This is the, "what's been happening at FAF" column.

Here you'll find regular updates on FAF activity, trivia and gossip......


Once more we headed for Zoom with Tony as our virtual MC. Terry began with Tom Waits’ I Hope I Don’t Fall In Love With You and Burl Ives’ A Little Bitty Tear. It was great to have Lola joining us all the way from Bolton and she sang We Will Be Free and the Italian folk song Marianina. Martin took to the piano for Springsteen’s Thunder Road and was back on the guitar for Bright Side Of The Road, Kath gave us some tunes on the concertina, one from Northumberland and April Morning In June and Louise & Pete sang The Ashgrove and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (Pete on his cigar box guitar for the latter). Sonia & Andy were on good form again with a couple of Pentangle songs Sally Free And Easy and Cruel Sister, James did Dock Of The Bay and Seven Bridges Road and Stuart continued his comedy theme with Jake Thackray’s  Leopold Alcox and Viva Lyme Regis. Jon F performed the Grateful Dead song Ripple and Sean had been composing again (there will surely be a triple concept album at the end of this) - The Zoom Song and No One Believes In Experts Anymore. Keith roused us with Cousin Jack and Let The Good Times Roll (anticipating the pubs opening again on July 4th) and John B sang Oh! Sweet Nothin’ (Velvet Underground) and You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond. Geoff’s theme was the 80s (his favourite decade of course) with (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (in light of many of the recent demos) and Tainted Love and Sarah aslo touched on the Black Lives Matter theme with Sugar In The Hold. Tony and Grace paid tribute to Vera Lynn with Lily Marlene and also did Let It Be and Rose sang After You’ve Gone and the Randy Sparks song Today. Keith lead us once more for Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning.


FAF went virtual once again with Tony doing the MC honours and much material on all the things going on in the world. He and Grace started with a lockdown version of Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 and the hook line “Everybody must stay home” and a new version of the Pink Panther theme with some witty observations on Dominic Cummings trip to Durham. Gavin sang a new song about Fishponds’ own Hannah More and a lovely song in tribute to our recently departed friend Wildlife Jane. Jon sang Golden Apples Of The Sun (from the Yeats poem) and Only Our Rivers Run Free, one of several songs in relation to the current George Floyd protests around the world. Louise & Pete went back to the 1970s for the Strawbs’ Lay Down and Louise produced some props for the traditional William Taylor. James sang Elton John’s Border Song and the John Hanly song Past The Point Of Rescue, Martin did It Was On An April Morning and Steve Knightley’s Mesopotamia and Keith gave us Shingle By Shingle (Eric Bibb) and Walk Down That Lonesome Valley. Sean had been busy writing again, this time with The Day We Tore Old Colston’s Statue Down (after Robbie Robertson) and the brand new Coat Of Blue. Stuart had also re-written an old favourite as (We’re Not Going On A) Summer Holiday (he even got in bits of La Mer, Y Viva España, and Day Trip To Bangor - “Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we stayed in Fishponds?”) and also sang My Grandfather’s Ferret. Sonia & Andy were on good form with Beside The Sea (in Welsh and English) and the ISB song Big Ted and Geoff continued his recent seasonal themes with Jack In The Green and the Anne Briggs song Summer Is In. Sarah had written a new song about the current state of the world and followed with the equally apt Abraham, Martin And John and Rose added Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia and a lovely version of Let It Be Me. Keith rounded things off with Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning for everyone to join in on.


Another virtual FAF with Tony MC-ing again (he always does a splendid job!). There were a few odd noises and multiple echoes to contend with but we battled through regardless. James got things going with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Steve Goodman’s Chicken Cordon Blues and Sean followed with a brand new song Love In Isolation and the instrumental Fairy Dance. Louise & Pete gave us Paul Simon’s American Tune and Crazy Man Michael, Jon F sang Happy Hour (Ted Hawkins) and Gravel Road and Martin did Blow The Windy Morning (Faustus) and Limbo (about a debtor’s prison). Stuart was next with his ever popular version of Marie’s Wedding and the Tony Crozier song Dead Dog Scrumpy and Terry played accordion for The Blue Cockade and guitar on Unforgettable. Bev & Jim had just one song, the rather lovely Scarborough Fair (with Jim on guitar) and just one also from John B, Hank Williams’ I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow. Steve marked the recent birthday of Bob Dylan with Sign On The Window the John Smith song There Is A Stone. Tony did one of his favourite Steve Forbert songs Thinkin’ and a new Ralph McTell song Masks And Gowns in honour of NHS workers. Geoff had written his own lockdown version of Don’t Stand So Close To Me and followed with Oak And Ash And Thorn and Sarah sang a new one of hers I Hear The Wind Against My Strings and the standard Summertime. Sonia & Andy were in rousing form with Matty Groves and Pay Me My Money Down and Rose rounded off with The Coming Of The Roads and the Bessie Smith number After You’ve Gone.


Our third virtual FAF, again hosted by Tony (Zoom master in chief). Grace began, honouring International Nursing Day by reading the lyrics to the short Jethro Tull song Nursie and she also read her own Ode To Pigeons. She was joined by Tony for two new songs, Captain Tom (after Space Oddity) in honour of the 100 year old who has raised millions for the NHS and Ramping It Up using government statements about being “strong together”. Martin was joined by Jacki for a version of Mad World (in the style of Gary Jules) and on his own sang The King Of Birds. Louise & Pete did a couple of Pondlife favourites Dirty Old Town and The Parting Glass and Gavin (here known by his Zoom handle Mr. Ball - well done teach) sang School’s Out and a new song by his friend Carl, Jesus Had A Man Cave. Stuart gave us Alcohol (Ray Davies) and was joined by Carol for the Arthur Askey classic I Want A Banana. Sarah paid tribute to both Bill Withers and her Mum by singing her adaptation of Grandmas’ Hands as Mama’s Hands and also did Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. Sean & Sandi sang a new song The Lockdown Lambada and Sean did his tribute to the NHS Cradle To Grave. James did a very tasteful By The Time I Get To Phoenix and FDR In Trinidad and Jon sang Lebanon, Tennessee (Ron Sexsmith) and Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. Nice to see Steve who sang Empty Pocket Coronus Blues and the John Smith song Salty And Sweet and Keith was in fine form with Eric Bibb’s With My Maker and Lady Madonna. Sonia & Andy did Maggie Holland’s A Place Called England and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Geoff was full of the joys of spring with Hal-An-Tow and May Song (complete with foot tambourine) and Rose returned with Elizabeth Cotten’s Shake Sugaree and the Kate Wolf song Green Eyes.


A second lockdown FAF hosted by Tony saw a few different faces on our screens. Tony & Grace started with a song dedicated to Jane, A Stranger’s Just A Friend You Haven’t Yet Met and Tony recited a new poem by Max Boyce about the current situation, When Just The Tide Went Out. Martin took us back to the 17th century with a song from the Playford collection Love Will Find Out The Way and the traditional The Lark In The Clear Air and Sean played two new pieces Quarantine and the instrumental Embracing Solitude (we wonder what inspired those!). Kath was back with a couple of concertina tunes, including the popular Margaret’s Waltz and Stuart was in a jolly frame of mind, singing The Outdoor Type (Lomonheads) and Tom Lehrer’s Poisoning Pigeons In The Park. It was nice to see John Fieldhouse who sang a Gillian Welch song and was joined by Lucy for the Teenage Fanclub song Planets. Louise & Pete reprised their version of Zoom by popular request and then an occasional FAF visitor James sang Springsteen’s I Wish I Were Blind and Waterloo Sunset. Terry was next with his song about 17th century firemen who chased insurance claims, The Fire Mark and Sonia & Andy sang a couple of Incredible String Band songs The Painting Box and Everything’s Fine Right Now. Geoff marked St George’s Day with the Kate Bush song Lionheart and gave his tribute to Jane by doing what she always did so well, set a Thomas Hardy poem to music. In this case Geoff had chosen The Dance Continued. Keith gave us some of his best blues, Walking The Dog and Eric Bibb’s Less Of This More Of That, Bev sang a rather splendid unaccompanied version of Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love and Jim returned with some classical guitar in the form of Romanza. There was more Leonard Cohen from John B who did Tower Of Song as well as Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell and making here FAF debut was Rose singing The Water Is Wide and The Oak And The Ash. Keith lead us through Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning to round things off.


Since our last FAF at the Cross Hands, we have been plunged into the strangest of times due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Self isolation has meant that social gatherings have been suspended and we haven’t been able to meet at our usual venue. But undeterred we have managed to resurrect FAF from the comfort of our own sittings rooms! Thanks to the initiative of Tony, we got together via the wonders of Zoom (I guess most of us hadn’t heard of it a few weeks ago) and had the first digital FAF. Tony was our MC, skilfully manoeuvring around flaky internet connections and multiple echoes but holding everything together. He and Grace started us off with the first of three tributes to the recently departed Bill Withers and their version of Lean On Me and a lovely rendition of Wayfairing Stranger. Sean appeared from his loft with typically tasteful versions of Once I Had A Sweetheart and The Cuckoo, then Martin (on early for once!) sang James Taylor’s Fire And Rain and Shenandoah. It was nice to see Kath with some great squeeze box playing, doing Margaret’s Waltz and Salmon Tails. With Pondlife separated, Louise & Pete became a duo and dug out the 80s cheesy classic by Fat Larry’s Band, Zoom, with new words by Pete reflecting our frustrating use of the software in the current lockdown. They also paid tribute to Bill Withers with the very apt Just The Two Of Us. Reflecting the little luxuries that are getting us through, Stuart sang Marcus Turner’s The Chocolate Song (with a bar in front of him on a harmonica holder) and had a virtual grand singalong of Flanders & Swann’s The Hippopotamus. Great that Sonia & Andy could join us and they sang Bright Phoebus and Tom Paxton’s Did You Hear John Hurt? Gavin was next and remembered our good friend Jane, who has not been well lately, by singing her Song Of Hope and later doing the third Bill Withers song Ain’t No Sunshine. Jim made a rare solo appearance, playing some virtuoso classical guitar on an untitled Flamenco tune and Bill Evan’s Peace. Keith had reworked his Credit Crunch Blues into Isolation Blues and also reflected the glorious weather of late with Sunny Afternoon and Sarah sang Three Little Birds (she described it as a song of hope) and We’ll Meet Again. Geoff, appearing live from the wilds of somewhere north of Berkeley, did two classic folk ballads, Magpie (from the Unthanks) and Reynardine. Alan took us back in time with Here Comes Summer and his own song She’ll Find Her Own Way Through. Proceedings were rounded off with the club song Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, which we certainly will. What a great night - we’ll be doing it again!


The FAF faithful continued to turn out despite recent floods, storms and coronavirus. Plagues of locusts have yet to spotted over Fishponds! Tony was our MC and got things under way. With this FAF landing between St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day, he sang Sosban Fach in Welsh and followed with Black Velvet Band and The Wild Rover. Tom had his 12 string guitar which was well suited Hotel California and a rather jazzy Still Crazy After All These Years and Paul sang two of his own, Summertown and Holly Bush. John had a splendid red guitar and sang A Good Year For The Roses before returning to his punk roots on the Members’ Solitary Confinement. It was great to see Gayle after a long break from FAF and she sang Feelin’ Groovy, Pentangle’s Light Flight and Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue. There was a rare appearance from Chris who did The Kids Are Alright (inspired by Greta Thunberg) and a couple of his own songs with some very tasty guitar work. Andy had a new song about the current political state and also sang the Steve Earl song Come Back Woodie Guthrie and Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor to remember Jon Davy. Pondlife did an old favourite, Those Were The Days and an ode to Scotland Come By The Hills and Geoff was in light hearted mood with Jerry Keller’s Here Comes Summer and the Flanders & Swann classic The Gas Man Cometh. Tony (number 2) returned to the club with two classics, Nick Drake’s Northern Sky and Richard Thompson’s Beeswing and Terry did the traditional Wearing Of The Blue and Anne Lister’s Icarus.


Once again good numbers braved the winter weather for a busy FAF, hosted by Stuart. Richard was our traditional starter, marking St David’s Day with his little red dragon as he sang his version of Jamaica Farewell, Patagonia Farewell (it was  a Welsh colony apparently) and followed with Sloop John B. Tom was next with Ain’t Misbehavin’  and Allan Taylor’s Standing At The Door and it was good to see Mike make a welcome return as he sang Tom Paxton’s I Give You The Morning and played a nice bit of ragtime guitar. Andy’s voice had returned and 12 Volt Joe were back as a duo with the Steve Earl song I Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye and Andy’s own Be Bold Be Courageous Be Free, Dave playing lap slide on both. Pat sang Woody Guthrie, Oregon Trail and Harry Chapin’s All My Life’s A Circle, Ron (returning for a second visit) did All The Roadrunning (Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris) and Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown before our very own Gordon made a rare appearance singing The Water Is Wide and Jonathan Kelly’s I Used To Know You. Sean sang the long traditional ballad Sir Patrick Spens and was persuaded to do a short instrumental and Tony & Grace were also marking St David’s Day, singing in Welsh and English on Calon Lân (A Pure Heart). They also reminded us that it was Shrove Tuesday and Mardis Gras with Tony doing his ode to the pancake complete with pancake tossing from Grace! Stuart & Pete were in jolly mood with Loudon Wainwrights’ Ukulele Song and I Wanna Be Like You and John (number 1) played splendidly, a mussette called Indifferently and a tune by John McCusker Khazi (for his friend Ian Carr). Sarah was next with the Beach Boy’s Goin’ South and the gospel flavoured I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Back with us after a long break was John (number 2), complete with bodhrán he sang Down By The Riverside and You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond (Blind Willie Johnson), then Paul sang two of his own songs Still Life and Barbara Says and Geoff did McAlpine’s Fusileers and The Oldest Swinger In Town. Terry gave us It Was You and an ode to his courting days Bist Going To Or What? Before Martin rounded the evening off in traditional mood with Two Magicians and The Jolly Waggoner.


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it was a night sprinkled with romance. Our MC Pete introduced Richard, who impressed us all with his new resonator ukulele and sang Freight Train and Goodnight Irene. Tom was next with Jim Croce’s These Dreams and his own Memory Store before Stuart & Pete gave us a couple of tongue in cheek love songs, Oh Sue and Roseville Fair. John was in romantic mood, playing Love Is The Sweetest Thing and an eastern European tune A Night In The Garden Of Eden and Roger sang For All The Girls I’ve Loved Before and Rhinestone Cowboy. It was nice to see a couple of new faces at the club and first up was Stefan who played some superb guitar whilst singing a sadder love song (it ended in murder in true folk song style) and of the Battle Of Lansdown. Geoff (number 1) was next with Died For Love and the old Joy Division 'folk' song Love Will Tear Us Apart (well, June Tabor did a version). Our other newcomer was next, Ron sang Billy Bragg’s A New England and continued the Kirsty McColl connection by singing her song Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me. Sean gave us the Si Kahn song It’s Not Just What You’re Born With and his own untitled instrumental and Andy (who had lost his voice) played some banjo tunes including Buffalo Girls. Tony sang a love song to mark his Mum’s 90th birthday, one of her favourite songs, Roger Whittaker’s The Last Farewell and was joined by Grace to celebrate Mardis Gras with Paul Simon’s Take Me To The Mardis Gras. Jake gave us some blues with When Things Go Wrong (It Hurts Me Too) and our second 80s synth pop song of the night, Yazoo’s Only You. It was nice to see Neil again and especially nice to hear him play some very tasty Bossa Nova before Colin sang two Tom Lewis songs Down By The Dockyard Wall and The Bos'n, The Gunner And Me. Geoff (number 2) was in good form with his versions of Lucile and The Wild Rover (with a couple of nice variations) and a busy evening was rounded off by Martin with She Moved Through The Fair and Pretty Peggy O.


Another busy evening, this time with Geoff as our MC. Stuart & Pete kicked off with the ever popular Show Of Hands song The Napoli and Ukulele Man with Pete doin’ the pickin’. There were more flying fingers as Sean & Sandi (Folie à  Deux) sang an ode to January dieting We Eat A Lot Less Now before Sean played Pentangle’s version of Once I Had A Sweetheart with some very fancy guitar work. Tom was next with Dave Paskett’s I Could Not Take My Eyes Off Her and You’ve Got A Friend then Andy played some banjo tunes including Paddy On The Railway and sang his own song Tom Lee about a 17th century murder. Jane had another poem set to her own tune Gypsies and an old song of hers to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, Holocaust. John took us to France with his accordion with Sous Le Ciel De Paris and played a couple of klezmer tunes Peace Be With You/Dance Young Man and it was nice to see an occasional visitor, Paul with his songs Summertown (remembering childhood holidays in Cornwall) and Ulysses. Jake brought his resonator guitar for a couple of his own songs Only Lying To Ourselves and Vanishing Man and Pat sang Nobody’s Child and Jug Of Punch. Tony did South Australia in tribute to his friend Aussie Pete and What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us? In tribute to Terry Jones. Terry sang about Bristol merchants and the slave trade and an ode to pianos, before the two Geoffs. Geoff (number 1) sang Galway Shawl and Benny Hill’s Jose's Cantina before Geoff (number 2) did Tending My Sheep and The King Of Rome. There was just enough time for Stuart & Pete to do The Snake (“more key chnages than Eurovision” said Geoff), Sean to sing Model Of  A Modern Prime Minister and Andy doing Refugee Blues from the W.H. Auden poem.


The first FAF of the New Year and a fine turnout considering the wet and windy weather. Andy was our MC and got us underway with a couple of banjo tunes, Chilly Winds/Boatman plus Mike Waterson’s The Scarecrow. Pat followed with Lost Highway and Warren Zevon’s Carmelita. Gavin & Simon sang Si’s song Unseen Heroes and The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love and Jane had two new poems set to her own tunes taken from a book she found in a charity shop, The Echoing Green and A Ship Sails Up To Bideford. Roger was in mischievous form again (his electronic keyboard gave us snippets of Mozart at various points in the evening) singing his show tunes, including Oh What A Beautiful Morning. John gave us some Scottish tunes on the accordion Stronsay/Sailing Through The Narrows as well as Walter Bulmer’s Polkas/The Quaker, then Geoff sang the first wassails of the night Stroud Wassail and the Kipper Family’s twist on the genre Trunch Wassail. Jake did a couple of his own songs Reminders Of You and Leave On Your Light, later singing What A Day For A Daydream. Stuart & Pete began with their tribute to Neil Innes I’m The Urban Spaceman (another kazoo holder malfunction included!) and were joined by Louise for the Gloucestershire Wassail. Tony & Grace followed the theme with Here We Come A Wassailing and Tony sang Christie Moore’s City Of Chicago. Nice to see Jo & Steve again as they sang The Storms Are On The Ocean, John Prine’s Never Gonna Let Her Go and Dylan's Farewell Angelina. Dave was also back after his Christmas triumph, this time in more serious mode with a monologue from Jaws about sailors lost to sharks after Hiroshima, leading into Spanish Ladies. He followed with the Fisherman’s Friends song No Hopers Jokers And Rogues. Colin was also in a nautical vein with a song about the 1899 sea disaster off Lynmouth where the lifeboat was carried over land from Porlock before singing Jez Lowe’s Morpeth Olympics. Martin was in a more reflective mood with Sally Gardens and The Parting Glass.


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