Full Program/Full House

By |December 11th, 2018|1 Comment

Tom, Dick and Harry

I think it would be fair to say we were packed to the rafters on Thursday, being just five short of the function room’s maximum capacity of fifty. No fewer than nineteen of the gathered throng got up to sing or play for us, providing an entertaining an varied evening of music.

Four of those banded together to open the evening in fine style, in the form of the Tom, Dick and Harry band – plus John Bass. “First You Lose Your Rhyming”, they didn’t of course, as they sang the Harvey Andrews song of that name, before going on to sing the Elvis classic “Blue Christmas”.

Skeet Williams

Next up, making a rare appearance at the club was Skeet Williams, demonstrating his superb finger-style on a fine instrumental version of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” followed by an even rarer phenomenon – Skeet singing. He chose the lovely Jeffrey Foucault song “Northbound 35”.

We had a fine selection from the usual suspects: Lynda Degney, Richard Eastwood, Joe Lyon, Glyn Hudson, Penni Neale, Geoff Hollis, Rhodri Hampson Jones and Yours Truly.

No new faces this week but a few that we see only once in a while.

Linda Bostock was the first of these and she sang two Fairport Convention numbers. She and husband Mike hail from Reading and make a point of visiting Ruthin AllStyles during their annual North Wales walking holiday. For Mike’s spot, he chose a couple of Irish folk songs.

Phil Jones, AKA Canada Phil

Canada Phil is another annual visitor, although he’s in the UK for a bit longer this year, so hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of him this time around. Phil sang “Where have all the Flowers Gone” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”.

Robin Spreckley posed the question: “Who Shot the Sheriff”. Then he roped in Brian Peters to accompany him on a lively bluegrass number “Old Jo Clarke”.

And then Brian remained on stage for the finale spot to send us home with mighty fine blues numbers echoing around our heads.

Next Week…
It’s the Christmas Knees-up. Basically, a Singers’ Night with food and silly hats. We have caterers providing sandwiches and mince pies.  It’s just the usual £1.50 admittance. All we ask is that everybody brings a small contribution to the cold finger-buffet table. Nothing that requires heating as there are no cooking facilities.

 

A bit of BeBop down at The Feathers

By |December 4th, 2018|0 Comments

It started with the BeBop. Or to be precise, another fine evening of music started off with a spot of lovely a cappella harmonies from Mamma G and the BeBop Brunettes.

In fact, Angharad, Lyn and Laura opened both halves of an evening in which saw eleven acts, involving fourteen performers, doing two spots each.

Joe Lyon sang about the wind and the rain. The Degneys went all Christmasy with “Mary Did You Know” and Glyn Hudson sang about Time and Donna Donna.

Penni Neal sang an Irish Lullaby and Richard Davies sang about the Hobo’s Lullaby.

I sang some Paul Simon before accompanying Bob Hall on the Shirelles classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”.

Making his debut at Ruthin AllStyles was Chester songster, Keith Pemberton, who served up some pretty fine blues numbers.

Before we knew it, finale time was with us, and it was Peter Hodgson and John Helm who rounded things off with Steve Earle’s “Galway Girl”.

More of the same next Thursday, folks.

Seventeen Singers

By |November 20th, 2018|0 Comments

With seventeen performers and more than double that number in the room, it was another fine night of music in the function room at The Feathers.

Joe Lyon got things off to a flying start with a helping of The Searchers and Ray Davies songs. Next up were Richard Eastwood and Alan Thompson, followed by Geoff Durno who demonstrated some interesting ‘half capo’ techniques for alternative tunings for his set that included the Alan Taylor song “Going Home”.

After accompanying Linda, Tom Degney treated us to a tune or two on the new banjo he’d recently finished building.

Robin Spreckley gave a lively and animated performance on his mandolin, in a collaboration with Brian Peters on blues guitar.

Bob Dylan and Steve Earl songs made up Chris Birchall’s set. Then Wendy Eastwood enlisted Richard’s help for some harmonies on the Amy Macdonald song “This Is the Life” (below).

 

Taking us up to the break, John Bass and Llinos Finnie played a set in tribute to their dear friend and fellow band member Neil Wilkinson who sadly passed away earlier this month. They played three of Neil’s favourite songs: “Fields of Gold”, “Love Song” and the John Lennon classic “Imagine”.

Joe opened the second half with Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Dansette Dreams” and Gerry Marsden’s “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”.

Next up was a gentleman who was holidaying in the area, by the name of Kelly (above). He’d come unarmed, so Joe graciously lent him his guitar which he put to good use to perform “The Crow on the Cradle” and “My Old Man’s a Dustman”.

Glyn Hudson sang Donovan’s “Yellow is the Colour”, John Williams gave us an Alan Taylor song “Colour to the Moon”, and Robin the Busker told the tale or “Willie McBride”.

Our own ‘Mr Blues’, Brian Peters, sang the Eric Bibb number, “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” followed by “Big Road Blues”.

Penni Neal amused us with “The Same Thing Twice”, and took us right up to finale time with the lovely “Can’t Remember if I Said Goodbye”.

And it was indeed almost time to say goodbye and it was over to Llinos and John Bass who brought the evening to a close with another couple of songs from their ‘Breeze’ repertoire, Mary Black’s “Katy” and the Carpenters classic, “Yesterday Once More”.

Yesterday Once More – Breeze

 

Reminder: Neil Wilkinson’s funeral will take place next Wednesday, November 21st, 110.30am at Pentrebychan Crematorium. His widow, Mary, has asked me to say that any of Neil’s musical friends are welcome to attend the funeral and afterwards at the wake in The Dudley Arms in Llandrillo.

 

Cirrus, Stratus and Cumulus

By |November 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Amazing as these three cloud types are, I usually associate them with landscape photography.

It was far too dark for such an activity on Thursday evening, of course, so it was just as well they manifested themselves in the shape of Pete, Di & Dom, aka ‘The Amazing Clouds’.

Tash Allcock

This three-piece band from Corwen paid us a visit ahead of a gig they are playing at The Centre, in Ruthin on the 24th November, alongside the equally amazing John Williams.

They opened up the evening by taking us to a place not normally associated with having any clouds at all, with sounds of the Arabian Desert in “The Sandstorm Set”. Later they deposited us in foggy old London with Cockney Rebel’s “Make Me Smile”.

Lynda Degney took us to the “Northern Plains” as Tom went “Clickedy Clack” down the railway track, whilst all the time Richard Davies was “Living on Tusla Time”.

The tale of the “Ballymore Fiddler” was retold by Glyn Hudson in nya nya nya fashion, and Joe Lyon was dreaming “Dansette Dreams” and yearning for “A Place in the Sun”.

My own contributions came courtesy of Willy Nelson and Bread.

“One More Cup of Coffee for the Road” was on Robin Spreckley’s mind, for which he was joined by Penni Neale.

Young Tash Allcock made a welcome return to the club, juggling her musical endeavours with her academic studies. Alternating between guitar and ukulele she treated us to three lovely songs including Elton John’s “Yellowbrick Road”.

Denbigh musician John Evans sang two of his fabulous self-penned numbers, roping in his former band buddies Linda Thompson and Alan Thompson.

Linda also provided some beautiful backing vocals for her brother Alan’s own sets which included the Tears for Fears hit “Mad World”.

It was Penni Neale took us up to chucking out time with Richard Shindell’s beautiful, “Ballad Of Mary Magdalen”.

October 25th Singers’ Night

By |October 31st, 2018|0 Comments

Geoff Hollis

Sixteen minstrels made their way down to the tavern that is The Feathers last Thursday, together with a dozen or so followers.

Ale was drawn, tea was poured and soon after 8.00pm, the merriment began with a rousing set from Sir Richard of Ruthin accompanied by Lord Degney of Deganwy.

In fact, Tom was led on a merry dance throughout the evening’s festivities, having no sooner sat down from accompanying one performer before being called upon to accompany the next. Luckily his instruments had a chance to cool down as he used his guitar, mandolin and Jumping Flea (his ukulele) in strict rotation.

Cath Bryan

It was a varied and thoroughly enjoyable evening with everything from a-cappella folk songs from Glyn Hudson and Geoff Hollis to Gershwin from Jeff Jones. There were rebel-rousing busking favourites from Robin, Bluegrass favourites from Linda, Beatles from Joe Lyon and some dark and dusky Cohen courtesy of Neil Martin.

The Kirkham and Bryan partnership offered a contrast of styles with Pete also delivering some powerful ‘dark and dusky’ stuff, whilst Cath took us in the opposite direction with her sweet songbird voice.

Peter Leslie treated us to songs that admirably demonstrated his song-writing skills and even included a home-grown protest song.

Alan Thompson and Tom Degney

One of our most recent ‘regulars’ Alan Thompson, called upon one of most long-standing regulars, Tom Degney, for his mandolin skills on a traditional song about the Blue Ridge Mountains and a somewhat less traditional Grateful Dead song “Friend of the Devil”.

Peter Leslie

Then before we knew it, finale time had arrived. Wendy and Richard had each performed their sets, Wendy giving a first airing to her version of the lovely Kacey Musgraves song, “Rainbow”, and Richard honouring Don Williams with “It’s Who You Love”.

For the finale, we brought them both to the stage for that lovely duet “Sunshine on Leith” by the Proclaimers.

Role Call:  Robin the Busker, Jeff Jones, Peter Leslie, Pete Kirkham, Lynda Degney, Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Cath Bryan, Richard Eastwood, Richard Ruthin, Glyn Hudson, Chris Birchall, Geoff Hollis, Neil Martin, Alan Thompson, Wendy Eastwood.

Singers Night October 18th

By |October 25th, 2018|0 Comments

Sorry, there is no write-up this week due to hackers blocking access to the site.

I have managed to get some pictures uploaded though and big thanks to all who made Thursday yet another great night of music at The Feathers.

Here’s the roll of honour…

  • Rhodri Hampson Jones, Lynda Degney, Tom Degney, Joe Lyon, Colin Campbell, Alan Thompson & Linda, Dave Hytch, Geoff Durno, Chris Birchall, Neil Martin, Robin the Busker, Richard Eastwood, Wendy Eastwood, Brian Peters, Tom, Dick & Harry with John Bass

October 11th Singers’ Night

By |October 17th, 2018|1 Comment

Tara Crank

Following on from last week’s Jon Coley concert, it was back to normal with our regular Thursday Singers’ Night.

Not that there is anything wrong with normal. We are so lucky at Ruthin AllStyles, to have a vast number of musicians frequent our weekly sessions in the function room at The Feathers.

In addition to a small core of die-hards who we see on a regular basis, there are those we might see once a month or so, those who we might see once in a blue moon and, of course, the steady trickle of new faces.

Tara Crank

And with them comes a wonderfully diverse range of styles and genre, helping the club live up to its ‘AllStyles’ epithet.

The evening was opened by Carmarthenshire lass Tara Crank who was making her third visit to the club, bringing with her a unique and personal interpretation of songs by Joni Mitchell and Lisa Hannigan, complimenting a sweet and pure voice with some rather nifty guitar work.

Then she served up a lovely cover of the 1980s song by The Chieftains, “My Lagan Love”, singing a cappella, interspersed by some beautiful solo passages on her violin.

Richard Davies with Dawn and Carol

Two ladies making their AllStyles debut were Carol and Dawn, who we have seen a time or two at the Rhyl club. They recruited Richard Davies as second guitar for the Kate Wolf song “Across The Great Divide”, following up with “Roseville Fair” by Bill Staines.

Richard was kept busy, joining Tom Degney to accompany Enid Toft on the lovely traditional Welsh song “Myfanwy” as well as both doing their own spots.

The evening progressed in fine style with some great sets by Richard & Wendy Eastwood, Steve Bailey, Jim Cole, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Lynda Degney and Rhodri Hampson Jones.

And before we knew it, the evening drew to a close with an encore from Tara singing one of her own compositions, “Postcards”.

See you all again next Thursday.

“Flowers” performed by Tara Crank

Two Robins Do Not a Winter Make

By |October 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

Robin Wynne Jones

Although it is true that the regular appearance of one particular Robin does herald the end of the Summer. For people’s busker Robin Wynne Jones, tends to spend those balmy days weeks and months on his narrowboat cruising the waterways, singing to raise money for charity in between stop-offs at a number of prominent folk festivals.

As the nights draw in, we have the pleasure of hearing his barmy tales and listening to some of the songs that have helped Robin raise over £9,000  busking for Cancer Research.

The other Robin who made an appearance at The Feathers this week was not Robin Red-Breast but Robin Spreckley, and it’s always such a pleasure to enjoy his animated performances as he delivers his own particular style of song, along with mandolin accompaniment.

The real Wayne Fontana (Photo ©Daily Express)

The Game of…
Adding a touch of amusement to the proceedings, a gentleman turned up and introduced himself as Wayne Fontana. The sixties rock star (real name, Glyn Ellis) had lived in Ruthin during his teens before becoming famous for the 1965 hit “Game of Love” with the Mindbenders.

The fun started when a few of us started Googling ‘Wayne Fontana’, only to find that, whilst this guy bore a passing resemblance, he had miraculously grown a silver mop where a bald dome should be.  The sight of his fellow audience members tapping away at their phones must have made him realise he’d been rumbled. Announcing he was going to get a drink, the imposter headed through to the bar where he serenaded the barmaid with a few bars of ‘Game of Love” before heading off to “Catch his 10pm flight”, presumably to La-La Land 🙂

Robin Spreckley

Back to the Music
The evening also saw a flock of our regulars perching behind the microphones, namely Joe, Chris, Rhodri and Andrew. We spotted Alan Thompson and the first of only two female songbirds of the evening, his sister Linda, the other being Lynda Degney.

With Lynda, of course, was husband Tom, who also accompanied Richard Davies during his set.

And multi-instrumentalist Tom took to one of his recently-built banjos to accompany Robin the Busker in the finale spot, rounding off with a medley based around “The Belle of Belfast City” and “All For Me Grog”.

Richard Davies and Tom Degney

Next week we have the wonderful Cheshire Singer/Songwriter Jon Coley. Jon will be performing two 45 minute spots, but do please bring your instruments, as the evening will begin with a round of Floor Spots as usual.

 

Folk Songs, Birthday Songs, Wedding Songs and Kinky Songs

By |September 25th, 2018|2 Comments

Listen while you read. Click ► on the MP3 below for one of the best solo covers of Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done” that you are ever likely to hear.

Alan Thompson performing “Needle and the Damage Done”

Steve Bailey

It was Neil Martin who got things underway this week with Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr Bojangles” and then, in honour of what would have been Leonard Cohen’s 84th birthday, he sang a great version of the great man’s “Boogy Street”.

Steve Bailey was next up, with a fine a cappella helping of traditional folk

Tom Degney gave us a Tim O’Brien song, before accompanying Lynda on “Making Good Time” by the Gibson Brothers.

Back from his hols, Joe Lyon told us all about the “Comedians and Angels”.

Karen White

Our next act is known as ‘The Quirky One’ whose material has been known to — how shall we say, contain expletives that are pretty much commonplace in her homeland of Australia. Tonight, however, Karen White was whiter than white – although I have to say, one of her songs was a bit kinky, inasmuch as “Thank you for the Day” was written by Ray Davies and recorded by The Kinks.

She also gave us some lovely Kirsty McCall songs which Karen has recorded for her forthcoming new album. We always enjoy seeing her and John on their annual ten thousand plus miles pilgrimage to Ruthin. Check out Karen’s  website, http://quintessentialquirk.com.au/pc/

Singing unaccompanied, Glyn Hudson delivered “The Wedding Song” to mark the fact her daughter is about to be married, and Penni Neale gave us “Little Things Mean a Lot” which she has been asked to sing at Glyn’s daughter’s wedding next week. Penny also sang a fabulous version of “Reconciliation” written by the Irish singer/songwriter Ron Kavana.

A traditional American folk song “Cold Rain and Snow” was Cath Bryan’s contribution before accompanying Pete Kirkham on Chris De Burgh’s “Lonely Sky”.

Neil Martin

Chris headed the “Revolution”, singing the John Lennon song of the same name, followed by “Jealous Guy”.

Then we had another great set from Alan Thompson, which included Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done” and “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead.

What we “All I Want is a Quiet Life” – and so Neil Martin gave us his homegrown song of that very title as a fitting end to a lovely and varied evening of music.

Same again next week?

Thursday the 13th

By |September 18th, 2018|0 Comments

Flossie’s brand new album: Live – June 2018

No. It was nowt to do with superstition. The reason Jayne and I went AWOL last week was because we were taking a well-earned short break, Ee bah gum, up int’ Yorkshire Dales.

We also got to see the lovely Flossie Malavialle performing songs from her brand new live album, at a gig in the Sports Club over at Ulverston .

So I trust you will excuse the rather short post and join me in thanking Tom, Lynda, Wendy and Richard for setting up and running the evening in our absence, to Capt’n Pugwash (aka Rockin’ Robin) for being the MC. And thank you too, to all who turned out to support them, either as performers or as members of the audience.


This Thursday (Sept 20th)

It is another Singers’ Night, so do come along and join us in the function room at The Feathers.


…and looking forward 2 weeks to October 6th, we have a concert by the fabulous

Jon Coley

This young Chester musician has carved out a unique style all of his own, encompassing the romance of Folk and the heartbreak of Blues.

Jayne and I have twice seen Jon perform. Once at The Nordic Church in Liverpool and again at Thornton Hough Village Club, on both occasions doing the support spot for Gary Edward Jones. We had no hesitation in booking him to come and share his music with us.

Tickets are available at just £6 from WeGotTickets. Members concessionary tickets are available at The Feathers on club nights.