This is the, "what's been happening at FAF" column.
Here you'll find regular updates on FAF activity, trivia and gossip......
Our annual Christmas night was full of festive fun and food, all expertly compered by our MC Tony. Richard got things under way wearing a Christmas jumper, Donald Trump mask and a Christmas tree on his head (slightly unnerving!) and singing Hound Dog and White Christmas. Terry was up next with a song of his own about the plight of those less fortunate at Christmas and his version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. It was good to see a full strength Pondlife with their seasonal Winter Song and All Around My Hat. Jane followed with two Christmas songs from the Kipper Family Bring Us In Hot Tea and The Ivy And The Holly and Geoff reprised his popular Foot Tambourine. The song mentions the said instrument as Geoff’s USP, but Gavin produced one of his own! It did make a good impersonation of sleigh bells and was put to use in the next song as Geoff was joined by Pete on ukulele to perform an extract from Sergei Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé Suite, opus 60 (!), better known as the tune in Geg Lake’s I Believe In Father Christmas. It was great to see Jess, making a special visit and accompanied by Stuart. She sang Winter Wonderland and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Also good to see Sandy playing accordion with Sean on John Kettle’s We Need Each Other Now and the Kate Rusby version of While Shepherds Watched. Dave (in a string of flashing lights) gave us the Garth Brooks song Belleau Wood about the Christmas truce in the trenches and his brilliant rendition of Ronnie Barker’s Pismronunciation Of Worms that had us all in stitches. Trevor, The Bard Of Windmill Hill did If You And I Were Penguins (a Christmas love poem), his own version of Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (about the tourist industry there) and Catastrophe The Careless Cat. Andy was in old time mode with two Bill Morrissey songs There’s A Bright Side Somewhere and a lovely song about a couple discussing which type of wood to put on the stove Birches. Keith sang the blues as only he can, Every Day I Have The Blues and Hold On and Colin returned to the war theme with Mike Harding’s Christmas 1914 and Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry. Tony had an environmental message with his song Green Christmas and sang Elvis Costello’s (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding? Gavin & Simon played Gavin’s Into Our Chaos and a nice jazzy version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Martin sang Golden Vanity and the evening was rounded off by Sarah & Terry with a beautiful Silent Night.
FAF are pleased to say that door money and donations from this evening raised £60 which will be given to Elm Tree Farm (part of the Brandon Trust) who provide support and training to adults with learning disabilities and autism
A night that started quietly, but filled up as it went along. Pete was our MC. There was an air of sophistication, particularly Richard wearing a snazzy waistcoat and tie topped of with a red cowboy hat. He blazed his way through Folsom Prison Blues, Blue Suede Shoes and Worried Man Blues (perhaps it should have been a blue hat!). Geoff sang a couple of sea shanties unaccompanied, including the Dead Horse Shanty. John did Gold In The Morning Sun, Caroline Digby-Pratt (Jake Thackray) and his own Gloria, with rhymes galore. Terry gave us Two Sleepy People, the Phil Ochs song There But For Fortune and The Wild Mountain Thyme. Our only woman performer tonight was Jane, who sang three of her own songs Oak Tree, Autumn and I Love Green Olives (we didn’t all agree - such is the great olive debate that has split us more than Brexit). Tom did the Ralph McTell song (better known by Fairport Convention) The Hiring Fair, an Allen Taylor song and Damsel Fly and Sean followed with his own take on Yesterday, the Stan Rogers song Lock-Keeper and his own NHS. Roger broke new ground with his electronic keyboard, complete with funky drum parts for Silent Night. He then sang a capella with a couple of show tunes, I Believe and You Are My Heart’s Delight. Tony did Dylan’s Is Your Love In Vain?, The Eagle’s Desperado and Blind Alfred Reed’s How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Time And Live? Martin rounded things off with Linden Lea, Man In The Moon and Midnight Feast.
It was a packed night with Stuart as MC and a strong war theme, being close to Remembrance Day. Richard got us underway with Salonika and Drink Up Thy Cider. Stuart & Pete followed with Jez Lowe’s If I Could Buy A Blightly and were joined by Louise for Crazy Man Michael. Some new faces next (and young too!) as Eleanor, Jade & Rachel brought us up to date with Hey Ho (The Lumineers) and Anyone Else But You (The Moldy Peaches). Sean sang two of his own songs, The Days Before The War and Kindred Spirits (about the link between some Native Americans and the Irish). Terry did John Condon (the youngest soldier to die in the first World War) and Sally Wheatley, Jane sang Red Poppies and Poppy Red (she had obviously thought this through!) and Andy sang Picture In My Pocket (about his Grandfather in WWI) and Dance Of The Fingers (about families divided along the Mexican border). Roger entertained us with When You’re Smiling and And This Is My Beloved from Kismet. It was good to see a full strength Kitchen Kapelye with their Klezma tunes, a couple from eastern Europe (both called Happy) and a set of tunes including the popular Hava Nagila. Mike kicked off the second half with The Dive (Steve Knightley) and Stranger To The Season (Ralph McTell) and Jake (complete with a splendid resonator guitar) sang Brown Trout Blues and his own song Into The Groove. Tony & Grace had us all joining in on Where Have All The Flowers Gone? and Tony sang There’s A Light In The Darkest Place. Geoff had two war songs from different perspectives, Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding and the Chris Wood song Spitfires. Colin sang two Roy Bailey songs, Maria Diaz (about Nicaragua) and Ghost Story (about the Falklands), Martin did Will Ye Go To Flanders? and On The Road To Passchendaele and Tom rounded off the evening with Lasso The Moon and I Miss My Friends Tonight.
A splendid turn out tonight with Andy as our MC and a wonderful spotlight from our very own Sarah. Richard started us off (wearing an enormous pair of spectacles) with a song from 1928 Button Up Your Overcoat and Jambalaya. Andy followed with his tale about a plan to use motorway verges to solve the shortage of burial grounds Bury Me Not On The M4 West, then Tony & Grace sang A Stranger’s Just A Friend You Haven’t Met and a song about the Enclosure Act. Sean sang his ode to our squeaky floorboard Woody, The Loudest Floorboard In The West and did an instrumental in the spirit of Pentangle, Nightangle with some excellent guitar playing. John played tribute to Leon Redbone with Settin’ By The Fire before returning to Jake Thackray with Country Bus.
Sarah ended the first half with four songs, starting with her ‘greatest hit’ A Change Is Gonna Come and was then joined by Sheila, Louise & Anne-Marie becoming the recently formed all woman shanty crew A Rum Do for Maid On The Shore. Next she sang I Put A Spell On You and ended the set, complete with baseball cap, sparkly jacket and mirrorball for Rapper’s Delight/Good Times, Pete providing the Nile Rodgers funk on ukulele.
The second half began with Geoff (number 1) and two murder ballads Two Sisters and Polly Vaughan, then Jane sang Lily and Thomas Hardy’s On Martock Moor and Geoff (number 2) did Lakes Of Pontchartrain and The Mexicans Dance On Their Hats. There was a rare Pondlife performance and they were in spooky Halloween territory on Lady Eleanor. Stuart & Pete followed with Love Potion Number 9. A new face last month, Phil returned with the Johnny Cash song Devil’s Right Hand and Tell Old Bill, Andy sang John Prine’s Linda Goes To Mars and Martin did Homeward Bound.
Sarah rounded off in great style with three more songs, Sugar In The Hold, the Beach Boys’ Vegetables and Hindi Zahra’s Beautiful Tango.
Another night of fab music with faces new and returning, all hosted by Geoff in his inimitable style! Andy was back with us to pay tribute to two recently departed legends of rock. He played the Grateful Dead song Ripple in memory of their lyricist Robert Hunter and Pressed Rat And Warthog for Ginger Baker. Stuart & Pete were in seasonal mood with Autumn Almanac and celebrated 50 years of the Abbey Road album by playing Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Tony providing the ‘hammer’ on triangle. They anticipated Halloween with Then He Bit Me, an old Pondlife favourite. Sean was topical with When Your Brexit Plans Unwind (to the tune of Windmills Of Your Mind) and his climate change song Costing The Earth. He was even thoughtful enough to provide an aide-memoire for us to sing the chorus - a strip of drawings. He went trad later with The Cuckoo. Tony was in a more mellow mood after his protest song burst of recent weeks. He sang his own song A Stranger’s Just A Friend You Haven’t Met and the Eagle’s Peaceful Easy Feeling. He returned to protest later with This Land’s Not Your Land, adapted from Woodie Guthrie. A new face at the club, Jake, wowed us with his singing and guitar playing. He did the lovely Johnny Flynn song Detectorists (from the TV series) as well as a couple of his own, Lily Rose (about his newly adopted daughter) and Get Back Home To You. Nice to see Jane performing again and doing her wonderful song settings of poetry, this time it was Thomas Hardy’s Lizbie Browne and a hunting song. She also sang her own song Autumn. Geoff had comedy for us with Hugh Laurie’s brilliant Mystery and his own equally brilliant DADGAD Addict, about his love for the popular open guitar tuning. It was great to see Viv back again and joining John for their accordion duo Squeezeboxing. They played a French mussette, a tango, a Northumberland Lullaby and ended with The Trumpet Hornpipe, better known to us all as the Captain Pugwash theme! Colin was philosophical with Die And Forget It, Phat Bollard’s Lovin’ Your Neighbour and the old folk club favourite Streets Of London. We had the return of Jo after a long spell away (masterminding Chipping Sodbury Folk Club). She sang the Passenger song Travelling Alone and a traditional song. Keith went back to the blues for the Mavis Staple song Change and was joined by Joy for a spirited version of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da. Martin was both modern with Ed Sheeren’s Thinking Out Loud and trad with Next Market Day.
It was a busy night with some returning faces and Tony as our MC. Stuart & Pete kicked off with When I’m 64 to mark Gordon’s recent milestone. They followed with My Grandfather’s Ferret, a rather gruesome tale! Eddie was next with Shaggy Dog and Glendalough, then Richard acknowledged the inclement weather with Singing In The Rain complete with guitar shaped specs, a kazoo solo and dancing with Grace and her umbrella! He then donned a (Beatle-ish) wig for Love Me Do. Pat brought things back down to earth with Sloop John B and Folsom Prison Blues and Terry sang Keith Hancock’s Absent Friends and was joined by Andy on banjo for The Tennessee Waltz. There was a new duo next, Lynne on autoharp and Andy on banjo. They performed an instrumental of My Grandfather’s Clock (what a coincidence!) and Fly Around Pretty Little Miss. Geoff (number 1) sang unaccompanied as usual with Lament For The Fishing and Far Away In Australia. Gordon celebrated his recent turning of 64 by stepping from the audience to sing the Faces song Sweet Lady Mary and Jonathan Kelly’s I Used To Know You. Tom was typically mellow on You’ve Got A Friend, humorous on She Loved a Portuguese and finished the evening with Tom Paxton’s When Annie Took Me Home. Geoff (number 2) was in protest song mode, singing Matt (The The) Johnson’s Heartland and Maggie Holland’s A Place Called England and John dazzled with accordion versions of a Russian folk song and some polkas. Sean marked two recent 70th birthdays, Bruce Springsteen (The River) and Mark Knopfler (Sultans Of Swing, with some very fancy guitar work!), Tony & Grace sang Now You Don’t Call Me Anymore and Tony did a new song What Did The Romans Ever Do For Us? Martin performed Blackwater and Courting Too Slow to round things off.
Stuart was our MC and Webbly made another appearance on a busy evening. Richard did his traditional opening spot in typically flamboyant style. Playing banjo and accompanied by ‘Thomas Chatterteeth’, he gave us Swing Low and The Wild Rover. Stuart & Pete followed with the rather un-PC Fred Wedlock song Sunkissed and Show Of Hands’ Roots. Eddie explained his long absence earlier this year as due to ‘mixing concrete’! He sang the topical Blame The Government and George Harrison’s Taxman in a tasteful country blues style. John (number 1) played the musette Under Paris Skies and a couple of Irish jigs and we had a new face, Phil, who sang Freight Train and The Bird Song. Sean also returned after some time with new songs Ice Cream In The Rain (about the English sea side) and Vukovar (about an unlikely tourist stop on the Danube). Geoff (number 1) did the Marty Robbins song Big Iron and the old favourite The Curragh Of Kildare while John (number 2), also returning after a lengthy spell away and sang People Like Us (Talking Heads) and Why Do You Do This To Yourself? (Evan Dando). Geoff (number 2), with his foot tambourine (grade 1 exam next week) was in trad mood with Riding Down To Portsmouth and Rackabello and it was good to see Roger, who invited Stuart to play Ethel Merman for You’re Just In Love before doing Willie Nelson’s For All The Girls I’ve Loved Before. Tony announced that he would now only do protest songs (!) and gave us Streets Of London and a The Goose And The Common. Sarah did Beautiful Tango and a poem A Rap For England, Colin sang songs loosely themed on harvest, Gone Gonna Rise Again and All The Good Things Are Dead And Gone, and Martin sang Limbo and Rigs Of The Time. There was just time for a third tune from Phil (Wild Mountain Thyme), Tony (This Land Is Your Land) and some rousing polkas from John.
Pete was our MC as we saw some new faces in the audience viewing the proceedings. Stuart & Pete got us underway with Hotel California, a raucous Jollity Farm and a slightly haphazard Back In The USSR! Eddie reprised some of his faves, Mr Superglue, Junkyard Dog, Lockjaw McGraw and Music Maker and Andy played banjo for all of his songs, Let the Sun Shine Down On Me, Between The Wars, The Folkestone Gold Rush and Peg And Awl. John sang a trio of Jake Thackray songs, The Cactus, The Hole and The Lodger as well as Pam Ayres’ Clive The Fearless Birdman. It was great to have a visitor all the way from Cromer, Sue who sang unaccompanied, The Terrible Knitters Of Dent, Hold The Lantern High, A Drop Of Nelson’s Blood and a song about the Settle to Carlisle railway. Tony & Grace began with Three Little Birds and did a couple of Cajun tunes, J'ai Passe Devant Ta Porte and Jambalaya. Tony also sang his ode to the Shropshire heather, Back To Purple. Trevor, The Bard Of Windmill Hill popped in and performed poems about tennis and a couple about Boris, our new PM. We also had an impromptu band, Stuart, Pete, Louise, Tony, Grace and Chris joined forces for Dirty Old Town.
Tonight we welcomed Geoff (hereafter known as Geoff Number 1) as a new MC. He kept us entertained between acts with witticisms and occasionally going into character as Colin Crompton from The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club! This was nothing compared to the ever increasing eccentricity of Richard (hereafter known as Richard Number 1) who started us off with Summer Holiday, complete with a Cliff face mask and a bag of tricks representing the other Shadows, some of whom did solos. He followed with Wimoweh (in a lion mask) and Drunken Sailor (in a Long John Silver mask). Eddie remarked, “I used to like those songs”! Jane restored sanity with songs of the harvest, her own Horses Of The Field and a setting of the Eliza Cook poem Song Of The Haymakers as well as Dylan’s God Gave Names To All The Animals and Highdown Fair. A new trio was next, Stuart & Pete being joined by Richard (number 2) on whistle for Rout Of The Blues and harmonica for Hangman’s Dance and a couple of Richard’s own tunes (with Pete switching to bodhrán). It was great to see Eddie back after a long absence and he was back to his best with I’m Sorry Lou, Lazy Man and some tasteful blues guitar on Junkyard Dog (“there was always a big Alsatian in every junkyard”). We were pleased to welcome visitors from a distance as Eleanor & Sam visited from Malvern. Both singing unaccompanied, Eleanor began with Jenny’s Gone Away and Big Yellow Taxi followed by Sam with Botany Bay and Did You Ever See Such A Funny Thing Before? They joined forces for Gossip Joan and Round The Horn, a sea shanty sung partly in Welsh. Gavin was back with us, singing a song by the absent Si, Summer Days and his own He Would Pray (about George Muller) and I’ve Started So I’ll Finish. Geoff (number 2) was in humorous mood with Allan Sherman’s Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, a song about Ronald Reagan meeting a leprechaun who mistakes him for John Wayne and Seven Drunken Nights. Geoff (number 1) completed proceedings with the lovey Furrow Collective song I'd Rather be Tending my Sheep, Roy Harper’s When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease (with Pete on uke) and an unaccompanied Windy Old Weather.
After the excitement of our anniversary special, it was a quieter night tonight on a hot evening. Andy was our MC and got things underway with his own song about the steel industry. He also sang two John Prine songs (he was wearing the t-shirt so felt obliged!), including Somewhere Someone Is Falling In Love, and the Pokey LaFarge song Josephine. Stuart & Pete did Fred Wedlock’s Jogging Song, Ukulele Man, Proud Mary and I’m The Urban Spaceman (marking 50 years of the moon landing - sort of!). Jane sang some of her own songs, Yellow Sun, Fetch My Horse and Taste The Sweetness Of Love as well as a setting of Kipling’s A Smuggler’s Song. Nice to see Steve back again after a while with a song by John Smith, Dylan’s You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee and Jeffrey Foucault’s Northbound 35. Geoff sang his familiar Irish ballads, including Red Headed Anne and The Patriot Game and Roger gave us a couple of classics, And Her Mother Came Too and When You’re Smiling. Martin sang two ‘Nancy’ songs, Blackbirds And Thrushes and Ramble Away as well as London Town and Let Union Be.
It was 20 years ago today… (more or less).
Yes, tonight FAF celebrated 20 years and what a cracking evening it was! Tony did a fab job as MC on a packed night with regulars old and new, a few new faces coming to watch, a special visit from Webbly the guide dog and founder members Paul Mobey (all the way from Birmingham), Richard Bond and Colin Owen. There was even bunting and a birthday cake!
Stuart & Pete got things underway with a version of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with a few lyric changes - ‘we’ve never really been in style, but we’re guaranteed to raise a smile’, and something about an ‘old farts folk club band’! Richard was up next with his usual flair doing Hound Dog (for Webbly), and was joined by Roger for Sloop John B. There was ukulele, kazoo, a triangle and swanee whistle, not mention juggling! Sarah sang Summertime rather beautifully (it was a warm night) before Colin took the stage. He had written a brilliant song about the story of FAF with great historical detail and also sang Lamorna, a favourite of Jon Davey, the other founder member of the club. Andy also had a new song, about opiate addiction in the USA, Jane sang Victoria Wood’s Ballad of Barry And Freda and Pat was also in humorous mood with A Pub With No Beer. Tony did another couple of songs that John was fond of, Mary Skeffington and Country Life. For the latter he invited anyone who wanted to to join him and Stuart, Pete, Grace, Roger and John (on fiddle) added to a rousing version. The first half ended with some songs from Paul, who we were delighted to see back at the club after many years. He started with what he thought was the first song he ever sang at FAF, Cousin Jack before performing You’ve Got A Friend, Galway Farmer and a beautiful version of Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
During the interval there were nibbles, including the marvellous birthday cake, and (possibly a first for FAF) a raffle! Stuart had organised this as Richard had been saying for years that we should have one, and tickets had been given for free on arrival. It soon became clear that things weren’t what they seemed when the only winners were Colin, Richard and Paul!
John & Keith started the second half as a slimmed down Canon Fodder, the band who had been a mainstay of FAF in the early years and they played their Ploughboy Set. Roger (complete with Welsh tie) sang Cavatina and Martin did Farewell My Dearest Nancy. Richard returned with Octopus’s Garden (complete with teeth solo!) and Colin for a spirited A Drop Of Nelson’s Blood. There were old faves from Pondlife (Meet Me On The Corner, with Tony guesting on harmonica) and Keith (Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time). We then had a rendition of the club song Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, sung with great gusto by all, before Paul returned to finish the evening with a brace of Dougie Maclean songs, Feels So Near and I’d Like To Say Hello and ending the evening with Drink Up Thee Cider.
All in all a fitting birthday party for the club. Webbly also delighted the crowd, even joining in with the odd bark! In honour of his attendance, a total of £110 from the door money and generous donations will be making its way to Guide Dogs.
FAFFING ABOUT (2019)
Stuart was our MC tonight and he and Pete started the evening with Cigarettes And Whisky And Wild Wild Women. Terry’s golden tones were evident as he sang The Wonder Of You, I Wandered By A Brookside, I Wish I Had Someone To Love Me and Absent Friends. Howard & John have achieved ‘regular’ status now and they ran through some of their faves - Yesterday, Castles In The Air, The Sound Of Silence and The Last Thing On My Mind. Jane had a varied mix, Ian Campbell’s Sun Is Burning, Mike Oldfield’s Moonlight Shadow, The Fureys’ Yesterday’s Men and her own His Love Lies Sleeping. Andy gave us Tim Eriksen’s I Wish The Wars Were All Over, the Blind Alfred Reed song Always Lift Him Up And Never Knock Him Down and his own about the ‘Folkestone Gold Rush’ when an artist buried gold bullion in the beach. Good to see Paul again singing his own songs The Holly Bush (about a sparrowhawk), Like Ulysses, a song about a holiday in France and another about death (!) Pondlife were back together for the lovely Yorkshire Song and old favourites La Mer and I Can See Clearly Now. Martin sang Beads And Feathers and Springsteen’s Thunder Road.
Pete took MC duties and Richard did the traditional opening act with an ever expanding bag of props (which he calls the TK Maxx Orchestra). Wearing his bowler hat, he debuted his new found ukulele skills on (appropriately for the current weather) Singing In The Rain, producing a kazoo and triangle along the way as well as doing a quick tap dance! He then did I Wanna Be Like You wearing a monkey mask! Sean had the task of following that and did so with a new song about the state of the USA, Grenfell, to mark the second anniversary and his own instrumental Pachelbel's Revolver. Stuart & Pete performed Jez Lowe’s We’ll Hunt Him Down, The Cat Came Back and The Snake. Jane was in fine voice on Sheep Shearing, the poignant Eric Bogle song As If He Knows and Sweet Mary. Good to see Pete S again as he sang Far Away Eyes and Tangled Up In Blue, then more accordion wizardry from John with Rare Bird, some klezmer tunes and his ever popular mussette. Another returnee was James with Doc Watson’s Deep River Blues. He was then joined by Pete S for House Of The Rising Sun and they finished the evening with a rousing Nine Pound Hammer. John B gave us another Mike Scott song, Bacon and his own ode to breakfast Granola (to the tune of Grenada) and Geoff sang Guy Clark’s Always Trust Your Cape and Ewan McColl’s The Manchester Rambler. Tony & Grace did Hard Times and marked the passing of Dr John with I’ll Fly Away and Martin sang Farewell To Fiunary and Boo Hewardine’s Harvest Gypsies.
Tony was our MC on a night when we welcomed back Kev Potter. Once a regular at the club, he returned with his band for a spotlight set. Stuart & Pete started us off with There Ain’t No Pleasing You, Bad Bad Leroy Brown and Cut Across Shorty. Sean followed up his recent song about Lidl and Aldi with Ikea (to the tune of Maria from West Side Story), then in contrast did the Hendrix classic Little Wing and Captain Ward And The Rainbow. Geoff welcomed the new season with Summer Is In and Hal-An-Tow and Howard & John did Early Morning Rain and Scarborough Fair. Roger returned to the musicals with Falling In Love With Love and People Will Say We’re In Love (asking a rather surprised Stuart to help him out!). A new face, Andy played some fabulous fiddle tunes accompanied by Kev, including The Parting Glass and The Lark In The Morning and Jane was on familiar ground with two poem settings, Meg Merrilies (Keats) and Rose-Ann (Hardy). Gavin & Simon sang a song by Simon (Dare) and one by Gavin (WG Grace to mark the upcoming cricket world cup). Another Geoff, making his third visit sang unaccompanied - Master McGrath and Dandy Vernon and Tony gave us his song about turning parts of Shropshire back from conifers to heather, Back To Purple and the Bee Gee’s First Of May. Each half was rounded off by The Revelators, a four piece with ex FAFer Kev. The band, featuring cajon, bass, guitars and banjo, is a vehicle for the songs of Tom in an entertaining gutsy style with a touch of Americana. Something different for FAF!
Stuart was our MC and he and Pete started us off with their annual nod to Eurovision, Fred Wedlock’s Song For Europe. They also started a common theme for the evening to do with the month of May with Broomfield Hill. Geoff sneaked a new instrument on stage, his foot tambourine and played it during his new song called, guess what, Foot Tambourine! He had us in stitches with the song that name checked several FAF regulars, before also marking the month with the traditional May Song, joined by Pete on djembe. Tom sang a couple of lovely songs, including Cootamundra Wattle by the Australian, John Williamson. Roger (looking dapper in a waistcoat) sang The Way You Look Tonight and was joined by Stuart for The Bold Gendarmes, complete with steps! Jane sang her own Hardy’s Song and Sean did one of his own to mark Morris Dancers and May, Ribbons And Bells as well as a rather tasteful version of Mark Knopfler’s Romeo And Juliet. Terry was on accordion for Tom Waits’ I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You and 12 Volt Joe sang Andy’s Working Class Boy Meets Middle Class Girl and Townes van Zandt’s Houseboat In Heaven. Another Geoff, making his second visit to FAF, sang two songs about the Irish leaving their homeland and seeking work abroad. Nice to see Keith with an old favourite Walking The Dog and also nice to see Joy making a FAF debut as she joined Keith for Eric Bibb’s Joy Before We Go. Colin added May Day and I Wish I Could Talk To Them Now and Richard sported a red wig for Football Crazy and The Ellan Vannin Tragedy. We had a new face at FAF, Robert, who sang and played accordion rather splendidly on a French tune and Those Were The Days. He later returned on guitar with Tonight You Belong To Me. Martin sang some John Martyn (Fairytale Lullaby) and Dylan (Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright).
Pete was our MC as FAF night fell on St George’s Day. There was a decent turn out, although with a few coming just to watch, the performers got to do four songs each. Richard donned his cork hat for Waltzing Matilda, also singing All For Me Grog, Lord Of The Dance and You Are My Sunshine. Howard & John were in fine form with their tasteful versions of A World Without Love, Don McLean’s Till Tomorrow, April Come She Will and Donovan’s Colours. Jane started the English theme rolling with her setting of In Praise Of The English Rose (a poem by Thomas Deloney), When A Knight Won His Spurs, her own song England Of Today and another poem setting, Romance. John had a selection of tunes, including Country Gardens, Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be? And Greensleeves, also throwing in Lucy’s Waltz and a polka. A full strength Pondlife made a rare appearance, taking us on a tour of England with Half English, Dirty Old Town and Meet Me On The Corner as well as the spoof about Donald Trump, Confounds The Science. Tony had some Kinks for us, The Village Green Preservation Society and Woody Guthrie, with a full length This Land Is Our Land. He also paid his tribute to Mike Scott, doing the typically witty The Decline Of The Cornish Pasty and one his favourites, Steve Forbert’s Thinking. Gavin & Simon had a song by Simon, Forgive, one by Lennon/McCartney, With A Little Help From My Friends and two from Gavin, We Take It For Granted and North South Divide.
A significant night in two ways tonight. We had an excellent spotlight set from Geoff Windle, but we also marked the passing of local folk hero Mike Danver Scott. Mike was a favourite throughout the region and a great friend of this club, having played floor spots and full length gigs here. We will miss his great wit and charm, his ingenious word play and fabulous song writing. Our MC, Andy, opened the evening with a few words about Mike and rightly suggested that we should celebrate his life in song.
Stuart & Pete kicked off with Louden Wainwright’s Ukulele Song and were then joined by Louise & Bev for an impromptu Pondlife reunion, doing These Boots Were Made For Walking. Andy C played a couple of his favourites, Shady Grove and The Last Thing On My Mind and Jane had an Easter theme with Said Judas To Mary. John gave a fitting tribute to Mike Scott by singing a couple of his best loved songs, Royals and Fred Lewis. It would be difficult to find someone as good as John to do these songs with such empathy and show the different sids of Mike’s writing. Andy D sang two of his own songs, including The Boy Who Blew Up The World about the youngest person (aged 12) to have created a nuclear reaction! Steve returned with John Smith’s Joanna and Northbound 35, Gavin did a serenade for his wife, Stronger One and also marked Easter with Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord? Sean had noticed that ‘tastes as good as it looks’ on the cat food packet is translated as ‘aussi bon que beau’ and thought this sounded like a cajun song! Naturally he enlisted Tony & Grace for the song, before doing Be Nice To Me. Tony & Grace stayed on for Fisherman’s Blues (by the other Mike Scott) and Tony sang Springsteen’s Independence Day. Nice to see Trevor, The Bard Of Windmill Hill with odes to technophobia (Electro Smog) and a doll that won’t fall over however it’s pushed (like a certain Prime Minister!). Star of the evening was Geoff with his spotlight set. He began with his setting of the G.K.Chesterton poem The Rolling English Road before being joined by Pete on djembe for a rousing Stand By Your Guns and the mellower Nick Drake song River Man. Geoff showed his fine finger picking style on Admiral Benbow and did the splendid David Sudbury song The King Of Rome. He finished with Tony on harmonica and Pete back again on djembe for a rocking The Devil And The Farmer’s Wife. DADGAD-tastic!
Stuart was our MC tonight and he and Pete kicked off with a lively Ghost Riders In The Sky, adding The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde and The Cat Crept In. Tony was the latest FAFer to add to the canon of squeaky floorboard songs with Squeaky (to the tune of Spooky), playing the squeak with his foot! He also did a tribute to Scott Walker, No Regrets. Howard & John (apologies to Howard for getting his name wrong last time) sang Leaves That Are Green, the theme from The Detectorists, Everybody’s Talking and Don McLean’s Castles In The Air. Mike did some Dylan, Streets Of London and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, Dan sang Little Walter’s Everybody Needs Somebody and a very cool version of Heartbreak Hotel and Geoff went trad with Raggle Taggle Gypsies and While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping. Sean had two new songs, Train Song and A Secret Of Life and had us in stitches with the hilarious song by Mick MacConnell, The Ballad of Lidl & Aldi. John was in good form with St Louis Blues, a couple of Irish jigs and Greensleeves, Terry sang Graeme Miles’ Where Ravens Feed and Mystery To Me, Martin gave us My Blood Running and Hungry Heart and Sarah had us all singing along to Proud Mary.
Andy and Pete shared MC duties this evening and started with Richard and his ever expanding set of props. This time he sported a beard for The Gas Man Cometh and Molly Mallone. Terry followed, singing The Wearing Of The Blue, Moon River and Unforgettable and John gave us some accordion tunes, Blue Bonnets Over The Border and Indifference. We are getting accustomed to Dan’s super laid back style, and tonight he sand Wooly Bully and What Am I Living For? John B had his trade-mark Jake Thackray songs for us, The Jolly Captain and Grandad as well as Irving Berlin’s After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It. Roger sang Buddy Can You Spare A Dime and Autumn Leaves, Andy The Land Between and Steve Earl's Christmas In Washington and Geoff performed Tim Buckley’s Song For A Siren and the Eddi Reader/Boo Hewerdine song Patience Of Angels. Colin marked St Patrick’s Day and the Cheltenham Festival with The Galway Farmer and Keith also sang a Steve Kinightley song, Cousin Jack, along with Too Much Competition and Deeper In The Well. Martin did John Martyn’s One World, While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping and My Oklahoma Home.
Tony was our MC for a guest night with Ian Harvey & Jan Vaisey. A great turnout and there was time for a few floor spots, Tony himself starting off with his splendid Cross The Severn before Stuart & Pete gave us their Ukulele Man (‘Uke-tastic!’, said Tony). Howard & John had come up from Nailsea and sang a couple of Simon & Garfunkel songs, Cathy’s Song and Bookends/Old Friends. Steve sang Dylan’s You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, then we had more uke licks from Jacqui & David doing We Love To Boogie. David stayed on to be joined by Andy to make 12 Volt Joe and sing Andy’s Build A Wall. John did one of his most loved Jake Thackray songs, The Blacksmith And The Toffee Maker, Sean an alternative, darker version of Danny Boy, Pat the country standard Lucile and Terry Icarus (Anne Lister). The evening belonged to Jan & Ian, who started (appropriately) with a song by Janis Ian (At Seventeen). Their relaxed style was perfect for a set of songs by the likes of Neil Young, Alison Kraus, Mary Chapin Carpenter and James Taylor, as well as some bluegrass and traditional material. Ian’s accomplished guitar playing was the ideal accompaniment to Jan’s lovely voice.
Pete was our MC tonight and the upcoming Valentine’s Day gave us a few love songs, even if (being folk music) they mostly ended badly! Richard added bowler hat/tambourine juggling and a comedy false teeth solo to his renditions of Salonika and Drink Up Thy Cider. Stuart & Pete were Hunting Tigers Down In India and playing the only love song they know, Texas Love Song. Geoff did two traditional love songs, A Maiden Sat A Weeping and Died For Love (you can guess they didn’t end well). Jane sang her own sad love song as well as an ode to having to say goodbye to favourite clothes, Goodbye Normal Jeans (to the tune of Candle In The Wind) and a Watersons song. John, having missed the Burns night FAF played a collection of Scottish tunes before Dan gave us some very tasteful versions of It’s All Over Now and the country song I Met A Friend Of Yours Today. Andy was in sad love song mode with his own Where Did You Go Last Night?, Gavin & Simon played a couple of Gavin’s songs, Don’t Play With Fire and Don’t Give In To Fear and Colin sang the bluegrass song Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel, Down Our Street and Rick Kemp’s Somewhere Along The Road. Sarah sang a French love song, Ne Me Quitte Pas and Tone entertained us with some Nick Drake (Northern Sky) and John Martyn (Over The Hill and One World). Making her second visit to the club, Dawn sang beautifully, You Brought Me Up and Shenandoah. It was only a shame that her taxi arrived before she could sing another!
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Andy took on MC duties for another night of entertainment. We kicked off with Andy C singing Billy Bragg’s Power In The Union and Blues Run The Game. Sean took an unusual route (for him) with American love songs by Dylan and Kris Kristofferson’s Me And Bobby McGee, later adding Rosemary Lane. Geoff did two versions of essentially the same song, Bold Sir Rylas and Rackabella before Richard provided the eccentricity with This Land Is Your Land and Waltzing Matilda, complete with a Simon Cowell mask! Jane was the latest to add to the FAF oeuvre of squeaky floorboard songs with Squeaky Board, a love song telling of a quite intimate relationship! She followed with a more sedate settings of Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Hardy poems. John sang of the delights of sitting by the fire with a trusty dog, the sad tale of Making A Gateau and You Make Me Feel So Old. 12 Volt Joe returned with a tour of the southern states, Alabama Shine, Blue Moon Of Kentucky and Tennessee Waltz. An occasional visitor, Kevin sang an old Gerry Rafferty song, Play Me A Love Song (Pfeiffer/Walker) and a rather lovely version of The Hiring Fair. Terry gave us Rosemary’s Sister, What A Wonderful World and the story of the marriage of a man where all his many other wives turned up! Making his live debut at any venue, we were delighted to see Guy, who played some brilliant banjo tunes from the 16th century to country blues. Pondlife sang their greatest hit, Meet Me On The Corner and Thompson and Swarbrick’s classic Crazy Man Michael. Stuart & Pete finished the evening with a rousing I Wanna Be Like You.
The New Year kicked off in style with a great turnout and Tony as our MC. Richard got things underway with a Bernard Wrigley monologue and some tambourine juggling in We Shall Not Be Moved. Dan, making his second visit to the club, did a slow blues version of Achy Breaky Heart and Willie Nelson’s No Mas Amor, and Jane sang the Kippers’ Bring Us In Hot Tea and her setting of the poem A New Year Carol. Geoff was in prog mood, singing Greg Lake’s Still You Turn Me On before being joined by Pete for and updated Squeaky Floorboard Song, reflecting on the recent turbulent times of old Woody. Chris was the first of three newcomers to the club and impressed with his guitar playing and fine voice, including Shine On Harvest Moon. Sean was next with Old Man Song and was joined by Sandy on accordion to become Folie à Deux and perform We Need Each Other Now. Gayle was in fine voice with Four Strong Winds and It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, and Andy D sang Dylan’s The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll and Gideon Welsh’s Hard Times. Tony & Grace brought in the New Year with a full version of Auld Lang Syne and Tony celebrated the end of the Severn tolls with his fabulously witty Cross The Severn (to the tune of Bread Of Heaven). Stuart & Pete did some Tom Paxton (Wasn’t That A Party?) and Jez Lowe (We’ll Hunt Him Down), Neil played a tasteful Bossa Nova instrumental and Gavin sang his own New Horizons before dividing opinion with his song Down With Sprouts! Terry played accordion as he sang The Blue Cockade and was joined by Sarah for Whispering Grass before Sarah sang Stevie Wonder’s If It’s Magic. John played some accordion instrumentals, including French and Greek polkas and Andy C did a bit of ISB. Two more new faces followed, Tony with a fine version of Ryan Adams’ Sweet Carolina and Geoff with his own My Pound Got Brexititis. Martin rounded things off with Navigator.