JANUARY - 2017

Newsletter No 415 31 January 2017

As packed to the gunnels MARK & JAN quickly announced YOU AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE as we set out on a great evening of music and good craic with ED choosing Dylan’s MASTERS OF WAR before KATH & STAN went off to ALLEN WATER. Going folky SIMON turned to BOLD REYNARDINE as ROBIN went country with GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN while ROB was all trad with the CHEERLY MAN. Newcomer MALCOLM brought us THE CENOTAPH ANGEL from the deep south of England while ALLEN was WAITING ALL NIGHT and STEVE threatened IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND. On the other hand all PAUL had left was a TWO DOLLAR BILL while JO was away with a WAYFARING STRANGER despite JAMES claiming to be WILLIN’. Further away were DON & HEATHER in SOUTH AUSTRALIA to which CHRIS added HERE COMES HE SUN while MARIAN was still saying FAREWELL TO THE OLD YEAR. More welcome returners PHIL & DOM then sang THE THOUGHT OF YOU (J Denver) leaving JAN to say goodbye to THE JANUARY MAN as KATH & STAN were still 900 MILES from home. Coming up to the interval MARK whistled DARK ISLAND and ROBIN invited us to MEET ME TONIGHT IN LAREDO before FREE SPIRITS had us all singing RAMBLING BOY before the break.

A big raffle saw Paula win the Prosecco, Malcolm win the Teddy Bear, Vic win the Biscuits, Allen win the music bag and Rob win the CD before ROB started the second half with ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY. Not to be out done MARIAN sang of YOU PRETTY MAIDS OF GREENWICH and ALLEN warned about PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE having the wrong effect on young people. Next STEVE gave us the very funny FRIED CHICKEN AND A COUNTRY TUNE which prompted ED to turn to Bob Dylan’s DREAM and SIMON & JAMES to GO BACK TO GREENVILLE. No wonder MALCOLM asked WHERE’S THE HONEY MAN NOW and PAUL asked us to LAY ME DOWN A PALLET ON YOUR FLOOR as PHIL & DOM prepared us for the grand finale with PERHAPS LOVE and a big band up for THE BOXER. This left FREE SPIRITS to continue the join in theme with WAGON WHEEL and MARK & JAN to do the same with WE’LL HUNT HIM DOWN from the Darwin Song Project ridiculing the ban in the USA on teaching about evolution. 

Newsletter No 414 24 January 2017

Altogether a quieter period in the city after Christmas and New Year but we still managed a supremely enjoyable evening that absolutely flew by after PETE danced off with MR BOJANGLES. No wonder PAUL had us all shouting TELL OLD BILL before IAN told the history of THE PICK AND THE MALT SHOVEL and JANET asked us to COME BY THE HILLS to pick up the pre-Burns theme. Next KAMRAN went all CRAZY and ROBIN, our only true Scot, was off NORTH TO ALASKA while ANN definitely stayed local for the Lancashire Poem BONNY BRID. This prompted ED to turn to Iris Dement for CHILDHOOD MEMORIES but for PHIL it is always FOREVER AUTUMN while FREE SPIRITS had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL. After fitting new strings CHRIS was well fettled to play Paul McCartney’s BLACKBIRD followed by PIETER who sang his own WHEN I FALL DOWN before PAUL returned with the sad WORKING MEN'S BLUES and JANET was even sadder with JOLENE. Coming up to the interval we returned to Burns with our ROBIN singing JOCK O’HAZELDEAN followed by IAN with his LITTLE POT STOVE and ED who gave us the lessons learned from the GAMBLER.

The themed bumper Raffle saw the Silk Scarf go home with Pieter, the Scottish Shortbread Biscuits go to Margaret and the Bottle of Whisky quickly pass from Sue no doubt to Ed who is a big fan. No wonder PETE thought of DAYS GONE BY and a new group of ANN, BRIAN & PAUL had us all singing with STEWBALL leaving PHIL chasing THE HARE. On his rare visit PIETER then sang another of his own songs I KNEW YOUR FATHER which led KAMRAN to say LET'S TALK DIRTY IN HAWAIIAN so no wonder CHRIS reckoned YOU WON'T MAKE OLD BONES. Next DON & HEATHER sang the traditional Scottish SMUGGLER'S SONG which had PAUL urging us to STEP IT UP AND GO before IAN went traditional with the BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND. Still on the pre-Burns Night theme ANN sang the Eriskay Love Lilt VAIR ME ORO VAN O as ROBIN bade THE LAST FAREWELL and PHIL told us he was a MAN OF THE WORLD. Going for a big finish KAMRAN had the BLACK HORSE BLUES while eager to use his new strings CHRIS gave ANGIE a blast as ED swore ERNIE RIDES AGAIN as the fastest mobile library in the west. PETE then stepped up with COUNTRY SONG before by special request DON & HEATHER had us singing into the street with their DANCES FOR DOLLARS. It was over too soon!

Newsletter No 413 17 January 2017

A super evening started by GRASSROOTS with MOCKINGBIRD continued with MARK celebrating THE LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA while KATH & STAN were off to OWENSBORO but PAUL woke up this morning with the OL’ WALKING BLUES. Next JAMES credited the Beatles with him extending his 3 chord covering of most pop songs by playing and singing THINGS WE SAID TODAY. On the other hand DAVE decided to stand and stare with the poem LEISURE while ANN turned to the sad BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN and PHIL introduced THE MOST UNLUCKY PERSON IN THE WORLD. Also pretty unlucky was SIMON’s WILD BILL JONES as CHRIS went back to the pastoral scene of Ralph McTell’s BARGES but ED certainly had NO TIME TO CRY with Iris Dement before DON & PAUL went further afield sheep herding with the DIAMANTINA DROVER and AL told us the story of the now uninhabited island in THE MINGULAY BOAT SONG. On a sad note JO sang MY YOUNGEST SON CAME HOME TODAY so it was fortunate PETER decided to SHOWER ALL THE PEOPLE and JONATHAN & CHARLIE declared SOMEWHERE IN MY HEART there’s a start that shines for you, a nice thought. Then we had a very pleasant surprise when MICK sang a great new song BLUE with lyric by himself and the music by his wife Jan. On the other hand MARK turned to Dylan for DON’T THINK TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT and DAVE read the poem STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING before PHIL sang the litany of Al Stewart’s tour of AMSTERDAM. Coming up to the break JO started with SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR to SIMON & JAMES replied SHE THINKS I STILL CARE and AL went back to his roots with THE WORKER’S SONG.

After the usual bumper raffle KATH & STAN suggested we KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE with which PETER agreed as he chased the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY which left PAUL rather caustically quipping, YOUR CHEATING HEART. Going back in history ANN recaptured the mood with LILI MARLENE and GRASSROOTS brilliantly re-interpreted Dylan’s MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE before ED gave out some advice with LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE. Turning to another great songwriter Mark Knoppler CHRIS sang about the life of the TRAWLERMAN and DON did the same with the HONKY TONK MAN by Clint Eastwood and Marty Robbins. JAMES then reminded us that life is all a SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE as MARK landed on the SLOOP JOHN B with the cruel captain and KATH & STAN reflected on the life of THE MAN IN THE MOON. Reaching a suitable climax, PHIL reminded us of SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY while SIMON took us to the HEARTBREAK HOTEL which left CHRIS to ask us, ARE YOU RECEIVING ME. We all replied loud and clear before heading for home with our spirits suitably lifted. 

Newsletter No 412 10 January 2017

Before the big freeze arrives we got off to a good start with DON & HEATHER getting us singing RINGSEND ROSE before AL insisted YOU’VE MADE A MESS OF IT ALL but for PHIL all was rosy in the CITY OF PLYMOUTH. On the contrary SIMON was bitter with THE VERY THING THAT MAKES HER RICH MAKES ME POOR which JO summed up with ALL MY TRIALS, LORD and JOHN declared, not me I’m SUPERMAN. No wonder ANN offered to be his LADY FOR TODAY and ED went over the history of the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER before MARIAN told us the story of THE MAID AND THE MAGPIE. On a religious tack DAVID was SET APAR with Tim Hughes as ROBIN was away in THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK and PAUL was lighting the BONFIRES to welcome in another year courtesy of Zoe Mulford. Thus encouraged DON & HEATHER went for the tolerant line with both SAINTS AND SINNERS and AL said he would TRY FOR THE SUN as PHIL continued to encourage Plymouth Argyll FC with HE WHO WOULD VALIANT BE. Then it was thank goodness for the human to explore with JO who was BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND and SIMON who declared the DEVILS’S PARTIALITY and JOHN explained how the captain of the SLOOP JOHN B was indeed real and also always drunk as we toasted Lonnie Donegan and sang lustily up to the break.

In the Raffle Ann & Brian won the Bottle of Red Wine, Rosalyn won the Box of Belgian Chocolates, Heather Kenyon won a CD and Kate took the Tin of Biscuit(s) before ED started the second half with CITY LAMENT. No wonder DAVID replied with YOU GOT IT (Orbison) and ANN got up to lead us to LOWLANDS AWAY but ROBIN was leaving DURHAM TOWN. Next MARIAN took us to the LONDON LIGHTS and PAUL introduced BIG BAD BILL so no wonder DON & HEATHER headed DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL. Sober as a judge PHIL then stunned us with a BOUREE by J S BACH and JOHN & SIMON managed to surprise us by getting together for DARCY FARROW before AL went pretty guttural Scottish with ERIN GO BRAGH before DAVID went to Frank Sinatra’s favourite Lennon & McCartney number, SOMETHING, actually written by George Harrison. With a climax looming ROBIN & ANN teamed up for a Country medley starting with FRAULEIN followed by PAUL who had us LEAVING ON A JET PLANE which left us to marvel at ED’s BANTHAM COCK as we headed home. Top night!

Newsletter No 411 3 January 2017 

Ensuring a lively start DON & HEATHER first took us back to the RARE AULD TIMES as KATH & STAN set out on TEN THOUSAND MILES and BANJO JOHN went off in pursuit of HAPPINESS. Then things became serious when MIKE COSGRAVE took us up REUNION HILL (R Shindell) and ROB took us aboard the ALABAMA leaving HILARY to say farewell to Christmas with a CAROL OF THE BELLS. Then with his own song RICHARD told of the FIRE DOWN BELOW and MARIAN sang of SPINDLE BOBBIN before CHRIS played the live version of SULTANS OF SWING (Dire Straits). No wonder ROD cried out PLEASE DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD and certainly the bridegroom got it wrong when he wanted THE GREY MARE as well as the bride in ED’s song but SIMON’s song JOHN DOE No 24 was even more sad as was DAVID’s story of the MARCH OF THE DEAD. More of a riddle came from KATH & STAN in DINK’S SONG whereas JAMES was more emotional with YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND before the medley from BANJO JOHN of Al Jolson’s FOUR LEAF CLOVER, CALIFORNIA & CAROLINA. Finally, HILARY took us to CARRICKFERGUS and MIKE and RICHARD took us to COLCANNON before the tune BLARNEY PILGRIM left us at the interval.

The Raffle then saw Ken take the Biscuits, Hilary win the Wine, Heather Kenyon take the Chocolate Orange and Vic waltz into 2017 with a New Diary. CHRIS then put us in THE HANDS OF JOSEPH (McTell) and RICHARD & MIKE returned with story of THE LUMPER which left ROB who was COURTING TOO SLOW and DON & HEATHER who had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL. This left the duo of SIMON & JAMES a chance to reform for WAYSIDE BACK IN TIME (G Welch) and ROD to get off to the DOCK OF THE BAY and MARIAN to go traditional for TAR BARREL IN DALE. All ED could say was IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE DAYS as KATH & STAN went WESTERDALE and ROB went ROLLING HOME. No wonder CHRIS gasped I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT and HILARY turned to DROWSY MAGGIE. Sensing a climax being reached MIKE turned to COUSIN JACK while RICHARD was that FOUR LOOM WEAVER but for each other DON & HEATHER declared YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT. From his rich compendium SIMON told us I LIVE IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE before JAMES summed it all up perfectly by departing TRAVELLING LIGHT. Sweet!


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