Warwick Folk Club - The best in acoustic music: contemporary and traditional folk, country, blues, comedy, jazz and standards
Fortnightly on Mondays 8 - 10.30 pm at No 34 Garden and Grill, The Racehorse, Stratford Road, Warwick CV34 6AS
20th June Summer Theme Performers Night
Thanks to Dave Fry for MC and keeping the night running with a host of performers 

Dave kicked off with 'Rhythmn of the Rain' and 'Goldwatch Blues', the latter mentioning 4th July, which is in the summer.Jane Moss did two lovely summer ones on ukelele.Paul Monks followed on saxaphone, would you believe and went so well he did an extra piece.Dora next with a couple of lovely summer ones on guitar.

Rik unaccompanied with a cracking old music hall one which had us all smiling and joining in.Norman stood in with a lovely number 'The B Road' concluded the First Half with three melodic crackers.
Norman and 'The Sads' kicked off Second Half in fine style and they then did two on their own Norman also brought a mystery raffle prize which was deja vu on the old raffles and gave us all a laugh, with a surprise gift for the MC of a bag of Dorset Knob (don't ask!) Pete W on great form followed on....Maggie was outstanding with an unaccompanied 'Summertime' Norman with the 'Brighton Rock' monologue Dave & Pete W finishing with 'Wild Mountain Thyme' to send everyone home singing

Another great night for all
6th June Odette Michell with Malc and Gill
Malcolm and Gill started off the evening and are regular performers at Bedworth Folk Club - they claim to have a hundred years of experience as folk singers between them :) They performed a number of folk songs including two about parting with a lady called Nancy - the traditional ‘Adieu, lovely Nancy,’ in which the singer departs from Nancy by going to sea, and the more modern ‘Leaving Nancy’ by the Fureys, in which the singer departs from Nancy by going on a train journey.
They persuaded many in the audience to join in an unaccompanied rendition of ‘Sing, John Ball,’ which begins, “Who will be the lady, who will be the lord, when we are ruled by the love of one another?”

Odette Michell is a very talented young folk singer who has duetted with Phil Beer from ‘Show of Hands.’

She was due to perform at a WFC concert evening in 2020, but this had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are very glad that she was able to come to our Folk Club.

Odette sang her own compositions 
 ‘The Queen of the Lowlands’ and ‘The great old Northern Line,’ about people whom she observed riding on that line of the London Underground.

Odette’s main instrument is guitar, but she also played an eight- string bazouki in a guitar body for ‘The Wildest Rose’ and ‘Row, me Bully Boys,’ which was used as a film soundtrack, and she was accompanied by a drone box which she called Bertie on a couple of songs, a spooky supernatural murder ballad called, ‘I once Loved a Shepherd’ and ‘The Water Line’ about the burning of the Fleetwood fishing boats. 

Odette also sang an amusing composition called ‘The White Flower,’ based on her own experience of having an insouciant attitude to being ‘on the shelf’ when all her friends were getting married, which she wrote just before meeting her boyfriend - her days of being ‘on the shelf’ are now over.

She finished her wonderful performance with the Louisiana folk song, The Lakes of Pontchartrain.’
I'm so sorry I missed this night and thanks to Dora and John for the pics and write up.
23rd May Steve 2 and Kirsty Gallagher
Robin as MC guided us through a double billed guest night with the two Steve’s and Kirsty Gallacher.

Steve and Steve sang the songs and swapped stories about Ralph McTell and John Martyn in their intimate and gentle style. Really thoughtful arrangements with such a variety of instruments and vocals that stepped into folk,blues and jazz. It didn’t stop there as we also were treated to some of their own compositions as well as Tom Paxton and Paul Simon.

Kirsty introduced us to a whole range of her own compositions and was a real hit with us all, many of the guitarists in the evening picking up all sorts of interesting ways that she had accompanied her songs. She also gave us a lovely touch of Nanci Griffith, Mike Nesmith and Adam Melchor.

Thanks again for another great night.
9th May Performers Night
As you’ll see from the photos another great night of performers (and we even got carried away and missed photos for a few!!).

Where else would you get to
warm up your singing with Dave Fry, revisit familiar songs with Dora, hear new songs from Don like Heart Tatto by Enda Kenny and then get a preview of our Steve2 Guest Night with Steve Boyer (accompanied by Keith Donnelly and Lauren South).

Rik and Maggie always provide some traditional and suprising songs to enjoy and although known to some Gordon and Dave from Scarecrow gave us a real mix of tunes with a gorgeous slow Air by O'Carolan and songs, including Paul Brady, Andy Irvine and Ralph McTell 

It wouldn’t be a perfomers night without the chance to hear some original songs and Nik does that as well as giving us the chance to hear great songs from Christy Moore. Andrew from Steamchicken also gave us a sense of 'Oberon' and an original moving composition. A real bonus is when we also got to hear new material from Keith and Lauren you wouldn’t get that elsewhere for your £2 entry fee and you might even win the raffle :
25th April - Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer supported by The Thrup’nny Bits
It really begins to feel like folk clubs and live music are really returning with a bumper night of singing, laughter and the time to appreciate some brilliant musicians for just £10.

Don our MC guided us through the evening and The Thrup’nny Bits really got us warmed up with such a variety of songs in 3 and even 4 part harmony !! From Death and the Gallows through to the tribulations of Lassie (Go-Lassie-Go!!)

As you’ll see from the pictures Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer entertained us with their tunes, songs and stories – I’ve never seen so many instruments I’d never heard of!! Was it the sound of a guitar, violin or cello no it was a Nyckelharpa which combined with 12 String Guitar was truly magical.

But it didn’t stop there we sang love songs accompanied by flute and piano accordionand stomped along to Contra Dance tunes. Just when I thought there couldn’t be more we heard swedish bagpipes played with a bone flute and then Vicki played another really early bow and stringed instrument while Jonny introduced us to a Roman Cornet – what fun!
11th April Performers Night
Despite Covid and the Easter holidays we managed an intimate performers night touring around the world with a variety of musical styles.

Dora kept us all in order on her first ever night as MC when we met on the corner and set off from Lindisfarne. Robin and Sally then took us across the water with Country Roads and that well known folk song from the Caribbean ‘Sloop John B’. Maggie brought us safely back with traditional Folk written by a Scotsman yet popular in Ireland and then new to the club Yonderland (Paul and Jane) stepped up with great harmonies and a 20’s jazzy style Cherry Blossom Street before whisking us off to China with Terracotta.

And yet more - we heard a lovely lullaby from Rik written by Billy Joel and thinking of his granddaughter, welcomed Jonathan giving us time to not be hard on ourselves and the permission to say ‘that’s good enough’ before finishing the first half with Nick singing along to ‘Black is the Colour’ as well as travelling through time.

In the second half we all got the chance to sing again a rare opportunity to really listen and support each other as performers. Thanks to the team for organising and Dora for encouraging us all to take part.
28th March - annA rydeR’s Music and Moving Pictures Tour supported by Don
What a fantastic night where our club got to host the last night of annA’s tour. Don gave us a truly varied support with everything a folk club should have, Rock n Roll, Ragtime, an original and moving composition and finally brought us all to life with a chorus song to finish :)
As for annA well you really had to be there!! You can see from the picture that annA never stopped entertaining us all. Combined with the pictures we were taken to festivals, swam underwater in the river at Hampton Lucy, remembered those floods in Warwick and the importance of wellies, realised why you need accordians at every Bluegrass Festival as well as seeing the acting talents of Dave Pegg and had heard ‘some of my friends are dead and some of them are not!!’ Lovely to see Oonagh and hear ‘Fly Away’ and a big thank you to Noel and Nicky Cure for keeping it all together.
By the end of the night we were pretty good at trumpet noises (love the Bessie Smith!!) but none of us could compete with annA’s facial expressions and Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the bicycle pump. If you missed it better luck next time and you can take a look at the showreel.
Final thanks to Don for stepping in so quickly and to Robin for being MC – such a great night for £5.
14th March - Meet on the Ledge supported by Dave Fry
A bumper Guest Night for the Club and a lovely opportunity to welcome back Meet on the Ledge and rekindle friendships from the ‘early days’

Dave Fry kicked off with cheery songs such as Hangman (Leadbelly) as well as tales of desperados, rape and pillage – it is a folk club after all :) Using his 12 String Guitar he gave us a real country feel taking us off to Arizona as well as giving us an insight into his first date at the Ritz in Workington – and just a few jokes and stories of course :)

Ron, Allen and Steve then reminded us of how well they all perform together with a huge variety of songs, harmony and accompaniment some dating back to their first gig in 1992 at the ‘Bridge Inn’ in Leamington. We sang along to old MOTL favourites such as Rambleaway, Man of War, Willie McBride and of course the Lifeboat Song “The Mary Stanford of Rye”. It was a night of laughter and emotion with time to remember absent friends and revel in new originals such as English Rover and Traitors Tale, all with a story to tell.

Another great bargain for just £5 entry and a big thank you to Don for keeping the whole evening on track as MC.
Monday 14th February Performers Night
Surrounded by hearts and chocolates Dave set the scene for a night of romance and love songs with no tales of shipwrecks or miners allowed! We sang throughout the evening starting with Dave’s rendition of ‘Me & Bobby McGee’ and ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ (the state song of Tennessee). Dora kept up the singing as we enjoyed ‘This Love Will Carry’ and ‘Love is All Around’.

Rik as always gave us a surprise with a song of seduction, Babycham and Gonzales known as ‘She Fell in Love with a Portuguese Sailor’ and a mellow thoughtful version of Billy Joel’s ‘She’s Got a Way About Her’. Maggie changed the mood again with an unaccompanied ‘Searching for Lambs’ and another chorus for us to sing along with the Scottish traditional song ‘Lizzy Lyndsey’.Lou introudced two very different home grown songs, one ‘I hear the silence of a winter’s night’ and another ‘Rosetta’ drawing on the twirling together of two comets in a tender embrace. Des took us back to join in with ‘Sammy’s Bar’ and a tale of love right to the end with ‘The Turn of the Road’ by Lez Barker.

Hatstand (Keith and Kate) new arrivals to the club were welcomed with an extended spot combining two guitars and vocal harmonies we sang along with Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and ironically went upbeat with ‘Slow’ and ‘Dance me to the End of Love’ by Leonard Cohen as well as a soulful version of ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’.

Keith Donnelly kept us amused (of course) with tales of Not a Valentine Card!! and then delighted us with ‘Said a Prayer Last Night’ and ‘I met my Love in Whitby Town’. The Melancholy Brothers never disappoint and entertained us with a song written about Judy Collins by Stephen Stills, ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ (Crosby, Stills & Nash) followed by their own song of hopeful love ‘Brand New Start’. Missing Robin on guitar Sally and Sue (Val and the Tines) sang two songs of how love can be sustained with ‘Gulf Coast Highway’ and ‘Sailors Sky’. Peter, despite Dave’s Banjo jokes, delighted us with ‘The Railway Hotel’ and then Lou joined for another favourite with the audience ‘Sweet Sixteen’ . Don provided a flourish and finished the night with ‘Next Friday Night’ by Elaine Lennon and then fresh from online Celtic Connections a version of ‘Neath the Gloaming Star’ by Hannah Rarity.

What a night, thanks to all the performers, to Dave and to John for stepping in to help me with photos and the write up as unfortunately Laura our scribe cannot be with us for the next few months.
31st January – Martyn Oram - supported by Laura Kisby

The evening opened with a very enjoyable set from Club regular, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Laura, with ‘Both Sides Now’. Down the line, she closed her second offering with a mash up of ‘Things We Said Today’ and ‘Bus Stop’ – the audience proving to be on good form throughout! In between, we heard about her grandpa who had a sideline in hair cutting (‘Keep Yer Cap On, It’ll Grow!’) and the chip van fire at a summer fete: ‘Smoke from the Chip Van’, to the famous riff by Deep Purple. Sandy Denny’s ‘The Sea’ and ‘Candlemas Eve’ (words by Robert Herrick to a Kate Rusby tune) also featured, it being the eve of Candlemas Eve!
It was good to have Martyn with us in a gig postponed since March 2020. He eased us in with a ‘sitting comfortably’ song: ‘Here We Are’ and a lovely father-to-daughter song ‘Oh my darling, how I’ve loved you . . . since you were a little girl’. Later, the family theme continued in a moving tribute song: ‘Things I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know’.
There was some excellent fiddling! ‘The Fiddler’ was based on a story about a troll and, in the second half, ‘Donkey Pulled a Three-Wheel Cart’ had spot-on ‘hee-haws’ both vocally and from the fiddle. The first half closed with ‘Storm at Uluru’, with didgeridoo input from Keith Donnelly.
Martyn got us thinking in ‘We Are Drops in The Ocean’ and ‘Nothing to Fear but Time’ then regaled us with fascinating anecdotes, eg, playing on ‘trains and boats and planes’ that led to a song to bouzouki with a Breton tune middle section, inspired by a Brittany Ferries gig. Travel featured again in tales of escapades at various borders, back in the day. ‘Boy Lurks in the Shadows’ came from these (helped along by Keith).
The ‘big finish’ was another fiddling flourish: ‘The Devil Went Down to Dartmoor’ (rather than Georgia) with a nod to Widdecombe Fair on the way! There was still time for ‘Everyone Smiles When You Play the Ukulele’ with three of them played by Martyn, Keith and Laura. An excellent evening and wonderful value for £5. One comment received says ‘nice to have all-original stuff that you could enjoy and appreciate’. Hear, hear!
17th January - Performers’ Night
It was a frosty, murky night but still folk assembled for another Performers’ Night! Laura started with a Warwick FC version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Chelsea Morning’ then Robin sang John Tams’ ‘All Right Jack’, Maggie performed ‘Linden Lea’ acapella and Nick Draycott got us singing along to his first ever shanty.

Steve and Bob as The Hanksters had a song each, swapping over guitar and cajon duties midway through. Great hilarity ensued from the extraction of various percussion implements from said cajon before it could be played! We settled down to hear a bossa nova song Steve had written: ‘Stop on By’, then Bob’s bird’s eye view of all life in the park at Alum Rock. 

The Skeptics had us joining in with ‘Meet Me on the Corner’ and took us up to the break with ‘The Parting Glass’. Then, glasses replenished, the second half got underway with Slade’s ‘Everyday’ from Laura, and 2 songs from Dai Arnold including ‘William’s Angel’ – an antidote to drinking songs.

Luca Falcomer-Dawson made his Performers’ Night debut with super-fast guitar playing and a song (‘I get stitches, you help me from ditches’) inspired by his boyhood skateboarding escapades on the ramps in St Nicholas’ Park. Don followed with ‘My Baby Keeps Stayin’ Out All Night Long’ from Ralph McTell’s ‘Spiral Staircase’.

The Hanksters, Dai and Luca had more songs for us up their sleeves, as did the Skeptics, who closed the evening with the well-joined-in ‘Down to the River to Pray’ before braving the fog back to Banbury and Bicester - definitely ‘above and beyond’!

Thanks to them and everyone else who came along.
20th December Xmas Performers' Night
Seated at starry tables, and with many sporting splendid festive jumpers and hats, we settled into a relaxed and satisfying final Performers' Night of the year. Dave Fry topped the 'groans count' with his cracker jokes and, in the first half, Keith Donnelly was on familiar funny form with "We're splitting up for Christmas" on a classical guitar that did split from end to end, as well as "The police have me dad" (instead of Feliz Navidad) and other cleverisms, too many to mention. Later, his song-per-day "12 Songs/Days of Christmas" elicited the correct sound effect for 'Five Jingle Bells' (there were some!) and was a hilarious memory workout for him as well as the audience, who were replete from the lovely food served during the break.

The Melancholy Brothers, Rik Middleton, Don Arthurson and the Thrup'nny Bits also performed in the first half, giving us Christmas songs and carols a-plenty. The 'Mels' gave their first performance of Dave's song "Christmas is here - time just passes" and Don had a 'first', too, having just been commissioned earlier in the day to sing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" (bells again!). It was good to hear "The turkey shot out of the oven" (Rik) and "The Pudding Hunt" (3d Bits) after being 'rested' for a year.

After the aforementioned food (many thanks to the Racehorse) and Robin's successful quiz (based on the TV show 'Impossible') the evening slowly drew to a close with Laura and Dora, Keith (see above) and Nick Saint and the Elves (aka Robin, Sue and Sally) singing good join-inners: "While Shepherds" to Ilkley Moor/Cranbrook and "Let it Snow" being just two. We were sent on our way with "We wish you a Merry Christmas" which is what we extend to all who are reading this!
6th December - Performers’ Night
Masterfully steered by Don (who was ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’!), we enjoyed songs old and very new from old hands and 2 first-timers at the Club: Abi Rowberry and Samantha Lucy Tongue. They, along with Nick Draycott, had some self-penned songs to share - and great talent! Abi, on guitar, sang of an abandoned cottage opposite Chesterton windmill, that she longs to own. She introduced us to covers of new songs-with-a-story, too, eg,“You’re not Alone” by Lucy May Walker. Samantha sang of ‘Providence’, ‘Black Blood’ and ‘Locks and Keys’ with striking melodeon accompaniment. In total contrast, Nick’s own song (on guitar) was the gentle ‘Skara Brae’ followed by ‘Black is the Colour’.

Meanwhile, at the more wrinkly end of the spectrum (no offence, playmates!), Rik took us from the East End to the Western Isles, Robin sang ‘From Clare to Here’ and Maggie jumped on the ‘Freight Train’, followed by Peter and Noel playing Blue Grass songs and the US version of ‘Pretty Fair Maid’. 

Christmas got a look-in with ‘A Winter’s Tale’ from Robin and ‘2000 Miles’ by the Pretenders from Laura. Dave then rounded off the evening with ‘songs with a chorus’, ending with ‘Last Thing on my Mind’. Great stuff! And so good to have promising, new people coming along!
22nd November – Lauren South and Craig Sunderland
It was one of those evenings where the performers’ excellent musicianship, always interwoven with interesting stories, left us feeling very good indeed!

Craig had the audience joining in straightaway for ‘The Punch and Judy Man’. Dazzling work on his guitars featured in ‘The Lass Down on the Quay’ (James Weams), ‘The Gentleman Soldier’ and ‘Hard Times of Old England’ plus a song about a cheated sailor, ‘Barrack Street’ (first heard performed by Nic Jones). Craig ended the set with ‘The Singer’s Request’ which he dedicated to musicians hard hit by the pandemic. It’s based on ‘The Minstrel’s Request’ by Sir Walter Scott; a search for the words is recommended!

Lauren had heard that morning that Gary, the other half of As the Heron, couldn’t join her as planned. ‘Don’t panic!’ Thanks to a lot of ‘thinking on feet’ and some deft learning of material by Keith Donnelly all was well! Her excellent fiddle playing featured first in ‘As I roved out …’ then she introduced us to her new shruti box for her own song, ‘The Swimming Lad’, based on a Yeats poem. Reg Mueross’s ‘Shoreline by the Sea’ had her playing a new tenor guitar before Keith joined her for ‘John Riley’ and two fiddle tunes: ‘Staffen Island’ by Phil Cunningham and ‘Random’ (Scots trad). Taking us up to the break we had the superb ‘Black is the Colour’.

Craig got the second half going with ‘Come by the Hills’, then the dark ‘Drowned Lovers’ (aka ‘Clyde’s Water’). We heard about his dear, flamboyant Uncle Roddy who had written the next song about his daughter ‘Curly’. He closed with ‘When a Knight Won His Spurs’ in Martin Simpson style. Many of a certain age could join in with that one!Crazy Man Michael’ with Craig and Keith, was Lauren’s first second-set-song! A re-working of ‘Past Caring’ (with shruti box) was done solo, as was ‘Fisher Lasses’ (Ewan MacColl). Her accomplished, self-penned songs included ‘Heavens’, then (with Keith) the moving ‘Judith’s Song’ and, to close, ‘One Star Awake’.

The enthusiastically-requested encore was a reprise of an impromptu duet with Laura at the 15
th Nov Singaround: ‘Ashokan Farewell’. A mellow end to a wonderful evening!
15th November Singaround
With Robin at the helm, as we went round our circle we were treated to a capella songs from Bob, Sheila, Rik and duo Barbara and Gareth. Keith, Don, Robin and Maggie backed themselves on guitar whilst Dora and Laura played their ukuleles; however, Lauren (from As the Heron) had her shruti box, tenor guitar and violin! Ashokan Farewell on violin went down very well (Laura grabbing her guitar to accompany). It fitted in with the handful of items we had for a Remembrance time of year. In total contrast we sang ‘King of the Road’, a Beatles song and a spoof of ‘Smoke in the Water’. A lovely, laid back evening!
8th November – Performers’ Night
In the capable hands of Dave Fry we were able to enjoy 12 performances – with a great range of instruments and styles – and all for £2!

Ragged Round the Edges (Robin, Sue and Sally) got us off to a good start with ‘Jambalaya’, featuring melodeon, octave mandola and bottle-tops pole, aka lagerphone! Then we had some delicious ukulele playing from Eric Kingdon (left middle) including ‘In my Life’ within a clever, subtle medley. A change of gear again, next, as Rik on concertina sang Joni Mitchell’s ‘Urge for Going’ and Billy Joel’s ‘New York State of Mind’. With Maggie (left bottom) giving us two good ‘join-inners’ including ‘Jesse James’ we weren’t going anywhere, especially with Nick Draycott (middle) singing his own song ‘Swan on the Sea’ and, in total contrast, ‘Lay, Lady, Lay’. The first half closed with The Melancholy Brothers (Russell and Dave)(top middle) treating us to their song ‘Skimming Stones’ and Toto’s ‘Africa’.

Starting the second half, Keith Donnelly (right bottom) managed to weave “He who laughs loudest probably didn’t get Dave Fry’s jokes!” into his first song, then changed tack with ‘The Parting Glass’ as a fitting tribute to Barry Coope, who sadly passed away on the 6th. A useful history lesson around the Bevin Boys was next as Colin Squires (top right) sang about his own father, after singing ‘The Ride’ by Steve Knightley. Thrup’nny Bits (sans Des) (middle)also included some history: about Warwick Castle’s horses being commandeered in the Gunpowder Plot shenanigans. That led nicely to a topical ‘Remember, Remember’ song in their inimitable, a capella style. In between, we welcomed a newcomer to the Club – Bear Bozeman, from Holland – singing ‘Venus in Furs’ and ‘England is just an island’, composed from doing open mics in London in 2015. A fine bit of banjo was next (no, really!) with the Bee Gees’ ‘Words’ from Peter Whimpenny (top left). He actually felt the words were poor but it worked well on the banjo, as did Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking in Memphis’.Alkevan closed the evening (bottom middle). Comprising Al (bodhran), Kev (guitar) and new bass player Steve they gave us songs inspired by Kev’s Cornish roots including ‘Saltwater Rain’ and the big finish was ‘Space Between my Fingers’.So, a jam-packed, wonderful evening with a good number of well-entertained listeners, too! We hope to see Nick and Bear again very soon and appreciated their trek over from Birmingham.
11th October - Keith Donnelly & Friends
Shanties and humour were the orders of the day at the first Guest Night after reopening.The evening featured Keith Donnelly (top left) and Friends: Anna Ryder (top middle), Bill Bates (top right), Allan Richardson (bottom middle),Des Patalong (bottom right) and, new to WFC, Lauren South (bottom left), half of As the Heron.

Keith opened with several of his short ditties which had the audience laughing immediately. Lauren, accompanied by Keith, then gave a captivating rendition of her song “Hold On” where she played a Shruti Box, a first for WFC, followed by 2 fiddle tunes, Phil Cunningham’s “Hut on Staten Island” and Kathryn Tickell’s “Random”. A foretaste to when As the Heron visit WFC on 22nd November .

Bill then expounded his enthusiasm for a certain singer songwriter from the West Country with “I wanna be Steve Knightley”. New super group, The Shanty Sceptics (Keith, Bill, Des), specialise in parodies; “Lever, Johnny” - (“Leave her Johnny”), “Café au Lait” – (“Mingulay Boat Song”) and “Popeye” – (Queen’s “We will Rock You”). Keith then did his very amusing “Deja Vue”, twice! Des sang Noah’s Ark Shanty. Carefully choreographed, Keith followed with “It’s all Falling Apart” when his guitar did exactly that. Allan in his inimitable style sang “Biscuits”, about… biscuits, and “Existence and All That” … a monologue history of the universe… in 3 minutes. Keith and Lauren concluded the first half with Keith’s evocative “Three Birds”.

The Shanty Sceptics opened the second half with “Sally Difficult and Expensive” (“Sally Free and Easy”), Bill’s composition “Sail Away” and a truly jaw dropping “There is Nothing Like a Shanty” which would make Rogers and Hammerstein turn in their graves. Bill then tried to do a medley of Paul Simon songs which, unrehearsed and unexpectedly, involved Keith asking leading questions e.g. “What are you?” …answer… “I am just a poor boy…”Anna joined Keith for the poignant “Salmon Are Back (in the Coaly Tyne again)” but the shanties and humour returned with Allan’s “Air Shanty” and Des’s ”Haul Away Man” Keith and Lauren sang the soulful ballad “The Lakes of Pontchartrain” and then the finale where the ensemble performed “Easy Come Easy Go” to a tune which resembled the chart phenomenon “Wellerman”.

But we couldn’t let Keith go without the traditional encore when he sang his heart rending “Another World”. A fitting end to a great evening of entertainment.
27th September Performers Night
A smaller crowd than re-opening night but a great time nonetheless. Laura (with MC virtual L plates) started the evening with ‘Dancing in the Dark’ then Rik Middleton sang about a barmaid called ‘Brandy’. He and, later, Des Patalong (top left) treated us to some a capella singing, Des ending the first half with ‘Rosabella’, which he said is a Short Sharp Shanty! Meanwhile, Dora Stoddard had sung ‘The Trawlerman’ by Mark Knopfler. Robin Kaye assisted by Don Arthurson got bluesy with ‘Kansas City’ and Poacher’s Pocket (this time with Campbell) went from ‘The Lowlands Low’ to Baltimore via the Tim Hardin song.

In the second half, it was good to have Jonathan Waller back with us (top middle) singing a Clive Gregson song, ‘Fred Astaire’. There was another by Clive later from Dora: ‘Home is Where the Heart is’ and Rik’s extra song (top right) was about ‘The Little Tailor’, reminding us of the darker side of some nursery rhymes.Don played his own ‘Mixed Bag Rag’ followed by Tom Paxton’s ‘Can’t Help but Wonder Where I’m Bound’. Poacher’s Pocket (bottom left) kindly gave us 2 more songs including ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, by which time we’d reached ‘The End of the Line’ so Laura led us in the Traveling Wilburys’ song.

As for MCing, ‘there were no wrecks and nobody drownded’ but there was the odd chuckle along the way from a brilliant audience!
13th September - Opening Performers Night 2021
What a great start! Norman re-opened the Club with a moving version of "Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell. That was followed by a good bit of banter with Dave Fry (MC for the evening) thanking Viv and Norman for all their work over the years..there's a little taste here

What followed showed again the huge variety of songs and styles that illustrated just how much you get for your £2 entrance ticket. In no particular order …..

Laura sang melodic Fernando Ortega and Justin Hayward songs, Lou performed his own optimistic composition and later teamed up with Peter Wimpenny (above right) for a welcome reminder of Tom Paxton
and he included a Dougie Maclean song that wasn’t Caledonia! We had Colin and Carole from Poachers Pocket reminding us of the Roseville Fair as well as giving us a bit of a laugh about wine, Allan Richardson with his really catchy chorus originals, instrumental breaks to enjoy in songs from Don Arthurson (below left), as well as bluegrass and reggae from Peter.

The Melancholy Brothers (below middle) did what they do so well with songs by Earth Wind & Fire and Crowded House and The Thrup’nny Bits (below right) managed to get us all singing in the first half as well as giving us such a rousing finale...and everyone managed to survive Dave’s jokes! What a night!

A few examples of some days before Covid...
16th March - Sunjay plus Paper Circus
As it turned out you couldn't wish for a better night before the enforced closure because of the pandemic. The openers, Jen and Suraj, did a delightfully varied set, ranging from traditional songs to Fleetwood Mac. Sunjay showed how much he'd improved even over the high standard when we last saw him. He's developed an engaging stage manner - and even more proficient (if that was possible) on guitar. His repertoire included blues oldies, pop songs, originals and a very funny song called "I Won't Do Anything By Bob Dylan". Inevitably, we have no idea about when the club may re-open. Staying safe is of course, the highest priority. There's still great music to listen to. We wish everyone, including professional performers who find themselves out of work, good health until this difficult time ends.
2nd December - The Lost Notes
Craig Sunderland (below right) started off each half with a wide variety of songs, showcasing his strong guitar style - these included the John Connolly song "Punch And Judy Man", "The Coal & Albert Berry" (from the singing of Gary & Vera) and Rod Felton's touching song "Curly".
The Lost Notes (Ben, right; Lucy below left and Oli) started with "All At Sea", the opening track of their CD which lets the harmonies burst out. "Let It Rain On Me"  was a new song but the audience picked it up straight away. There was the nod to folk song tales of infidelity in "Half Brother"; the cautionary tale of thinking "life on the other side is better" in "Green Grass" and the title track of their album "Run Fast, Run Free". A terrific night showing original songs can still be great for joining in.
21st October - Rick Kemp
The enlightened souls who came to the club on this evening heard Rick Kemp play some terrific guitar, sing his own songs with a strong voice belying his 78 years and tell some very amusing stories (one about dressing up as a Womble). The night began with a varied mixture of material from Steve & Chris Bayes - their songs included "Shake Sugaree" and the old favourite "Calico Printer's Clerk". Rick had abandoned his bass guitar which he wielded in Steeleye Span for so many years to play some of his own songs; the titles included "Low Flying", "Peace On The Border" and "Cromwell's Skull" (which he brought along to show, although he admitted  it might have been a facsimile...) The second half began with a slide show of photos from his past, each one having a quirky story behind it. And of course, he gave us the "composer's" versions of his well-known songs - "Deep In The Darkest Night" and "Somewhere Along The Road". If you didn't take the chance to see this concert, you missed a treat.
7th October - Top 20 Performers' Night
The eleventh running of this event (with a new signboard - right) and it was one of the best. 13 performers with songs from six decades and ten No. 1s. There were three newcomers: Nigel and Tony (below left and centre) reminded us how good Crowded House were with "Weather With You"; Dai Arnold brought us more up to date with a Counting Crows song while regular singer Laura is seen here with "Rockin' All Over The World" by Status Quo - not a song we might expect her to do. The most recent song was "Mathematics" from 2007 done by The Melancholy Brothers while best chorus song went to "Que Sera Sera" (1956) sung by Maggie Coleman. A great night of fun and muscial variety!
23rd September - The Harvesters
It was a really delightful evening with some old friends and a first-time visitor. Bruce Watson (bottom right) was on his first  performing trip to the UK and opened the evening in lively fashion, including a song of he'd written recently called "The Importance Of Being Bruce" about the cliche of English people thinking all Australians are called Bruce!
The Harvesters did a wide range of Americana songs, some old-timey, some more recent and the hit for Joan Baez, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and there was, of course, some Appalachian flat-footing from Sue. Ian was on fine form, with Bob (below, centre) sounding better than ever on the dobro. One of the raffle prizes looked like a giant pot of Vegemite, the Australian spread, but in fact was a Marmite jigsaw! We were treated to excellent music and good humour all night: what more could you want?
13th May - Pilgrim's Way
An exceptional night of music at the club, notable for the absence of nattering and I don't mean from the audience! The Laners, who opened, rattled through seven unaccompanied songs to start the evening off in fine style.
The seoncd half from Pilgrim's Way was a full live rendition of their album "Stand And Deliver", presented - and acted out - in full costume, as you can see. The interplay of the instruments was mesmerising, especially Tom's fiddle and Jude's clarinet. She also played a crumhorn, English bagpipes and also a curtal (a small version of a bassoon.) Heather's bass playing was fluid, syncopated, energetic and drove the beat along. We were assured Ed was a "sensitive" drummer and so he proved. Jon's powerful vocals and fine guitar was the final piece in the Pilgrim's sound. Their encore of "Birdhouse In Your Soul" sung acappella was a tour de force. As one audience member said: "Wow!"