Folk Clubs have a language all of their own. Where else can you expect to ‘Yo, ho, oh, ho, we for the deep blue sea’, or ‘Fol your Rol’, far less than ‘Riddle your Dido’ without fear of arrest?

Only one sure way to find out, you know.

Be welcome gentle Reader, and read on.


The biggest news of the week I suppose must be our Help for Heroes project. Firstly a big expose in the Evening Chronicle, complete with one of those new-fangled coloured photographs, got the story out to the masses. At this point, the masses remain; somewhat unimpressed, but there have been some enquiries.

Which is nice.

Secondly, and in all ways most ‘portant, the music is finished. We are at the very final tweak stage, checking the CD in all sorts of hi-fi’s, cars, houses, televisions, headphones etc. So far it is sounds good to us, technically the best recording we have ever managed, largely due to me reading things before prodding buttons.

Four track EP, all of World War One songs, all FG originals, and all, pretty much good to go. Launch date is July 1st, and a press pack goes out this week. If you have a radio show, write a column, hack for an acoustic music publication, expect the dreaded ‘plopp’ on your doormat soon.

Our gigs secret scheme remains, well, secret, and may well come to naught, but we hope to reveal more, maybe even next week. Not for me to say.

This week and we for The Candlelite, (not as it said on the website, Cramlington, sorry folks). Some time has passed since we were there, but as ever, it was great to meet up with old friends and have a long natter (in the vestibule of course) with a few of ‘em. Thanks to Andrea for kind words and nice photos (the photos here are the work of The Wrinkly Wroadies). Sound as ever, was very good courtesy of a young gentleman under the careful tutelage of Roly. Which led on to…

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A bad workman, so they tell me, always blames his tools. This is certainly so in the folk and acoustic community. I do not fail to tune my guitar correctly, it ‘goes out of tune’, and I have the certain knowledge that, if I spend a wheelbarrow load of cash on a new instrument, then, ergo: I will be a better player. Rather like the parents who, in the interest of fitness, buy their corpulent offspring a scooter and whose svelte hopes are, of course, dashed when they end up with a bent scooter and a crying, but well rounded, kid; it is just the same round the folk club. If I play badly (and I do, I do) with my current instrument, and I buy a top of the range Martin, Taylor, Fylde or wossname, then the net result is that you’ll be able to hear my mistakes all the better, with  a bit more sustain.

From all of the above you will be able to deduce that I fancy a new guitar, upgrading from my Taylor 210CE, which is easily the best guitar I have ever owned. Not necessarily the most expensive (although it is that too), just the best guitar. Thing is, should I go for my dream machine, a Taylor 816CE, which is just lovely, a delight, a six string paroxysm of ecstatic sonic glory, or should I be fiscally sensible and explore other avenues? I find myself considering a very kind offer of a hand-build from new Acoustic Chum Rob MacIntyre, the bass-playing, guitar-building, singer-songwriter bit of Philosan (often known locally as Marie Little’s Band). Following the Candlelite vist, later in the week we had a very pleasant evening in Rob’s company, helped by a 25 year old malt and a quick jam, as well as trying some of his work, made me think hand building might be an option. What a genuinely nice guy too. We were round his gaff retrieving said Taylor 210 which he had adjusted for me following a bad case of a twisted neck and beggared intonation. Neck fettled and action lowered slightly, I’m back in business with the Taylor sounding fine. What next, I wonder?


Perhaps a quick visit to the Old King and Washerwoman’s Legs, as the Folk Club will be on. This week there is a guest. This means that someone you haven’t heard of, but have to pretend that you have because everyone else is pretending they have, will play some songs you have never heard before, but have to pretend you like because… well, you get the idea. This is particular to the Washerwoman’s Legs as although everyone pays their weekly subs[1], which are quite steep[2], there never seems to be enough in the kitty to book acts you have actually heard of.

Although the chairman has got a new guitar.

This week the visitor Allen Dale, was speaking in tongues. Fol de Rol, was the half of it. This was followed by, Riddle – de-Ree, fal de ral, May Morning[3], Eli Eli Eli Yale, Fol de rol de rol rol rol and John canacka –nacka too-ri-aaay, all followed in their turn. Apparently this is quite normal in the traditional folk club, certainly none of the regulars turned a hair[4] although in this case it was unusual that the guest used the above at the bar. In the end, they wouldn’t serve him any more.

So as the word count mounts, and the ‘Fol-De-Riddly-Di-Do’ of Fate meets the ‘You talkin’ to me?’ of Destiny, I notice it’s the end of the blog.

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] It’s called a raffle, but everyone understands the workings of musical extortion.

[2] A pound a ticket, £1.50 on the door and a copy of the chairman’s CD for a tenner – every week.

[3] It’s always soddin’ May.

[4] At least, none of those with a hair to turn.


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