This is the, "what's been happening at FAF" column.
Here you'll find regular updates on FAF activity, trivia and gossip......
Pete and Tony were MCs for our first theme night and to celebrate Bob Dylan's 81st birthday, we encouraged everyone to do at least one of his songs. Richard started with This Train before doing his own birthday tribute, for his grandson's first, Ewan's Birthday (with the tune from Marie's Wedding). Dave was next and it just happened to be his birthday too (there was even a cake). He sang Days Of '49, Chumbawumba's Add Me (complete with nose flute solo, possibly a FAF first) and Neil Diamond's Pretty Amazing Grace. Pat returned with Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, Shelter From The Storm and Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, then Andy sang Who Killed Davey Moore, Buckets Of Rain and his own very moving song about his father's part in the war. Pete & Louise did Mozambique and the Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg song Birds And Ships then Alan sang It Ain't Me Babe and Forever Young. Martin did Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, I Pity The Poor Immigrant and Love Minus Zero before Sandie gave us a Dylan interlude with Royal Wedding, Zodiac and Traveller's Joy. We were back with Bob D as Tony & Grace sang Lay Down Your Weary Tune, and a talking blues in the Dylan style The Merthyr Tydfil Walking Country Blues then Sean sang Simple Twist Of Fate, Knocking On Heaven's Door (his George Floyd version) and Traveller's Despair. We welcomed back Geoff with She Belongs To Me and Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys (Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson) and Steve rounded things off with North Country Blues, You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go and Girl from the North Country.
Sarah and Stuart did joint MC duties on a night that saw a few more regulars returning. Richard (with wig and crash helmet for reasons only he will know) got us in the mood with Whip Jamboree, Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da and Football Crazy then Dave sang The Moving On Song, Life Gets Tedious Don't It? and Billy Connolly's My Granny Is A Cripple In Nashville. Martin did the John Martyn song Back Down My River, the Zuton's Valerie and This Love Won't Let You Fail (Chris Wood). It was good to see John doing a couple of Mike Scott songs, Nostalgia and Graduate as well as Richard Digance's Sod's Law and a version of Blue Bayou and Geoff made a welcome return singing Santiana to his own concertina accompaniment before being joined by Pete on guitar for two tunes Butterfly and Enrico. Mick sang Boys Of Bedlam, played a beautiful guitar version of Sí Beag Sí Mór and did his own song about St George The World Turned Upside Down then we had Keith with I Heard The Angels Singing, Lady Madonna and Let The Good Times Roll. Sarah sang her own Just To See You Again and Nina Simone's How It Feels To Be Free, then a full strength Pondlife gave us Black Muddy River (The Grateful Dead via Norma Waterston), Dirty Old Town and A Horse With No Name and Colin sang A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man, Oh The Wild, Wild Moors and Three Jolly Fishermen.
We again sat and sang “in the round” due to a quiet night number-wise. We roughly went clockwise round the circle, with Grace doing a fine job of MC-ing tonight. The evening started with the inimitable Richard, who sang two Bristol football related songs - Leadbelly’s Goodnight Irene for Rovers, and to balance things up Drink Up Thy Cider by The Wurzels for City. Next was John Blake with two great humorous songs Jobsworth By Jeremy Taylor, and one of Mike Scott’s less well known songs Bacon lamenting the declining standards of this favourite foodstuff! Alan Kirkpatrick was next on with a very nice version of Richard Thompson’s classic Dimming Of The Day, then one of his own fine songs She’ll find her own way through. Next on were Grace & Tony who were in trad mode tonight - Grace singing All The Little Chickens In The Garden with Tony accompanying on guitar, then the unaccompanied classic sea shanty South Australia which was joined in with gusto from all assembled. Martin completed the first round with Boo Hewerdine’s Sweet Honey In The Rock then Dylan’s New Morning. Richard started round 2 with a little known but very funny Adge Cutler song The Bristol Song with many word plays on different areas of Bristol, then Carl Perkins’ Hound Dog in honour of Louise who will be looking after his and Mair’s dog Tegwyn while they are away! John’s second set started with Jake Thackray’s Jumble Sale all about the delights found therein... then another Mike Scott song Dull, which was anything but.... Alan continued with Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately? and a nice blues My Liquor Store by Sleepy John Estes. Grace & Tony continued with their traditional seafaring selection with the Mingulay Boat Song and a rousing version of The Drunken Sailor then Martin brought round 2 to a close with the trad Fairwell To Fuineray, another song from the Scottish Isles, the Orkneys this time, based on the version by Kris Drever (Lau) who was born in the Orkneys, then another Dylan song As I Went Out One Morning. The final round of songs again started with Richard, with a version of Irving Burgie’s Jamaica Farewell called Patagonia Farewell referring to the Welsh colony in South America. John then went mellow country with Jim Reeves’ Guilty, followed by another blues by Alan, Big Bill Broonzy’s Black, Brown And White. Grace & Tony departed from their trad theme for Steve Earle’s Steve’s Last Ramble then everyone (including audience Louise, Barbara and David) joined in with the club song Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning to finish the evening in style. See you next time!
Tonight was an Easter special, MC'd on Zoom by Tony & Grace, who opened the proceedings with Steve Earl's Steve's Last Ramble, then Tony's Little Blue Plaques and 42 (both from his new album!) and Stephen Foster's Hard Times. Martin was on a keyboard for the Ninebarrow song Blood On The Hillside, returning to guitar for Chris Drever's Blackwater (Steel And Stone) and the traditional Rigs Of Time and London Town. Gordon sang Mercedes Benz and then Pete became the second keyboard player of the night with two improvised piano pieces Lament For Loch Down and Easter Tuesday. Andy sang Empty Pocket Blues, Rolling Home and I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound then Sonia did I Didn't Raise My Son To Be A Soldier, The Curragh Of Kildare and Rob Johnson's Alice Annie Wheeldon, before they joined forces for Bright Phoebus. Rose sang Each Coming Night (Iron And Wine), Lonestar (Norah Jones), Leaving London (Tom Paxton) and Like A Sad Song (John Denver).
Covid was casting its web, with a few regulars missing either with it or knowing someone who had. Tony was our MC on a quiet night and we performed in the round, and despite the low numbers there was plenty of quality on offer. Terry began (appropriately) with the Carpenters classic We've Only Just Begun, then I Get Carried Away (George Straits), the traditional She Moves Through The Fair and Canada-I-O. Martin gave us a passionate rendition of Show Of Hands' Country Life, then moved to a bit of prog rock with the Yes song Time And A Word, 80's pop with The Cure's Love Cats and some John Martyn - Fairytale Lullaby. Eric was next with his song The Beast And Beauty and Roger made a brief appearance, celebrating his 65th anniversary with Chris by singing All The Things You Are. Tony (number 1) was next, singing Nick Lowe's What's So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding?, his own Coronavirus Blues (from his new CD Lockdown? What Lockdown?), No Regrets and Donovan's Yellow Is The Colour. Mick sang St James Infirmary Blues, All Along The Watchtower (with some nice lead guitar from Tony (number 2)), his own The Night Is Ours and See That My Grave Is Kept Clean with most of the others joining for a bit of a jam! Tony (number 2) played great versions of Wild Horses (Stones), Northern Sky (Nick Drake), Heroes (Bowie) and It Must Be Love (Labi Siffre).
Stuart was our MC for the latest FAF and he was joined by Pete for the topical Ra Ra It's Putin and in lighter mood Fred Wedlock's Sunkissed and The Cat Came Back. David made a welcome return and sang a song of lost sailors and Ian Campbell's The Sun Is Burning, then Jo & Steve, on great form with Roll Me On The Water, John Prine's Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness, Diamonds And Rust and Leonard Cohen's One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong. Alan sang some Tom Paxton, I Can Tell, the ever classic Woodstock and his own Give Me A Fragment Of Your Time and Eric returned with two songs about John The Baptist. Sean played the bouzouki for My Father's Suitcase, the balalaika for his instrumental Lament To Mariupol and sang unaccompanied Farewell To Tarwathie, then Sandie played two Andy Cutting tunes At Halsway and Albert's Last Dance as well as Traveller's Joy. Andy did his own Mark Zuckerberg Blues and When Jimmy Ruffin Sings and Guy Clark's Dublin Blues and Mick played beautifully a guitar instrumental Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór and sang Song For George (about St George) and A Thousand Miles Behind. Sarah did The Wind On The Downs (Jess Vincent) and Collide and Chris made a rare appearance with his own songs Look After Yourself and Mr Brown's Boys.
We celebrated the gradual return of live music with our first guest night in many months. Tony was our MC as we welcomed Miranda Sykes. A few floor spots began the evening and there was a theme of thoughts going to the people of Ukraine. Sarah & Tony sang He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, Sean did his own Hold On (written about COVID but just as applicable now) and Martin gave us the Jez Lowe/James Keelaghan song My Blood Running. Tony & Grace continued with Peggy Seeger’s Love Call Me Home, Mick sang his own From The Wolf’s Point Of View and Keith did Eric Bibb’s Saucer ’n' Cup. The rest of the evening belonged to the wonderful Miranda Sykes, effortlessly switching between guitar, double bass and ukulele, she sang a selection of great songs from her recent albums Behind The Wall and The Farmhouse Sessions. A splendid evening!
It was back to the Cross Hands for a regular live FAF, with Pete as our MC. Richard put on his pink wig and specs for versions of Lily The Pink and Mellow Yellow, then Martin sang the Vin Garbutt song She Waits And Weeps, Shoals Of Herring and the Dubliners’ Rambling Rover and Alan was in good form with Lindisfarne’s Run For Home, Dylan’s I Shall Be Released and his own Wandering In Sweet Burren Rain. Eric was a newcomer to FAF and donned a cape and full face mask for his own pieces The Masked One, Joseph and a passage from the Psalms before Steve brought us back to earth with a couple of Jeffrey Foucault songs Walking at Dusk (The Liberty Bell) and Northbound 35 and Ray LaMontagne’s Burn. Roger was back with us and sang The Teddy Bear’s Picnic and I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen then Louise & Pete did Heart Of Gold, Crazy Man Michael and The Ashgrove. Andy was on the banjo for Martin Simpson’s Dark Swift And Bright Swallow, off to America for The Poor Cowboy and a song from the Brother Brothers, appropriately called Banjo Song, John gave us Will The Circle Be Unbroken? and You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond and Sandie played Robin’s Waltz and Liberty Bodice. Sean sang a couple of songs from the Pentangle repertoire Lord Franklin and Once I Had A Sweetheart and Tony did his own A Stranger’s Just A Friend You Haven’t Met Yet and How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?
Tony and Grace hosted a Valentine Special on Zoom, and love was certainly in the air! Terry began with Two Sleepy People and Have to I Told You Lately That I Love You? before we moved to Zoom regulars Sonia and Andy. Sonia sang two songs in tribute to Norma Waterson Bunch Of Thyme and North County Maid as well as the Ron Hines song Sonny's Dream, then Andy did two Incredible String Band songs How Happy I Am and Everything's Fine Right Now and Tom Paxton's I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound. James performed a couple of his own songs Nice And Slow and Battle Grey along with Springsteen's I Wish I Were Blind, then it was off to the Cusacks where Sean sang his own Two Minute Love Song, Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars and Dylan's Tomorrow Is A Long Time before Sandie played The Unloved, Kisses and Valentine (with Sean making a brief appearance in his Rag Morris attire!). There was was a new combo as Geoff teamed up with Louise & Pete for The Ballad Of Freda And Barry (complete with props), the Louise & Pete performed Birds And Ships. Tony & Grace had a Guy Clark song Magnolia Wind, Peggy Seeger's Love Call Me Home and The Dubliners' Holy Ground. Martin sang 500 Miles and the 80s ABC classic The Look Of Love and Rose did Go Away From My Window, In My Life and another Tom Paxton song Leaving Home.
Stuart was our MC for the pre Valentine FAF. Richard got us in the mood with Down By The Riverside, Swing Low Sweet Chariot and I Saw Her Standing There before Stuart & Pete gave us some of their old favourites The Jogging Song, The Napoli and The Snake. Tony & Grace sang Steve Earle's Last Ramble, a couple of tributes to Norma Waterston Wayfaring Stranger and Bunch Of Thyme plus The Hills Of Conamara. Martin was in traditional mode with Creeping Jane, Matty Groves, Limbo and Ewan McColl's Man Of The Travelling People then Sandie played Sky House, The Land Bar, Mrs Saggs and Traveller's Joy. Sean sang four of his own songs Pirate's Pardon, On The Gloucester Road and two odes to our squeaky floorboard Johnny B Wood and Woody (The Loudest Floorboard In The West) then Sarah did Money In My Pocket (with Pete on uke), Collide (The Earth Gang) and Who's Loving You? Colin rounded off with a song from the Isle of Man The Sheep Are Neath The Snow, Pete Seeger's Get Up And Go and a love song to Midland beers!
Tony was our MC for the latest FAF at the Cross Hands and he started us off with his Coronavirus Blues (from his forthcoming album!), a comment on events in the news There Was No Party and the first Scottish song of the evening to mark Burns Night Annie Laurie. Martin did some Dylan Love Minus Zero/No Limit, Hard Times and Farewell To Fuineray, Sean sang Sir Patrick Spens and played his instrumental Pachelbel’s Revolver and Sandie played The Yellow Haired Laddie, The Rakish Highwayman/Kelso Accordion And Fiddle Club and The Roman Wall. Terry was back, singing The Writer’s Song (Paul Metsers) and The Water Is Wide (joined with some lovely harmonies by Sarah) and Alan sang Sleepy John Estes’ Liquor Store Blues, Tom Paxton’s Hold Onto Me Babe and his own Rain On Stoney Ground. Keith was in good form with Let The Mothers Step Up, Kingdom Come and Deeper In The Well and Stuart & Pete gave us The Ukulele Song, Stuart’s version of Marie’s Wedding and Roseville Fair, Mick had more Dylan You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, his own take on Red Riding Hood and Love Hurts and Sarah sang her version of It’s My Party and her own Just To See You Again.
FAF was back for the New Year with Pete as MC. What better way to get under way than with Richard? He produced the usual bagful of props for Midnight Special and When The Saints Go Marching In. Martin was next with Sting’s Englishman In New York, Cat Steven’s Here Comes My Baby, Steve Knightley’s All At Sea and the shanty Roll Alabama Roll. We welcomed back Eddie and his National guitar for some serious blues - Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground/What Fun We Had In Illinois, Can’t Be Satisfied, Somethin’ I Like and Oh Glory How Happy I Am. Dave gave us The Union Of Different Kinds (Fishermen’s Friends), Spike Jones’ I’m My Own Grandpa, Song For David and Where Do You Go To My Lovely? Pondlife sang The Gloucestershire Wassail, Come To The Hills, The Skin That I’m In and were joined by Alison for Meet Me On The Corner. Mick continued to delight us with The Story Of Bonnie And Clyde (lyrics by Bonnie Parker herself), the traditional High Germany, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Stand By Me. Sarah sang Beautiful Tango and had us doing the gospel choir thing on Aretha Franklin’s Rock Steady and Colin did Peggy Seeger’s Come Fill Up Your Glasses, Sid Kipper’s Death Or Glory Wassail, a spoof Good King Wenceslas and The Day We Went To Rossey-o.