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

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

11/6/2024
Stuart was our MC this evening and Richard, joined by Roger, got things going with Sloop John B and Pick A Bale Of Cotton the Stuart himself sang Roadkill and The D Day Dodgers. John did a customary Jake Thackray song Leopold Alcox and one from 1928 by Frank Crumit The Song Of The Prune, Christine sang I Love My Love and was joined by John for Stormy Weather and Sue did Puff The Magic Dragon and Blackpool Belle. A new voice to us was next, Nina, who had a poem written with her daughter about a burglar and then sang a beautiful version of Once I Had A Sweetheart. We welcomed back Gary who sang about the dumping of Colston's statue in the docks and Judy Small's Mothers, Daughters, Wives, Bob did a Brownie McGee song Living With The Blues and Merle Haggard's prison song Sing Me Back Home and Roger sang Some Enchanted Evening, Ramona(l) (the Bristol version) and was joined by Christine for There's A Hole In My Bucket. Suzanne was next with Roger McGough's Summer With The Monarch, Mick sang Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out and Hound Dog/Blue Suede Shoes and Andy C did Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (John Prine) and Bowling Green. Valerie read from a millennium book with poems from each decade of the 20th century, picking the 1940s (the war and the NHS) and the 1960s (swinging 60s), Sean sang Universal Credit and Tom Paine's Bones and Sonia did Donagh Long's Never Be The Sun and Ewan McColl's Thirty Foot Trailer. Andy G gave us Heart Like A Wheel (McGarrigles) and Weary Hobo (Woody Guthrie) and Jennie sang The May Morning Dew and Hal-An-Tow. Martin had some Jez Lowe - The Bergen and Al Stewart's On The Border and Heather rounded off the evening with Crazy and Jambalaya.
 
28/5/2024
Pete took MC duties tonight and we began with Stuart singing a Jez Lowe song Tether's End before being joined by Pete for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in honour of Richard Sherman. Next up was Sue with Ukulele (to the tune of Hallelujah) and Three Wheels On My Wagon, John Bl sang two lesser known Jake Thackray songs On The Shelf and A Woman Called Sophie and Heather did My Granfather's Clock and Let No Man Steal Your Thyme. Roger gave us Ole Man River and The Mountains Of Mourne, Christine sang Ye Banks And Braes and The Spinning Wheel then Steve did his own Long Lost Capo Blues (based on experience!) and Dylan's Sarah. Alan was next with Burren Rain and Sunbird, Valerie read What's In A Name? (from the book The Letter) and Suzanne gave us two very short poems An Ode To My Sweeping Brush and The Laughter Forecast. Carrie & Stuart did Labi Siffre's Watch Me and Crazy Man Michael, Sonia & Andy sang Everything's Fine Right Now and Sonny's Dream (Ron Hynes) and we welcomed Holly for her visit, and she sang beautifully She Moved Through The Fair and a setting of the Robert Frost poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Sean did two songs from his brand new CD Rosemary Lane and Blackwaterside, John Be did Trouble (Ray Lamontagne) and the U2 song When Love Comes To Town and Martin sang Queen Of The May and Banks Of Sweet Primroses. Our good host Andy sang Golden Thread and Rainy Night In Soho, Trevor, The Bard Of Windmill Hill recited House Of Marked Cards and Let Us Be As One and Gavin & Simon played I Want To Win The FA Cup and Cheeserolling (both very topical).
 
14/5/2024
Martin took MC duties and we began with Richard, doing Folsom Prison Blues and Blue Suede Shoes then Stuart S sang Fred Wedlock's Song For Europe (with some updated verses) and Marie's Wedding. The other Stuart was next with Ruben's Train and Woodstock, Roger sang Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Drink Up Thee Cider and Geoff had two May songs, Oak And Ash And Thorn and Hal An Tow. Louise & Pete revived their lockdown duet for Lay Down and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, Sue sang Hey There Delilah and Love Of The Common People and Bob did The Other Side Of Town (John Prine) and Luxury Liner (Gram Parsons). Andrew gave us Your Song and Vincent, Martin did a couple of Springsteen songs, Land Of Hope And Dreams and My City Of Ruins and Sean had the traditional The Cuckoo and She Moves Through The Fair. Heather sang Flowers In The Rain and A Kind Of Hush then it was poetry from Val with A Cat And Dog Life (Charlie Chester) and Suzanne with Not You Basil (Pam Ayres). Jennie sang Eve Goodman's The Sea and Wild Mountain Thyme and Gavin was back with two songs by his friend Simon, Long Warm Brighter Days Are Just Ahead and Unseen And Unsung.
 
23/4/2024
Stuart MC’d for our St George’s Day evening and we kicked off as usual with Richard, singing Salonika and Mellow Yellow then Martin did Young Ramble Away and Broomfield Hill. Stuart was next with  Half English and was joined by Louise for The Blue Cockade before we had a new face to FAF, Andrew with My Heart Will Go On and Guitar Man. Roger sang Some Enchanted Evening and Sloop John B (with John B himself on bodhran!) and Christine gave us a poem by Pam Ayres Like You Would. Heather sang The Last Thing on My Mind, Rose Garden and a poem St George and the Dragon, Andy C did The Hard Times of Old England and  Sonia sang High Germany and A Place Called England. Steve sang The Actor (Incredible String Band) and English Curse (Frank Turner) then Andy G played guitar on his lap for a song that Dylan once recorded and John did Hey Joe and Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Alan sang I Still Miss Someone (Joan Baez) and his own Clear Still Day and Keith did one of his favourites,  It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.
 
9/4/2024
Stuart was our MC and he got us underway with The Outdoor Type and Bonnie And Clyde before we had a spontaneous duo as Pete joined Richard for Worried Man Blues and Down By The Riverside to remember 10 years since the passing of Pete Seeger. Meanwhile, a usual duo went solo as Stuart sang Soho (Jansch/Renbourn) and He Was A Friend Of Mine and Carrie did Cruel (Kate Rusby) and Country Song (Jake Bugg). Heather was next with Nobody's Child and The Eriskay Love Lilt, Bob did two train songs, Golden Rocket and Fireball Mail as did Sue with Chattanooga Choo Choo and This Train. A new face for FAF was Peter who sang Clementine and Wreck Of The Old 97 (another train song!), Martin sang American Stranger and A Begging I Will Go and Geoff went trad with While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping and The White Hare Of Howden. Our regular poets were next, Valerie read Ginko The Clown and Suzanne Uncle Noah (Roger Mcgough) and we were delighted to see Jane return as she sang Here Comes The Sun and Talk To Me Of Mendocino. Jennie did Siren Song (Eve Goodman) and the shanty The Wild Goose, Rob & Mick did yet another train sing, this time a new one by Rob Waiting For A Train plus Bonnie At Morn then Rob rounded things off with You Can't Be A Pirate With All Of Your Parts.
 
26/3/2024
Pete was our MC for the latest FAF and we started with Richard doing Lord Of The Dance, and two Adge Cutler songs The Bristol Song and Drink Up Thee Cider. Alan followed with Tom Paxton's Hold On To Me Babe and Black Velvet Band then Sue sang Fields Of Gold, Ride On and Red River Valley and Bob did Pawn Shop Blues, Lost Highway and Lord God What A Beautiful City. Steve sang  Green And Red Of Mayo (Saw Doctors), his own Never Thought To Fail (about the RNLI) and Al Stewart's Gethsemene, Again, Stuart did Catherine Shaw, Alcohol (Ray Davies) and was joined by Pete for Roseville Fair, a kind of tribute to Andy's banjo playing. We then we had poems from Valerie Second Childhood and Suzanne Mafia Cats. Sean played his instrumental Pachelbel's Revolver and the traditional Sir Patrick Spens and The Isle Of France, Heather sang Flowers In The Rain, The Crystal Chandeliers and Where Have All The Flowers Gone? And Martin did John Martyn's Sapphire, Karine Polwart's The King Of Birds and Richard Thompson's Johnny's Far Away. Finally, Andy sang The Scarecrow, Always Lift Him Up And Never Knock Him Down and played a couple of banjo tunes. Andy will be moving to Wells soon, so we will see him less frequently and miss the banjo playing!
 
12/3/2024
We were close to St Patrick's Day, so there was no shortage of Irish songs as Martin took on MC duties. He took up the fiddle to join Stuart & Pete for Steve Knightley's Galway Farmer (the Cheltenham Festival was just starting) and the three of them became four as Tony added harmonica to I'm The Urban Spaceman. Richard was next with The Irish Rover and Singing In The Rain before poems from Valerie reading Tulips and Suzanne with I'm Going To Kill My Husband (Pam Ayres). Bob did Blues Stay Away From Me and Blue Days Black Nights, Sue sang Don't Fence Me In and Marie's Wedding and Stuart (without Carrie this week) gave us The Cuckoo and Kansas City Moan. Heather was next with The Kerry Dance and Danny Boy then John sang Mike Scott's Ireland and Jake Thackray's Our Dog. Tony & Grace made it from over the (Welsh) border to sing The Holy Ground and Steve Earl's Galway Girl (with more fiddling from Martin), Sean sang Whiskey In The Jar and Raglan Road and Andy D did his own Mods And Mohair and Guy Clark's Dublin Blues. Jennie sang the Marmalade song Reflections Of My Life plus When The Boat Comes In and we were delighted that our host Andy G entertained us with the Dave Cousins song The Flower And The Young Man and his own poem The Kingfisher then Michael (who had visited us once before) sang From Clare To Here and Fields Of Athenry. Colin was joined by Richard (an old partnership) for a spirited Monto before singing Nelson's Farewell, Martin played My Lagan Love on the fiddle and Tony & Grace ended the evening with Molly Malone.
27/2/2024
Stuart was our MC as we neared St David's Day, and he & Pete kicked off with Stu's version of Go Lassie Go and Come A Little Bit Closer. Richard made a welcome return, singing This Land Is Our Land (the Welsh version) and We Shall Not Be Moved then John did Red-Velvet Steering Wheel Cover Driver (Tommy Makem) and Mike Scott's Analyst. Sue sang Puff The Magic Dragon and Those Were The Days, Heather read her own poem Classic Cars and sang Messing About On The River and The Bonnie Banks Of Loch Lomand and Roger gave us Old Man River. Chris sang David Of The White Rock and was joined by John for Ain't Misbehaving then Geoff did Died For Love and the Kipling/Peter Bellamy combination Sir Richard's Song. A couple of poems next, first from Suzanne with Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face then Valerie with Little Garden Shed. Sonia & Andy did Nacw' Nghariad (There Is My Love) and Merthyr Rising and Martin sang I Drew My Ship Into The Harbour and John Martyn's Angeline. Andy D sang two songs from his brand new CD (hot off the press), Milk Of Human Kindness (the title track) and Higher Ground, Alan did Two Hearts In Space And Time and Make You Feel My Love and Steve sang Donovan's Ballad Of Geraldine and Dylan's To Ramona.
 
13/2/2024
Love was in the air the day before Valentine's Day and we had plenty of love songs with Pete in charge of the romance! He and Stuart began with Stu's Give You Up For Lent and Texas Love Song then Gary sang Slim Dusty's Do You Think That I Don't Know and a love song to horses Copper And May. Carrie & Stuart sand Richard Thompson's Dimming Of The Day and the Ivory Joe Hunter song I Almost Lost My Mind, Sue did Hey There Delilah and Eternal Flame and Bob gave us Tina Louise and My Girl Josephine. Heather was next with The Second Minuet and Love Is All Around then Suzanne read the poem Cling To Me Nigel before John sang two Mike Scott songs Love Song and Someone Should Tell You. Sean sang Lock-Keeper (Stan Rogers) and Dylan's Simple Twist Of Fate, Andy D sang is own Liquid Sky (a love song to the earth) and the brilliant Headless Body In A Topless Bar. Sonia did The Dark Eyed Sailor and the McGarrigle's Foolish You, Andy C sang If I Were A Carpenter and Ripples and Martin did This Love Won't Let You Fail and Year Of The Cat. Jennie sang I Love This Bar and Orphan Girl (Gillian Welsh) and Sarah did BB King's The Thrill Is Gone.
23/1/2024
FAF didn't let the dark days of winter get us down as we encouraged everyone to perform a cheerful or funny number. Burns Night also got a nod as Martin MC'd. Stuart & Peter started with The Napoli and Right Said Fred then John sang The Cat (Mike Scott) and On Again! On Again! (Jake Thackray). Bob was next with Rhubarb Pie and I Love To Boogie and Sue sang Ugly Bug Ball and Swinging On A Star. Not known for funny songs, Andy turned comedian with a series of banjo jokes (playing along as he did so and throwing in a bit of Oh Suzanna) before segueing into All The Girls Go Wild Over Me. Martin was next with the Dubliner's The Sick Note and High Part Of The Town (Jez Lowe), Keith did Village Green Preservation Society and Bring Us In Hot Tea and Roger started with a joke and sang He Shall Die. Sean did his own Something Always Gets You In The End and was joined by Sandie for Fairytale Of Bradley Stoke, a Bristolian twist on the Christmas classic. We had a new face next, Joe, who delighted us with a couple of Nick Drake songs Clothes Of Sand and Milk And Honey, then it was Suzanne with a poem Oft I Think Of Robbie Burns. Valerie read a few short pieces St. Lucy's Day In Sweden/The Miracle Of The Poinsettia/Martin Lutther's Tree/Snapdragon/Befana/Fruit Tree Wassailing then Jane sang Lost Words (Katherine Polwart) and the Cranberries' Zombie. Geoff did Hugh Laurie's Mystery and his own Foot Tambourine, Steve debuted his ukulele for Jez Lowe's Back In Durham Gaol and As Soon As This Pub Closes (Alex Glasgow) and Alan sang Run For Home and Mystery Eyes. Heather gave us Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini and Hi Ho Silver Lining, Neil did The Fair Flower Of Northumberland and Burn's The Silver Tassie and Jennie also went to Scotland with An Eriskay Love Lilt and a little further south for D'ye Ken John Peel.
9/1/2024
We started the new year with another busy night at the Nissen and Stuart as our MC and he and Pete began with The Hippopotamus Song and Stuart's ode to CAMRA The Beer Song. Carrie & Stuart were next with Genesis Hall and Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying then Christine sang Derry Down and recited Jabberwocky and Roger sang the 'the Knowle West version of Ramona', Ramonal. Sue did Red River Valley and Make You Feel My Love, Bob sang Backwater Blues and Crazy Arms and Geoff did two wassails, the ones from Somerset and Trunch. Valerie read a moving piece from The Letter I Should Have Written, John sang The Twelve Days After Christmas and another Flanders & Swann song The Sloth and Suzanne read a poem by Jack Prelutsky Deep In Our Refrigerator. Andy D was next with I Wish The Wars Were All Over, Sean did his own Coat Of Blue and his version of Matty Groves and Mick sang Mr Punch and Kindly Leave The Stage. Andy C gave us Mandolin Mountain and I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound and John returned to finish the evening with Jake Thackray's Grandad.

FAF-ING ABOUT (2024)

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