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Another Splendid AllStyles Singers’ Night

By |August 13th, 2018|1 Comment

Wendy Eastwood

Sixteen singers plus another twenty-two who had come along to enjoy the music, meant the function room at The Feathers was comfortably full on what promised to be another splendid AllStyles Singers’ Night.

And it was a promise fulfilled, with a wide variety of styles by musicians who joined us from as far as Llandudno, Rhos-on-Sea, Abergele, Denbigh and Rhyl to the north-west; and from Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port and Malpas to the north-east. They came to share in, and contribute to, a wonderful evening of live music.

John Williams

No ‘new faces’ as such tonight, but it was good to see Colin Campbell and Mike Whitaker back at the club, Mike having added to his repertoire of self-penned songs since we saw him last.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard Linda Griffiths adding beautiful harmonies to the (mainly Ryan Adams) songs sung by her brother Alan Thompson. This week she did a spot in her own right, starting with a rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”, sung a cappella, as intended, with a powerful voice that fair knocked our socks off. Then she spiced things up with “Hesitation Blues”, accompanied by Alan on guitar.

The evening had been kick-started by the maestro John Williams on his cello mandolin with Richard Thompson’s “Lawrence, Kansas” followed by the American folk song written by Ray Lamontagne, “Roadhouse Girl”. Later in the evening we also heard one of John’s own songs, “Red Door”.

 

Mike Whitaker

The finale spot this week fell to Neil Martin who, in melancholic mood, treated us first to a Don Mclean’s Crossroads, followed by an autobiographical blues number, “Walking”.

For an encore, Neil acceded to a request (from me) for a Leonard Cohen song. He chose “Famous Blue Raincoat”, which happens to be one of my favourite Cohen songs. (Click the ► above to listen in).

And so another exceptional evening of music drew to a close.

From the striking of the first chord to switching off the mics had been three hours, three minutes and fifty seconds (the length of the WAV file on the mixing desk) and the full list of contributors were: Richard Davies, Colin Campbell, Richard and Wendy Eastwood , Glyn Hudson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Cath Bryan, Chris Birchall, John Williams, Linda Griffiths, Penni Neale, Mike Whitaker, Alan Thompson, Neil Martin and Joe Lyon. (Click ► below to hear Joe’s “Long and Winding Road)

Don’t forget folks…
There is no club night at The Feathers next week (August 16th).

We are back on the 23rd with a Showcase by Fuchsia Jones – plus floor spots, so bring your instruments as usual.

Cake, Poems, & All Styles of Music. Oh… and did I mention cake?

By |August 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Enid Toft

The room was comfortably full, and by the start of the second half of the evening, so were our bellies.

Because we now have such a large membership, we only tend to do cake for “special birthdays”. This week that honour was bestowed upon the lovely Enid Toft.

I’m far too much of a gentleman to reveal a lady’s age, so we celebrated the fact she has been attending our music nights fairly regularly since her first visit twenty years ago.

When she was fifty. 😉

We normally see Enid performing to the guitar accompaniment of Neil Wilkinson but as he was away on holiday, this week she took to the mic a cappella and treated us to two lovely songs in Welsh, “Adref” and the Ryan Davies song “Pan Fo’r Nos Yn Hir”.

Neil Martin

New Faces
Hailing from Ellesmere Port way, Colleen made her AllStyles debut on her ukulele with a rendition of “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, which was written by Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, and followed up with two of her splendid home-grown poems.

Another new face was that of Neil Martin. It was in fact his second visit to the club, but the first time doesn’t really count. It was back in the winter when he braved the heavy snow to venture over the Clwydian Range, to find the only others foolhardy enough to venture past their front doors were myself and Mark Thatcher. Nevertheless, a very pleasant evening ensued with the three of us jamming ’til closing time.

Tonight Neil gave us a fabulous version of the Jerry Jeff Walker song “Mr Bojangles” (click ► above) and Tom T Hall’s “How I Got to Memphis”. Hopefully we won’t have to wait for it to snow before we see him again.

Tom Goodall

We had a fine and eclectic mix of styles and genres from our regulars: “House of the Rising Sun” from Joe Lyon. I joined him on the 12-string for this classic Animals number, and ventured into Dylan territory for my solo spot. Jim Cole gave us some bonny Scottish jigs. We had Cash from Richard Eastwood and Cline from Wendy followed by the couple duetting on the Don Williams song “Shelter of your Eyes”.

Bluegrass and Americana were Tom and Lynda Degney’s preferences. Then for his solo spot, Tom showed off the latest instrument to emerge from his workshop, a solid-bodied electric midi mandolin.

Tom Goodall paid us a welcome return visit with three of his self-penned songs, including “A Beautiful Face but an Ugly Heart” and the touching, poignant “Mother’s Hug”.

It was good to see Alan Thompson and his sister Linda back for a third visit in as many weeks. Their voices harmonise so beautifully and I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping we have acquired a couple of new ‘regulars’. Alan is a self-confessed fan of Ryan Adams. “Invisible Riverside” and “To Be Without You” were on their menu tonight.
Alan and Linda singing “Deep Ellum Blues” filmed by Linda’s husband Kev.

Click the volume setting. If the video doesn’t play, you can find it on our Facebook page

In the second half they sang the Traditional American blues number “Deep Ellum Blues” made famous by the Grateful Dead back in the sixties. There had been spontaneous shouts of ‘More’ from the audience, so we brought them back to sing Ryan Adams’s “Oh My Sweet Carolina” for us in the finale.

These Singers’ Nights just keep on getting more and more enjoyable. We are so lucky to have so many talented musicians turning up week after week, both visitors and regulars.


A Welcome Breeze

By |August 1st, 2018|0 Comments

Breeze

Whilst we’ve all been lapping up the hottest summer for years, it was quite refreshing to see temperatures drop a little last week.

However, the welcome breeze that greeted us at The Feathers on Thursday was of the musical, rather than the meteorological variety.

Breeze were originally meant to be part of our Ruthin Festival Week event, last month, but unfortunately had to pull out due to illness. So it was with great pleasure we were able to invite the band back to perform a little Showcase Spot.

They are a new band based upon old traditions, in as much as Llinos Finnie and John Rowell (John Bass) performed together in the band “Mantra” some twenty years ago, during the formative days of the then Ruthin Folk Club.

Neil Wilkinson

Back then, the third band member was Bryn Roberts, a much loved club regular who sadly lost his battle with cancer some three and a half years ago. Recently, the pair hooked up with AllStyles regular Neil Wilkinson, giving the legacy of Mantra new wind in the form of Breeze.

Neil’s impeccable guitar style is the perfect compliment to John’s beguiling bass playing and Llinos’s lovely vocals as they perform cool covers and tuneful originals.

Their six song set included the Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More”, Sting’s “Fields of Gold”, a lovely instrumental written by Neil entitled Snowflake, and the late Bryn Roberts’ favourite from the Mantra era, “Love Song”, written by Lesley Duncan, which featured some beautiful harmonic backing vocals from John.

Click ► below to listen to Love Song

 

Floor Spots
Just like the weather, you can never accurately forecast who will be turning up for Floor Spots and in addition to Breeze, there were eleven other acts to warm our hearts in a top class manner with a varied mix of styles and musical genres.

Ron McSweeney

John Bass was kept doubly busy, performing as he does with the Tom, Dick and Harry band.

Harry brought with him a musical pal from Nottingham, in the form of Ron McSweeney, who opened both halves of the evening for us. And Tom Degney, of course, was as busy as ever providing accompaniment when called upon, on mandolin, guitar and dobro.

Tom also rounded off what had been a superb evening of live music, with his ever popular “Dr Jazz” medley.

Roll call:
Tom & Lynda Degney, Rhodri Hampden Jones, Glyn Hudson, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Cath Bryan, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, the Tom, Dick & Harry band (with John Bass), Ron McSweeney, and Breeze featuring Llinos Finnie, Neil Wilkinson and John Rowell.

Fields of Gold

Yesterday Once More

 

Sixteen Singers

By |July 21st, 2018|0 Comments

Geoff Durno

Sixteen singers, some thirty eight songs, including several collaborations and an a cappella trio.

It all added up to an great night’s entertainment for the forty-odd audience seated in the function room at The Feathers this week.

Joe Lyon got the evening underway for us with some Beatles and Ray Davies.

Tom Degney was kept busy, as always, accompanying his good lady, Lynda, as well as collaborating on songs by Richard Davies, Penni Neale and others, in addition to his own solo spot.

John Evans

Wendy too, as she provided backing vocals for Richard Davies and duetted with her husband Richard Eastwood.

Rhodri Hampden Jones sang for us in both English and Welsh, and Geoff Durno treated us to a musical history of the birth of the trade union movement.

Mamma G & the Bebop Brunettes made a welcome third visit to the club, Angharad, Lyn and Laura delivering some beautiful close harmonies.

We obviously hadn’t frightened off John Evans following his debut at the club last week. He was back tonight with more of his wonderful self penned songs.

Click ► below to hear Mamma G & the Bebop Brunettes

Mama G and the Be Bop Brunettes

So too was Alan Thompson. This time Alan brought his sister Linda and treated us to some lovely duets. It turns out the pair were once in a band with John Evans and the three took a stroll down memory lane by getting together on one of his songs.

The range of musical styles had been wonderful and the quality of musicianship superb, so much so that the end of the evening seemed to come far too soon. Penni Neale brought it to a conclusion for us, her lovely melodious voice complimented beautifully by the tone of her guitar, fresh out of the workshop of Geoff Rowland who had lovingly restored it back to its former glory.

Alan Thompson and his sister Linda, with John Evans

Wot… No Oranges!

By |July 18th, 2018|1 Comment

Birthday girl Lynda Degney with Tom

There we were, it was Orangemen’s Day… and not an orange in sight.

Not even an apple for the teacher. There was, apparently, an orange man in London, but Liverpool can easily trump that, being chock full, as it is, with orange ladies.

That said, no one seemed the slightest interested in visiting heads of state, scouse girls, or sectarian marches. We were all far too engrossed with the fruits of our collected musical endeavours as no fewer than fifteen minstrels performed before a packed function room.

Richard Ruthin got things underway with Steve Earl’s “Sometimes She Forgets”, followed by our favourite busker, Rockin’ Robin who sang the Rag ‘n Bone man song, “Skin” and Leonard Cohen’s “Marianne”.

Kieth Hawley

Hank Williams’s “Cheatin’ Heart” was foremost in Bob Neale’s mind, whereas Joe Lyon stayed this side of the Atlantic with the Beatles song “That Boy”.

I was yearning for “Maggie May”, Tom Degney was lamenting over “Left Over Biscuits” and Lynda was climbing the Gibson Brothers’ “Fool’s Hill”.

An American trilogy was on Keith Hawley’s mind, “Walking in Memphis” and staying at the “Hotel California”, before heading to his “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Enlisting the services of Tom Degney to accompany on mandolin, Penni Neale sang Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” followed by the song which seems to have pretty much become the club’s anthem “Autumn Leaves”.

Scarlet

Hardly a week goes by without seeing a new face at the club. This week we had two or three in the audience and no fewer than four at the business end of the microphones.

The first was Scarlet, whose younger sister, Fuchsia Jones, has been a frequent visitor over the past couple of years.

Singing unaccompanied, Scarlet treated us to two songs in her beautiful pure mezzo-soprano voice, including a lovely classical version of Gershwin’s “Summertime”.

Alan Thompson

The other three new faces all hailed from Denbigh. A couple of lovely love songs from Alan Thompson, the first was Ryan Adams’s “If Loving You Is Wrong”, and “If We Were Vampires” by Jason Isbell, both with some nifty guitar work.

John Sellers has been to Ruthin AllStyles before, but it was his first time at The Feathers. A seasoned performer, John belted out his first song “Big Tears Fall” (by Nils Lofgren) followed by the Peter Sarstedt  classic “Where Do You Go To My Lovely”. He ended the set with a song in Welsh about growing up in Llangynhafal.

Singer/songwriter John Evans was debuting two of his own songs, playing them in public for the first time *You Can Be Anyone”, and “Young Born Soldier”, followed by “Feeling Kinda Young Again”. You can hear more of John’s music and buy his latest CD at: https://www.johnevansmusic.co.uk/

And so, as another absolutely cracking night of music drew to a close, it was over to Richard and Wendy Eastwood. Both had delivered lovely solo sets earlier in the evening and now they came together to duet on Bobby Darin’s 1959 hit, “Dream Lover” (below).



If Loving You Is Wrong – Alan Thompson


Summertime – Scarlet Jones


 

Raphael and The Baker’s Dozen

By |July 8th, 2018|0 Comments

In case you’re thinking that’s a cool name for a band… well it would be if it was, but it isn’t.

Raphael Callaghan is, of course, the mighty fine country blues singer who gave us an extended mid-evening showcase tonight, and the ‘baker’s dozen’ refers to the thirteen musicians who performed floor spots before and after.

Originally from Liverpool and now living on the North Wales Coast, Raphael has his own unique style of acoustic blues, gospel and roots. His performance and style of songwriting are the fruits of years of experience playing solo and in various groups and bands. The most recent, and indeed current position, of course, is as the fifth member of our own Tom, Dick and Harry band.

Tonight though, the stage was his and his alone, as he delivered a cracking set of eight songs, opening with “Living Blues”, followed by “Silk For Skin”. Some where old favourites, some were tracks from his latest album “Said and Done”.

As completely inconsistent as it was with the current heat wave, it was nevertheless refreshing to hear “Too Much Rain”.

“This Old Denim” and “Don’t Let the Devil Drive” were amongst the others we heard, Raphael accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica. He threw an a cappella number into the mix and kept us entertained with just the right amount of banter in between songs.

The function room at The Feathers was comfortably full, with a few new faces in the audience too. As well as those who had come to watch our guest perform, there were four gentlemen who were staying overnight in the area whilst walking the length of Offa’s Dyke. Their itinerary had been scheduled to include a stopover at the International Eisteddfod and a visit our little club. We were delighted when one of their group, Bill Hackwell, asked to borrow a guitar and perform a floor spot for us, singing “Putting on the Ritz”, followed by Richard Thompson’s “Beeswing”.

Another Rain Dance
It was also good to see the return of the globe-trotting Peter Leslie.

He too must be finding the heat a bit unbearable as he sang his own plea to the rain gods “Incessant Rain”.

We had a liberal sprinkling of country, folk and Americana from regulars Richard Davies, Tom and Lynda Degney. Some a cappella folk from Steve Bailey, some Scottish airs from Jim Cole, traditional Welsh folk from Rhodri Jones, and some memories of Merseyside from Joe Lyon.

The Eastwoods did what the Eastwoods do best: Don Williams from Richard and Patsy Cline from Wendy. And ‘Mr Blues’ himself, Brian Peters did us proud with his guitar, harp and stomp-box, singing “CC Rider” and “Sitting on Top of the World”.

It had been a superb, full and varied evening of music, with two songs each for the floor-spotters and eleven from Raphael.

Then it was over to our guest for the finale. He sang “Mercury Blues” (K. C. Douglas ) and his own song, “A Time to Leave”.

But it wasn’t quite time to leave, because we persuaded Raphael to do one more as an encore, with everyone in the room joining in on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”. (Click ► to play)

 

 

Festival Week Frolics at The Feathers

By |June 30th, 2018|0 Comments

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ruthin Festival, we held our own mini Woodstock with a Ruthin-centric Singer’s Night in which we showcased four local acts in the second half of the evening.

Fuchsia Jones
First up was Ruthin’s most promising, up-and-coming songstress, Fuchsia Jones. It was just thirteen months ago she made her first appearance at the club, since then we have watched this talented young lady blossom into a confident and polished performer.

The set comprised a string of lovely laid-back ballads that made the most of that beautiful pure voice of hers, and included “Tennessee Whiskey” and Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning”. Fuchsia finished with the Chris Isaac classic, “Wicked Game”, which also happened to be the very first song she had sung for us back in May 2017.

Ceidwad y Gán
Another young performer whose progress we have followed is Harri Owen. He first turned up back in November 2016 with the only two songs he had learned to play. One of those was the Oasis song “Half a World Away” and we were knocked out by his gravelly, Gallagher-esque voice. Since then he has formed the band, Ceidwad y Gán, with bassist Oli Bradley-Hughes, percussionist Sam Moorcroft, guitarists Tomos Jones and Jake Vaughan-Evans. They played an absolute belter of a set that included a couple of good old sing-along Bob Dylan favourites “Wagon Wheel” and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.


Earlier this year the band took part in the S4C Song For Wales competition, taking first place with “Cofio Hedd Wyn”, a song written and composed by Harri’s father, Bov Owen. And as they brought their set to a close with that song tonight, they roped Bov in to play the lead guitar part.

Chester and JonBass
Our third showcase act was Chester and JonBass. John Rowell has been a Ruthin AllStyles member since the club’s early days and his superb bass guitar skills have enriched a number of bands along the way, including Mantra, Raven and Breeze, earning him the affectionate nickname of John Bass.

This recent pairing with Chester Weiss has resulted in a steady stream of bookings all over the region and they are currently working on a soon-to-be-released album.

Chester is a master of the lap steel guitar and this evening we were treated to one of the finest blues performances you are likely to hear, concluding with the Robert Johnson classic, “Stop Breaking Down Blues”.

The Tom, Dick and Harry Band
John is, of course, still a very much valued member of the Tom Dick and Harry Band, and it was quite fitting that we should feature this popular ensemble in the finale spot.


The set began with a beautiful song written by Harry Robertson, “Til I Danced With You”, followed by a string of our old favourites including the likes of “Same Old Blues Again” and “The Letter”, with the lead vocals alternating between Harry and Richard Davies. And for an encore, they had the whole room joining in with “Stand By Me”.

It was a fabulous evening of music served up by four excellent sets of musicians, each with their own distinctive style and thoroughly enjoyed by the packed audience in the function room.

Not forgetting, of course, the first-half floor spots by Chris Birchall, Rhodri Hampden Jones, Joe Lyon, and Tom & Lynda Degney.

Summer Solstice Sing-along

By |June 27th, 2018|0 Comments

There were no pagan rituals, or dancing around a neolithic ring of standing stones, but what we had instead was a circle of friends gathered in The Feathers to celebrate the joy of music.

That said, Tom Degney did “Shimmy like his sister Kate”.

Then Lynda went into Don Williams mode with “Don’t You Believe”, and I served up a slice of Bread in the form of “Guitar Man”.

Bob Neale morphed into Bob Dylan with “One Too Many Mornings”, and Richard Eastwood informed us that “Roses are Red” in the style of the 1962 Bobby Vinton hit.

Wendy Eastwood then joined her husband for the Alison Krauss/Don Williams duet, “Lay Down Beside Me”.

And so a very pleasant evening, in which we had the rare opportunity to perform five songs each, was brought to a close by Penni Neale. And she took us from the first day of summer straight into Autumn with a beautiful rendition of the song that has become something of an anthem for Ruthin AllStyles. Every time I hear “Autumn Leaves” I can’t help thinking of the late Bryn Roberts. It was one of his favourite songs. (Click ► below to listen)

Next Thursday is our Festival Week Singers’ Night, when in the second half of the evening we will be showcasing four of Ruthin’s musical acts: Fuchsia Jones, Breeze, Ceidwad y Gan, and the Tom, Dick and Harry Band.

 

14th June Singers’ Night

By |June 17th, 2018|0 Comments

Peter Hodgeson and John Helm

And what a busy night it was, with no fewer than fifteen singers presenting a broad body of music, with something to suit everyone’s taste.

Some musicians were busier than others, being called upon to take part in various impromptu collaborations. Tom Degney, of course, was as always ready and willing with mandolin and dobro, and John Helm was kept busy with his bass guitar.

John provided the bass line for Peter Hodgeson on Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” followed by Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold”. Swapping the bass for his bouzouki, John also chose a Van Morrison classic for his own set, roping in Richard Davies to join him on guitar for “Star of the County Down”. Then he was back with his bass to return the favour for Richard, who sang “You Never Can Tell”.

Andrew Bowsher

Cath Bryan sang Imelda May’s “Big Bad Handsome Man”, before providing guitar accompaniment for her own big bad handsome man, Pete Kirkham.

Pete delivered a reworked Gilbert and Sullivan song “I Have Seen You Often”, with new lyrics written by himself, from the production of “Dame Agatha’s Greatest Case” in which they are appearing at Denbigh’s Theatr Twm or Nant on the 28th to 30th of this month.

Lynda Degney gave us two Gibson Brothers songs, “Remember Who You Are” and “Fools Hill”. Then husband Tom chose the Grateful Dead’s “Midnight Moonlight”, before transporting us back in time with Dame Gracie Fields’ signature tune, “Sally”.

Liverpudlian, Joe Lyon got all nostalgic with Gerry Marsden’s “My Home Town”, followed by Joe Brown’s “I’ll See You in my Dreams”.

Keith Hawley

I doffed my cap to Paul Simon with “Something so Right” and “Slip Sliding Away”, and Jeff Jones saluted Bob Dylan by singing “Make You Feel My Love”.

Andrew Bowsher was also in a Dylan mood with a fine rendition of “Mr Tambourine Man”.

Well I “Wasn’t Expecting That” but that’s exactly what we got as Keith Hawley performed the Jamie Lawson song of that very name, followed by a rather tasty version of the Beatles classic, “Here Comes the Sun” (click ► below to listen).

.

Robin the Busker put an impromptu band together with the aforementioned Tom and John, to give us “Skin” by Rag’n’Bone Man.

Then as it was approaching bedtime, it was Penni Neale who took us, metaphorically and melodically, up the “Stairway to Heaven”.

And finally, we were delighted that Carmarthenshire songstress Tara Crank (pictured right) had paid us a second visit. With a voice so reminiscent of the great Canadian folk singer, Tara gave us Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”. She then brought what had been a fabulous evening’s entertainment to a close with the beautiful Sandy Denny song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”.

Jimmy Rae, Sarah Lou and friends

By |June 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Appearing as the duo, Tennessee Waltz, Jimmy and Sarah treated us to a splendid evening of Country, Americana and R&B.

For a lively start to their first set, they put their foot on the gas with the song of that name which features on their album from their trio incarnation, Jimmy Rae and the Moonshine Girls, followed by another original, “When We Are Old”.

Their set leaned heavily on Americana with some great covers amongst their home-grown songs, including the Elton John/Bernie Taupin classic “Roy Rogers is Riding Tonight” (click ► below) and the beautiful  “Crazy”, written by Willy Nelson.

This first set was brought to a close with two songs written sixty years apart: “Eddie’s Guitar”, penned by Jimmy, telling the story about Eddie Cochran who died in a tragic motor accident during his British tour back in April 1960. This segued seamlessly into the  American rock star’s classic, “Summertime Blues”.

Full Supporting Cast
Prior to Tennessee Waltz taking to the stage, we had a round of floor spots from our regulars, and after the mid evening break, it was the turn of Skeet Williams who gave us a great guitar solo before being joined by Fuchsia Jones, accompanying her on “Tennessee Whiskey” and the beautiful Welsh language song by Gwyneth Glyn, “Dy Lygaid Di”. (Click ► below to play)

Next we had a song from Paul Reaney, called “A Town Like This”, the title track of the Birkenhead singer’s 2007 album.

Sarah and Jimmy had brought Paul along for the ride. But it wasn’t a free ride, far from it, as he joined the pair for many of the songs in their second set. He certainly earned his keep by adding some great guitar riffs along the way.

Just as in the first half, many of the songs were up-beat with Sarah Lou’s voice in sweet harmony to Jimmy’s rocky tones. These were interspersed with gentle ballads, many with Sarah taking the lead vocals, reminiscent of the great Patsy Cline.

And before we knew it, finale time had arrived. “Under The Mersey Moon” is a lovely song off Tennessee Waltz’s latest album “One Day”.

Then for an encore they gave us a good old country song in the form of John Denver’s “Country Roads” with the whole room joining in.

The supporting floor spot performers were:
Tom and Lynda Degney, Richard Ruthin, Joe Lyon, Rhodri Hampden Jones, Mike Kendrick, Richard and Wendy Eastwood, Skeet Williams and Fuchsia Jones.