Warwick Folk Club - The best in acoustic music: contemporary and traditional folk, country, blues, comedy, jazz and standards
Every other Monday (closed in July) 8.00 pm. - 10.30 pm. at The Racehorse, Stratford Road, Warwick CV34 6AS
20th January - Ric Sanders & Vo Fletcher
If organisers ever wonder why they run folk clubs, it's for nights such as this. There was outstanding music from start to finish. The Melancholy Brothers (Russell & Dave) opened and sang three originals (including "Entropy" and "Skimming Stones") plus two chart songs: "She's Gone" (Hall & Oates) and Toto's No. 1, "Africa". What can you say about the musicianship of Ric and Vo? It's a joy to watch two people so at home with their instruments and so obviously enjoying what they do. They were joined by Anna Ryder on several numbers, on both accordion and pocket trumpet. Apart from some well known songs like "San Francisco Bay" and "Green Green Rocky Road" there were some unexpected Beatles songs: "Doctor Robert" and "Come Together"! The encore was "Goodnight Irene" and they invited Anna and "The Mels" back up to join in. The packed audience enjoyed simply one of the best nights this club has seen.
6th January - Performers' Night
What a very enjoyable start to the year - two sets of new performers and numerous regulars. The first new visitors were in the area from Brighton and went by the name Charlotte and Spong (right and below left). They gave us an original about female workers in WW2, unsung heroes (until now) and Flanders & Swann's "Hippopotamus Song" always a great chorus to sing.  David Fisher (below, 2nd left) had come over from Birmingham and sang accomplished versions of "Willie O' Winsbury" and a Stan Rogers song about the north-west passage. Sue Harris (below 2nd right) included a more serious Les Barker song while Rik Middleton (below right) did the classic Jake Thackray song "Brother Gorilla". Another memorable moment was "reggae on a banjo" from Peter Wimpenny who did Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds". The night ended with a Les Barker parody of "Lowlands" retitled "Nolans"... Great fun!
16th December - The WFC Christmas Party 2019
What fun there was! Norman (right) was MC or "Head Elf" and started with "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree", Peter Wimpenny doing a fine sax solo. There was a game for the whole audience in teams of four answering questions like "Name a Christmas chart-topper from the 70s" the idea being to pick an answer the other teams hadn't chosen but despite having just sung it, Robin and his (winning) team didn't choose "Merry Xmas Everybody" by Slade. The Skeptics (Andy, below left; Peter and the new member, David) did two feature sets with songs both seasonal and not including "Winter Song" and "Coventry Carol". Thrup'nny Bits did a couple of songs and the picture (below) shows Des, not Santa but the man himself was on hand to help out with "Santa's Sack Mega Christmas Raffle", each prize sung by The Skeptics to the tune of "The 12 Days Of Christmas" including "a bath duck which looks like Santa Claus" (below right.) What fun, indeed! Merry Christmas!
2nd December - The Lost Notes
Craig Sunderland (below right) started off each half with a wide variety of songs, showcasing his strong guitar style - these included the John Connolly song "Punch And Judy Man", "The Coal & Albert Berry" (from the singing of Gary & Vera) and Rod Felton's touching song "Curly".
The Lost Notes (Ben, right; Lucy below left and Oli) started with "All At Sea", the opening track of their CD which lets the harmonies burst out. "Let It Rain On Me"  was a new song but the audience picked it up straight away. There was the nod to folk song tales of infidelity in "Half Brother"; the cautionary tale of thinking "life on the other side is better" in "Green Grass" and the title track of their album "Run Fast, Run Free". A terrific night showing original songs can still be great for joining in.
18th November - Dana & Susan Robinson
It had been too long a time since we heard these delightful American performers at the club. To set the scene, Norman (below right) sang three songs by American writers and a couple of originals, to get the audience primed and singing. Dana & Susan had put together really varied sets ranging from difficult choruses on "Pat Do This" to one of Dana's songs with the one word "Shine" as the refrain. Their latest album describes  places in their home state of Vermont - one of them was about Harry's Hardware shop part of which was converted into a bar and they helpfully provided bags of nuts and bolts labelled "Alibi Bag". Their mellow, laid-back musical style on guitars, mandolin, fiddle and banjo is very easy on the ear and their harmonies blend together beautifully and sound effortless, surely concealing many long hours of practice. A full audience thoroughly enjoyed their Transatlantic charms.
4th November - Performers' Night
It was another night of wonderfully varied music with everyone on top form. Don made reference to this time of year with "When This Lousy War Is Over"; Rik reminded us all of the excellent Bernard Cribbins song "Right Said Fred"; Dora (below right) had us all singing with "The Gypsy Rover" and "Last Thing On My Mind" while Alan & Kevin (below left; previously Alkevan) did two of Kevin's originals including "Salt Water Rain". Laura did a trailer for the guests in two weeks with Dana Robinson's "The Invitation"; Norman sang the evocative Joni Mitchell song "Urge For Going"; Peter Wimpenny took us "Walking In Memphis" and Colin Pitts (right) closed the evening with his own songs "March Monday Morning" (an observation at traffic lights in Evesham) and ended with the great chorus of "The Rolling Ramilies", about a battleship his father had served on. All fine uplifting music for a cold November evening.
21st October - Rick Kemp
The enlightened souls who came to the club on this evening heard Rick Kemp play some terrific guitar, sing his own songs with a strong voice belying his 78 years and tell some very amusing stories (one about dressing up as a Womble). The night began with a varied mixture of material from Steve & Chris Bayes - their songs included "Shake Sugaree" and the old favourite "Calico Printer's Clerk". Rick had abandoned his bass guitar which he wielded in Steeleye Span for so many years to play some of his own songs; the titles included "Low Flying", "Peace On The Border" and "Cromwell's Skull" (which he brought along to show, although he admitted  it might have been a facsimile...) The second half began with a slide show of photos from his past, each one having a quirky story behind it. And of course, he gave us the "composer's" versions of his well-known songs - "Deep In The Darkest Night" and "Somewhere Along The Road". If you didn't take the chance to see this concert, you missed a treat.
7th October - Top 20 Performers' Night
The eleventh running of this event (with a new signboard - right) and it was one of the best. 13 performers with songs from six decades and ten No. 1s. There were three newcomers: Nigel and Tony (below left and centre) reminded us how good Crowded House were with "Weather With You"; Dai Arnold brought us more up to date with a Counting Crows song while regular singer Laura is seen here with "Rockin' All Over The World" by Status Quo - not a song we might expect her to do. The most recent song was "Mathematics" from 2007 done by The Melancholy Brothers while best chorus song went to "Que Sera Sera" (1956) sung by Maggie Coleman. A great night of fun and muscial variety!
23rd September - The Harvesters
It was a really delightful evening with some old friends and a first-time visitor. Bruce Watson (bottom right) was on his first  performing trip to the UK and opened the evening in lively fashion, including a song of he'd written recently called "The Importance Of Being Bruce" about the cliche of English people thinking all Australians are called Bruce!
The Harvesters did a wide range of Americana songs, some old-timey, some more recent and the hit for Joan Baez, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and there was, of course, some Appalachian flat-footing from Sue. Ian was on fine form, with Bob (below, centre) sounding better than ever on the dobro. One of the raffle prizes looked like a giant pot of Vegemite, the Australian spread, but in fact was a Marmite jigsaw! We were treated to excellent music and good humour all night: what more could you want?
9th September - Performers' Night
Always feels like first day of term but much more enjoyable than school days... A really wide range of songs from 16th century protest songs through to something from Mary Poppins! We had two first-timers - Martin Hughes (below left) reminded us of Al Stewart's fine songwriting and then did an original lampooning "sexist 30s blues". Martin Hainsworth (below centre) reminded us of Gordon Lightfoot's writing with "If You Could Read My Mind". Campbell Perry (below right) did a song by John Lee about factory life and a new one of his about Colmer Hill, not far from where he grew up which has a distinctive group of trees. Maria Barham (right) showed what good choruses pop songs can have with "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and she was the one who chose the Disney "classic" "Let's Go Fly A Kite" which had everyone singing at the end. It was a delightful evening with surely something musically for everyone.
24th June - Performers' Night
If organisers wonder why they run folk clubs, it's because of evenings like this. There was a huge variety of music from the standard "As Time Goes By" (Norman); the silly story of "The Hermit" (Rik); a belting version of "Lonesome Road" (Don) and a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" (Maggie). The Katies (Stevens and Bennett, below, right) harmonised beautifully on songs by Katie B. with accompaniment on various instruments by Katie S. including flute, whistle, clarinet and, in this picture, spoons. The harmonies continued, in three-part, with The Lost Notes - Lucy (right) Ben (below left) and Oli. Their songs are the kind you can join in with straight away and the audience certainly did especially on their closing number "Run Free Right Now" about getting out to "Where the river flows, under the weeping willows". Make sure you get along to the club on December 2nd when The Lost Notes will be the guests.
10th June - Sensible Shoes
What a very enjoyable night this was - great music and lots of good humour. Dragonhead started us off in fine style with the sing-along "The Boys Won't Leave The Girls Alone". John (below, right - sporting the Elvis guitar strap...) and Anne (to the left of John) also added some trademark cajun music and a song from their show "Coal And Canals".
Sensible Shoes brought us a very wide range of songs, from the acappella "Why Walk When You Can Fly" by Mary Chapin-Carpenter to, as they called it, "a jolly song about wife-beating".  There were stories about lambs, weddings and set lists, the very moving "Testimony Of Patience Kershaw", Dave Swarbrick's tender song "White Dress" and by complete contrast, their tongue-twister song "Peggy Babcock". Their encore was the beautiful Eric Kaz song "Blowin' Away". A delightful evening of fun, warmth and very talented performers.
27th May - Performers' Night
A Bank Holiday evening with the usual wide variety of music, from "She Moves Thro' The Fair" to Status Quo. Proceedings  started with Norman, Dave, Russell & Laura and Paul Simon's song "Was A Sunny Day" (which it had been, partly.) We had a first-time visit from Paper Circus, Jen (shown right) and Suraj (below left). They did some well-arranged traditional songs plus "Those Were The Days", always a good chorus for the audience to join in. Peter Wimpenny (below with banjo) did Dylan's "Boots Of Spanish Leather" and "The Bell Ringing Song", then joined Norman for "The Deadwood Stage" (another great one for participation) in memory of Doris Day. Don Arthurson (bottom right) gave us "When You Are Old" by Gretchen Peters and "The Lowlands Of Holland", one of the tracks on the first Steeleye Span album. The same line-up that started finished things off with (appropriately) "Save The Last Dance For Me".
13th May - Pilgrim's Way
An exceptional night of music at the club, notable for the absence of nattering and I don't mean from the audience! The Laners, who opened, rattled through seven unaccompanied songs to start the evening off in fine style.
The seoncd half from Pilgrim's Way was a full live rendition of their album "Stand And Deliver", presented - and acted out - in full costume, as you can see. The interplay of the instruments was mesmerising, especially Tom's fiddle and Jude's clarinet. She also played a crumhorn, English bagpipes and also a curtal (a small version of a bassoon.) Heather's bass playing was fluid, syncopated, energetic and drove the beat along. We were assured Ed was a "sensitive" drummer and so he proved. Jon's powerful vocals and fine guitar was the final piece in the Pilgrim's sound. Their encore of "Birdhouse In Your Soul" sung acappella was a tour de force. As one audience member said: "Wow!"
29th April - Performers' Night
A "standard format" Performers' Night to end the month and a wonderful variety of songs there was too. Rik Middleton (on the right) did two songs suitable for the season, one being the annual outing of "Way-hey-hey, first of May, outdoor sex begins today." (No wonder he's smiling...) Photos below are, from the left: Sam Shemmell, a first-time visitor from Walsall, who included a very nice version of "Diamonds & Rust", the song written by Joan Baez about Bob Dylan ("Your eyes were bluer than robin's eggs; My poetry was lousy you said.") John Findlay did the Crosby, Stills & Nash song "Helplessly Hoping"; Allan Richardson revived a song he'd written in 1966 and Alan Matthews gave an outing to the beautiful Donovan song "Catch The Wind". Robin Kaye got us all singing with the shanty "Alabama John Cherokee" and ended the night with "Take Me Home Country Roads".
15th April - Acoustic Union
"Pop songs of the 60s and 70s are the folk songs of today" has been a saying at this club for many years so Acoustic Union with their folk style pop gave a great night's entertainment. The audience knew almost every song they did and most of them had parts for joining in. "You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn..."; "Here I am: stuck in the middle with you..."; "California dreamin' on such a winter's day..." Excellent musicianship from all concerned: Alison (right) took lead on most vocals; Adrian played almost every acoustic instrument made as well as this electric sitar (for  "Norwegian Wood"); Jayne had a wide range of percussion including a "shaky orange" and Simon played some sensitive - and inventive - double bass. Such an enjoyable evening and great good humour thoughout. Keith Judson (below, right) opened both halves wih some well-crafted originals along with a Sidney Carter song and Paul Metsers' "Farewell To The Gold". He was ably accompanied on many of them by Kirsty Daniels on flute but sadly room prevents her photo appearing. Sorry Kirsty!
1st April - Performers' Night - Fool Theme
A wonderfully wide and wacky variety of interpretations of "fool" in song. Norman as MC (shown right) foolishly led a group who'd never played together before in "Jollity Farm", a very silly song with lots of animal noises.
The Melancholy Brothers asked the age old question "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?"; Rik Middleton extended the range of music heard at the club by playing "On With The Motley" from Leoncavallo's opera "Pagliacci" and Robin Kaye (complete with jester's cap) sang The Beatles song "Fool On The Hill".
Dave Fry (below, far left, shown acting the fool - or is he..?) sang about the monkey who said "I Wanna Be Like You"; Laura Kisby (next along) did a song from the Oldham Tinkers with some very silly words; Chris Tobin did the even sillier "Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer" - he's seen below looking to see if the lamb enjoyed it. (The lamb was there for "Jollity Farm".)
Clive Brooks (far right) sang about sailors "Frozen in Frobisher Bay" (a foolish place to go in winter...) and rounded the night off with "Martin Said To His Man" which ends with the question "Who's the fool now?" You may well ask...
18th March - Kevin Dempsey
Kevin was on fine form with a wide range of songs including a number of traditional songs, one of the first he ever wrote called "The Music Bringer" and a 60s song first done by The Impressions. Kevin's guitar dexterity had everyone enthralled. Most of the guitarists in the room made a mental note to go home and practise more... The encore was a great arrangement of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"
The opening set from The Somerville Gents was very entertaining. One song had a satirical dig at merchant bankers and their set closer was called "Crassanova", about someone unsuccessfully trying to adopt an Italian lifestyle. The trio are shown below: from left to right, Phil, Jem and Ted