Newsletter No 418 28 February 2017
GRASSROOTS kicked off Jo’s Birthday celebrations with GAMES OF LOVE and why not? This was quickly followed by PAUL serenading Jo by replicating Seasick Steve’s performance of WALKIN’ MAN. Going more traditional AL told us the story behind Macpherson’s RANT before JO herself led us to THE BANKS OF THE OHIO. A brief respite for poetry came from DAVE COWE with AT TEA & IN CHURCH before DON, HEATHER & PAUL to us back to that DIRTY OLD TOWN and SIMON had us down to the BIG DARK SEA. Going down even deeper ED celebrated the sewer men aka THE FLUSHERS but KATH & STAN were more ethereal with MOONSHADOW as was ROBIN with BREAD AND FISHES. With McGarrigle’s HEART LIKE A WHEEL, PETE came next followed by JAMES with I’LL GET YOU by The Beatles and RICHARD who turned to Dylan for BELLE ISLE. With his latest collaboration, this time with wife Jan, MICK sang BLUE for which JO was CRAZY but unmoved ED was eating GREASY GRAVY and Gizzard Greens. With the Buffet and Chips in sight PAUL told the story of STAGOLEE and KATH & STAN sang THE BALLAD OF DAN MOODY before SIMON extolled the virtues of BAR ROOM GIRLS.
In the raffle Vis won the Prosecco, Sue won the Luxury Reed Perfume Set, Al took home the pancakes and Chris won the Handwash/Cream before GRASSROOTS started off the second half with Janice singing beautifully with I WANDERED BY A BROOKSIDE. Then DON, HEATHER & PAUL picked up the pace with THE MIGHTY QUINN but JAMES said I AIN’T MISBEHAVIN but ROBIN asked us to MEET ME ON THE CORNER. Turning to poetry again DAVE COWE went classical for SONNET 18 (Shakespeare) & WHEN YOU ARE OLD (Keats) before PETE sang WHOLE LIFE THROUGH and AL declared I WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN and RICHARD replied I’m ON MY WAY HOME. Going back a long way KATH & STAN sang about a family recorded in a 19th Century CENSUS while going back only to the 20th Century PAUL sang CORRINA, CORRINA and ED explained that he liked TRASHY WOMEN to much veiled approval before ROBIN drew a LONG BLACK VEIL over the proceedings. Coming to a close, DAVE COWE was poetic with THE DONKEY whereas SIMON & JAMES were having a BLUE BLUE DAY and for AL it was no fun on THE ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE. Even PETE had the MEDICAL STUDENT BLUES but DON, HEATHER & PAUL still managed to have us singing THE GALWAY SHAWL as we made for the door at the end of a really good evening.
Newsletter No 418 21 February 2017
A very pleasant evening was kick started as PAUL asked us to ROLL THE OLD CHARIOT ALONG with PHIL suggesting we visit the PALACE OF VERSAILLES before DAVID warned us not to open THE BOX containing all the tools of war. For some reason PETE then had need of BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER while JANET told us about the MIDSHIPMAN’S BOAST and before it was too late CHRIS sang of the FAIR MAIDENS OF FEBRUARY. No wonder JO exclaimed, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, and ED was moved to catch back with Valentine’s Day with MY BEST FRIEND to which DON & HEATHER warned of the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS. Next we had a world premier when ANN sang DEFYING GRAVITY without a safety net when she made her debut playing her new guitar. ROBIN, however, was extolling the virtues of marrying a girl from DENVER while PHIL was describing the not good life of the BLACKLEG MINER and PETE sang Dylan’s BIG GIRL NOW written after his divorce. Another slant on war came from DAVID about the SHIFTING WHISPERING SANDS about Kuwait and CHRIS was equally sad with a song of separation, THE SETTING by McTell, before JO kindly sang YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. Plenty went wrong for Paddy in ED’s song about the BARREL OF BRICKS and although JANET sang LIZZIE LOVES A HIGHWAYMAN it went wrong for Dick Turpin who hung in the end. At this point DON, HEATHER & PAUL chose to salute Arthur Marshall with song FENCES since he was voiceless and couldn’t make it tonight. This gave ROBIN that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING as ANN set out with the SKYE BOAT SONG and PAUL instructed us YOU’VE GOTTA MOVE as we approached the interval.
In the break the Raffle saw Chris win the Wine, Heather K win Paul O’Grady’s autobiography, Sue win the swanky Soap, Lin win the Chocolates and Janet win the Calendar before NAOMI set the ball rolling with AS I WALKED OUT. On his return to Ireland on the ferry PETE was moved to write his own song THE ALEXANDRA LIGHT whereas ED turned to Dylan for RAMONA and PHIL turned to Al Stewart for LIFE IN DARK WATER. For CHRIS on the other hand life was EASY, with Ed’s 12 string guitar, as ROBIN pleaded COME BACK PADDY REILLY but for JANET there was separation down in the RED RIVER VALLEY. Next FREE SPIRITS bemoaned the fate of the railway in THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS and PAUL was sad about CARELESS LOVE but ANN was upbeat about her SHABBY OLD CABBY and PETE was certainly over the BLUE MOON in celebrating Man City’s win over Monaco. Celebrating John Lennon PHIL was ONLY SLEEPING and in the theme JANET sang the GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL by Tom Waites before CHRIS celebrated the HANDS OF JOSEPH. Consistent with the hour NAOMI sang the GARTAN MOTHER’S LULLABY leaving ED to comment, SHE IS WOMAN, from which DON & HEATHER decided to STEAL AWAY which only left PAUL to send us home with LEAVE HER JOHNNY, LEAVE HER.
Newsletter No 417 14 February 2017
The Valentine’s Day theme was at first ignored by KATH & STAN who bid THE LAST GOODBYE before ALLEN sang his own NEARLY SONNET 18 dedicated to his wife Jen and BANJO JOHN took the hint and went off MAKING WHOOPEE. Then with heart on sleeve ROBIN confessed SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH as JO unsheathed her guitar to accompany herself for the FIELDS OF ATHENRY whereas MARK & JAN went to the heart of the matter for LOVE AND HAPPINESS (LUCKY STAR). This nicely set up ARTHUR to sing HOLD ME JUST ONE MORE NIGHT which he composed, recorded and promptly forgot for 25 years before re-discovering it last week. Really good. PAUL then had us singing JACKAROE and ANN banded up with Paul & Don for DARK AS A DUNGEON before PETE sang the moving JIM. Back on theme SIMON admitted SINCE I MET YOU BABY and HILARY played ANNIE’S SONG which left MARIAN to tell us about the SQUIRE OF TAMWORTH. A love story of another kind came from JAMES in the form of THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME as did DON & HEATHER with SPANISH BURGUNDY and JONATHAN with WILD HORSES before JO cried TAKE THESE CHAINS FROM MY HEART and BANJO JOHN explained what happens AFTER YOU’VE GONE.
The Valentine’s Day Raffle saw Heather K win the Prosecco, Rosalie win the Perfume, Ken win the Chocolates, Agnes win the Video and Jackie win the Heart Broach before KATH & STAN set us spinning with WINDMILLS so no wonder ARTHUR was in the mood and JUST FALLING IN LOVE. To MARK & JAN there was NO USE CRYING as HILARY played MY LOVE IS LIKE A RED, RED ROSE and JAMES went full on with VALENTINES DAY by Steve Earle. In love with the idea of migrating DON & HEATHER then took us ACROSS THE BORDERLINE and ROBIN had us in the STREETS OF BALTIMORE before ANN turned to a more classic theme with the SWEET NIGHTINGALE. Off at a tangent ALLEN was away at the WHIP JAMBOREE as SIMON & JAMES extended our vocabulary with PROPINQUITY by Michael Nesmith as did MARIAN with WEE TOTEM in Scottish dialect. PETE then took us ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER and PAUL was WILD ABOUT YOUR LOVING and KATH & STAN came up with two tunes THREE AROUND THREE and COME TO THE CEILIDH which drove ARTHUR to drink down in MURPHY’S BAR and JAN & MARK to go chasing the TURKEY IN THE CORN. Everyone needs a HANDYMAN reckoned JAMES before ALLEN went back to his early days as a folk singer for WILD ROVER which nicely set up a grandstand finish for FREE SPIRITS with WAGON WHEEL. A top night!
Newsletter No 416 7 February 2017
Arousing start to the evening by FREE SPIRITS saw them making promises of how good it would be ON THE NEXT GO ROUND and over The Pond BANJO JOHN told us of CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ ideas for the USA (Guy Mitchell) before PETE brought us to earth with effects of drug addiction in HURT. It wasn’t all plain sailing for JO with from BOULDER TO BIRMINGHAM or for PHIL with AN EVERYDAY STORY OF COUNTRY LIFE or ANN’s sailors capsizing on rocks in THE LORELEI. On a more cheerful note BRIAN admitted I DON’T KNOW WHY I LOVE YOU with two songs same title and MICK was busy WALKING MY BABY BACK HOME. Enough of this said AL who sang the GOLD WATCH BLUES by Donovan and SIMON was equally lamenting HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY OLD FRIEND ABRAHAM as was CHRIS with IN THE SECRET OF YOUR SADNESS (Jonathan Kelly). More sentimentally ROBIN sang of old dogs and children and WATERMELON WINE before PAUL had us all banded up for some JUG BAND MUSIC. This left ED to rise to the occasion by telling the Birthday people Hilary and Don that YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD as the man or woman that you feel?!? Coming up to Buffet and Chips time BANJO JOHN led us in OLD MAN RIVER while JO was LEAVING ON A JET PLANE to which PETE said TAKE IT EASY. NO wonder BRIAN decided to sing DREAMS (J Denver) and MICK professed he was HERMLESS (Michael Marra) while AL told us there were times when his wife was WILD EYED.
A crazy raffle saw Joseph take the Galaxy Chocolates, Hilary take the Biscuits, Jackie won the Scarf which left Heather Kenyon being forced to reluctantly?? accept the Red Wine. Returning for the second half CHRIS sang about MADELEINE and ANN warned what can happen to THE FOLK SINGER while PHIL gave us TIME PASSAGES from Al Stewart. SIMON also turned to favourite Steve Earl for the sad story of BILLY AUSTIN which prompted ROBIN to remember ROCK MY CRADLE by Hank Williams while PAUL went for SPENCER THE ROVER. Celebrating L S Lowry ED sang about his MATCHSTALK MEN leaving PETE who was KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR whereas PHIL sang the lesser known FOR NO ONE by the Beatles. With one of his own AL addressed the human condition saying there was a WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER and CHRIS gave us another slant with MAY YOU NEVER as did SIMON with McCARTY. Finally there was no mistaking ED’s meaning with the OLDEST SWINGER IN TOWN or with FREE SPIRITS who asked us to TAK’ A DRAM to end a great night.