FAF-ING ABOUT (2021)

21/12/2021

Our second Christmas Special, this time on Zoom and hosted by Tony & Grace, and it was nice to see some of those you can’t make the live events. Martin kicked off with Solomon Browne, Christmas Awake Salute The Happy Morn and When The Frost Is All Over then Steve & Jo played Jez Lowe’s Greek Lightening, Diamonds And Rust and One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (Leonard Cohen). Good to see Gordon, who sang some Bible extracts Prince Of Peace, For Unto Us A Child Is Born and You Are The King Of Glory and Sonia & Andy did two wassails, Homeless Wassail and a Yorkshire Wassail as well as John Ball. Geoff made a welcome return with Martin Newell’s Christmas In Suburbia, I Believe In Father Christmas and The Trunch Wassail and nice to see Rose again, who sang Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue and Green Eyes (Kate Wolf). Louise & Pete did Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Christmas Song and Tom Rosenthal’s Christmas Quiet and Stuart sang John Connelly’s I Am Christmas Let Me In, Mike Scott’s brilliant version of Hallelujah and Tom Lehrer’s A Christmas Carol. Sean felt it appropriate to sing his Zoom Song then Sandie played The Snowy Path and The Snow Day Waltz before they joined forces for a reprise of last week’s Stop The Cavalry. Lola joined us all the way from Bolton and sang In The Bleak Midwinter, Tony & Grace snag Snow Falls (John Tams) and The Solstice Song (Maria Cunningham) then Andy did a lovely Appalachian sounding version of White Christmas. Tony gave us a suitable finale with We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

14/12/2021

The first of two Christmas Specials this year was a live one, hosted by Stuart. Richard started us off (wearing a Christmas tree hat) with Lord Of The Dance and Jingle Bells then Pondlife sang Winter Song and All Around My Hat. Martin gave us If I Were A Blackbird, Stephen Foster’s Angeline The Baker and the Kate Rusby version of Here We Come A Wassailing and it was good to see Dave doing his traditional festive favourites Bellow Wood (about the first World War truce), his brilliant version of Ronnie Barker’s Pismronunciation and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. We were delighted to see Jess who sang Winter Wonderland and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas accompanied by Stuart, then Tony (number 1) did The Party That Wasn’t A Party, Green Christmas and A Welsh Christmas (to the tune of Delilah). Sean had adapted Last Christmas as A Letter To Number 10 and sang his own Hold On, Sandie played The Snow Day Waltz and Snow On The Tracks and together they gave us a splendid version of Stop The Cavalry with Sean on bugle, djembe, kazoo and glockenspiel! Apparently the tune is Stockport Polka. Mick sang his own Gas Station Forecourt Bouquet and The Mistletoe Bough and played and instrumental set of Christmas tunes then Sarah sang Joni Mitchell’s River, The Christmas Song (aka Chestnuts Roasting) and the Coventry Carol. Tony (number 2) sang Driving Home For Christmas, Spencer The Rover and It Must Be Love the Colin did Mary Did You Know? the Canadian song Jesus Your King Is Born and Two Nuns Three Old Ladies And A Nurse (to the tune of Good King Wenceslas).

23/11/2021

Andy took MC duties for the latest FAF, beginning with Richard who sang You Are My Sunshine, My Bonnie and Pick A Bale Of Cotton. Martin was next with the Pogues song Navigator plus The Next Market Day and Show Of Hands’ The Long Way Home, then Mick sang his own songs From The Wolf’s Point Of View, In The Line Of Beauty and Lucky Day. John made a welcome return with the Malvina Reynolds song I Don’t Mind Failing In This World and John Prine’s Safety Joe. Sandie played Bouree de Montfort and was joined by Sean for their ‘Brexit’ take on Whiskey In The Jar - It’s Risky To Go Far then Sean went solo for Quarantine. Tony sang Streets Of London with a verse added by Ralph McTell a couple of years ago, his own Little Blue Plaques and the Scaffold song 2 Days Monday then Andy sang Black Eyed Suzie, I’m Coming Home and Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor. Pondlife gave us The Skin That I’m In and The Parting Glass and Stuart & Pete rounded things off with Cigarettes And Whisky And Wild Wild Women and I’m The Urban Spaceman (assisted by Tony).

9/11/2021

Tony was our MC for another splendid evening, with the usual Remembrance Sunday theme for this time of year. Richard entertained us in his own inimitable style with This Land Is Your Land and Worried Man Blues, complete with a juggling interlude! Terry was the first to sing Armistice Day related songs John Condon and Home Lads Home continued by Martin with Will Ye Go To Flanders? and On The Road To Passchendaele. Everyone was delighted to see the return of Keith after a minor stroke which affected his left hand. He is having to ‘re-learn’ his guitar playing but was still better than anyone else as he played Good Stuff and Walking The Dog! Next up was Mick, making a second visit to the club and delighting us with some more excellent guitar playing on his own songs You Won’t See Me and General Haig and Dylans’ One Too Many Mornings. Louise & Pete appeared live at the club as a duo for the first time and sang Bury Me Naked and Lay Down and Steve sang John Smith’s There Is A Stone and his own The Bullet The Bayonet The Shell. Alan sang Black, Brown And White and his own She’ll Find Her Own Way Through and Pat had more Dylan for us Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues as well as Folsom Prison Blues. Sean did The Days Before The War and Hold On with Sandie on backing vocals, who was up next playing The Battle Of The Somme and L’inconnu de Limoise. Andy sang White Man’s War (about Commonwealth soldiers buried in unmarked graves) and Chris Wood’s Spitfires and Tony was in topical mode with Sleaze and the song about his great uncle Due To Marry. Keith rounded off the evening by leading us in a rendition of Keep Your Lamp.

26/10/2021

Pete was our MC for the latest live FAF and Richard started us off with two of his best known Folsom Prison Blues and Sloop John B before Martin, the first of many to make things spooky for Halloween, singing The Unquiet Grave, Hallows’ Eve and Lal Waterson’s Midnight Feast. Pondlife sang Eddie Reader’s version of Robbie Burns’ Lizzie Lindsay and Lady Eleanor then Stuart & Pete were joined by Tony on kazoo for I Wanna Be Like You before Tony Y did splendid versions of the classics Northern Sky (Nick Drake) and Beeswing (Richard Thompson). Gavin was back with his songs Ghosts, the morbid Ballad Of John And Eliza and This Little Light Of Mine and Sean sang Universal Credit (borrowing from Universal Soldier), his version of Beeswing (having practiced it for two weeks he wasn't going to let another performance stop him!) and Costing The Earth. It was interesting to compare the two very contrasting versions of Beeswing. Pat sang Whiskey In The Jar and 16 Tons and Tony & Grace did Werewolves Of Fishponds, Sympathy For The Devil and World Leaders (with Grace doing some virtuoso squeaky floorboard playing!). Andy dipped into his lockdown songs with Sonny The Nightwatchman and Gap In A Curtain and Sarah sang I Put A Spell On You and a stunning a cappella Black Is The Colour. Dave sang some Ed Sheeran Supermarket Flowers, the ever popular Monster Mash and a monologue Colonel Fozakuli and John did Will The Circle Be Unbroken?, When Love Comes To Town and You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

12/10/2021

Another good turn out for the return of live FAF, this time hosted by Tony. We welcomed back Jo, who began with a beautiful version of The Fisherman’s Song before being joined by Steve for Lake Charles. Steve then sang Leonard Cohen’s Tonight Will Be Fine and finished the evening with John Smith’s Great Lakes. Owen was next with a song by Sean Rowe To Leave Something Behind and Sailortown by Anthony Toner, then Martin sang Springsteen’s Devils And Dust and Dylan’s When The Ship Comes In (covered by The Chieftains, who’s Paddy Moloney had just died). Terry sang I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me and When You Were Sweet 16, the Stuart & Pete did Texas Love Song and Ukulele Man, Pete providing the solos! Andy sang Lift Him Up And Never Knock Him Down and Washed Ashore and Tony & Grace sang Jabbing (Tony’s COVID vaccination song) and Thirty Foot Trailer. Sean performed on the Irish bouzouki My Father’s Suitcase and an instrumental For Those Who Left Too Soon and Sandie played Traveller’s Joy and Andy Cutting’s The Abbess. Pat did Walk The Line and I Want To Go Home, Dave sang Don McLean’s Crossroads and Fed Up With The Fields Of Athenry (!) And Roger sang For All The Girls I’ve Loved Before and seemed to have a thing for Stuart with Ma, Stu’s Making Eyes At Me and Stu Are My Heart’s Desire. It was good to see Alan Kirkpatrick who sang Eleanor Rigby and Go Away From My Window, Colin made a welcome return with a Yorkshire song Old Johnny Bugger and The Droving Days Are Gone and Sarah sang a stirring version of Sugar In The Hold.

28/9/2021

Finally, after 18 months away, FAF was back live at the Cross Hands! There was a decent turn out despite the torrential downpour and Stuart was our MC. In traditional style, Richard got us underway with a couple of Adge Cutler songs Drink Up Thy Zider and The Bristol Song later adding Hound Dog (wearing a Marty Wilde mask!). Sean sang his (George Floyd) version of Knocking On Heaven's Door, The Pirate's Pardon and Two Minute Love Song then Sandie played Katy's Theme, Andy Cutting's Milford and Traveller's Joy/Valentine. John did a couple of U2 songs I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and When Love Comes To Town and Lou Reed's Oh Sweet Nuthin. We welcomed back Pat who sang Lucille, San Francisco Bay Blues and Midnight Special and Andy did The Cottager’s Reply from the poem by Frank Mansell adapted by Chris Wood and a couple of songs from his CD Hey Mr Politician and Holly And Tom. A new face at FAF was next, David who sang unaccompanied Taku Miners, Adam The Poacher and Where I Like To Stand the last two both using major and minor keys! Sarah sang Who's Loving You and the Beach Boys' Goin’ South, Pondlife had us singing along to Dirty Old Town, Perfect Day and The Blue Cockade and Roger was in good form with Danny Boy, The Wild Rover and And Her Mother Came Too. Making his second visit to the club was Trevor who reminisced of Nashville in his own songs Knoxville In My Mirror, Like Father Like Son and Fireflies Will You Dance For Me before ending with The Last Thing On My Mind.

14/9/2001

Our last FAF on Zoom before returning to the Cross Hands, with Tony & Grace as our MCs. We were delighted to see Lola, all the way from Bolton and she sang Kingston Town, The Digger’s Song and Yellow Bird. Terry did John Prine’s The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness, When You Were Sweet Sixteen (which dates from the end of the 19th century) and The Cheesecake Song (Ben Sands), then some Americana from Andy D with Delia’s Gone, We Can Fly (Rhiannon Giddens) and Come Take A Trip In My Airship (Charlie Poole). Andy C was up next with Pay Me My Money Down and Sing John Ball and Sonia sang Janis Ian’s Better Times Will Come, I Didn’t Raise My Son To Be A Soldier (from the first World War) and Oh Don’t Sell Our Edgar No More Violins (Pam Ayres). Pondlife were back together, performing from Pete’s studio and doing their old favourites Meet Me On The Corner, Crazy Man Michael and The Parting Glass then Tony & Grace sang This Land Is Our Land and You Never Can Tell and Tony sang Springsteen’s No Surrender. Sarah sang her own song Afghanistan (very much from the heart) and Carole King’s Way Over Yonder and Vegetables (Beach Boys), Geoff had an updated version of Foot Tambourine and did the Kipper Family classic The Male Female Highwayman (with the concertina standing in for the tremolodeon!) And Martin sang The Bergen (Jez Lowe) and The Rigs Of Time.

24/8/2021

Louise & Pete were our MCs for the latest FAF Zoom. Martin got us underway with Blackleg Miner and Springsteen’s Atlantic City before Sean sang his own songs My Father’s Suitcase (played on the bouzouki) and Coat of Blue and Sandie played Oyster Girl/The Perfect Cure and Three Around Three/The Quaker. There were tributes to Charlie Watts, first from Tony & Grace with Honky Tonk Women (with a washboard solo from Grace). They also sang Steve Earl’s Steve’s Last Ramble. Andy C was next with Ripple and Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right then Sonia sang Nottamun Town and Fields Of Athenry. Stuart sang his very tasteless Road Kill and The Hippopotamus Song then James did Step Inside Love (made famous by Cilla Black, written by Paul McCartney) and the Stones’ Dead Flowers. Geoff went trad with Hares On The Mountain and While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping and Andy D sang The Dance Of The Fingers and Washed Ashore.

10/8/2021

Following on from our recent FAF Outdoors event, we were back on Zoom tonight, with Tony as MC. James kicked off the evening with a jazzy Route 66 based on the version by The Nat King Cole Trio. Next up was Martin with Seth Lakeman’s King And Country played on his tenor guitar (intense discussions followed which may have concluded it was in CGDA tuning!). Jon followed with a classic Cajun song Un Gross Erreur by Ire Lejeune, sung in Cajun French, which he gave the history of. This got Tony & Grace up dancing a Cajun 2-Step (with some Zydeco thrown in), the ultimate compliment to Jon’s performance. Over to the Cusack household for the next spot, with Sean singing one of his own compositions On Gloucester Road a tribute to all the independent shops and activities there. Some discussion followed then about the recent planning permission given to a new Wetherspoons pub on Gloucester Rd. Sandie then returned to the Cajun theme with a tune called Cajun Two Step which was apparently a very popular tune in the bar sessions at the trimmed down but very enjoyable Sidmouth Folk Festival which Sandie and Sean went to last week. This obviously led to some more T&G dance accompaniment, this time with some Cajun Jitterbug dancing which seemed to fit with the pace and beat of the tune. Tony & Grace were up next with Guy Clarke’s Magnolia Wind a romantic waltz which is also popular in Cajun/Americana circles. Stuart then sang Fred Wedlock’s Sunkissed all about continental holidays popular in the 1970‘s, very topical and extremely funny! Geoff finished off the first round of songs with a traditional song The Oak, Ash And Thorn which Geoff explained was a mixture of words by Kipling (nothing to do with cakes) with music by Peter Bellamy (nothing to do with having a beautiful body or TV biologists).


Seconds out, round 2, kicked off again by James with a John Prine song Angel Of Montgomery (RIP John last year). We were joined briefly by Pete live on his mobile from his tent on a campsite somewhere in Warwickshire (it would have been Cropredy this week). It was a brief hello, good night and see you soon. Martin was next on with another traditional song False, False which my later research appears to show is a good dose of love gone wrong from the Aberdeenshire traveller Christina McAllister according to June Tabor’s intro at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njs3UBRj4zY. Cara Dillon also does a nice version. Sandie then played Milford by Andy Cutting (nothing to do with Milford Haven, but apparently named after the village in Surrey where Andy Cutting’s parents live). Sean then sang another of his own songs Quarantine dedicated to Sandie who was pinged coming back from Sidmouth, but Sean wasn’t! Tony & Grace then sang Hard Times Come Again No More by Stephen Foster, Grace explained they sang this song recently at the  graveside of her great-great-grandfather who lived through hard times in Bath in the late 19th century. Stuart then sang another great Fred Wedlock song on the theme of summer holidays, this time in the UK, Let’s Walk Round The Harbour Again. Geoff completed round 2 with 2 hornpipes (not sure of the names, but they were definitely hornpipes, with various dancing and action accompaniments by the audience to confirm this!


We managed to fit in a third song from a few performers, so on to round 3! Martin sang The Harvest Gypsies by Boo Hewerdine, which we all agreed was a cracking song, and comments were made about current shortages of fruit and veg in shops due to problems in getting enough workers to harvest and distribute produce. Sean then sang Si Khan’s What You Do With What You’ve Got followed by Sandie’s Coleman’s March which we agreed afterwards was more of a saunter or stroll than a March. Stuart then finished off the evening with the hilarious Let’s Recycle by The McCalmans, all about the simple (not) act of dealing with your “rubbish”!

(Thanks to Tony for doing the write-up again while Pete was away 'in his tent)

31/7/2021

It was a momentous day as FAF met in person for the first time since March 2020! It was an outdoor event and thanks go to All Saints Church in Fishponds for providing a great venue. It was so good to see so many old friends, some just coming to watch, and to be able to sing together!

Tony was our MC and he and Grace started us off with a bit of community singing, Country Life (a favourite of the late Jon Davy) and Tony sang the Simpson’s Beer Song (to the tune of Do-Re-Mi) which was a favourite of Cliff Woolley who we lost recently. Dave was next with songs linked to being ill, Tom Lehrer’s I Got It From Agnes, Paddy’s Not At Work Today and McIlhatton. Geoff (number 1) was celebrating the summer with Jack In The Green and Hal-An-Tow, Kath played Planxty Irwin and Salmontails and Keith had us singing along to Cousin Jack and Sunny Afternoon. It was lovely to see Claire (from Red Notes) and she sang Looking For The Moon (Tom Paxton) and The Detectorists, Sonia & Andy did Bright Phoebus and John Ball and Pondlife were back together again with La Mer and Skin That I’m In. Andy sang his own The Domestic and the traditional Spencer The Rover and Martin did I Drew My Ship Into The Harbour and I Live Not Where I Love. Roger was in great form, singing Streets Of London, a blast of Jerusalem and Stu Is Making Eyes At Me (he was looking at Stuart at the time!). Sarah gave us a slice of gospel with Feeling Good and Dance Me To The End Of Love, Alison sang Sweet Nightingale and How Pleasant And Delightful and Geoff (number 2) was in rock ‘n’ roll mood with Let’s Think About Living and the Coasters’ That Is Rock And Roll. John (joined by Dave on cajon and Keith) sang Down By The Riverside and Blind Willie McTell and Andrew sang Edelweiss. Tony & Grace did Precious Time Is Slipping Away before Keith led the masses for a special performance of Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning.

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

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

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13/7/2021

Pete & Louise were our MCs tonight, when there was not even a mention of the Euro football just gone! Martin kicked off though (sorry) with London Calling and Ralph McTell’s England, Andy C did two Tom Paxton songs I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound and Ramblin’ Boy and Sonia sang the traditional Dark Eyed Sailor and Malvina Reynolds’ I Don’t Mind Failing In This World. James sang Pink Floyd’s Breathe (with audience members donning hippy hats and doing strange dances!) and Hesitation Blues and Tony & Grace did Steve Earl’s Steve’s Last Ramble and Springsteen’s Independence Day (with beautiful playing from Grace on the concertina). Next up was Sean with his own Pirate’s Pardon and a truly authentic version of Scarborough Fair before Sandie played Bourrée de Montfort and The Man In The Moon. Louise & Pete played American Tune and the Woodie Guthrie/Billy Bragg song Birds And Ships, Stuart sang Mark Knopfler’s Quality Shoe and Dead Dog Scrumpy and John did It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, both with his drum machine providing the marching band! Steve was also in Dylan mode with Gates Of Eden and When The Ship Comes In and Andy played his new song Red Wall Town and Billy Bragg’s Between The Wars (on his new banjo!).

22/6/2021

Tony & Grace were our MCs on a night when we were up against an England match at the Euros (I think FAF won!). Stuart kicked off with The Snake, West Country Holiday and Woodie Guthrie’s Do-Re-Mi. James was in good form with his slick medley of Dance The Night Away/Do You Wanna Dance? and tasteful versions of Wichita Lineman and America, then Martin went for the trad with The Humours Of Whiskey and came forward in time with Ewan MacColl’s Freeborn Man of the Traveling People and the Dido song Thank You. Andy sang The Cottager’s Reply from the poem by Frank Mansell, the traditional Willie Taylor and his own Hey Mr Politician (from his new album Social Isolation) followed by Tony & Grace with a rousing Star Of The County Down (Grace on concertina) and Ronnie Lane’s Kuschty Rye, then Tony sang his version of Like A Rolling Stone with his words reflecting why people love and hate Dylan, Even The Rolling Stones. Steve continued the Dylan theme with I Don’t Believe You and Farewell (sung a capella) before doing Jeffrey Foucault’s Ghost Repeater. It was good to see Keith, who sang Ian Siegal’s Kingdom Come and John completed the line up with You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond, When Love Comes To Town (U2) and Bowie’s Heroes.

8/6/2021

Pete & Louise did MC duties and Martin gave us a rousing start with Springsteen’s Badlands before doing the Joe Jackson song Is She Really Going Out With Him? And Simon & Garfunkel’s Baby Driver. Sandie played a Belgian hornpipe and the Andy Cutting tune Henry Blogg and Sean sang Once I Had A Sweetheart and a new song about refugees What If? Sonia did John Tam’s Rolling Home, the tradtional Farewell Sweet Lovely Nancy and Mike Heron’s Hedgehog Song. Tony & Grace were also feeling the power of nature with Garden Song, then So Long It’s Been Good To Know You (Tony’s retirement song, recent event!) and Tony sang Ry Cooder’s Across The Borderline. Stuart celebrated the  joys of beer with Ale, Ale, Glorious Ale and Fred Wedlock’s Jogging Song as well as Jez Lowe’s We’ll Hunt Him Down. John B performed Dylan’s Marching To The City, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2) and Tower Of Song and Andy C did Going Down The Road Feeling Bad, Ripple (Grateful Dead) and Lay Me My Money Down. Steve gave us the second Jez Lowe song of the night Old Bones, Dylan’s Fourth Time Around and John Smith’s Great Lakes.

25/5/2021
The day after Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday, so participants were invited to perform Dylan songs if they wished to commemorate this event. This invitation was taken up with enthusiasm by many performers – not surprising perhaps given the known Dylan fans among our regulars! Tony was MC for the evening.


Kicking off the show were Steve Goodfield, joined by Jo Cullum for her first appearance at FAF for a little while, to perform a 2-song set of Dylan classics Farewell Angelina and Boots Of Spanish Leather. Next up was Kath, who played 2 concertina tunes Margaret’s Waltz and Jimmy Allen. Back into Bob songs next with Martin singing Adele’s song (sorry, Bob Dylan’s song…..) Make You Feel My Love. Following that, James performed Bob’s Senor with some appreciative comments about his percussive guitar style. Sean kept the Dylan theme going in style with A Simple Twist of Fate, followed by John B performing Bob’s It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry using a drum machine for effect and rhythm accompaniment. Sonia then provided a Bob-free 2-song set – first up Barney, a variant of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, then Foolish You by Kate & Anna McGarrigle. During Sonia’ set, Andy looked after the dog, in preparation for swapping over of duties later on! Andy D was next in the spotlight with Girl Of The North Country, well remembered as regularly performed at The Old Stillage sessions in St George a few years ago with Tony, Grace and others. Tony & Grace then did a 2-song set of Dancing At Whitsun sung by Grace in recognition of the time of year, and Bob’s Like A Rolling Stone sung by Tony. Andy C then returned from dog-minding duties to perform Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down and John Prine’s wonderful The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness. Rose finished off the first round of songs with While The Gentlemen Go By learned from the dearly departed Ray Croll, with words by Rudyard Kipling, all about smugglers and contraband…, then Good Love Gone Bad by The Everly Bros.


Into the second round then, with Martin performing Chris Wood’s beautiful This Love Won’t Let You Fail, followed by James’s second Bob song Gotta Serve Somebody. Sean then played the timeless Just Like A Woman, followed by John B doing Blind Willie McTell - acapella this time. Andy’s second song was the gospel classic Always Lift Him Up And Never Knock Him Down by Blind Alfred Reid. Finishing off the night was an extra song by Steve & Jo with their 3rd Dylan song Buckets Of Rain to bring the evening to a close.


Finally, Tony screen-shared a photo of Pondlife sent from Devon where they are on holiday! Tony explained that they were hoping to join us tonight to perform a couple of songs, but the internet signal at their campsite unfortunately wasn’t up to it. Looking forward to seeing the Pondlifers next time! All in all, 12 Bob Dylan songs were performed on the night – a fabulous effort which I’m sure the man himself would have been proud of!

(Thanks to Tony for doing the write-up this time while Pete was away 'getting it together in the country' with Pondlife)

11/5/2021

Louise & Pete hosted as we entered the merry, merry month of May! Martin kicked off with Bob Marley’s One Love and did a great version of Year Of The Cat, playing the piano part particularly well. Sarah sang the Detectorists theme before Steve did some Dylan, Where Are You Tonight? and the traditional Hares On The Mountain. Stuart also went trad with Broomfield Hill as well as a nod to the forthcoming Eurovision with Fred Wedlock’s Song For Europe. Tony & Grace sang The Nightingale and an updated version of Tony’s Sleaze and Andy D had his own song White Man’s War and Norman Blake’s Ginseng Sullivan. Louise & Pete mixed things up with Come To The Hills and White Rabbit and Kevin honoured the great Kermit The Frog with Rainbow Connection and Clive Gregson’s Home Is Where The Heart Is. Sonia sang some Paul Brady The Island and the lovely Janis Ian song Jesse and Andy C did My Name Is Carnival (Jackson C Frank) and a Django Reindhardt instrumental. Sandie’s tunes tonight were La Mal Aimable (The Unlovable) and Andy Cutting’s Ricer while Sean had a new version of Knocking On Heaven’s Door (the George Floyd version) and a new instrumental Live Wire. Terry sang The Tennessee Waltz and a great version of She Moves Through The fair and Rose did the Kate Wolf song Green Eyes.

27/4/2021

In the week that saw the passing of Jim Steinman and Les McKeown, it was notable that nobody took on any Meatloaf or Bay City Rollers songs (although Stuart was tempted)! Tony & Grace hosted this evening and kicked off with Drink Up Thy Cider (after a trip to Somerset) and Tramps And Hawkers. Andy and Sonia performed separately, Andy singing Shady Grove and The Hard Times Of Old England and Sonia Power In The Union (for Mayday) and A Place Called England (for St George’s Day). James had a song written the day before At Any Moment and also did Gram Parsons’ She and Louise & Pete resurrected a couple of their previous songs Crazy Man Michael and Sweet Greens And Blues. Stuart also marked St George’s Day with Half English and was joined by Carol for How Come and the brilliant Les Barker shanty Ben Kenobi (for the upcoming Star Wars Day). Kath played Planxty Irwin and Winster Gallop and Steve sang Good As Gone (Robin Williamson), Sailing To Philadelphia (mark Knopfler) and Joanna (John Smith). Nice to see Geoff back again, although internet problems meant he could only do one song, Steve Earl’s The Devil Put The Coal In The Ground. Andy D sang Spencer The Rover and his own song Money, Rose did Annie’s Song and Martin the Cat Stevens song Here Comes My Baby and Blue Öyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper.

13/4/2021

Pete & Louise were ours MCs for the latest virtual FAF. Stuart sang about the ‘delights’ of nature in Road Kill and one of his favourites Cigarettes And Whisky And Wild, Wild Women. Tony & Grace were rocking on Steve Earl’s Steve’s Last Ramble and more sedate on The Garden Song before Sandie played Traveller’s Joy, The Canal In October and Bonny Kate and Sean did The Oak And The Ash and a new instrumental Unlocking The Spring with his usual dexterity. Louise & Pete revived Bury Me Naked before Pete switched to keyboards (and a harp sound) for the lovely song by Jeanes Simple Jayne, also accompanied by a recording of a blackbird from their garden. Steve sang a couple of John Smith songs Perfect Storm and There Is A Storm and Jez Lowe’s These Coal Town Days and James played Juanita (Gram Parsons) and Keep Your Distance (Richard Thompson). The great songs continued as Kevin sang It’s All Just Talk (Clive Gregson) and You Can’t Stay Here (Stan Rogers) and Martin did Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, Springsteen’s Because The Night and the traditional Dark Eyed Sailor. Terry sang The Cheesecake Song and George Stait’s Glad You Came, Rose sang If and The Cuckoo and Tony finished the evening with another Springsteen song No Surrender.

23/3/2021

We were back to our regular virtual FAF this time with Tony & Grace doing the MC duties. Sonia & Andy went solo and Sonia began with Universal Soldier and Leon Rosselson’s The Olive Tree before Andy sang two Tom Paxton songs, Willing Conscript and The Last Thing On My Mind. James sang Gram Parson’s Grievous Angel and his own Well Of Souls, Sarah did Who’s Loving You? and her own Pictures For Us All (remembering her Mum) and Martin gave us Sandy Denny’s Fotheringay and Tim Hardin’s Reason To Believe. Steve took us to Ireland with Galway And Mayo (Saw Doctors) and Joh (Four Men And A Dog) and Sean spoke up for the Irish with his song Name And Shame about Pontins decision to ban anyone Irish to keep out travellers. Sandi played the O’Carolan tune Blind Mary and Jack’s Maggot and Pete also gave us a tune on the ukulele The Hen’s March. Andy sang of his beloved butterflies with Orange Tip and I Kiss My Sweet Land Farewell and Terry did Paul Metsers’ Writer’s Song and Tom Waits’ I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You. Stuart celebrated 50 years of CAMRA with his tribute Give Me Ale and followed with Loudon Wainwright’s Ukulele Song while Keith & Joy joined forces for I’m Only Sleeping before Keith sang Dig A Little Deeper In The Well. Tony & Grace sang Thirty Foot Trailer and Ralph McTell’s Masks And Gowns and Rose rounded off with Freight Train.

9/3/2021

A great night tonight - our first ever virtual gig with the brilliant Miranda Sykes, who gave us a great set full of a selection of beatutiful songs and one or two old favourites. We look forward to seeing Miranda in person at FAF before too long!

23/2/2021

This virtual FAF was hosted by Louise & Pete. Martin got things underway with a fine version of Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes and A Hard Rain’s Are Gonna Fall and Andy sang his song about delivery drivers inspired by the Ken Loach film 'Sorry I Missed You' The Singing Postman and a love song (unusual for Andy!). Kevin sang the Sue Stevens song Rainbows and Ralph McTell’s The Hiring Fair and inspired by the hope of an end to lockdown in June, Gill did Long Long Tunnel by Canadian Shelley Posen. Louise & Pete performed a stirring version of Heart Of Gold and the rather more gentle Mingulay Boat Song and Sonia sang the Donagh Long song Never Be The Sun and Maggie Holland’s A Place Called England. Tony & Grace had got creative with Bob Marley as they sang Jabbing, adapting Jamming for the current times and to mark the upcoming St David’s Day they sang Calon Lân (A Pure Heart) in both Welsh and English. James did a very tasteful version of Simon & Garfunkel’s America, Jon a really nice Shoals Of Herring and Stuart pulled out a couple of his witty wordplay parodies with Ra Ra It’s Putin and Marie’s Wedding. Keith & Joy sang some Eric Bibb, Shingle By Shingle and Keith followed with Put Your Foot Down, Sandi played a Swedish tune and another called Lodge Road and Sean sang his Two Minute Love Song and Quaranteen. Rose did Shake Sugaree and the Nora Jones song Lonestar before Keith saw us out with Keep Your Lamp.

9/2/2021

Our virtual FAF this time, hosted by Tony & Grace, had more than a hint of love about it as we neared Valentine’s Day, with love songs aplenty. Stuart started with an old standby The Napoli and then Linda Thompson’s No Telling What A Love Song Will Do, Martin sang John Martyn’s Angeline and his version of Shady Grove and Gill (this week from Sutton Coldfield) sang about the Morecambe Bay cockle pickers and the Pete Mundy song Take Your Time. Louise & Pete were joined by their backing ‘band’, The Buena Vista Social (Distance) Club (aka Pete) for Chan Chan with Pete playing lead uke and a fine kazoo solo from Louise. They followed with the delightful little song Birds And Ships with lyrics by Woody Guthrie and music by Billy Bragg. Kevin sang a love song by Bert Jansch and Eddie Walker’s Stolen My Heart Away and we were pleased to see James who did his own terrific song Best We Don’t Know. Sarah gave us Smokey Robinson’s Who’s Loving You?, Alison did I Love My Love and Keith (with great gusto) sang the Fishermen’s Friends song No Hopers Jokers And Rogues (joined by Joy) and Every Day I Have The Blues. Tony & Grace were looking ahead to Mardi Gras with The Mermentau Waltz and Tony marked his Mum’s 91st birthday with one of her favourite songs The Last Farewell. Sean had a new topical blues song for us Waiting For That Jab Of Mine and sang House Of The Rising Sun in memory of the Animal’s guitarist Hilton Valentine and Sandi played two tunes, Postman’s Knock (for when the Valentine’s card arrived) and the other simp;y called Valentine. Geoff joined us from his attic and sang Tending My Sheep and Accentuate The Positive, Terry sang the Beth Nielson Chapman song I Find Your Love In Everything and Steve gave us Gold Miner’s Lament (written with his late brother) and John Smith’s Coming Home. Andy sang the tongue in cheek Winston’s Bust and the Carter Family song When Silver Threads Are Gold Again, Lola did Ye Banks And Braes and Kingston Town and Rose the traditional The Turtle Dove and The Cuckoo. Keith led the massed chorus for Keep Your Lamp to finish.

26/1/2021

Virtual FAF was hosted by Pete & Louise and Tony & Grace got us underway by marking Burns Night with A Rose-bud By My Early Walk and Tony sang Loudon Wainwright’s Middle Of The Night. Steve was on good form with Leonard Cohen’s Tonight Will Be Fine and a John Smith song and Louise & Pete did an updated (about the US election) version of Confounds The Science as well as Dirty Old Town. New to our virtual FAF, we had Kevin & Gill, Kevin singing Stolen Dreams (The Birdscarers) and Play Me A Love Song and Gill Albion Heart (While & Matthews) and We’re Not Over Yet (Clive Gregson), ably assisted by each other. Martin sang some Cat Stevens Father And Son and Simon & Garfunkel’s America and Sonia & Andy marked the anniversary of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with Carry Greenham Home and a passionate This Land Is Our Land. Gavin got into the shanty spirt with Weatherman and Highlife Hightide (written with Si) and Keith (with Joy singing along) did We Can Work It Out and You’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Vally By Yourself. Sean sang Springsteen’s Land Of Hope And Dreams (also sung at the Biden inauguration) and a new tune for the mandolin Those Who Left Too Soon while Sandi played some Scottish tunes Kelso Accordion And Fiddle Club and Stronsay Waltz. Kath aslo gave us some tunes, Winster Gallop and Margaret’s Waltz and Andy played his own 0.5% and Elizabeth Cotton’s Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie. Terry sang Dancing At Whitsun and Softly As I Leave You (made famous by Matt Monro, who Tony revealed had played in an army band with his Dad!), Rose did Nicola Clark’s I Liken My Love and If (David Gates) before we went out with Keith leading a lusty Keep Your Lamp.

12/1/2021

A new year and another virtual FAF, hosted by Tony & Grace. Stuart got us under way with Sister Josephine and The Foggy Dew and Tony & Grace sang the first of this evening’s wassails Here We Come A-Wassailing and their comment on the covid world Ramping It Up. Martin had experimented with a new tuning for John Martyn’s Couldn’t Love You More and also sang Springsteen’s The Price You Pay and Andy did the old time Bright Side Somewhere and his own Money. Louise & Pete sang the Merry Hell song Bury Me Naked and marked the quick passing of time (noting that it was five years since David Bowie died) with Who Knows Where The Time Goes? Sonia & Andy had The Old Fox Wassail Number 1 and Bunch Of Thyme and it was great to see James back again after his brush with covid singing the Bee Gees classic To Love Somebody and his tribute to Bowie Ashes To Ashes. Keith sang Dimples and Fiddler’s Green (with Joy joining in heartily), Geoff popped in with another wassail and Alison had a a modern take with Homeless Wassail as well as The Woodcutter’s Song. Sean was commenting again on current events with Knock It Man (after Elton John) and Hold On, with Sandi adding a lovely backing vocal before she played some morris tunes Liberty Bodice and Jack Robinson which had many of us dancing and waving hankies around our living rooms! Gavin sang Thank You NHS and a new song Oh America, Kath played Salmontails and Planxty Irwin and Rose sang Like A Sad Song (John Denver) and Freight Train. Keith sang us out with Keep Your Lamp for everyone to join in.