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 REVIEWS YEAR 2008

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The Old Castle Band

Sunday 28 December

This really does stand out as one of the best nights at the Scrag End since this band last played at the club! The great humour, stories, anecdotes about the songs and the band members generally taking the 'Mick' out of each other as if they had no talent. They performed many really well known up beat folk songs in their own style that eased the audience into participation with their voices, their feet tapping and hands clapping. A number of spine tingling ballads were sung by band members including Pete Bachan, who did a fine traditional rendition of 'Old Lang Zynne' in superb voice. Also, Jim Ritchie's version of 'Jock of Hazeldene' that was stunning. Jim also plays fine Whistle and electronic bagpipes. This band are an all time 'Good Time band' in the realms of the 'Spinners' or the 'Travelling People' but with added zest! Penultimately, I wish to mention the bass player, Mike. His instrument added the cream to the overall sound of the band. He performed hilarious monologues when he leapt into the audience out of the blue to take us unaware. Clive, a mate of mine was so enamoured with the night he bought all six members of the band a pint! If anyone wishes to book this band please contact me on my phone number 01530 272305. Thanks also to Julie and Robert who, at short notice did an admirable floor spot.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns


What's The Point Ceilidh Band

Sunday 14 December

This band were just great! They entertained us with a wide repertoire of well known, self penned and lesser known folk songs as well as a brilliant selection of jigs, reels and polkas. Their patter and banter put us all in the mood for a laid back evening with chorus singing and fun. Must mention Steve Jacksons rendition of 'Rose of Allendale', sung so well with superb backing from the band. Garry performed a few of his own songs with brilliant voice and heartfelt, poignant words and strong memorable melodies. Noel Jackson also had a wonderful voice for folk and is amazing on the mandolin. This 6 piece band did themselves and the audience great justice, I will book them again as soon as I can. They will be performing at the Moira Furnace Folk Festival in 2009, don't miss them! Click Here to view festival website. Thanks to the floor singers who did a great job of warming up the audience for the night and thanks to all who attended.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns


Claret

Sunday 30 November

A small but appreciative audience were entertained by this proficient band. The Guitarist was superb and Sandra, the vocalist, despite having a heavy cold did well with the songs. I must mention Sandra's melodic flute playing that added something special to the sound of the band. All in all a good night let down by lack of attendance. Thanks to the floor singers who, as usual, did a fine job.


Dave Johns


Trouble Brewing

Sunday 9 November

There was a good attendance for this foursome who are regular supporters of the club, but also do gigs in their own right. The secret of their appeal is that their act contains a variety of material excellently played and performed throughout. John plays four and six string guitar and sings, Jan plays accordion, English concertina and sings, Rosie plays flute and Colin does a variety of very amusing monologues and poems. The combinations that they are able to get thus keep the evening swinging along at a good pace. There were songs by writers like Richard Shindell, John Richards, Steve Knightley as well as a bevy of traditional songs. There was also some great tune playing on numbers like 'Siege of a Nation' and Jimmy Shand 's 'Dancing Dustman', flute and concertina doing a great duet on this one. There was also a great rendition by Jan of the Henry Clements poignant anti-war ballad 'Needle and Thread'. Colin always brings a light hearted moment with his contributions including 'Monumental Mistake', 'Little Aggie' and his own satire on Political Correctness which is now being used by other performers around the region. It was pleasing that a lot of their material was not the standard fare that you normally hear at folk clubs.

Their laid-back approach, laced with humour, meant that the audience had a great night and John finished the night off with Pete Coe 's 'Wizards Well', which he often gets asked for at clubs he frequents. The momentum of the evening was kept going by some good supporting floor spots from Peter Soar who played Offenbach 's 'Can Can' rousingly on accordion, gave us a Les Barker parody and read a Wilfred Owen poem on the Armistice theme. Debbie Warren also read some moving poetry on the poppies theme and a great rendition Vin Garbutt 's El Salvador. A relaxing evening only spoiled by the fact that some of the audience had to work the next day! Ps Dave was too modest to mention the contribution of Dave and Julia Taylor in the floor spots. Both Dave and Julia sang really well and they both stunned us with refreshing material.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Taylor

Pete Oakley

Sunday 26 October

Pete turned up in great form ready to blow us all away with his music. He had a variety of classic guitars with him and a hand made steel bodied ukulele Disappointingly for Pete and the 4 people who turned up to see him we had to cancel the night due to lack of support. Pete gave us a 10 minute review of what his act would have been, which was fantastic. What a superb song writer, guitarist and singer and so laid back into the bargain.I will book him again in 2010 and hope for a better turnout. The last 2 times Pete played at the club we were packed out, I don't know what went wrong this time. Do listen to his sound bites below.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns

Steve Tilston

Sunday 12 October

A good crowd turned up to see Steve and what a night it was! CD quality sound with every song a classic. Steve is a Master songwriter and a very skilled gutarist with a superb voice. Thanks to all the floor singers and thanks to the audience and a big thank you to Steve.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns

Steve N Robinson Band - Now reverting to their original name of 'Mitres Well'

Sunday 28 September

What a bloody superb night from these three Gentle Men of Folk, namely: Steve Edkins, Steve Swaffer and Malcolm Robinson. A good crowd turned up and had an hilarious night of wit and banter unrehearsed by the band. Great songs, great musicianship and brilliant voices combined with spontaneous humour made for a very special night indeed. Highlights of the evening were Steve Edkins version of 'The Anchor and the Tame' and Steve Swaffer singing 'Red is the Rose'. Both songs had the audience joining in in full voice with the choruses. Thanks to the floor singers, Ted-Tann-Watson and Dave and Julia Taylor for adding to the brilliance of the night and thanks to all who attended.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns

Dave Burland

Sunday 14 September

An unexpected low turn out could have made for a disappointing evening, but a small and appreciative audience were truly entertained by Dave. His glorious voice and stunning guitar work, along with a great selection of songs, made this a very enjoyable night. Thanks to Ted-Tann Watson and Tim Watkins for a great set of songs that warmed up the evening for us. Also a big thanks to Dave Burland.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns

John Conolly

Sunday 10 August

John Conolly was a bit late, so I introduced a chap called John Kelly who I had mistaken for John Conolly, as the guest, which got a great laugh all round. The floor singers were on form and thanks go to Ted Tann-Watson, Farmer Dave, and a special mention for John Kelly from Wigan who gave us a superb set accompanied by harmonium [we hope to have him booked in 2010]. John Conolly is a very unassuming gentleman who gave us a night that stands with all of the best nights we've had at the Scrag End! He sang beautiful trad. songs about the fishing, comedy songs that made us howl with laughter. His stories and anecdotes were very entertaining with the beautiful and poignant song 'Charlie in the Meadow' that stole the show. The night ended with a rousing version of 'Fiddlers Green' in which we all sang our hearts out. John is a superb act to see and hear and he will be back at the Scrag end in 2010. Thanks for a great night John.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns

Lester Simpson

Sunday 13 July 2008

A small but intimate audience had a glorious night of top quality entertainment from both Lester and the floor spots. John Smith started the night off with great pipe playing, Debbie Warren then sang a great ballad with her superb and sweet voice. Steve Thomason treated us to his self penned trad. songs that are pure magic. Lester Simpson gave us a fantastic night of top quality Trad songs and tunes, some of them self-penned. Lester has an enchanting voice and is a top melodeon player. He has a pleasing way with the audience and told interesting anecdotes and stories,some with humour. A friend of mine sat next to me uttered after one song, "that has made me cry". He bought the album after the show because that song moved him so much. All in all a great night, well worth the money. Thanks to all the floor spots and a big thanks to Lester.


Dave Johns

Tom Bliss

Sunday 29 June 2008

A small, but very appreciative, audience was treated to an excellent evening 's entertainment by Tom Bliss who has an extraordinary talent for researching a story and then writing an interesting song about it. In addition to his skills as a songwriter, Tom also most ably demonstrated his musical abilities in playing a range of stringed instruments as well as the concertina and whistle. Tom showed that he is a very talented, and most pleasant, person who relates well to the audience and provides them with a most informative introduction to all of his songs. Tom opened his first set with 'The Violin ' which creatively tells the history of his own violin. This was followed by 'Fly Angel Fly ', a song about Eleanor Thornton who was the model for the 'Spirit of Ecstasy ' radiator mascot seen on all Rolls Royce cars, and 'The Montague ' which was an unaccompanied song about a distant relative crashing his ship on the rocks of Lundy Island. The audience was then told about one of the uninhabited Channel Islands Burhou, which is a seabird sanctuary, and which inspired the next song 'Boat to Burhou. We were then treated to two tunes 'Herm Waltz ' and the 'The Sark Dance ' which clearly demonstrated Tom 's instrumental talents and another self penned song 'Sound the Drum ' which provided good opportunities for the audience to join in the chorus. Tom ended the first half with a most interesting song 'Just the Kind of Man ' which was about an organic farmer, Mark Purdey. When the government tried to eradicate warble fly with compulsory applications of organophosphates Mark refused on the basis that he already had a perfectly good organic treatment for warble fly and anyway the doses they were demanding were excessive. He sued the government - before they could fine him - and won! A salutary lesson for all those people who feel that the government is not acting in their best interests. The second half opened with Tom 's version of 'Rue ' which is based on a traditional song originally adapted by Mary Humphries and added to by Tom. Rue being a herb that was used for bringing on a self-induced abortion. This was followed by a chilling tale 'The Sin of Mary Prout '. To balance emotions Tom then introduced some light heartedness by performing a very clever poem that he had written entitled 'Middle English Pie ', which was a recipe using British place names, and 'The Mandola Song ' Tom then sang a traditional song, 'Jack Hall ' which tells of the last chimney sweep to be hanged at Tyburn and ended a most enjoyable evening with one of his most requested songs 'God Speed '. Extended floor spots at the beginning of each half by Kate Morris and Tony Croft, an accordion and melodeon duo known as 'Syzygy ', provided excellent musicianship combined with sympathetic arrangements. Their performance enthralled the audience who expressed the view that they are worthy of a future booking at the club.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Colin Grantham

Mick Strode

Sunday 25th May 2008

We had a capacity audience and Robert and Julie Elverstone started the night off with two delightful songs. Alan blood took over and finished with a great version of "The Blues Run the Game". Mick Strode took to the stage and delighted us with a number of self-penned contemporary folk songs. With the accompaniment of John Buckley on guitar he then began his blues set that literally blew us away. All of Mick's contemporary songs are well crafted with meaningful words and his self penned blues material is state of the art. What a great night, with reunions of old friends and the making of new ones. We gave Mick a great farewell with two encores and hope to book him again in 2010.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns


Celtish

Sunday May 11 2008

This group took us by storm. We were knocked out by the harp and flute playing as well as other insrumentation in the band. The lead singer really made you feel the music with her clear and haunting voice that added to the mysterious Celtic sound of the band. Many of the audience are saying to me that it was the best night they've been to at the Scrag End and many CD's were sold. Thanks go out to the floor singers who did a really fine job, namely: Jan and John, Tim Watkin and Debbie Warren.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns



John Richards

Sunday April 27 2008

A good turn out started the night off well. Floor singers where of the usual excellent Scrag End quality and John and the band were on great form. We were treated to many of John's fine compositions with the night ending, after many encours, with "Shine On," that all time classic known well by many of us.The Audience were in fine chorus. What a night, well worth the asking price. Thanks to all who attended.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns


Keith Kendrick

Sunday April 13 2008

Despite a low turnout at the start of the night the audience were in the mood to be entertained. We started with a great selection of floor singers, who all did really nice warm up spots. Keith and his partner, Silvia Needham took to the stage and gave us a glorious first half of shanties and trad. songs with great concertina playing. The audience were in a jolly mood and the room filled a bit more as the night drew on. All the floor singers did well in the second half and Keith and Silvia did us proud to make a very warm and entertaining evening. Thanks to all who attended.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns


Pete Morton

Sunday March 30 2008

For a Star such as Pete the turn out was dissapointing, this did not however, distract all of us from having a great night. The floor spots were great and Pete treated us to many of his well known songs from his new compilation album 'Napoleon Jukebox'. Songs were requested one after the other and Pete, in fine style, delivered them with CD quality performances. This guy should be a much bigger name on the Folk Scene as I'm sure he will be as his popularity grows even further.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns


The Queensberry Rules

February 24 2008

Queens Berry Rules Live at the Scrag End Folk Club

This popular band was well supported by a group of people who had come to the Scrag End Folk club from all parts of the Midlands to see their favourite band. The Queensberry Rules are a three piece band consisting of brothers Gary (vocals and percussion) and Duncan Wilcox (vocals, violin, mandolin and double bass) and Phil Hulse (vocals, guitar, bouzouki and harmonica).They performed mostly their own material which primarily reflected their Stoke on Trent background including 'The Black Dog ', 'Jam Jar Wakes ' 'Sinking Town ' and 'The Sagger Maker 's Bottom Knocker '. Their song writing ability, based on carefully researched material or an emotional response to events, and musical talent combines to provide a significant number of quality performances.

This gig was part of the tour to promote their latest CD 'Landlocked ' and featured eight of the tracks from it. The most memorable were the title track, which was about childhood memories of seaside holidays, 'Have a Go Hero ', the story of a man who was killed for trying to protect his own property, 'Mollie Leigh ' the witch of Stoke on Trent, 'I still believe in England ' a potential anthem for when an England team reaches a world final in a sporting event and a guitar instrumental 'Pushing the Boat Out '. Floor spots at the beginning of each half of the evening, which featured John Hill and Rosie Grantham, Colin Grantham and Alan Blood provided a varied programme of entertainment and 'warmed ' the audience up for the main guests. (Click here - Sample Tracks)

Colin Grantham



Miv Cameron

Sunday 27 January 2008

  The Miv Cameron Band came all the way from Anglesey via the Wirral to join us for no set fee! Miv's voice was enchanting, with able back up, including melodious harmonies form the rest of the band. We had a reasonably sized audience who had a relaxed, easy listening night with light hearted banter and well sung songs. Miv, the lead vocalist, put us all in the mood with her Cabaret style intro's to the songs, many of which were self penned by Miv and the band. All in all a night worth attending and after everyone had joined in with the finally of a very original version of Loch Lomond, we all thought we had had our monies worth. A big thanks to the support acts who did us great justice, Colin with his monologues, Trouble Brewin, an excellent band, Alan Blood, who did us proud and Tim Watkin with his great accapella singing. Please listen to sound bites of the Miv Cameron Band.
(Click here - Sample Tracks)

Dave Johns



 


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