Newsletter No 425 25 April 2017
An evening of old friends and new faces was begun by PAUL leading and band up for JAMBALAYA followed by BANJO JOHN with WAY DOWN UPON THE SWANEE RIVER so no wonder PETE claimed ISHALL BE RELEASED. Next MARK & JAN took us OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY and SIMON & JAMES told us of the COOKSFERRY QUEEN before JO sang of the GHOST OF A ROSE. No wonder COLIN commented SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH and CHRIS sang Knopfler’s story of RUDIGER the autograph hunter. DAVID (poet) then gave us his latest verse THIS OLD WORLD inspired by the Donovan song “I love my shirt” followed by CARL turned to Eric Bogle for THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA before newcomer PETE sang his extremely amusing JUST ANOTHER BLOKE WITH A GUITAR. Making a welcome return HELEN went traditional with ONCE I LOVED as BRIAN went for humour with OLD PEOPLE and PHIL was more ironic with RUSSIANS AND AMERICANS. With probably his only love song ALLEN sang his own NEARLY SONNET 18, after Shakespeare, before another newcomer BEN gave us his modern interpretation of the traditional SOLDIER, SOLDIER leaving MARIAN in the hands of WILLIE O’ WINSBURY. This gave way to our old friend FRANK HIVES with IF I WERE A CARPENTER and JO with AFTER THE GOLDRUSH and BANJO JOHN with MEAN TO ME.
The Big Raffle saw Ben win the Wine, Jackie win the Cider, Vic win the Room Perfume, Simon take the Biscuits and Dave win the Easter Egg before ROBIN opened the second half on FIDDLER’S GREEN and JAMES told us of the UNKNOWN LEGEND (Neil Young). Then better late than never in walked PETE KING with his own WORDS OF WISDOM to his 19 year old son followed appropriately by JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (Billy Joel) so DON & HEATHER thought to turn to their own story of emigration SOUTH AUSTRALIA. No wonder PHIL turned to ROCKS IN THE OCEAN as BRIAN admitted his BABY’S GONNA KICK him out as ALLEN gave us his own version of family strife with WHAT’S IT TO YOU and PETE followed with his own MELLOR ROAD BOOZING BLUES. Rising to his feet again BEN told the sad story of CRAZY MAN MICHAEL as SIMON returned with the BAR ROOM GIRLS and this left FRANK to lead us to the climax with THE LONGER THE WAIT THE SWEETER THE KISS (Josh Turner). Fortunately we then had PETE KING to sing his COME ON BLUES before we all followed PAUL on to the MIDNIGHT SPECIAL.
Newsletter No 424 18 April 2017
After a big welcome back PETE kicked off by KNOCKING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR followed by BANJO JOHN who said I SCREAM for ice cream before PHIL harked back to Easter with the LORD OF THE DANCE. In Ed’s absence JO was CALLING FOR YOU via Iris Dement as PETER went back in time to WW2 for the MAGINOT WALTZ which prompted the formation of a new band line-up with JOHN, MIKE & SIMON, soon to be known as MUSICAL DIFFERENCES, to sing Alex Campbell’s SO LONG. Struggling to choose from four versions MARIAN settled on one of THE TWO SISTERS but for IAN it was the NEARNESS OF YOU which mattered and for BRIAN it was all about PEGGY SUE. For the second coming together SIMON & KAMRAN told us I'D RATHER GO BLIND whereas CHRIS turned to the FAIR MAIDS OF FEBRUARY but this somehow gave KAMRAN the CANDY MAN BLUES. Coming to the interval ANDY observed WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES to which JAMES commented that it happens EVERYDAY before DON & HEATHER told us the RED ROSE CAFÉ was the place to go to while away more time.
In the Raffle the Wine was won by Heather Kenyon, the Easter egg was won by Chris, the Key ring was won by Dave and the Body wash went to Rosalie before PETE sang his autobiographical MADAME WHISKY to which PHIL responded with a eulogy to his home town, the CITY OF PLYMOUTH. Quickly on his heel then came the MUSICAL DIFFERENCES aka JOHN, MIKE & SIMON with the more traditional DARCY FARROW and MARIAN followed suit with the DARK-EYED SAILOR and PETER with the WEEPING WILLOW. Also traditionally BRIAN turned to the BLACK VELVET BAND before CHRIS came forward with THE SETTING and SIMON jumped aboard his 1952 VINCENT BLACK LIGHTNING. In his wake IAN unveiled his own creation named after his home town, THE WALSDEN RAG, to which KAMRAN added Dylan’s MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE and ANDY added Elvis er..er Costello’s ALISON. No wonder JAMES went a WANDERING and DON & HEATHER were off DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL as we headed for a big finish started by JOHN, MIKE & SIMON who were in PARADISE. BRIAN again went traditional with THE LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL and PHIL again celebrated Easter with JESU JOY OF MAN'S DESIRING which made IAN appropriately think of HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE. This left ANDY to ask HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN before DON & HEATHER launched us singing into the street quietly with STEAL AWAY to end an excellent evening of good music, song and great craic.
Newsletter No 423 11 April 2017
As they rolled in GRASSROOTS took us back with THE LAST OF THE WIDOWS as PHIL turned to his favourite Al Stewart for the LEAGUE OF NOTIONS but for ROBIN it was good to be BACK HOME AGAIN. With another slant on travel DON & HEATHER said sometimes there’s NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL as BANJO JOHN looked forward with EASTER BONNET and KATH & STAN went off with the WAYFARING STRANGER. For JO there is nothing like the SOUND OF SILENCE which MARK broke beautifully with two tunes on his banjo, SADDLE THE PONY & BLARNEY PILGRIM, before ALLEN went north of the border for ERIN GO BRAGH. On the other hand CARL turned to Pete Morton for A STRANGER WITH YOUR HAIR before JANET sang the skit HOUSEWIVES’ CHOICE but for SIMON it was all about PAY DAY while ED searched for THE LOGGER who stirred his coffee with his thumb. Then 50 years after the recording of Sergeant Pepper JAMES decided YESTERDAY was appropriate but the nice weather prompted PHIL & DOM to think of BLUE SKIES as we bullied DOUGLAS to his feet for SALLY FREE AND EASY. With the interval in sight BANJO JOHN reminded us of THE OLD RUGGED CROSS to which JO said LET IT BE and ALLEN turned to his own PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE as JANET took us to the break with NORMANDY ORCHARDS.
The usual bumper Raffle saw Dom win the Wine, Simon win the Easter Egg, Alan win the Pasta Cooker, Douglas win the Harmonica and Dom’s friend win the Hand wash and Lotion before MARK took us to THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. Getting to his feet SIMON smelled the YELLOW ROSES as ED strolled ALONG THE VERDIGRIS and ROBIN was dragged around THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE before CARL introduced one of his latest songs that celebrated our Postal Service, YOUNG ANNIE IN BLUE. Again with Al Stewart PHIL crossed THE DARK AND THE ROLLING SEA while PHIL & DOM sailed across the sea for A SONG FOR IRELAND leaving DOUGLAS back home with the POOR OLD WEAVER’S DAUGHTER. Over in the USA DON & HEATHER got out of jail with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER leaving KATH & STAN in the WILLOW GLEN and JAMES to go Elvis with A FOOL SUCH AS I. Then it was back in the tradition for GRASSROOTS with Mick’s original arrangement of THE TREES ARE GETTING HIGH before MARK announced it was a SUNNY AFTERNOON and ROBIN told the story of the LONG BLACK VEIL. Reaching for a climax to a great evening CARL sang THANKSGIVING as KATH & STAN took the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND and SIMON & JAMES combined brilliantly for SHE THINKS I STILL CARE before DON & HEATHER recruited ED, as lead singer, and ROBIN, for harmonies, as they sang us into the night with ALL THE GOOD TIMES which happen here every Tuesday.
Newsletter No 422 4 April 2017
A slow start soon ignited by BANJO JOHN with an AL JOLSON MEDLEY set ALLEN thinking IT ALL SEEMS A LONG TIME AGO and JOHN remembering BIG JIM by the 5-Penny Piece Band. Surprisingly CHRIS then came up with BIG RIVER after his wife reminded him he knew it as JANET went with BARGES and ANDY turned the year after THE JANUARY MAN. Also digging deep DON & HEATHER gave us McColl’s MOVING ON SONG which left CARL to go SINGING THE AGES DOWN and IAN off to GEORGIA with an immaculate guitar instrumental. On top form JONATHAN went solo with Crosby’s ALMOST CUT MY HAIR before SIMON & KAMRAN made a new duo for WEARY BLUES by Hank Williams and the new line-up of the GRAPHENE CITY BAND (Phil, Naomi and Chris) made their debut at Sale Folk Club with RICH AND POOR BLUES. Keeping us on a high PHIL & DOM had us all singing with BLACK IS THE COLOUR as did PAUL who had RAMBLIN ON MY MIND and ROBIN who was mellowing on WATERMELON WINE. This left BANJO JOHN to remember Fats Waller with WHEN SOMEBODY THINKS YOU’RE WONDERFUL and CHRIS to turn to the HANDS OF JOSEPH which inspired JONATHAN to find the real folk song DEATH OF QUEEN JANE.
The usual interval Raffle saw John win the Wine, Allen wint the tea, Phil win the Room Fragrance and Chris win the Tea Cosy. Starting the second half JANET promised us JERUSALEM TOMORROW (David Olney) but for ANDY it was SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN before JOHN lifted us back up with ME AND BOBBY McGEE. It was then into the FIELDS OF GOLD with IAN’S solo guitar before JONATHAN told us he’s a ONE MAN GUY to which CARL replied IF WISHES WERE FISHES. For ALLEN, however, it was just LIFE as the GRAPHENE CITY BAND became a bit political with I’VE NEVER SEEN AN MP followed by the somewhat green GRAIN AND FLOUR. Another tour de force was then delivered by SIMON & KAMRAN who gave us a brilliant version of The Free’s OH I WEPT before KAMRAN stay solo for DADDY WHERE YOU BEEN to which DON & HEATHER’S reply was, “When I go just lay my head on a KEG OF BRANDY!” No wonder PAUL decided he was HOMEWARD BOUND and ROBIN thought it was time for his LAST FAREWELL which left PHIL & DOM to raise us up with a SKIFFLE MEDLEY including the WORRIED MAN BLUES and finally blew us away with ELIZABETHAN by the legendary Magna Carta. Top whack!