September 2011

Newsletter No 151 - 27 September 2011

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.

The raffle saw Mick win the wine, Ro & Jean take home the plant and Colin the Newcastle Brown brought back from Geordie land and donated specially by Anne and Mike. The second half was kicked into action by Mike's Invitation To The Blues but flushed with success Colin pleaded Lovers Of The World Unite but Paul was off as fast as he could on a Freight Train. No such luck for Rob who was that Chemical Worker but Ruth, Kath & Stan claimed he was more like Lazy John but definitely not like John Prine's Sam Stone sung by Jonathan. Arriving late from choir practice Isobel delighted us with Rights Of Man as did Carl with Jez Lowe's Nearer To Nettles and Wendy with Ogden Nash's Curl Up And Diet. Still triumphing over his drilled finger Kamran played and sang up a storm with Hurry, Hurry, The Gal You Love Is Dead as was Eric over the French Language with La Vie En Rose, to which we managed to hum along, and Ian who appropriately sang Wings. Then a new combination saw Robin sing Wind In The Willows accompanied by Isobel, getting a good reception, but Ged lamented the closing of The Last Minstrel Show and Colin gave us a rousing rendition of The Times They are A-changing so we didn't really mind. Equally alarming was The Fat Lady's Bottom sung by Ed however a lovely Farewell from Isobel eased our minds before Karen had us Rue-ing the day and Pepper Street were back in that Muddy Water washing their hands. All that was left was for us to Steal Away with Don & Heather and remember what a great evening we had all had.

Newsletter No 150 - 20 September 2011

As expected there was a great turnout for John & Mick aka Pepper Street and managed two complete rounds of many performers. Pepper Street started with John's new song, Something Like The Blues, which isn't actually a blues song as such though it contains a few blues elements. It's a state of the nation song with Mick accompanying on his mandolin. Banjo John followed on with a Fats Waller medley of I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter, Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone and a third which got lost in translation and then it was good to welcome Stella & Brian who had been spending their Tuesday evenings of late having guitar lessons in Birkenhead when they could have been learning how to build ships. Stella treated us to Rose Of Allandale and Brian came up with Sound of Silence. It was also good to see Karen after a while and she accompanied herself on guitar for The Blacksmith before Eric was in great form with Jacques Brel's Ramparts of Warsaw, which became the Ramparts of Dundee to satisfy the demands of his rhyming scheme, and Ged, who sloped off at the interval, gave us a great rendition of Boomer's Story. Guitar Brian then gave us Matt Monro's Walk Away and Richard Sails did Dominic Behan's Moses in the Bullrushes followed by Kamran who did a really great song by someone called Guy Forsyth, who we'd never heard of before, entitled Things That Matter, complete with lovely gentle slide guitar accompaniment. Yet another big welcome back was given to John Muskett and it was great to hear his Liverpool Lou, with his customary excellent guitar accompaniment, followed by Carl who did his own great song, All At Sea, and Paul, of the banjo in the last few weeks, who surprised us by producing a nylon string guitar and also featuring a rack mounted harmonica to sing Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out. Banjo John Brown finally brought us up to the interval with Eric Clapton's Love Or Something Like It.

Pepper Street started the second half with a new song by Mick, There Won't Be Another Sunset, which was his reflection on the passing of his mother-in-law and a new baby being born into Jan's family the same weekend. Although hard to follow that Brian with Homeward Bound and Stella with Morning Has Broken did a good job as did Cockney Eric with his brilliantly original song, Dr Sidney Simpson, about the demanded return of the kidney transplant. The other Brian of the great guitar chords came up with yet another new one in Stevie Wonder's Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday after which Richard Sails did a great job on The Shepherd's Daughter and Kamran did the same with Black Horse Blues again with an intricate accompaniment, non slide this time. John Muskett then again stunned us with the brilliant Mrs Peer Gynt by Flotsam & Jetsam, a song based on Grieg's work which predicted by several decades both the obesity epidemic and the attempt to counter it through strenuous exercise. Carl was again at his imperious best with Jez Lowe's The Boys of Belly Row to be followed by Paul who for his second song produced another musical contraption, a cast off bass drum pedal which he'd attached to a tambourine, to give us O Mary Don't You Weep. Brilliant! Richard Gray, who had appeared at the interval, then gave us what a new song of his called Restoration, the lyrics sounding somewhat apocalyptic, followed by The Bare Necessities. Rob next did a stirring Rolling Home, the John Tams one, and his hilarious Courting Too Slow after which Colin was on top form again with his own Breaking My Heart Was The Last Thing She Wanted To Do and for the second week running his superb version of Jez Lowe's New Town Girl. Anne C was in good form with Come All Ye Fair And Tender Girls followed by The Green Laurel. Wendy did an Arctic Monkeys song called Cornerstone and Keep The Change Bob did Woody Guthrie's Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key and Bob Dylan's Forgetful Heart. Back again the excellent Arthur Marshall sang Four Black Horses with his usual excellent guitar accompaniment and he finished the evening with his excellent Travelling Man which had a lot of people joining in. Another cracker!

Newsletter No 149 - 13 September 2011

Always a cracking evening with Jan & Mark and this was no exception. Despite the high winds there was an eclectic mix of people who came to Sale for what turned out to be a wonderful evening of entertainment of the highest class. Mark and Jan kicked off with Bonny Ship the Diamond and then, not having planned ahead, picked on Jed who came up with the Mule Skinner Blues, Pepper Street then gave us a Good Noise and John Brown was in the Red River Valley. Colin Rudd was next up with Jez Lowe's New Town Incident and then Dave, our resident poet, gave us the White Heart Princess/Lively Maiden and then Robin followed with Jock of Hazeldean, (we were assured that Hazeldean was not a hotel on Northenden Road). Mike Dixon gave a very folksy rendition of Sting's Field of Gold, and then Ruth, Kath and Stan lamented that there Ain't No Sweet Man. Carl Corbett followed with a great rendition of Jez Lowe's Wannie Wind and Kamran, with his distinct resonator guitar and style, said That'll Never Happen No More (Circa 1927 which gives John Brown a run for his money)! Ann C then was hoping that she wouldn't remain an Old Maid in the Garrett and Paul then sang the "Hairy Tongue" song, Black Velvet Band (for an explanation see Colum Sands or Mark) which completed the first round, and all before 9:00 o'clock.

Kath Stan and Ruth then committed wanton murder on the Banks of the Ohio and Jan sang a song about a Dandy Man who, of course, bore no resemblance to the current Mr Taylor! Jed sang the St. Louis Blues and then John Brown, harmoniously accompanied by John Condy's harmonica, was looking at the Carolina Moon. Kamran gave us K.C.Douglas's Big Road Blues then Keep The Change Bob sang Black Cock and White Wing Dove and Carl was Safe in the Harbour, a thought provoking Eric Bogle song, and Pepper Street were not so safe in Stan Roger's Make & Break Harbour to take us up to the interval.

The raffle was, of course, the high point of the evening and, apart from the usual bottle of wine and passport wallet, one of the prizes was a decorated bottle opener in the shape of a guitar all the way from Florida's Hard Rock Cafe donated by Ann and Mike, thank you!

Colin started the second half with his inimitable version of Tambourine Man, Mark took an excursion into the blues with Little Red rooster and KTC Bob sang Love Hurts. Paul sang about a Bottle of Wine (obviously inspired by raffle prizes) and the late arriving Isobel, she sneaked in without a note at 9:55, played the Blackthorn Stick and Kesh Jig beautifully and without a single expletive! Robin sang about Four Strong Winds, he must have taken his inspiration from the Met Office, and Dave gave us his poem WD40. Ann then went Hopping, a reference to the harvest rather than what frogs do, and Mike Dixon followed with the lovely Canadee-I-O.

On to round 3! Pepper Street gave us John's brilliant Stony River Blues then Carl sang his wonderful song From The Armoury to the Crown about the demise of a great folk club and Kamran had us bouncing with I'm the King of the Swingers, a nostalgic trip with Mowgli and his mates! Stan and Kath were Ruthless for their song 900 miles followed by Robin with Long Black Veil. Colin followed with the Same Mistake then Bob gave us Bob Dylan's Abandon Love and Jed had us in stitches with his Dylanesque version of the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Ann sang Where Have You Been My Billy Boy then Isobel was Crossing the Minch with perfection before we were able to squeeze Mike in with Creeping Jane and after the usual thanks, Mark and Jan rounded of a fantastic evening with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da whilst the glasses were taken to the bar!

Newsletter No 148 - 6 September 2011

Robin started the night off with Neil Young's After the Goldrush, accompanied by John Condy on guitar and harmonica, followed by Pepper Street with Born in The Wrong Time, Robin Laing's song about wanting to be cryogenically frozen and coming back 500 years in the future when the world's ruled by justice, some hope, and Kath, Stan & Ruth did the Forsaken Mermaid. Banjo John then sang Alexander's Rag Time Band setting up Lucy, without Tom, for Kate Bush's Hounds of Love and Barry for Go Home Girl Go Home, his lovely Gypsy song. Brian next came up with Seth Davy followed by recent newcomer Paul who did the Banks of Green Willow as a harmonica solo and, now becoming a regular, Kamran with a Stephen Stills' song 4 + 20 with slide guitar accompaniment on his shiny National guitar, John jealous at this point. Eric was next up with his now definitive version of his new song, The Man At The Door, and Jon Beech kept up the standard with an excellent version of Woody Guthrie's I Ain't Got No Home leaving the stage set for Wendy's You Can Talk To Me. Mark & Jan then did a lovely version of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, followed by the return of Arthur Marshall for the 2nd week on the trot to do his own No Place For the Travelling Man and then Dick or is it Weymouth Dick sang Lowlands Away. Ged then did a stirring version of Jelly Roll Baker on Kamran's resonator which fair lifted the mood at this point leaving Keep The Change Bob to do a powerful a capella protest song called Brother Did You Weep to bring us up the interval.

Richard Gray arrived at the break and started the 2nd half of the evening with his own That's A Mistake followed by Robin who sang Gordon Lightfoot's Christian Island setting up Pepper Street for Mick's Crossing Over the Border and Diamantina Drover as a special request for Lucy's sister who came along since she had spent some time in Brisbane. Kath Stan & Ruth came up with Woody Guthrie's Birds and Ships, by way of Billy Bragg and Natalie Merchant, and Banjo John went for Sweet Lorraine but sadly she wasn't around. Lucy's next one was and a self penned song called After the Storm whereas Barry stayed traditional with Molly Malone and Brian said Let It Be Me, accompanied by John Condy on the harmonica. Paul then played one of his own compositions on the mandolin and afterwards decided it was called March Winds. Kamran then played his other resonator, he had brought 2 along making John double jealous, and did I'm In The Jailhouse Now featured in the soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou by possibly featured by Blind Blake amongst others. Eric then stepped up a gear or two to do the full length American Pie accompanied by John Condy on guitar with a fistful of bum chords, his words since he was in a different key from the one he was used to!! Obviously caught by the moment Jon Beech then surpassed himself with a Chet Atkins instrumental, Windy & Warm, before Wendy...wait for it....sang her version of Nessun Dorma finishing it by doing a spoken translation of the words in English.... All very much a first for Sale Folk Club. Unperturbed Mark sang Fiddler's Green and Jan sang Lawr Ar Lan Y Mor for which she also told us what it means in English and we were left marvelling at the uncomplicated nature of getting romantic relationships started on Welsh beaches. Arthur and a very funny song, not sure if it was self-penned, called I'm Ironing My Goldfish Flat and not surprisingly Dick settled for being In Safe Harbour Tonight but Ged with his customary panache brought us back to misery, death and destruction with Woody Guthrie's Deportees. Keep The Change Bob did Townes Van Zandt's Nothing, a stark existentialist number but Richard Gray ignored all that and rounded off proceedings with his medley of socially conscious songs from the 60s and 70s, The Social Gospel, which included Mr Tambourine Man, Meet Me On The Corner, Streets of London, Lean On Me, Bridge Over Troubled Water and You've Got A Friend. There was probably more but all in all a great finish to a good night.

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