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scribe remarked during the evening that in fifty years of singing in
folk clubs throughout the country, I had never found a club which
displayed such a talented and entertaining set of floor singers as
Harbury. Thursday night’s crop of musical talent produced an
evening of laughter, moments of poignancy, and chorus singing of a
The theme was “Whatever makes you happy”. Sue and I began
proceedings with Sovay (a kind-hearted lady highway robber) and “The
Gasman Cometh” from Flanders and Swann. Following us came Rik
Middleton who sang the show song “Oh what a beautiful morning” and
“Flying down to Rio”. Maureen and Janny told us they’d searched
the folk annals for a happy song from the female perspective, but found
to their consternation that all the girls’ songs were about death, lost
love, pain and misery! They gave us “Searching for Lambs” and
“Cupid’s Garden” in their own inimitable style. A welcome return
from Bob Clucas brought a cleverly contrived out-of-tune self-penned
song about his Dad, followed by his tribute to his favourite football
team Liverpool. What else could it have been but “You’ll never
walk Alone”, which prompted the Harbury Chorus Engine to fire up with a
vengeance! Sue followed with a lovely rendition of Pam Ayres’
monologue about gardening “Once I get up from me Chair”, and we then
delighted in a second serving of Flanders and Swann with a mighty “Mud,
Mud, Glorious Mud”. Norman brought the first half to a fitting
end with one of his rib-tickling compositions which included the
revelation that one of the happiest moments in life is getting out of
bed and realising that nothing is hurting! He finished with James
Taylor’s “Carolina on my Mind”, and we all retired to the bar for
Pete Bones began the second spasm with a song detailing the horrors
involved in setting up a band, and was then joined by Liz for a super
interpretation of Enda McCabe’s glorious “Wind and Tides
Permitting”. Peter Cooke unleashed the Harbury Chorus Engine with
“The day we went to Rothesay-o” and a fine version of “Fiddler’s Green”
accompanying himself on English concertina. Laura took us to
America with Eric Bibb’s poignant “Shingle by Shingle”, followed by
“Happy Together”, the 1967 hit from the Turtles. Peter McDonald
then transported us to New Zealand, from whence Paul Metsers wrote
“Play it All Again”, his tribute to the legend that is Nic Jones.
Back halfway round the world to Trunch in Norfolk, Peter gave us Sid
Kipper’s lifestyle advice song, “Jam Tomorrow”. Next came
Poacher’s Pocket – Campbell and Colin were joined by Carol Gillespie,
and their “Lady came from Baltimore” and “Rolling Home” were a joy to
listen to. Don presented a dilemma by stating that the things
that made him happy were sad songs. Hmm. He sang Gretchen
Peter’s “When you are Old” followed by Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”
in exemplary style, leaving guitarists in the audience weeping in
envy! Peter Mason brought us “Lancashire Lads” and “Going for a
Soldier”, a medley first put together by Dave Burland and that man Nic
Jones. His second song was the admirable Jez Lowe’s “Idle
Time”. Last came our very own Rumble-o, whose well-orchestrated
versions of “Ye Mariners All” and “Row my Bully Boys, Row” brought the
evening to a most satisfying conclusion.
Thanks to our lovely audience and musos, our June raffle made £90,
which is winging its way to the Warwick Hospital charity fund
SWFT. Don’t forget next month’s theme is “This land is your land”
and Peter McDonald will be in the chair.
The theme for Folk Club Number 414 was “Light & Dark.”
Sue & Ian kicked off the first half, keeping to the theme, with
“The Light from the Lighthouse” and “Bonny Light Horseman.” Bob was
next with 2 Paul Simon songs, “Patterns” and “Duncan”. Sue Harris
followed with “Once upon a time” and “The Turn of the Road”. Rik sang
about May Day frolics in the outdoors and then a very serious song
about clowns. Robin followed with “This is all the Light I Need” and
“Light Flight”. Norman closed the first half with “Early Morning Rain”
(written by Gordon Lightfoot) and “Switch the Light Off” and as
instructed I switched the lights off at the end of his performance!
The second half commenced with The Choir singing “The May Song” and
“Lay Down your Weary Tune”. Peter McDonald followed with “We Stayed
Awake” and “Here is My Home”. Laura made a welcome return to the Club,
she sang “Dawn” followed by “There’s a Rugged Road” Peter Mason was
next with “The Island” and “Man of War”. Don followed, having already
helped out and accompanied 2 previous acts, he sang “Made of Light” and
“Dark End of the Street” Des had us all joining in with his 2 songs,
“New York Mining Disaster” and “When Autumn Skies are Blue” Pete
Grassby sang “I Just Want You to Know” and “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie”.
Rumbelow closed the evening with “Hal an Tow” and “Keep Hauling”
Thank you everyone who supported the raffle which raised £94.55 for Cancer Research.
The theme next month is “Anything that makes you happy” so don’t miss it.
made the country and man made the town”. So wrote William Cowper in
1785. Harbury Folk Club performers embraced “town and country” equally
to find a wide range of material suitable for the April club’s musical
The Harvesters (Sue and I) started the evening with Mark Knopfler’s
“The Next Time I’m In Town” and followed that with “Who Will Watch The
Home Place?”. Bob was next and sang the Kinks’ “Village Green
Preservation Society” and Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”. Janny and
Maureen can always be relied upon to find ideal songs for any occasion
and gave us “What Will We Do?” and then “My Husband’s Got No Porridge
In Him”. Rik followed them and sang Ewan MacColl’s “Dirty Old Town” and
then one of Jake Thackray’s more serious songs about “Old Molly
Medcalfe”. Pete and Liz were next to the fore with Ralph McTell’s
delightful “Nigel The Nightingale”, blithely singing in Berkeley
Square. Their next offering was “The English Meadow”. Sue Harris had
chosen to go solo this time and sang the lovely “Beating of My Own
Heart” followed by another Jake Thackray favourite, “The Widow Of
Brid”. The first half was brought to a close by Ted and Sue, commencing
with the plaintive “Rambleaway” and then “The Farmer’s Toast”, which
got everyone singing lustily in the chorus.
The number of available performers meant that second half would be the
final one for this night and was opened by Harbury Folk Club choir with
Jez Lowe’s “These Coal Town Days” and then followed with “Home Lads,
Home”. Peter McDonald was next to perform and sang “Painting The Town”
and “Where Ravens Feed”. An infrequent visitor to the club, but always
welcome, Barbara sang “Still Waters” (written by yours truly) and then
“When Yellow’s On The Broom”. Don, the man of infinite guitar chords,
sang “A Town Called Birmingham” and the enchanting “Rhythms Of Your
Grace”. Robin had also chosen to perform solo this time and gave us
“City Of New Orleans” and another fine Ralph McTell song: “England”.
Debbie was next and recited her poem “The Coffee Morning” and sang her
own song “The Carnival Queen” with its rousing chorus. Peter Mason can
always be relied upon to meet the brief and gave us “From Hull and
Halifax And Hell” followed by Maggie Holland’s “A Place Called
England”. Our next performer announced that he had performed at the
club before but not in the present premises. Much head-scratching in
pursuit of recollection ensued while Peter Scott sang “The Truro
Agricultural Show” and the “Devon Bellringers Song”, accompanying both
expertly on English concertina. The final spot of the evening went to
the ever-popular “Poachers’ Pocket” (Campbell and Colin) who gave us
“Scarlet Town”, giving Campbell the opportunity to play his
recently-acquired banjo. Their final song was called “The Canadian”,
another fine chorus song.
A total of sixteen different acts comprehensively covered the evening’s
theme. The raffle raised an impressive £116.00 for Cancer Research.
This will go towards the money being raised by Sue and me who will be
taking part in May’s Great Birmingham 10K on behalf of this important
Sue will run next month and her chosen theme for the evening is “Light
and Dark”. Make it a date in your diary to see more excellent music:
Thursday 2nd May, starting 8:00pm, in Harbury Village Club.
meeting of Harbury Folk Club is unique, and beforehand, no one can ever
predict what it will be like. The only thing we can be pretty
sure about is that, whatever happens, we will be treated to fine music
and entertainment. The evening of 6 March 2019 was no exception.
I must confess to becoming a little concerned when learning that there
would be quite a number of regular performers who, for one reason or
another, would not be able to attend. However, by 8:00pm, there
were enough performers to fill two halves of the evening, and the room
was filled to capacity with a warm and responsive audience who were
soon found to be in good voice as well.
After Liz and I started with a chorus song, we were followed by
contributions from Rik Middleton, “Ragged”, Bob Clucas, and Don, before
Ian and Sue, aka The Harvesters, brought the first half to a
close. The second half included items from Maureen and Janny,
Peter Mason, Sue Harris and further contributions from Rik, Ian and
Sue, and Liz and me.
Perhaps the most memorable act also came in the second half when two
young newcomers, Ben and Stuart, performed some Gypsy Jazz on guitar
and fiddle. This was to give us a foretaste of what was in store
for the Harbury Jazz Club which was due to have its first meeting the
following Thursday. Their amazing musical talent and quality of
entertainment electrified the atmosphere and left us all buzzing.
We hope they will come again.
With the number of performers being less than usual, the evening drew
to a relaxing close at the early time of 10:00pm, but I don’t think any
member of the audience or performer would have felt they had been
“short changed”. It had been yet another unique meeting, the
likes of which could not have been predicted.
Many thanks to those who performed and also those who supported the
raffle. It raised £90.00 which has been donated to Harbury
Village Club. Once again the staff and committee of the club were
welcoming, helpful and friendly and contributed to the success of the
The next meeting of the club will be on April 4th and will be hosted by Ian Hartland. The theme is to be “Town and Country”.
Who Sang What
Pete & Liz: Green Grow the Rushes O
Rik Middleton: John Barleycorn, Bantam Cock
Ragged: Lady Lie Here, Feeling Groovy
Bob Clucas: Furgus the Frog, April Come She Will
Don Arthurson: Why do you Whisper?, On the Road
Ian and Sue H: The Stranger, East Virginia
Pete Bones: Wild Mounting Time
Maureen and Janny: Whitby Maid, The Slain
Peter Mason: Ginger Bill, Knocker Upper Man
Stuart and Ben: Minor Spring, Soureneir Disenprogan
Sue Harris: It’s Spring Again
Rik Middleton: A Frog he Did a Wooing Go
Ian and Sue H: Wagon Wheel
Pete and Liz: Celtic Blessing
theme for the February Folk Club was “Cheery Songs for Dreary Days” so,
on a fairly dreary evening, the performers set out to cheer a willing
audience. Sue started off the evening with a song about proving
love by performing various tasks, including killing dragons! Pete
and Liz Bones followed with a beautiful song, “Over the Lancashire
Hills”, written by Simon Nicol. Pete performed a glorious version
of Albert and the Lion written about Cleethorpes by John Conolly.
It was Rik’s turn next and he sang “Cock of the North” and a song about
Adam and Eve which showed his amazing ability to remember very
complicated words. The next group of musicians (Robin, Sue and
Sally) caused your compere a great deal of trouble by changing their
name yet again. This month they called themselves “Ragged”.
The name established, they sang two very cheery songs including
“Jambalaya on the Bayou” featuring Sue playing lager-phone. Bob
then made a lovely first visit to the Club by singing Paul Simon’s “Red
Rubber Ball” and a self-penned song “Georgie”. We hope he will
become a regular visitor and we await the next verses of Georgie with
impatience. Peter McDonald sang two Tom Paxton songs, “I thought
you were an A-Rab” and an impassioned plea against veganism, “Don’t
Slay that Potato”. Each was sung with tongue firmly in
cheek. The first half was brought to a close by the Choir
performing two songs they sang at the Folk Club Concert, “Hand Me Down”
written by Nancy Kerr and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallellujah”. Both are
firm favourites of the choir, featuring Lynne on accordion, Ruth on
cello and the Peters playing guitar and piano.
The second half started in rather alarming fashion with an invasion of
WW2 pilots. No wait! It was The Daft Dames performing a
poem by Les Barker in their own inimitable fashion. The
performance would cheer even the most miserable onlooker! The
only way to follow such craziness was to introduce Keith Donnelly who
got the audience moving left, right, up and down to accompany his first
song. Keith then sang a version of “Scarborough Fair” which started off
in a very gentle traditional fashion and changed as it went
along…. By way of a complete contrast, Laura came on to sing two
lovely songs accompanied by guitar and ukulele, “Life is a Long Song”
by Jethro Tull and a 1950’s song “Tonight, You Belong to Me”.
Rumble-o came on to perform a super version of the song from the series
“The Detectorists” and a song about Cornwall, “Cousin Jack”. It
was such a treat to hear these lovely songs again for those of us who
had been at the Village Concert last month. Sue and Ian performed
their songs with their customary skill and dexterity with Sue playing
banjo (a much-maligned instrument). “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “The
Cuckoo” had the audience joining in the choruses with enthusiasm.
Morris Oxford performed the oldest known drinking song, “Bring us in
Good Ale”, and “The Phantom Flasher” which gave us all another chance
to join in with excellent choruses (when we weren’t laughing too
much). To finish the evening, The Somerville Gentlemen came on to
sing two songs. This was a very special performance as it was the
first appearance as a “Gent” for Peter McD, but they were a depleted
band as Ted was not able to join them. Not withstanding, they
sang the beautiful song “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” followed by
a Cosmetheka music hall favourite “Love, Love, Love”.
What a lovely evening! We all went on our ways cheered and having had a
really good sing. We had raised a marvellous £100 for Cancer
Research. Peter and Liz Bones are running the Folk Club next
month and the theme will be “Springing into Life”.
Christmas over for another year, and having celebrated the New Year
only a few days before, we had our first Folk Club of the year.
Tonight’s theme (and number 410) was ‘Family and Friends’. I had also
read on social media that this year 2019 is the Centenary Year of the
To start the evening Deb began proceedings with “Liverpool Lullaby” and
then handed over to Rik who sang about “Three Drunken Maidens” who were
sisters and came from the Isle of Wight. He then told us some fabulous
stories about his upbringing and the use of Cockney between him and his
friends. He then sang “Crazy World” which had a chorus for the Harbury
Chorus Engine, which was all about family life. Then Sue sang a
wonderful visual song about “When Father Painted the Parlour” and
decorating nightmares. Then she performed the “Grandparents Song”. Up
came Robin whose first song was by Ralph McTell, “First and Last Man”,
which was rather spiritual and ethereal too. His second song was by
John Denver called “Poems, Prayers and Promises” with Don on guitar.
Laura (a Spa Strummer) played her guitar and sang a Gary Jones song, “A
Child is Born” which had a beautifully simple chorus. Her second
offering was “Miner’s Dream of Home” which was about a Miner who had
been away from home for over 10 years and had been dreaming of home.
The Harvesters sang about “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “I
Don’t Believe You’ve Met my Baby”. Our final performer for the first
half was Don who sang about a family member developing dementia with “I
Get Lost in my Home Town”, where they are seen arguing with ghosts and
not recognising members of the family anymore. He finished with an
Eddie Reader song, from her album of Robbie Burns songs, with “Wild
The second half was begun with the Harbury Folk Club Choir and “My
Dancing Day” from their recent appearance at Harbury Church’s annual
Christmas Eve Carol Service. Their second offering was a Roger Jones
song from the musical “The Inn Crowd”, “For to us a Child is Born”.
Peter McDonald followed that with “The Friend” written by Alan
Richardson who appears at Warwick Folk Club. This song was about
meeting a ‘friend’ called Trevor in a bar. His second song was a
Scottish song by Lionel McClelland called “Come and Spend a While wi’
me”. Then I continued my run of Peters. Pete Grassby sang a John
Conolly song, “Widow Maker”, about how difficult it is in raising a
growing lad. Then “Mother’s Day” and how we all love ours the best.
Then without re’pete’ting myself, I introduced Peter Mason who sang
about leaving people behind and “Brothers”. Keith Donnelly sang a song
not for public consumption in the shape of a song for Bill Bates 60th
Birthday and then “My Sister, Laura and Me”. He also told us of a
secret trip he made to Ullapool to visit relatives but, when he got
there, he found that they had made a similar trip to Leamington Spa on
exactly the same date. Rumble-o sang about “Three Jolly Fishermen”
about work colleagues/friends and, in jest, sang “Here comes the Sun”.
The third half was begun by Debs who sang “Summertime” and read one of
her poems called “Mum” which she wrote for a friend’s Mum who had died.
Des finished off the evening with “The Cherry Tree Carol” about Mary
and Joseph and then “Shallow Brown” which was a rousing finish to the
The raffle raised £92.00 for the Missing People charity. The next Folk
Club is on February 7th when your hosts will be Ted and Sue Crum and
the theme is “Cheery songs for dreary days”.