar Rag. Colin then came up with Long Chain On before Richard Sails made a welcome return with Rounding The Horn and Pepper Street sang a great cover version of Diamantina Drover followed by that great song of man's efforts to find a North West Passage. Brian, with all those lovely 6-string chords, then insisted You Don't Know Me but regardless Banjo John declared that he was Gonna Lay Down My Burden leading to newcomer Stephen to say I Wanna Go Home. This handily led up to Isobel who closed the first round with the tune Stomach Steinwayman. Where do they get these titles from? Robin was again in good form with that well known Scottish tune written by Paul McCartney, Mull of Kintyre, swiftly followed by Keep The Change Bob with Young's Town and in the same vein Colin with When You Were Younger which is often asked for by Ged and was sung at his latest request, even though he wasn't there!! Banjo John then came with the great San Francisco Bay Blues to take us up to the interval, raffle and the usual fluid balancing act.
As a kid Hill 60 was always hard to climb but we did it again last night with 25 performers and a massive audience just waiting to have their minds blown and blown they were. A quick start from hosts Don & Heather with Poverty Knock was quickly followed by Banjo John with Carolina In The Morning and Ruth singing, Kath piping & Stan banjoing Lazy John. Brian was next busy trying to get back with Sylvia before an inspired Robin, Don & Heather banded up for a lusty Rose Of Allandale with tremendous chorus backing from the crowd and newcomer Kamran was The Gambler. Next Dave Cashell reminisced with the humorous Sergeant Where's Mine and Ged empathised with I Got Stripes before The Bailey Sisters, in a welcome return, lulled us all with The Cradle Song. Mike was determined to Go No More A-Roving whereas Eric wrestled with Analogue And Digital and Jean Finney met up with Clive James', yes the Clive James, Beautiful Stranger. Carl's own Nights Round The Table was also reminiscent but, with gender adjustment, Richard Knott's brilliant new song Welcome To The World Of The Guitar Girl could have been autobiographical and Isobel's Rabbit Man & Henry's Cat was just brilliant. Colin Rudd mused on Dylan's lyrics Valentine's Can't Buy Her - Love Minus Zero/No Limit as did Big Brian with The Gnu and Richard Gray with a trip up to the North Country. Ed was off somewhere nearer when he had us all singing along to Pendle giving us no hint of how John Condy was going to become afflicted with memory loss and a fit of the giggles as he became Care Home bound not to say Waterbound and the only answer came from Banjo John who was Leaning on A Lamp Post and laughing his head off. Keep The Change Bob reckoned it was The Sign Of Things To Come before we ran for the interval with Peter saying I'll Tell My Ma.