Newsletter No 282 24 June 2014
A nice gathering of about 40 turned out for JAN & MARK to lead through a great range of music, song and verse as they kicked off with WORRIED MAN BLUES. Then to our delight the lovely LYNN was back with JIM after an enforced break and they got a special cheer as they sang the HIGHWAY MAN and even BANJO JOHN paid his own tribute with HEY, GOODLOOKIN' before PHIL got serious with RUSSIANS AND AMERICANS and ED took us off to IRELAND'S GREEN SHORE. It was not for long though as CARL related Jake Thackray's story of the LANDLADY'S DAUGHTERS which had JO to the airport and LEAVING ON A JET PLANE and being joined by the rest of us from the volume of the chorus. Threatening a new poem next week DAVID told us of Kuwait's SHIFTING WHISPERING SANDS which ad PAUL away PUTTING ON THE AGONY and ROB setting sail on the GOOD SHIP CALABAR in anticipation of his sailing to the Scillies. This made EDDIE remember OLDHAM'S BURNING SANDS and in DON & HEATHER urged everyone to LET YOUR BANJO RING even THE WEAVER'S DAUGHTER as sung about next by FAIR PLAY which only left ARTHUR to tell us about THROWING OUT THE DEBRIS which he is doing to accommodate his 30,000 books in his new house. Quite why this prompted BANJO JOHN to think of GEORGIA ON MY MIND and JAN to muse about THE BLACKSMITH and PAUL to come up with a TWO DOLLAR BILL was beyond us and it was thank goodness for LYNN & JIM putting us straight with THE IRISH ROVER. Coming up to the break JO sang about MY LONELY SON which left CARL to comment on the value of coal with BLACK DIAMONDS.
A bumper raffle saw Kath take home the Wine, Chris took the biscuits, Alan grabbed the box of tea bags, Martin needed the new 2015 Atlas of UK to get home and Heather streaked in for the Truffles.
Opening the second half MARK went all trad with THE TOWN OF OSWALDTWISTLE followed by EDDIE who led a band up with Jimmy Shand's BLUEBELL POLKA as a prelude to FAIR PLAY'S excellent MOONSHADOW. Still on a maritime theme ROB sang about THE GREY FUNNEL LINE as PHIL prepared himself for LIFE IN DARK WATER leaving ARTHUR with the role of cheering us up with his LOVE IN ANY LANGUAGE. It didn't work as DAVID warned us what happens when we open THE BOX CALLED WAR but still DON & HEATHER had us skipping away with their DANCES FOR DOLLARS. Still in heavy mood PHIL was all serious about CAREER MOVES as were FAIR PLAY on the BANKS OF THE OHIO before PAUL invited us all to COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE. Then EDDIE gave us a big surprise by proving the melodeon could go classical with LA REJOUISSANCE by Handel as ROB lined up his own classic MILL OUTING by our old friend Trevor Morton and ARTHUR loaded his own classic ALL THE WAY FROM DONEGAL. Lining up a big finish JIM sang the beautiful PERHAPS LOVE as ED gave us some CHILDHOOD MEMORIES (Dement) only to be recalled to the stage for a band up with DON, HEATHER & PAUL for ALL THE GOOD TIMES as indeed they had been for another great night.
Newsletter No 281 17 June 2014
From the raffle Rhonda took home the Wine, Alex won the Mug, Joan went off with the Chocolates one of Newcomers escaped with the Malteasers before JOHN CONDY cheered us up with HERE COMES THE SUN as did JOHN CHILCOTT with Tom Paxton's WHO'S NEED PASSING DREAMS AROUND all of which left PAUL with the WALKING BLUES played on slide banjo?!? All KAMRAN could say was SO RELAX so ED went off TEACHING MY WORM HOW TO SWIM. On her feet again and confusing us with a "Stand up Club" KATE told us another story this time about customs officers which somehow made PAUL think of getting away with the KEY TO THE HIGHWAY and JOHN CONDY was off with Kamran DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL which was just the kind of place where STACK-O-LEE got shot by KAMRAN. For ED and Stack-o-lee that certainly was GOODNIGHT IRENE. Coming up to a rousing finish PAUL told us IF IT WASN'T FOR THE FENCES (Marshall) which made KAMRAN exclaim O WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING as JOHN CONDY hastily assembled his supergroup to blast us homeward with THE MIGHTY QUINN to end a great night.
A very entertaining and enjoyable evening was set well on its way by JAN & MARK sailing off on the BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND to the sound of FAIR PLAY playing a couple of tunes TWILIGHT & BODMIN RIDING and KAMRAN’S reply was TRUE LOVE WAYS as PAUL set out on dry land in the NEW RIVER TRAIN. Skipping along JO was absolutely SALLY FREE AND EASY while CARL was getting people off to work with KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK but EDDIE was still LAZING ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON and ALAN was telling us what he would do if he had WINGS. Any way up ED reckoned it was NO TIME TO CRY (Iris Dement) and COLIN was convinced it was JUST MAKE BELIEVE but despite that GEOFF still observed that THE OLD BOYS ARE LEAVING. Next ERIC was that MAN AT THE DOOR as FAIR PLAY were off chasing WINDMILLS and KAMRAN was ridding himself of the CHUMP MAN BLUES. No wonder JO cried out HALLELUJAH and ALAN asked WILL I SEE THEE MORE as PAUL went underground with DARK AS A DUNGEON and EDDIE was IN THE CELLAR COOL singing a drinking song leaving COLIN crying out with the O LORD I WANNA DIE BLUES. On a more cheerful note JAN extolled the virtues of THE FACTORY GIRL and MARK set out to test himself with THE MEMORY SONG as we approached the interval.
A bumper raffle saw Mark win the Wine, Eddie take home the Roses Chocolates, Rhonda escape with the special Tea and Pam take home the Toiletries as CARL set off down PENNY LANE to which GEOFF rather mischievously said FAREWELL MY LOVE as PETER was BEATING TIME. Then ERIC was next on his feet telling us IT WASN’T ME THAT WENT TO SEA, IT WAS THE SEA which ED pronounced an unmitigated DISASTER while JAN & MARK told him DON’T THINKS TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT. However, it was often inevitable ALAN said WHEN THE SNOWS OF WINTER FALL (Graham Miles) as were the GOOD MORNING BLUES reckoned PAUL to which COLIN replied I DON’T GIVE A TOSS ABOUT YOU while PETER went off to meet LORETTA. To get us back on an even keel EDDIE was then inspired to play FISHER’S HORNPIPE, the TRUMPET HORNPIPE & the SAILOR’S HORNPIPE to which FAIR PLAY suitably replied THE WATER IS WIDE but not in these SMALL TOWNS sang CARL (Pete Morton) although possibly in a WINDY HARBOUR reckoned GEOFF (Pete Abbott). Coming to a close ERIC came with THE DEVIL who must have been ED at this point as he confessed he was FED UP WITH THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY to end up on a high note.
Newsletter No 279 3 June 2014
A happy night full of chat and laughter was guided to best effect by hosts ED & SUE who asked BANJO JOHN to open the evening with MAC THE KNIFE from way back in 1928 and then FAIR PLAY reclaimed BLACK WATER from Free Spirits before ED was asked to PUT ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE. Then CARL rose to tell us ALICE WILL NEVER DO MOONBEAMS NO MORE to which JO replied with YOU'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG (Iris Dement) and PAUL sang the tragedy of STAGOLEE. We then had an interesting newcomer in ALLEN OGG who sang a song that his niece had recorded in Australia and had broadcast on the radio several times, WHAT'S IT TO YOU, only then to tell us that for over fifty years his name has been spelt in many ways other than the correct one so here's to right version ALLEN OGG and hope to see you again soon. Well up to date KAMRAN sang a one-year old Robbie Williams’ number called GO GENTLE before CHRIS sang the SPIRAL STAIRCASE with such increased speed towards the finale that it made us all dizzy climbing the steps. Fortunately, LIN & SUE recovered in time to do a CLOG DANCE to perfect accompaniment from ED & PAUL.
JO then returned to start the second round with MY YOUNGEST SON as ED took advantage of Dave Boulton's absence to sing about THE FLUSHERS and BANJO JOHN had us all singing along with LUCILLE. Still in good form CARL next did one of Jez Lowe’s lesser known numbers, TWO UP TWO DOWN, before CHRIS reminisced from his days at primary school by singing CHALK DUST leaving KAMRAN to borrow Ed’s 12-string and have us all singing along to DAYDREAM BELIEVER. With his own song ALLEN OGG next revealed more about himself with THE WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER before PAUL performed a lovely Joan Baez number, JACK-A-ROE, and FAIR PLAY brought us up to the interval with LET THE MYSTERY BE followed by THE NIGHT VISITING SONG.
The raffle yielded a bottle of wine, a tin of biscuits, a box of chocolates and a beauty box with the tin of biscuits being shared amongst the crowd.
Act 2 started with ED donning a bloody crepe bandage around his head and making everyone laugh with his Irish accent and his BARREL OF BRICKS before CARL was more serious with THE GIANT and PAUL confessed he had the DEEP RIVER BLUES. Another selfie next came from ALLEN OGG with PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE before KAMRAN was next in the down in the dumps with BLACK HOSE BLUES but to cheer us all back up again FAIR PLAY hit the GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL. In tandem CHRIS then addressed the MERMAID AND THE SEAGULL before SUE performed a solo CLOG DANCE as ALLEN OGG girded his loins for LIFE (DON'T YOU KNOW). Then we had KAMRAN borrowing a song from Arthur Marshall, OLD BONES STILL DREAM accompanied by PAUL with the harmonica before the favour was returned when PAUL accompanied by KAMRAN on guitar gave us TROUBLE IN MIND. Reminded by Janice’s version of this song a few weeks ago, CHRIS took the opportunity to play and sing FACTORY GIRL as ED went back to a favourite topic with FLOG 'EM FLAY 'EM AND HANG 'EM leaving FAIR PLAY to finish this cosy and friendly evening with THE FORSAKEN MERMAID. Brilliant!!
The evening began with everyone claiming THIS LAND IS MY LAND led by PAUL which left ED thinking about the SILVER TONGUED DEVIL of Kris Kristofferson and BANJO JOHN rocking out ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN on his vintage banjo! Changing the subject, ROBIN took us off to the GREENLAND WHALE FISHERIES and PETE took off with his own song about the BALBRIGGAN FAIR where COLIN came across MR BOJANGLES all causing CHRIS to sing about Mark Knoppler's PLACE WHERE WE LIVE. On a more literary note, PHIL then gave us THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL as DON & HEATHER took us south with their own SOUTH AUSTRALIA and JO to the CURRAGH OF KILDARE. It was then good to hear CHARLES, LIZ and ROSIE perform CAPTAIN HIGGINS, a trio for classical guitar leaving BANJO JOHN to bring us back to reality with LITTLE OL' WINE DRINKER ME. In his creative mood PETE then sang his own song of the ALEXANDER LIGHT which may have led COLIN to set out on his maiden voyage with THE FOOL ON THE HILL. In good voice PHIL was sad about the FAREWELL TO THE THIRTY FOOT TRAILER as was CHARLES who introduced us to ZIMMERMAN BLUES. Next JO led the canal cruise girls' choir in singing a great version of AMAZING GRACE triggering ED to give a cheeky rendition of ERNIE RIDES AGAIN about the fastest mobile library in the west. DON & HEATHER, still in mind to travel, brought us to Dublin in the RARE OLD TIMES and up to the break.
After a great raffle ROBIN began the second half dreaming of the SNOWS OF NEW YORK and DOUG, a new visitor from London, sang RANTER'S WHARF, PAUL tried SINGING MY BLUES AWAY and PETE, anticipating his long vacation, proclaimed I SHALL BE RELEASED. It's best to take ONE DAY AT A TIME then suggested CHRIS before PHIL set out on THE ROAD TO MOSCOW and ED left to seek the HUNTER OF DUNOON. Running toward a big finish, HEY JOE! sang PETE and our new visitor, DOUG, replied with WHERE THE RAVENS FEED; perhaps on CHRIS' NETTLE WINE we wondered? Anyway, ROBIN soon grabbed the reins towards the finale with his LONG BLACK VEIL leaving PAUL to lead everyone singing and playing a GOSPEL MEDLEY; ending in much the same way as we had begun. Perfect!!
A brief flurry and we were almost full as JAN & MARK whipped everyone into shape for a great night of music, songs and loads of craic. They hit the road with JACKSON followed by Kath, Stan & Ruth aka FAIR PLAY who were off to OWENSBORO and PAUL RILEY who was chasing BLACK EYED SUSIE. Next a nice surprise was JOHN CHILCOTT singing his own SAILING DOWN just as PETE ROBERTS was promising TONIGHT I'LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU and also with his own COLIN RUDD told us it was JUST LIKE A WOMAN. Then BANJO JOHN needed stronger stuff from MR TAMBOURINE MAN but BRIAN was happy to DREAM A LITTLE DREAM while DAVE BOULTON was away with the COCK AND THE DEVIL. A great arrangement from GORDON with the CURRAGH OF KILDARE showed off some lovely guitar work followed by JANICE & MICK who were determined to MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE to which ARTHUR MARSHALL confessed I CANNOT FIND THE WORDS. It didn't matter to CHARLES with LOWLANDS AWAY as CARL CORBETT found the inspiration for HELLO HANS leaving HEATHER & DON to float off to the ROSEVILLE FAIR. Then ROB WHITE led us singing the CHEERLY MAN as ED & SUE BENTHAM went OUT WITH THE MORRIS DANCERS just as JOHN CONDY declared it must be the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. Coming up to half time BANJO JOHN had us all LEANING ON A LAMPOST as COLIN RUDD declared it's all NEWS TO ME.
In the raffle a surprised Paul took the Wine, Brian walked away with the Chocolates, as usual Ann took the Biscuits and Carl went home with the Hand cream before ED rounded us up at the WHIP JAMBOREE. The unsurprisingly BRIAN told us YOU DON'T KNOW ME as CHARLES introduced SWEET WILLIAM leaving CARL to be ALL AT SEA. Expressing a heartfelt emotion HEATHER & DON confessed they needed us at the DIMMING OF THE DAY but GORDON was out chasing REYNARDINE with a great interpretation reminiscent of Bert Jansch. Next PAUL was asking HOW LONG AGO and FAIR PLAY told us there was NO TELLING what a love sing can do as PETE pleaded HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT to which there were several volunteers. JANICE & MICK warned that there was a STORM COMING which left ARTHUR feeling a DISAPPOINTED MAN and ROB swiftly legging it to SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Coming to a climax DAVE was again supernatural with THE DEVIL AND THE FEATHERY WIFE as JAN had us singing in Welsh to AR LAN y MOR and together with MARK they sailed off in THE BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND after a very satisfying evening.
Close to three dozen in the mix of new faces, old lags, top talent and keen audience saw us have a great night guided by HEATHER & DON who with ROBIN & PAUL combined as FREE SPIRITS to get the ball rolling with a rousing version of WAGON WHEEL. To keep the show on the road MIKE COSGRAVE took us over THE ROCKY SHORES OF ENGLAND and COLIN RUDD had us out in the EARLY MORNING RAIN before newcomer CAROLE whisked us down THE STREETS OF LONDON. Grabbing his breathe BANJO JOHN appropriately sang WHEN YOU'RE SMILING which KAMRAN declared was MY FAVOURITE SONG, with a nod to old friend MERDY, after which PAUL sang THE HESITATION BLUES without deviation or repetition. Then JIM, sadly without LYNN who we are all thinking about, told us IT'S A WORKING MAN I AM, to which ROBIN replied, I'll bet he's glad THE BATTLE IS OVER, but for CARL the CATS IN THE CRADLE by Harry Chapin was another way of seeing how difficult life can be. ED was also on the same tack with ABSENT FRIENDS as did Poet DAVID with his SHIFTING WHISPERING SANDS and COLIN with his own IF THE BIRDS CAN SING WHY NOT I. In a lighter vein MIKE gave us a great version of THE RAGGLE TAGGLE GYPSIES to which KAMRAN replied THAT'LL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE while BANJO JOHN went all Mr Cool with MR SANDMAN. All this gave ROBIN that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING as we turned to RICHARD GRAY for the marathon BILLY, ROSEMARY AND THE JACK OF HEARTS and were thankful when CARL took us to see THE GALLOWAYS. Coming up to the interval FREE SPIRITS led by ED rather pessimistically claimed that ALL THE GOOD TIMES WERE PAST AND GONE but we knew that wasn't true.
An interesting raffle saw late arrival Heather Kenyon win the wine, Ann and Brian take the Chocolates and Mike, who claimed he had never ever won a raffle prize in his life, win a leather wallet.
JIM started the second half with A SONG FOR IRELAND followed by CAROLE with IT'S MY TOWN and PAUL with THE GOLDEN VANITY. Coming up on the rails ED sang THE PILGRIM which prompted RICHARD to sing is own I'LL FIND MY OWN WAY HOME followed by COLIN who was still in the CLOUDS after Man City's winning the Premiership. Similarly eulogising MIKE sang his favourite WONDERCHILD after becoming a grandfather again only for KAMRAN to take us down again with his own version of relationship breakdown, SMOKE THROUGH AUTUMN TREES. More cheerfully CARL proposed here's HEALTH TO THE COMPANY which had JIM to the airport LEAVING ON A JET PLANE and ED celebrating the libido of his BANTAM COCK. It was then left to PAUL to wish MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU as CAROLE told us it was a LESSON TOO LATE FOR THE LEARNING and COLIN praised the YANKEE LADY. Coming to a climax CARL admitted I SAW A STRANGER WITH YOUR HAIR and MIKE took us to CARRICK-A RIE where he confessed he has had one or two wobbly moments. Superb evening!!
With just short of the half century strolling through the doors our hosts JANICE & MICK started us off with THE WILD MOUNTAINSIDE swiftly followed by BANJO JOHN with MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS and KAMRAN with ROMEO AND JULIET. Taking us over the Border JAN TAYLOR led us to THE VERDANT BRAES OF SCREEN after which FAIR PLAY told us they were THREE AROUND THREE and then invited us to COME TO THE CEILIDH followed by a JUG OF PUNCH with IAN WHITE. Slowing the pace a little DOREEN then invited us to SING FROM YOUR HEART, with her own poem, to which ADAM replied JESUS IS GONNA BE HERE and JO had us singing the Irish rugby hymn THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY. On a completely different tack JOHN CHILCOTT declared to anyone who was listening I'LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT just as ROB, making a long awaited return, slithered in with FRED THE SLUG leaving JOHN CONDY to take us off to the CAVES OF JERICHO. Very traditionally JUDE had us all singing HAL AND TOW before DAVE COWE gave us the poem THE MOON AND THE YEW TREE leaving COLIN to ask WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Very upbeat ROBIN replied that it was GOOD TO BE BACK HOME as PETE set out for THE RABBIT HILLS and BRIAN told us there will be TEARS IN HEAVEN for Eric Clapton's little boy. Taking to the rails PAUL was soon aboard THE OLD 97 as CARL was poignantly saying HELLO IN THERE and JANICE & MICK were pessimistically saying I THINK IT'S GONNA RAIN TODAY. Bringing the half to a close BANJO JOHN sang the old favourite JOSHUA just as JOHN CHILCOTT was out at the airport in the EARLY MORNING RAIN.
In the break the wine was won by Chris Ross, Dave Cowe won a plant growing kit with Linda and ANother taking two more prizes which went un-noted. Sorry!
Starting the second shift COLIN asked a serious question with WHERE DO THE CHILDREN PLAY but hopefully not in BOB'S DEAD FLOWERS rather on ANDREA'S MAGIC JOURNEY sang by STEVE or even running round with MARK TAYLOR'S LITTLE RED ROOSTER. Next PAUL invited us all to COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE whereas IAN WHITE wanted to take us on THE BLACKPOOL BELLE and all BRIAN wanted to know was WHERE OR WHEN. Then JUDE jumped up with LARIMAR as DOREEN told us what it was to look THROUGH HER EYES (poem) but ROB just shot off to THE RAWTENSTALL ANNUAL FAIR with DAVE COWE contemplating THE FLOWERS OF SALFORD (poem). In any event ROBIN reckoned you always need FOUR STRONG WINDS to which PETE observed there must be a STORM RISING as JOHN CONDY headed for OUR SHANGRI-LA. Obviously heading toward a big finish CARL appropriately came up with GIANT followed by the lyrical LAWR AR LAN Y MOR from JAN TAYLOR as KAMRAN sent us home with the STOLE RIDER BLUES.
Newsletter No 274 29 April 2014
A bit slow to gather but a quality audience saw a wedge of talented performers swiftly arrive at the appointed hour as KATH, RUTH & STAN were on hand to host the evening. DAVE BOULTON started the ball rolling with PADDY LAY BACK to be followed by CHRIS singing THE MAGINOT WALTZ and FAIR PLAY telling us THE WATER IS WIDE. Next ROBIN was extolling the virtues of WATERMELON WINE and CARL told us about THE BOYS OF BELLY ROW before JO went WW2 with HELLO HANS. With a nod to Sting JIM took us to the FIELDS OF GOLD to which ED responded by crossing the Atlantic to the STREETS OF BALTIMORE and for some reason PETE was all HURT. This stirred POET DAVID to tell us his own tale of LARNE LOUGH and GORDON to tell of BOGEY'S BONNIE BELLE before YOGA PETE gave us a song, a story and cannibalism with A SHIP IN DISTRESS. In a more workaday mode FAIR PLAY were all about the HEDGER & DITCHER and DAVE BOULTON was on THE FINAL TRAWL but CARL found himself SAFE IN THE HARBOUR at last. Coming up to the interval CHRIS sang TERMINUS and before she went JO pleaded COME KISS ME LOVE as GORDON wandered off down BLACKWATERSIDE. Not giving a damn ED admitted I GOT STONED AND I MISSED IT leaving ROBIN to ask ROCK MY CRADLE ONCE AGAIN after which YOGA PETE led us all in MARTIN SAID TO HIS MAN and JIM claimed he only had MEMORIES OF LOVE.
A bumper raffle saw JIM win the wine, ALAN take the port, MARIAN take away the Buck's fizz and KATH grab the CD kindly donated by Dave Boulton who was half of His Worship and the Pig.
Starting at a lick PETE set us off with a WILD FLYING DOVE and getting in the swing POET DAVID recited his own FROM A MIS-STANCE about the conflict between the two Irelands. Then DAVE BOULTON had us all singing to TOM'S GONE TO HILO while FAIR PLAY wondered HOW WILL I EVER BE SINGLE AGAIN and JEAN FINNEY'S answer was DON'T GO TO A FOLK CLUB to find out. PAUL agreed and said he had the GOIN' FISHIN' BLUES and ROBIN was sad NOW THAT THE BUFFALO'S GONE leaving CARL to celebrate by SINGING THE AGES DOWN. More traditionally GORDON gave us the THE AULD TRIANGLE while JIM mused on THIS OLD GUITAR and CHRIS was philosophical with THE SEAGULL. Too serious reckoned ED who told us the story of THE WIDOW'S MOOR and JEAN responded with the classic Joyce Grenfell DANCING BUST TO BUST but PETE wasn't for being cheered up with AIN'T GOT NO HOME. Going for a big finish PAUL had us DRILL YE TARRIERS DRILL and FAIR PLAY took us out into the MOONSHADOW where CHRIS asked us ARE YOU RECEIVING ME before DAVE BOULTON had us singing into the ctreet with HERE'S TO YOU TOM BROWN.
Newsletter No 273 22 April 2014
Some new faces and new combinations were the order of the day when hosts KAMRAN & PETE opened the evening and PETE took to the floor with Elton's YOUR SONG swiftly followed by BANJO JOHN with the COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER and then the new duo of BRIAN and SUE BENTHAM clutching at THE NEARNESS OF YOU. Without more ado JO was off with her RAMBLING BOY but MIKE COSGRAVE reckoned YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE HARLAN ALIVE, another coal mining song, just as PHIL presented a different view of Jesus' life for Easter with THE OUTLAW. Then it was newbie time when local man ALAN sang and played the lovely lilting Graham Miles song WHEN THE SNOWS OF WINTER FALL to which DAVE BOULTON replied with THE WEDLOCK OF EDWARD WOPP. For some reason this gave KAMRAN the DEEP ELLUM BLUES but for MICK & JANICE, fresh from their "tour" of Heart Le Pool, it seemed THERE WAS A STORM COMING. Despite that JOHN CHILCOTT claimed I ALWAYS THOUGHT I'D SEE YOU AGAIN and unsentimentally ED tried to send us off with the LIVERPOOL LULLABY as CARL shot off to THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR. Then we had the novelty of PETER merging yoga with the blues in respect of the claim that Libya was where ST GEORGE SLEW THE DRAGON by singing lying on the floor which had COLIN shaken TO THE DEPTHS OF MY SOUL leaving DAVID to tell a story from Denis Law's autobiography. JO then rose for her second and told us I LIVE NOT WHERE I LOVE and BANJO JOHN posed the question IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT DIXIE and no one claimed they could dipute it as we took the interval.
Glasses were recharged and the raffle saw Joyce win the wine, Colin win the Hot Toddy, Brian win the Fancy Soaps and Novelty Corkscrew drifted into the mists of time before PETE pleaded that everyone should TAKE IT EASY. Using a favourite format MIKE COSGRAVE then sang COL CALLAN followed by a Cittern instrumental MUNSTER BUTTERMILK and ALAN delighted us again with WHERE RAVENS FEED before BRIAN declared I'LL HAVE TO SAY I LOVE YOU IN A SONG. Still in creative mood PETER then sang his own funny FRACKING SONG as COLIN claimed he was a DESPERADO and DAVE claimed he had a BLACK HORSE. All serious PHIL then played us A STUDY IN A and KAMRAN claimed he knew all about THINGS THAT MATTER and before the month could end JOHN CHILCOTT just got in APRIL COME SHE WILL. We then hoped that we would make it in time as CARL took us off through THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE but of a more serious mind ED told us I LIKE MY WOMEN A LITTLE ON THE TRASHY SIDE and even more seriously JANICE & MICK sang the great song she wrote about her son FLEETING CHANCE followed by her excellent STRONGER to close a superb evening.
Newsletter No 272 15 April 2014
With ED & SUE at the helm there was no chance of a quiet night as BANJO JOHN opened with MR BOJANGLES which brought a comments from Colin in the naughty corner of another stolen song but ED certainly didn't steal his song AL BOWLY as COLIN was invited up to sing COME MY LITTLE SON followed by our friend GORDON from Withernsea who was visiting us again all the way from the East Ridings of Yorkshire and he gave us DIESEL AND SHALE. Then another delightful surprise was when Rob brought BERNICE along following her spell in hospital as she is unable to drive at present. It was lovely to see her again and especially to hear her version of SETH DAVY. Next KAMRAN had us all smiling with his REMEMBER song and we all joined in with JO when she sang WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN followed by JOHN CHILCOTT who came a long way so could only stay until the break but he treated us to a lovely rendition of BARBARA ALLEN. Following on ROB sang COME WRITE YE DOWN and PETE, probably with his broken down car in mind, sang I SHALL BE RELEASED accompanied by John Condy on guitar which JOHN immediately used to give us STAY YOUNG. Next PETER chatted to us all as usual and finally sang ROCK ME GRANDMA for which he was given a standing ovation!! ROBIN also gave a long introduction to his version of Wind in the Willows or should it have been Bread & Fishes? No – maybe Wind in the Willows? Or perhaps Bread & Fishes! Anyway, he also got a standing ovation for daring to follow Peter. Indeed BRIAN also rose to the occasion with a very accomplished guitar instrumental of the Beatles' AND I LOVE HER as did KATH & STAN who gave us a Ruth-less LAST GOODBYE. As the quality escalated DAVE BOULTON sang his latest funny from Saturday, GREAT BIG SAUSAGE SARNI and also left everyone with a smile upon their face as we went up to the interval.
Ann, Marina and Sue won the raffle with Ann very kindly sharing her box of chocs with the whole of the club as we embarked upon another round with COLIN, as we suspected he may leave early, and he sang and played a wonderful COUNTRY GIRL before BERNICE continued the tradition of nicking a song with GALWAY GIRL. There was no chance of BANJO JOHN having his songs pinched as he had everyone singing along to his FATS WALLER MEDLEY making us realise that we are all a lot older than we would like to admit! ED then put on his best Lancashire accent and sang MONDAY HER DOES ALL 'ER WESHING before GORDON rose to sing another Cyril Tawney song PULL THE STRING before he left for his long journey back to the North Sea Coast. Thanks for coming Gordon. Next there was a surprise as KEITH, who came purely as audience, was persuaded by Sue to impersonate Elvis with ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ and it was certainly difficult to distinguish it from the real thing. Another surprise was ROB unsheathing his guitar and hammering out RING OF FIRE before KATH & STAN played and sang DINKS SONG and DAVE sang a serious THE SOUTH GOODWIN LIGHTSHIP. By way of a change BRIAN then played John Lee Hooker’s BOOM, BOOM, BOOM as PETE rose to sing HEY JOE and PETER sang WILD MOUNTAIN THYME. Also in good voice ROBIN sang the old favourite JOCK '' HAZELDEAN before KAMRAN sang a lengthy titled SALLY TELL ME WHERE D'YOU GET YOUR LIQUOR FROM DOWN TOWN and JOHN CONDY finished the round with another number from the same part of Eire, GALWAY GIRL. With just enough time for a handful more performers before the end of the evening BERNICE sang a very moving blast from the past, ONLY YOU as did KATH & STAN with DIRTY OLD TOWN and PETE with ROLLIN' IN MY SWEET BABY'S ARMS. With another of his own huge repertoire DAVE sang HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS, which he wrote with his dear Mum in mind, and ROB completed the evening with the Scented Breeze song or better known to us as the Centipede Song or actually I WISH I WAS BACK IN LIVERPOOL with the whole audience increasing the numbers in the bed automatically.
Newsletter No 271 8 April 2014
An absolutely bonzer night with a capacity audience in Sale Folk Club drew in some mega talent which DON & HEATHER led off with A SONG FOR THE LIFE and this was the life as they coaxed the best out of the assembled throng and we are quoting Arthur Marshall. BANJO JOHN was first very topical with his medley of APRIL SHOWERS, RAINBOW ROUND MY SHOULDER, AVALON and RED, RED ROBIN before the gauntlet was laid down by our first newcomer the wonderful Louise Jordan who raised the bar to the sky with her version of SHULE-A-ROO setting the tone for a wonderful evening.
DAVE BOULTON responded magnificently as did the audience with ALL FOR MY GROG followed by ARTHUR MARSHALL with his a cappella CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR and COLIN RUDD with his amusing treatment of WHERE DO YOU GO TO MY LOVELY. Currently in good form JO took us out on THIS OLD ROAD and BRIAN replied THERE I'VE SAID IT AGAIN as ROBIN prepared us for THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE. Next FAIR PLAY took us sailing with SWEET THAMES FLOW SOFTLY before another newcomer STEVE HIGGINS told us about THE TWA RECRUITING SERGEANTS and LAWRENCE sang his own THE FACE OF ENGLAND. With nice harmonies more newcomers ES & CHRIS then told us about CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN'S COURTSHIP before ERIC unleashed his new THAT WAS THEN and MIKE COSGRAVE amazed us with cittern playing as he sang I CAN HEAR THE WHISTLE BLOWING. Still on transport ROB reminded us he is a sailor with THE GREY FUNNEL LINE and IAN reminded us he has 12 fingers with his own TUESDAY NIGHT TUNE as CHRIS sang about McTell's MICHAEL. Next JOHN CONDY urged us to STAY YOUNG KEEP YOUR WHEELS IN MOTION before BANJO JOHN gave us a fiscal lesson with IF YOU ROLL A SILVER DOLLAR and LOUISE JORDAN summed it all up with her own ENRAPTURED.
Needless to say the interval flew by as Ian won the roses, Alan took the Easter Egg, Es & Chris won the Chocolates and the wine by AN Other before FAIR PLAY opened the second stretch with AIN'T NO SWEET MAN. Next ROB had us FATHOM THE BOWL which according to BRIAN gave us a FUNNY, FAMILIAR FORGOTTEN FEELING to which COLIN confessed it was SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH. But not CARRUTHERS claimed ERIC, more likely ANDERSON'S GHOST reckoned ES & CHRIS as STEVE HIGGINS embarked upon HENRY TAYLOR'S SONG. Undaunted IAN wrapped his fingers round MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE as JOHN CONDY embarked on AMAZON RIVER OF DREAMS and LAWRENCE had us singing and acting out his own SHANTYMAN. Returning to the floor ROBIN bade his LAST FAREWELL to which DAVE BOULTON responded by saying older years I MISS MY MIND whereas ARTHUR MARSHALL in a romantic vein admitted YOU ARE STILL ON MY MIND. Recognising some primeval urge MIKE COSGRAVE then took the initiative by lunging towards a climax with a brilliant rendition of THE RAGGLE TAGGLE GYPSIES leaving LOUISE JORDAN to blow us all away with THE TWO SISTERS followed by her own WORLD WEARY and the Carole King classic WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW which we all agreed we certainly would.
Newsletter No 270 1 April 2014
A nice gathering was in for a treat as HEATHER & PAUL led slightly fewer performers to enjoy more of their individual repertoires before a very receptive audience. PAUL started the ball rolling with RAMBLING ON MY MIND just as JIM & LYNN were after the BLACK VELVET BAND and PHIL was embarking on a CLASSICAL MEDLEY. Then there was a welcome return for JEAN who tried to fend off the request, DO YOU DO ANY DYLAN? On the other hand JO promised WE SHALL OVERCOME and FAIR PLAY were seeking a WILDWOOD FLOWER as CARL celebrated the doggy relationship of SINATRA AND 1. Next an interesting memory lapse saw DON & HEATHER switch to the DIMMING OF THE DAY before PETE gave us his interpretation of GONE TO BE WED TO ANOTHER as KAMRAN pointedly asked WHERE DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT and POET DAVE explained the origin of his LONDONDERRY, YOU'RE A REAL SAD CITY. A nice departure from DAVE BOULTON resulted in the seafaring FAREWELL TO TARWATHIE with JIM & LYNN declaring BLACK IS THE COLOUR to which JO replied I'm LEAVING ON A JET PLANE with great chorusing from the crowd. In good form JEAN then treated us to LOVELY ANN and ADD ME while PHIL came back to sing McTell's WATCHING THE BOATS GO BY which prompted FAIR PLAY to observe that THE SUN IS BURNING IN THE SKY. In a humorous vein CARL told us the Geordie version of IT'S A CHAMPION LIFE as PETE came up with the CROPPY BOY while KAMRAN felt LOVE'S IN VAIN making DAVE BOULTON exclaim GOOD LORD DELIVER ME.
A big raffle saw Carl win the wine, Joan win the Chocolates, Chris & Barry take the Biscuits and Kath win the Chocolate Eclairs as PAUL prepared us for the second half with DON'T GET TROUBLE ON YOUR MIND. Then DON & HEATHER finally remembered their own SOUTH AUSTRALIA as FAIR PLAY set out on the ROAD TO ELDORADO before JEAN took us back in time for her SIR THEOBOLD'S PARTY monologue. Next PHIL came up with a delightful guitar piece SEAGULL as CARL responded with the request for Pete Morton's FURTHER and KAMRAN asked WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN SCHOOL TODAY? Then PETE jokily came up with THE SHORTEST POEM IN THE WORLD and THE FADING OUT LIMERICK before DON, HEATHER & PAUL washed their hands in MUDDY WATER. Singing one of his favourites PAUL then told the story of STEWBALL and FAIR PLAY gave us the advice on WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE BABY before JEAN sang her own SUMMER IS OVER. Starting the grand finale PETE had us singing LIVERPOOL LOU while KAMRAN celebrated LAZY DAYS and PHIL was off to FIDDLER'S GREEN. Then CARL had laughing with SISTER JOSEPHINE and DAVE BOULTON celebrated NAPOLEON BONAPARTE before DON, HEATHER & PAUL led a band up for WHISKEY IN THE JAR to end a great night of forty songs.
Newsletter No 270 25 March 2014
With some watching the football a slightly smaller but quality crowd gathered as MARK went recruiting for the BLUE COCKADE. Meanwhile MICHAEL BURNS was rooting in WILL REED’S BARN while BANJO JOHN was at the DARK TOWN STRUTTERS BALL and ED was leading McALPINE’S FUSILIERS. After a story PETE sang of DICK DARBY and KAMRAN announced that PROSAC MADE ME STAY while DON & HEATHER were equally sceptical about the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS. On an anti-war theme CARL lamented about WILLY McBRIDE but equally downbeat ROB warned of COURTING TOO SLOW and DAVE BOULTON warned of the dangers at sea with WHITE SQUALL. This all led to PAUL having the GOOD MORNING BLUES and JAN telling of failed love LAGGAN LOVE and RICHARD GRAY asking WHERE ARE THE GOOD TIMES. Nowhere to be found when have the FOLSOM PRISON BLUES reckoned BANJO JOHN but MARK said it’s best if you DON’T THINK TWICE especially if like PAUL you have the JUG BAND BLUES. Again MICHAEL delighted us with another of his brilliant compositions HONEST TOM DUNCAN as did DAVE BOULTON with his MEN WITH THE WILL TO MOVE MOUNTAINS before PETE admitted I LOVED A LASS and BANJO JOHN said his was SWEET LORRAINE as he took us to the interval.
The interval raffle saw birthday girl Kate win the wine, Rosaleen win the big tin of Quality Street and Jan win the quick drying sports towel.
Kicking off the second half ROB took us on the GOOD SHIP CALABAR while DON & HEATHER had us herding sheep with the DIAMANTINA DROVER while KAMRAN was chasing the CANDY MAN. On a serious note ED asked WILL THE TURTLE BE UNBROKEN as CARL went off after the LADY ELEANOR and PETE was aboard the CUTTY WREN while on the other hand RICHARD was aboard his BEAUTIFUL DIAMOND AND THE LOVELY ROSE. Remembering those who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War MICHAEL gave us his JAMES KEOGH while DAVE sang his own SAYING GOODBYE TO THE FISHING and CARL tipped his cap to the miners with BLACK DIAMONDS. More upbeat PAUL exhorted PEOPLE GET READY but KAMRAN warned of those CHUMP MAN BLUES while ROB went fantasmagorical with MARTIN SAID TO HIS MAN. On an even keel DON & HEATHER finally celebrated the LITTLE POT STOVE while ED celebrated the opposite sex with SHE IS WOMAN but MARK & JAN were still RUNNING LIKE A TURKEY through the corn to end a great night.
Newsletter No 269 18 March 2014
A quite different mix of people and performers graced the boards tonight with JANICE BELL & MICK HARE organising great entertainment for our audience with MICK giving us ALL MY LOVING and BANJO JOHN declaring I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE before the new combination of HELEN & CHRIS blew us away with PIPER TO THE END. Encouraging a sing-along HEATHER & DON recalled the RARE AULD TIMES as DAVE metamorphosed into ROBIN HOOD and JOHN went working for the PHAROAH. Sailing to California LYNN & JIM said goodbye MUIRSHEEN DURKIN and PAUL said let's STEP IT UP AND GO as COLIN broke open the story of MARY MAGDALEN. For JO it seems THE CARNIVAL IS OVER as DAVID warned about opening THE BOX and JANICE & MICK told us about DAVY. Next ROBIN was in fine voice for COME BACK PADDY REILLY as newcomers FRAN & FRED marvelled at A NIGHT LIKE THIS and CARL considered the fate of the miners in THE BALLAD OF JOHN COLLIER. Then debutant PETE finally found his feet with WHO'S THE FOOL NOW as MARK took off for FIDDLER'S GREEN and JAN took off with TEDDY O'NEILL. Coming to a peak with a lovely song ARTHUR treated us to his AUTUMN LEAVES and PETER KING responded with his own tribute to his father BLUE SKIES TURN GREY. Before pumpkin time BANJO JOHN waltzed us over the CAROLINA MOON and HELEN delighted us with her NOLA.
A bumper raffle saw the wine go home with LYNN & JIM, the chocolates went to ANN & BRIAN, the biscuits went home with HEATHER KENYON before STEVE got the CD.
JANICE & MICK then started the second half with her great song STRONGER as HELEN played her accordion for THE FERRYMAN and LYNN & JIM ran off saying I'LL TELL ME MA. Philosophically
JOHN CONDY asked WHAT'S SO FUNNY ABOUT PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING as FRAN & FRED were straight to the point with MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME and PETER KING eulogised about THE SEA as PETE concentrated on carrying SIXTEEN TONS. Then DAVE was THE MAN IN THE MOON as FREE SPIRITS bemoaned the BLACK WATER on their land and MICK & JANICE sang his great anti-war song HE'S COMING HOME before FRAN & FRED lightened us up with THE YODELLING SONG. Still in great form PETER KING gave us his SWANSONG before CARL celebrated female stamina with ON AGAIN as JAN & MARK reached THE END OF THE LINE as CHRIS told us how YOU WEATHERED THE STORM.
Newsletter No 268 11 March 2014
A storming Birthday Party Night for Marina was brilliantly hosted by Ruth, Kath & Stan aka FAIR PLAY who invited JIM & LYNN to start the evening with CITY OF CHICAGO. Themselves FAIR PLAY told the story of BLACK WATER and DAVE BOULTON gave his own experience with A HARD LIFE ON THE POTS before BANJO JOHN as only interested in AFTER YOU'VE GONE. That could have been ED with the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER or even COLIN who had the NORAH JONES BLUES or even JO with MY LONELY SON. More upbeat PAUL extolled the virtues of ANGELINE THE BAKER and MICHAEL BURNS celebrated the Stockport sculpture of THE BUCK AND DOG as TONY tuned up for his own TUESDAY NIGHT BANJO COMPOSITION. Way over in the US CARL was passing down BAKER STREET as IAN played another batch of notes all in the right order for STAY CLOSE TO ME, an instrumental by Tommy Emmanuel, while ARTHUR was declaring I'M JUST WEARY OF THE COLD. At least ROBIN had that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING as PETE went off to THE NORTH COUNTRY FAIR before DON & HEATHER sang MARINA, MARINA, a parody of Corrina, Corrina, to celebrate her birthday. BANJO JOHN was on that MIDNIGHT SPECIAL while FAIR PLAY were sliding down from BYKER HILL and JIM & LYNN were off to see A MON LIKE THEE.
In the interval Dave Boulton provided a brilliant buffet with chips for ourselves and his partner Marina who also received a signed card and a special bottle of Jack Daniels. In the raffle TONY won the wine, IAN won the flowers, JOAN won the chocs, HEATHER won the biscuits and LYNN got a Ukulele book.
The second half started with ARTHUR away DANCING IN DUBLIN whereas ED reminded Marina that 50 was not the END OF THE LINE but COLIN reminded us that for some the MALVINAS were. With his banjo TONY again was solo for two tunes OLD JOE CLARK and JUNE APPLE as MICHAEL then got out his mandolin for his own GENOESE HORNPIPE leaving CARL to promise that there will always be ANOTHER TRAIN. Still counting up his 12 fingers IAN played another excellent instrumental Tuesday Night Piece followed by DAVE BOULTON who was on about BURSLEM WAKES while PAUL was away ROLLING IN MY SWEET BABY'S ARMS. Then ROBIN, PAUL, DON & HEATHER aka FREE SPIRITS went down the mine for DARK AS A DUNGEON before PETE sang his own BEST IN ME and FAIR PLAY went off on the GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL leaving JIM & LYNN chasing PADDY McGINTY'S GOAT. In humorous mood ARTHUR then roamed the STREETS OF LONDON - NOT as DAVE celebrated his LITTLE GREY 'OSS and ED pleaded TREAT ME DAUGHTER DECENT leaving PAUL, ROBIN, HEATHER & DON as FREE SPIRITS to ask WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN followed by THIS TRAIN IS BOUND FOR GLORY and WHISKY IN THE JAR to end a cracking evening.
Newsletter No 267 4 March 2014
Yet another superb night as we did the half ton with a great mix of newbies and plenty of regulars and occasionals all stewarded brilliantly by KAMRAN & PETE into top class entertainment for our large audience. PETE started the ball rolling with CLAUDIA to which BANJO JOHN retorted I'M FLYING HIGH while DAVE BOULTON was out ON THE CUT. Then ALAN told us IT ALL SEEMS SUCH A LONG TIME AGO as ROB implored us to COME WRITE YE DOWN while CARL was away with MR DREAMSELLER. Next up BRIAN played a delightful MALAGUENA, a lot of notes in the right order, as ED was away in BOB DYLAN'S DREAM to which JO replied YOU'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. Doing his rounds JOHN CONDY then took us to the THE CAVES OF JERICHO as JAN & MARK went off into the ASHGROVE and KAMRAN explained the origin of the AVALON BLUES. Taking a leaf out of Jez Lowe's book CHARLES described the fate of LONDON DANNY before COLIN told of the YANKEE LADY who was definitely in for more than IAN's TEN PERCENT. Newcomers PHIL & MO debuted with COUSIN JACK as PAUL got those BLACK BOTTOM BLUES and IAN went off with a tasty RAG PICKING instrumental as ROBIN confessed he wanted to be a COUNTRY BOY AGAIN. Not surprisingly Poet DAVID was reminded of his own LONDON DANNY from Londonderry as FREE SPIRITS aka DON, HEATHER, ROBIN & PAUL took us all for a drink in RED ROSE CAFE for the interval.
An interval of re-fuelling with drinks and chips led to the raffle in which Chris won the Wine, Marina won the Chocolates, John took the CD and the Short Breads found a good home before COLIN was requested to celebrate 80 OF YEARS OF FOOTBALL AT MAINE ROAD. Next PETE put on his RAMBLING SHOES as CHARLES decided to be GYPSY DAVY and BRIAN developed the LOCOMOTIVE BLUES. Coming together to hunt him down JAN & MARK were then after CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN as CARL examined the stress of moving FROM CLARE TO HERE which was nothing compared to IAN's BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND. A lesson in life from PAUL told us NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT and DAVE BOULTON chipped in with IF YOU HAD A BRAIN YOU'D BE DANGEROUS to which KAMRAN invited them to COME ON IN MY KITCHEN. Next ROB, the one armed ice climber, sang PULL DOWN LADS to which DON & HEATHER had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL as ALAN told us what it was like on THE ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE, terrible we reckoned. It wasn't that great in PHIL & MO's FOG ON THE TYNE as JOHN CONDY pleaded OH BOATMAN and ED related the disasters ON MY WAY TO WORK which left DAVE BOULTON to explain the POTTER'S ALPHABET which was clear as mud by the time he had finished to end a brilliant night.
Newsletter No 266 25 February 2014
A different mix of performers and audience but all skilfully organised into a great night by SUE & ED BENTHAM who invited FREE SPIRITS to open with WAGON WHEEL. On their heels HELEN played TOBY a test piece by Ivor Beynon while COLIN declared YOU FEEL MY LOVE and PETE went out to SHOWER THE PEOPLE. Back again because it was half term OMAR played THE SPY WHO WENT OUT TO THE COLD on his clarinet to which ED replied HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS and FAIR PLAY responded with two tunes BUTTER PEAS & WINSTER GALLOP. We were then delighted by the creativity of MICHAEL BURNS with his MARYPORT MYSTERY as we were with JANICE & MICK singing THE FACTORY GIRL and then in full agreement with MICK who sang SAM STONE by John Prine. TONY then sang about SYLVIA'S MOTHER and JOHN WILLIAMS introduced the BALLOON as CHRIS eulogised about the FAIR MAIDS OF FEBRUARY. For KAMRAN it was all about YESTERDAY as ROBIN went down by THE RIVER and PAUL asked O SINNER MAN where you going to run to? As the interval loomed DON & HEATHER took us to Australia to meet the DIAMANTINA DROVER and RICHARD GRAY told us about the appearance of the FOUR BLOOD MOONS.
During the break we had the raffle and Robin won the wine, Martin won the chocolates, Christine won the room perfumer, Janice took the biscuits and Omar won the CD of His Worship and the Pig and to restart HELEN played LA VIE EN ROSE. Also leaving early OMAR played his GRADE 3 EXAM TEST PIECE before COLIN informed us that YOU NEVER KNOW THE MOMENT as CHRIS set sail on BARGES. Interestingly KAMRAN then played BOOK DANCES CHOICE and FAIR PLAY sang and played about HARD TIMES before ED failed to gain the respect of every female in the room with WOMAN. In a different arrangement JANICE supported MICK for HE'S COMING HOME before MICK supported JANICE for WILD MOUNTAIN SIDE. JOHN WILLIAMS then introduced CRAZY BOY as PETE walked ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER and TONY bemoaned THIS GOD DAMN HOUSE. Still in creative mood MICHAEL sang THE LITTLE COUNT and RICHARD GRAY sang his LADY OF THE MORNING as PAUL told us of his WALKING BLUES. In the tradition ROBIN led us with THE ROSE OF ALLENDALE and FAIR PLAY were walking 10,000 MILES as JOHN WILLIAMS returned to No1 WELLINGTON ROAD. This left FREE SPIRITS to warn of washing your hands in MUDDY WATER to end a great night.
Newsletter No 265 18 February 2014
We had a great debut by the new team of ROBIN BUTLER & PAUL RILEY who promised to RAISE A RUCKUS TONIGHT. Doing their best DAVE BOULTON remembered harder times with FIVE A DAY while KAMRAN went all poetic with his own take on JABBERWOCK and BANJO JOHN told us THERE'S GOLD IN THE MOUNTAINS. Next PETE told us BLUES RUN THE GAME whereas ADAM thought they were THE KEYS TO THE HIGHWAY to which MARK & JAN announced they were GOING TO JACKSON and JO decided to stay IN THE GHETTO. We next found FAIR PLAY by THE BANKS OF THE OHIO leaving HELEN to unsheathe her violin for two Scottish tunes MOUNT STUART HOUSE and THE SWEET MAID OF GLENDARUEL and FREE SPIRITS to bemoan THE SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS, ROBIN remained on his feet to claim THE BATTLE IS OVER as ROB, returning from his he-man heroics in Italy rose to take us to SOUTH AUSTRALIA and the guitar trio of CHARLES, LIZ & ROSIE played their favourite CHELSKI before Poet DAVID went off from a mis-stance with THE FAIRWAY IS GREEN. The wreck of the ELLEN VANNIN was remembered by IAN before ED and DAVE BOULTON came together to claim they were JUST TWO FOLKASAURUSES, actually one of Dave's own songs nicked by ED, and BANJO JOHN promised to SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER. In determined mood ADAM said he was GONNA LIVE FOREVER as FAIR PLAY went NIGHT VISITING and MARK & JAN were hunting down CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN as JO took us to the interval with IRISH BLUES.
During the raffle Alan won the wine, Paul won the His Worship and the Pig CD donated by Dave, Marina won the Pears, Ian & Jenny won the Chocolates, Kath & Stan took the Biscuits and Chocolate bars went out to Alan, Marina, Mark & Ian before ROBIN started the second half with THE LAST FAREWELL as ROB departed on THE GREY FUNNEL LINE which inspired KAMRAN to sing OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING. Coming up with another of his creations DAVE BOULTON sang BRICKS AND WATER while IAN was also still on the water with THE BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND and PETE pondered DAYS GONE BY which prompted HEATHER & DON to remember the achievements of THE CONQISTADORES. More humorously ED sang about THE JOGGER and PAUL had us all join in with MAMA DON'T ALLOW but despite that ADAM took us all off to THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN to which MARK & JAN were soon LONG GONE and KAMRAN found a DEAD SHRIMP at which FAIR PLAY recommended we LET THE MYSTERY BE. As we headed to the close PETE was still WILLING and ED was somewhere BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE SKY as ROB told the story of THE MILL OUTING and IAN scooted off on THE BLACKPOOL BELLE leaving just time for FREE SPIRITS to assemble a big band up with Heather, Robin, Don & Paul joined by Ed as lead singer and Dave Boulton on Bass Guitar for ALL THE GOOD TIMES as indeed they were.
Newsletter No 264 11 February 2014
A great Birthday Party for Alan, who treated the full house to sandwiches and chips, was kicked off in pre-Valentine style by DON & HEATHER who took us off to the ROSEVILLE FAIR which sent BANJO JOHN and KAMRAN off into the SWEET BY AND BY and gave KAMRAN the STOLE RIDER BLUES. Off to the Emerald Isle JIM & LYNN sang about the FORTY SHADES OF GREEN whereas COLIN sang about SEVEN OCEANS to which ARTHUR commented topically and amusingly that THE WATER KEEPS ON RISING. So inspired DAVE BOULTON wheeled out his own great song SNOWDONIA as CARL went off flying KITES and JO was off with a WAYFARING STRANGER to whichJANICE with MICK decided TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE. Flying solo MARK told us the story of THE LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA and after too long STELLA rose to tell us IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU and PETE was moved to sing his own song STORM IS RISING which dedicated to his wife Jan. BRIAN then told us about THE FIRST DAY OF JUNE while ED was off DOWN ALONG THE VERDIGRIS and RICHARD GRAY reminisced about a traffic jam with his ROLLING DOWN ON IDLE to which ROBIN, PAUL, HEATHER & DON aka FREE SPIRITS replied with WAGON WHEEL. Taking us up to the buffet BANJO JOHN remembered Shirley Temple with the GOOD SHIP LOLLIPOP and ARTHUR introduced us to his own MR HENRY who if he won the lottery would spend most of his money on whisky and women and probably waste all the rest.
In the interval Alan was presented with a signed card and a nice bottle of whiskey and the bumper pre-Valentine Raffle gave away a bunch of roses, a single rose, a box of chocolates and a bottle of Champagne before COLIN gave us a PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST written by Pete Morton. MARK then reported the ROUT OF THE BLUES while PAUL had the DRIFTING BLUES and ROBIN was telling the story of JOCK O'HAZELDEAN. In memory of their prison gigs JANICE & MICK then sang the appropriate I WISH I KNEW HOW IT FELT TO BE FREE while MICK insisted we celebrated life with his new song IF YOU ARE HERE (get on with it). BRIAN pleaded with us to FIND ME as PETE was out in the natural habitat with THE RABBIT HILLS and STELLA was walking through the BROOM OF THE COWDENKNOWES. Then a special birthday request by Alan brought RICHARD forward with the BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS which prompted ED to sing his longest song THE MANCH and KAMRAN also went against the clock with GOING DOWN TO BROWNSVILLE. Heading to a climax JIM with LYNN was that WILD COLONIAL BOY and DAVE BOULTON told us that the COMPLIMENTS RETURNED which left FREE SPIRITS to suggest we all TAK' A DRAM and drink to Alan's health. Very fitting!
Newsletter No 263 4 February 2014
So many new faces for a night of amazing quality brilliantly guided by MICK HARE & JANICE BELL who started us on a high with JANICE'S own STRONGER. Sure as eggs are eggs BANJO JOHN reckoned T'AIN'T NO SIN and DOREEN in surreal mood went off with ONCE THERE WAS A SEAGULL as back to earth MIKE COSGRAVE celebrated the first immigrant to the UA through Ellis Island with THE BALLAD OF ANNIE MOORE followed by HELEN & DAVE HOWARD who were also on an Irish theme with THE BANKS OF THE LEA. On a different tack CHRIS HEARN reminded us of bureaucratic pains in the neck with JOBSWORTH before HELEN RICH blew us away with the brilliant GYPSY MOOD written specially for the accordion. ROBIN then to us away to THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE andDAVE COWE recited the PIPE BAND KILT SONG leading FAIR PLAY to invite us all FOLLOW ME HOME. A more basic arrangement was told by ED with that great song RED HEADED ANNE as CARL stepped to warn we might not make OLD BONES and DON & HEATHER exposed the dangers waiting for the young woman who DANCES FOR DOLLARS. In a different way DAVE BOULTON warned us of card games with HERE'S TO YOU TOM BROWN as MICHAEL BURNS stepped up tell how we all take DIFFERENT PATHS some of which PETE reckoned leave us hoping I SHALL BE RELEASED. A study of relationships led ARTHUR MARSHALL to think about MR & MRS SMITH who barely speak to each other and KAMRAN to reflect on STAGOLEE who shot Billy over a Stetson hat and ALAN to think of YE JACOBITES before JANICE & MICK summed it all up with NOT 'COS I WANTED TO as we reached the interval.
A bumper raffle saw Ruth take the wine, Dave Cowe win the Sports Towel, Chris take the biscuits and Robin win the chocolate Brazils before HELEN RICH, persuaded to stay on for another tune, wowed us with the TEN PENNY BIT. This all left ALAN a bit WILD EYED but un-deterred MICHAEL BURNS brilliantly played us TWO WALTZES which left KAMRAN t contemplate 50 SHADES OF SxxxE and ED to tell about his BRONCHIODILATED BLUES. In the same vein CHRIS HEARN went a long way for his SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES whereas much closer to home HELEN & DAVE HOWARD told us about the life of JACK ASHTON and DOREEN delighted us a Facebook exchange with her daughter who claims I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DUST. More distant ROBIN offered support to a friend feeling lost in THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK just as DON & HEATHER were remembering a homeless young woman they had met with their tribute STREET CHILD while PETE celebrated someone who has everything with SHE BELONGS TO ME. Moving towards a climax MIKE COSGRAVE teamed up with DAVE HOWARD to give us LITTLE SADIE and DAVE BOULTON had us all singing to the LAKES OF PONCHARTRAIN before ARTHUR MARSHALL declared we are OUTWARD BOUND and FAIR PLAY said let's get off to WHERE RAVENS FEED and we all agreed as we headed into the night. Fabulous!!!
Newsletter No 262 28 January 2014
A mega audience assembled for an exceptional night of music, song and great craic admirably stewarded by JAN & MARK who started the evening with a tribute to Pete Seeger by leading us in WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE and this was swiftly followed by PAUL with IF I HAD A HAMMER. Back in regular folk mode JIM & LYNN went off with the SPANISH LADY while ROD was experiencing a TEQUILA SUNRISE and KAMRAN was asking WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN SCHOOL TODAY? For the first time after surgery, on his hand not his wallet, ROBIN told us IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN just as ALAN was recommending a CURE FOR A COLD and BANJO JOHN was returning to Pete Seeger for THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND. Next up a trio of self-penned songs when JANICE with MICK sang her own lovely composition for her son FLEETING CHANCE and was followed by MICK whose own love song SHE BELONGS TO ME was clearly directed at his wife Jan and MICHAEL BURNS who sang and played his own REYNARD OR REYNARDINE. PETE then chose a John Martin song MAY YOU NEVER as TONY returned to Pete Seeger and was WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY and JO was CALLING MY CHILDREN HOME just a DAVE COWE was recalling Rabbie Burns' TO A MOUSE. This set us on to HEATHER McNEILL who sang her own story of MAY'S DOWNFALL before DAVE BOULTON told his own story of the LITTLE EGG BOX and newcomers ALESSANDRA & RACHEL sang the lovely PRECIOUS MEMORIES. Storming up to the interval DON & HEATHER sang their own FLOWERS ON THE WATER followed by ED who extolled the virtues of THE FLUSHERS.
A bumper raffle saw Mick win the wine; Tony take the Ginger wine; the Room perfume go to Judith; the Biscuits won by Mark & Jan; the Posh Tin of biscuits taken by Ann; the Brazil nuts escort Marina home and Kate get the Calendar.
Then JIM & LYNN opened the second half with a sweet version of DIRTY OLD TOWN followed by FREE SPIRITS with BLACK WATER and TONY with CHRISTMAS TIME IN WASHINGTON leaving ALESSANDRA to fly solo with an Italian folk song MAREMMA AMARA. It described the hardship of life in Maremma in a time when the Malaria and Saracen pirates were ravaging the coast and drinking water was a rarity in the swampy countryside and many a poor Tuscan who went to the Maremma to make his fortune or to earn some money for his family never returned. Across the world ROD commented IT NEVER RAINS IN CALIFORNIA as HEATHER McNEILL told us of THE GIRL WHO SINGS and DAVE COWE read TO WEE DAVIE by Burns. Then KAMRAN & ED shared experiences as THE GAMBLER whereas MICHAEL had LITTLE NEWS FROM DUNAMORE. Experiences were also shared by MICK who sadly told THERE WONT BE ANOTHER SUNSET and then with JANICE sang about THE SUN AND THE MOON which prompted PETE to exclaim BABY LIGHT MY FIRE! Returning to the stage RACHEL sang of THE FALSE PLOUGHBOY LADS and DAVE BOULTON told us of ARTHUR McBRIDE just in time to hear ED declare MY HUSBAND'S GOT NO PORRIDGE IN 'IM courtesy of Les Barker's STORY OF THE THREE BEARS. This left PAUL to bemoan the loss of CORRINA, CORRINA and MARK & JAN to lead a band up of the BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND to send the full house happily on it's way. Brilliant!
Newsletter No 261 21 January 2014
Quieter but still lots o performers and a great audience as KATH & STAN were ruthless in driving us along for a great time as they started with DINKS SONG followed by ED with Benny Hill's IN MY GARDEN OF LOVE. Fortunately ARTHUR had AN IMPROVING TALE to tell just as JO was BLOWING IN THE WIND while LYNN & JIM with MICHAEL who were NIGHT VISITING. That didn't stop BANJO JOHN from shooting off down to the RED RIVER VALLEY where IAN was sure it was WINDY AND WARM but to PAUL it was all BOATS UP THE RIVER. On the other hand CARL was still thinking pre-Beeching to old 1710. On another plane HEATHER & DON were metaphorically KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER whereas DAVID was more pragmatically in DETROIT CITY and PETE was romantically with MARY FROM DUNGLOW. Next there was a blast from the past when DAVE BOULTON (formerly HIS WORSHIP AND THE PIG) sang about the BLACK COOK before POET DAVID re-interpreted THE SHIFTING WHISPERING SANDS just as KATH & STAN were off to OWENSBORO. With a new arrangement IAN then came up with DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME as ARTHUR road off behind FOUR BLACK HORSES and BANJO JOHN commented THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE. From down the Mississippi ED told us about THE GAMBLER but DON, HEATHER & PAUL were off with the RAMBLIN BOY while DAVE BOULTON was off with CHAMPION THE DANDY and PAUL was putting his money on STEWBALL the racehorse as we hit the interval.
After much socialising the raffle saw Kath win the wine, Jim take the Hot Toddy Kit, David win the Biscuits and Carl get the Liqueur Chocolates before JIM & LYNN sampled some RARE OLD MOUNTAIN DEW followed by PETE with the BOOZING BLUES. Then CARL reminded us of Jake Thackray with THE BLACKSMITH AND THE TOFFEE MAKER before POET DAVID defined THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE (between one drunken sop and another) which had DAVID FEELING GROOVY as was ED who introduced us to JACUZZI JOE THE GIGOLO. However KATH & STAN were 900 MILES away as ARTHUR hit THE DANCE FLOOR and DON & HEATHER sang SPANISH BURGUNDY for our Spanish visitor from Barcelona. Specially created IAN then had a TUNE FOR TONIGHT as PAUL confessed he had those BROWN FERRY BLUES and DAVE BOULTON explained why crime doesn't pay in Ireland with his PADDY AND THE ROPE. Coming to a climax JIM & LYNN then led us in singing PEGGY GORDON which reminded PETE of his own YOU BRING OUR THE BEST IN ME and made DAVID FEEL LIKE HOME. POET DAVID explained the history of DEAD DOG SCRUMPY whereas DAVE BOULTON was more traditional with JOCK STEWART before DON, HEATHER, PAUL, STAN, and JIM & LYNN had a big band up to send everyone off home singing with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER. Superb!
Newsletter No 260 14 January 2014
A sublime of music and banter was well guided by KAMRAN & PETE and it was PETE who started the ball rolling with YOUR SONG closely followed by BANJO JOHN who celebrated Don Everly's life with BYE, BYE LOVE. Fresh from finding himself playing and singing with The Sir Tom Jones JOHN then burst forth with REYNARDINE followed IAN with an instrumental of Dylan's MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE and PAUL who was off on the NEW RIVER TRAIN. Then we discovered LYNN & JIM sharing some WHISKEY IN THE JAR before COLIN took us off to the MOTHER COUNTRY to which ROD responded LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE and KAMRAN said LET IT BE ME. Quite why but DAVID was then off with SISTER FATIMA who knows the future before HEATHER & DON had us all singing with the GALWAY SHAWL and then with ROBIN and PAUL became the FREE SPIRITS rocking to the WAGON WHEEL. Next DAVID had his first attempt but failed to open THE BOX leaving ED to divert our attention with a sweet rendition of SCARBOROUGH FAIR followed by MIKE with tunes SIBEIG SEMOIR & BANISH MISFORTUNE. Taking us up to the interval BANJO JOHN returned to tell us I GET THE BLUES WHEN IT RAINS with PETE dashing off to Dylan's NORTH COUNTRY FAIR as JOHN mischievously opened his spoof of LOVE PORTION NUMBER NINE.
A bumper raffle saw Anne take the Genoa Cake, Rod got the Red Wine and Kamran won the Art Nouveau Red Vase complete with Red Carnations as IAN stepped forward with SUMMAT HE MADE UP FOR TUESDAY NIGHT. Life on the IRISH ROVER was then described by LYNN & JIM as DAVE reckoned it's THE HOUSE YOU LIVE IN but it gave PAUL some TROUBLE IN MIND while KAMRAN exclaimed OH GLORY HOW HAPPY I AM. Next up Robin, Paul, Don & Heather as FREE SPIRITS told us we are really all NO HOPERS, JOKERS AND ROGUES so we should just get on with it as HEATHER & DON did with the STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN and did ROD who shot off as the ROCKET MAN. Warming to the task MIKE invited us to party with BOBBY McGEE and at the second attempt DAVID managed to open THE BOX and release all the evils of war only to be unable to lock them back in again. The philosophy being never to start anything you cannot guarantee to finish and, to complement that one, ED came up with another philosophy which advises us to be careful what we ask because we might not like THE ANSWER. Then from nowhere DAVE generated a moment of extreme hilarity with his interpretation of THE ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY OF LOVE followed by IAN with A JERRY REED TUNE and LYNN & JIM threatening I'LL TELL ME MA. This all had PAUL GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD, ED SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SEA, ROD feeling THE WEIGHT and MIKE telling us YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE HARLAN ALIVE before FREE SPIRITS gave us a big finish with Springsteen's ERIE CANAL followed by the McCalman's ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD to send us singing into the night. Magic!
Newsletter No 259 7 January 2014
It was a good night to break into the New Year with ED & SUE in fine form and many regulars thirsting for some music and entertainment. First to fulfil this need was BANJO JOHN with his MELONCHOLY BABY which PAUL promised to TELL OLD BILL about as FAIR PLAY, aka Ruth, Kath & Stan, went chasing the WILD WOOD FLOWER and expressing a wish not to be tied down with EL CONDOR PASA. The story of the ALABAMA was ROB'S first effort as CARL declared IT'S A CHAMPION LIFE to which JO agreed as she was off to the CURRAGH OF KILDARE. Over to America JIM & LYNN told a story of the CITY OF CHICAGO and I'VE GOT STRIPES as STEVE got up front and personal with TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY and JUDE taught us that T STANDS FOR THOMAS. Of course we didn't believe that ED was ALL USED UP as we listened to PETE's NEW YEAR'S SONG and HEATHER & DON had us all celebrating the STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN before promising YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT. Coming up to the interval climax BANJO JOHN explained the attraction of MR TAMBOURINE MAN while ROB was COURTING TOO SLOW which ED clearly though was a DISASTER and PAUL thought was not worth a TWO DOLLAR BILL.
From the raffle newcomer Allen took the wine home, Sue won the leather wallet, Martin grabbed the shortbreads and Paul won the tube of chocolates before we set out on the second half with PETE and ST PAUL'S SONG as JUDE claimed YOU DON'T KNOW ME ANY MORE and CARL reckoned that was nothing FURTHER from the truth. Finally, newcomer ALLEN was persuaded to borrow a guitar for the GOLD WATCH BLUES as STEVE took to the floor with another of his own compositions OUR OWN SPACE and KATH & STAN were first WATERBOUND then in a TRAIN ON THE ISLAND. Close behind JIM & LYNN were first an ORDINARY MAN and then off with the FOLSOM PRISON BLUES as HEATHER & DON told of the DIAMANTINA DROVER and washed their hands in MUDDY WATER. Just before leaving ALLEN squeezed another song ERIN GABRAR as PAUL was joined by KATH & STAN for THIS TRAIN IS BOUND FOR GLORY and STEVE related his experiences with a CITY ANIMAL. Brightening up the proceedings PETE announced HERE COMES THE SUN as ROB told us there are no centipedes in LIVERPOOL TOWN to which ED replied ALL OF THE GOOD TIMES ARE GONE. Striving for a big finish JUDE warned MAIDS WHEN YOU'RE YOUNG never wed an old man as KATH & STAN reckoned they preferred BUTTERED PEAS before going off on the WINSTER GALLOP which left HEATHER & DON with PAUL on Harmonica to celebrate the borrowed guitar with ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD.