Another Full House

By |June 19th, 2019|1 Comment

Mike and Rosa

Wow… for the third week running, the function room at The Feathers has been ‘comfortably full’ and with half those present being performers numbering just shy of twenty.

The evening began as smooth as you like, with Sade’s “Your Love is King”, performed by Mike & Rosa. We love it when these guys pay us a visit; Mike’s immaculate guitar accompanying Rosa’s lovely voice is a joy to behold. They followed up with a song in French, “La Mer”.

Listen to Your Love is King, performed by Mike and Rosa

Lizzy Pegler

Lizzy Pegler gave us a couple of home-grown songs. “Hilarious” was the first she’d ever written when she first started playing seven years ago. The second was her latest, “Dirty Money”.

A Scottish flavour was on the cards as Jim Cole stepped up to the mic with his trusty fiddle to play “Sarah’s Song” and “Robert the Bruce”.

Tommy Steel and Joe Cocker were on my radar, then we had a revival of Bluegrass from Lynda Degney and a helping of Americana from Tom.

Glyn Hudson enlisted the services of her guitar tutor, Skeet Williams, to accompany her on “Leaving Nancy” and “Our Town”.

Skeet remained on stage to accompany Deborah Jackson on two beautiful songs, “The Trouble with Wanting” and “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight”, before giving us a masterclass in finger-style during his own set.

Wendy was absent with a sore throat, so it was down to Richard to represent the Eastwood clan. Quite appropriately, he sang the Don Williams classic “All I’m Missing is You”.

Joe Lyon took us up to the mid-evening break with “Those Were the Days” and “Sunny Afternoon”.

With a total of eighteen performers, there was only ever going to be time for one spot each. However, as is the convention, whoever opens the evening (while the bus is still filling up) also gets to open the second half, a task that was conducted in fine style by Mike & Rosa. They treated us to the French version of “Autumn Leaves” and one of their own compositions “Happy”.

After flying us to the Moon, Bing Crosby style, Pete Kirkham declared “I Wanna Be Like You”.  Then Cath Bryan gave us “Broken Wings” and Nanci Griffiths’ “Trouble in the Fields”.

We had some lovely sounds of John Denver courtesy of Geoff Durno and of Emmylou Harris from Penni Neale.

Before we knew it, it was finale time. This week the honour fell to Tom, Dick & Harry with John Bass. They served up a fine selection of songs opening with one of Harry’s early compositions “Hungry Heros”. and finishing with the Ben E King song “Stand By Me”.


Singers’ Night June 6th

By |June 12th, 2019|2 Comments

What a fab night it was. Eighteen performers and with the audience almost doubling that number, making for a great atmosphere in a comfortably full function room.

The bar was set high early on in the proceedings with an impromptu collaboration between Pete Kirkham and Cath Bryan, singing “The Wild Rose” accompanied by Mike Clark on harmonica.

It was good to see Mike – otherwise known as ‘Squeezebox Mike’ – back at the club again and he did indeed come armed with his trusty squeezebox which he used to great effect during his solo set, as well as when he jumped up to form a trio with Tom and Richard.

Another Mike, also an occasional visitor, was Mike Hastings from Mold who gave us a couple of enjoyable numbers in his set.

Robin Spreckley used to be an occasional visitor. Well, not any more. He’s almost as regular as the other Robin, Robin (The Busker) Wynne Jones.  Both were on duty tonight and both were in fine form.

We are lucky having a great number of occasional visitors as well as our core of talented regular members. We don’t know from one week to the next who will turn up, making every week different and ultimately, so very enjoyable for audience and performers alike.

During their solo sets, Wendy and Richard Eastwood slotted in a lovely duet in the form of the John Prine and Emmylou Harris ballad, “Magnolia Wind”.

And with lots of fine solo sets from Lynda and Tom Degney, Enid Toft, Penni Neale, Richard Ruthin, Chris Birchall, Joe Lyon and Neil Martin, the mix was as eclectic as it could be.

Two new faces made an appearance this evening. Hailing from Coventry, Pete and Wally were up this way on holiday with their families and found us on the internet. They gave us a fine set with their guitar and banjo combo, so we called them back on stage for the finale, sending us home with a lively “Trouble in Mind” buzzing around inside our heads.

Tonight’s Roll Call: Chris Birchall, Mike Hastings, Cath Bryan, Robin Spreckley, Mike Clark, Lynda and Tom Degney, Pete Kirkham, Pete and Wally from Coventry, Wendy and Richard Eastwood, Enid Toft, Penni Neale, Richard Ruthin, Robin the Busker, Joe Lyon and Neil Martin

New Face, Familiar Faces and Glad-to-be-back Faces.

By |June 6th, 2019|0 Comments

David and Tom Petie

After a couple of quietish weeks, it was good to see the room comfortably full. Thirty music lovers in all, and the performers numbering nnnnn-na-na-na, nnnnn-na-na, Nineteen.

The new face belonged to Tom Petie, who was over this way with his dad, David, holidaying in Llangollen. It’s always good to see David who was once a regular at many of the clubs in the area before moving to pastures new at Colne, over in Lancashire, They did a set each as well as collaborating on one of the songs.

Two of the glad-to-be-back faces belonged to Richard and Wendy Eastwood, whose Thursday evenings up until the end of May are spent rehearsing with the Harmony Singers. From now until September their focus changes to Monday evenings where they perform at St. John’s Methodist Church in Llandudno (Next to M&S), raising money for local charities, which means we will see more of this talented couple at Ruthin. The Harmony Singers concerts are brilliant, by the way. Highly entertaining and well worth going to see.

Wendy and Richard Eastwood

Having just finished a stint with Ruthin Musical Theatre, Cath Bryan and Pete Kirkham were back for what will hopefully be the first of many appearances over the coming months.

Harry Robertson was back and in fine form, hooking up with his ‘Tom, Dick & Harry’ bandmates, Tom, Richard and John Bass.

Peter Leslie spoiled us by turning up two weeks on the run. Wrexham Folk Club’s summer recess means we get to hear more of his lovely home-spun songs.

Enid Toft and Penni Neale

And it was good to see Enid Toft doing a full set of her own again, accompanied by Penni Neale. We’ve missed her lovely voice since her former accompanist Neil Wilkinson passed away last year.

And then, of course, there are the stalwarts, the regulars and the semi-regulars who contribute their vast talents and give the club the wonderful character that it has. We are so lucky to have so many creative and enthusiastic members, many of whom travel from as far away as Rhos-on-Sea, Chester, Birkenhead and the North Wales coastal towns.

Here is last week’s roll call…

Pete Kirkham, Joe Lyon, Neil Martin, Lynda and Tom Degney, David Petie and his son Tom, Glyn Hudson, Cath Bryan, Tom, Dick & Harry with John Bass, Chris Birchall, Penni Neale, Enid Toft, John Williams, Peter Leslie, Richard and Wendy Eastwood.

See you all next Thursday.






Singers’ Night 23rd of May

By |May 28th, 2019|2 Comments

Peter Leslie

Another Thursday and another evening of music and mirth at The Feathers.

It was Joe Lyon who got the ball rolling with an old favourite, “The House of the Rising Sun”, followed by Chris with songs from Stevie Winwood and John Martin.

Glyn Hudson had everybody singing along with a traditional folk song, “The Wedding Song”.

It was good to see Peter Leslie back at the club, opening his set with Paul Simon’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” before continuing with some of his own lovely songs. He was followed by Penni Neal who was joined by Neil Martin to duet the beautiful “The Empty Chair” written by Sting.

Penni Neal and Neil Martin

The Degneys were next up with their mix of bluegrass and Americana, Lynda singing “That Coalmining Man” and “Love is All Around”, and Tom sang his own composition “Rambling Man” and then played an instrumental on his dobro.

“Bang Bang” was Pete Kirkham’s first number followed by The Dubliners’ “Carrickfergus”.

Richard Davies gave us “Aragon Mill” and The Searchers’  “When You Walk in the Room”. Then in the second half, he was joined by Tom Degney and Enid Toft on “Sea of Heartaches”.

We had an eclectic mix from Neil Martin including Leonard Cohen and James Tayor, ending the evening for us with Neil Diamon’s “Song Sung Blue”.


Be-Bop at the Hop

By |May 22nd, 2019|0 Comments

The be-bopin’ Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

It was great to see Mama G and the Be-Bop Brunettes back at the club. At least that’s who they were when they arrived. However, as I added them to the list, they did mention they were looking for a new name. By the time their turn was called, the deed had been done and they were introduced as “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”. I think it’s fair to say we were suitably beguiled by their beautiful close harmonies.

Penni Neale

Which just left us with ‘The Hop’

♫♪ Come on, let’s go to the hop
Well, you can swing it you can groove it
You can really start to move it at the hop… ♪♫

Or so the song goes. And one person who had all the moves was Penni Neale. Not wanting to let the small matter of a broken leg and a zimmer frame get in the way of the music, she put her best foot forward, stepped up to the mic and performed a belter of a set.

With the ladies outnumbering the gents six to five, we also had a helping of gospel from Lynda, and Glyn Hudson paid tribute to Doris Day, who sadly passed away this week at the age of 97, singing one of the star’s most memorable songs, “Que Sera Sera”.

Robin Spreckley

As for the men, we had some of the usual suspects putting together an eclectic selection of songs: Tom Degney, Chris Birchall, Robin Spreckley, Richard Ruthin and Bob Hall.

In terms of its maximum capacity, the room was just over half full (definitely not half empty 🙂 ) and it was altogether a grand evening.

Just one month from now, we have a solo concert by the lovely Virginia Kettle, of Merry Hell fame.

Get your tickets booked now. It’s highly subsidised at just £5 (from WeGotTickets). Regular members can buy theirs on a club night at the usual concessionary price.



More Tea Vicar?

By |May 15th, 2019|0 Comments

Deborah and Skeet

It was a much quieter night than usual with just eighteen in the room, exactly half of whom were performers, and we were all there to drink of the atmosphere.

The first round was on Deborah Jackson who was comparing the difference “Between Whiskey and You”.

Lynda Degney highlighted one of the problems that can come with too much whiskey, singing “Remember Who You Are”, whilst Tom Degney’s drinking buddy was “Catfish John”.

Chris sang about a woman on his lap drinking champaign, courtesy of Bob Dylan’s “Things Have Changed”, and Skeet Williams had us all intoxicated with his finger-picking skills, delivering his own unique arrangements to songs such as “The Entertainer”.

“Nancy Spain” and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” were two of the beverages on Glyn Hudson ‘s menu, and Richard Ruthin decanted the “Hobo’s Lullaby” before declaring “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”.

Andy and Andy “Wet the Tea”

‘Wet the Tea’ is good old scouse phrase for ‘making a brew’ or ‘having a cuppa’.

It also happens to be the name of a Chester/Merseyside based trio who perform a mix of traditional and modern folk songs and tunes all over the Merseyside area. Tonight we were delighted to welcome two of the band, Andy and Andy, who turned up to do a floor spot. They opened their first spot with a medley of Celtic jigs and reels, including the lively “Kiss the Maid Behind The Barrel”. Performing with a variety of wind and stringed instruments, they went down really well and I am personally looking forward to hearing them again when, hopefully, the cup will runneth over with the inclusion of their bassist Richie.

It had been a lovely evening with all nine performers doing four or more songs each but now it was time for one last brew before heading home. And what better ‘going home’ song than the beautiful traditional Scottish air, “The Parting Glass”, delivered to perfection by the two Andys.  (Click [►] below to hear it)

Storm Hannah: Nil – AllStyles: Ten

By |April 30th, 2019|0 Comments

The Amazing Clouds

After briefly invading Ruthin during the afternoon, Storm Hannah fizzled out like a damp squib and was no match for the enthusiasm of the ten musicians plus fifteen audience members gathered in the function room at The Feathers.

As the storm passed, we did see some Amazing Clouds – in the form of Pete, Di and Dom, who perform under that very name. The trio opened both halves of the evening in their usual lively fashion and gave us a grand ‘going home’ song at the end..

Tome (Fender) Degney

Richard Ruthin and the Degneys provided a wholesome helping of Americana, Joe Lyon doffed his cap to Ray Davies, whilst Bob Hall and Chris embraced Beatlemania.

Hardly a week goes by without Tom Degney turning up with a new instrument, many of which are banjos that he has built himself.  This week he produced the latest to emerge from his workshop, in the form of a solid bodied electric guitar (in Manchester United colours) which sounded just great.

John Williams

That wizard of The Wirral, John Williams, is a staunch supporter of our club, oft making the journey to attend our Singers’ Nights, just as he did tonight armed with his trusty tenor guitar.

John gave us a little taste of what we can expect next Thursday when we present “An Evening with John Williams and Phil Chisnall”. It will be a fabulous evening of original material and popular covers, performed by John and Phil individually and together, and no doubt with a fair degree of camaraderie and banter too.

The music will start at 7.30pm (doors at 7.00pm). Do come early to get your name down for a floor spot.



Time for Chocolate, Music and Bandits

By |April 21st, 2019|0 Comments

Fuchsia Jones

Our Easter-themed music night featured what must rank as the easiest Easter Egg Hunt in history. Nobody had to look very far, as there was a basket of choccie eggs on every table.

Nobody actually wore an Easter Bonnet, although Lynda Degney did wax lyrical about one in her cover of Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade”.

The evening’s musical eggs-travaganza began with a cracking performance by Fuchsia Jones singing Laura Marling’s “Rambling Man” and Billy Bragg’s “A New England”.

We had Tom wishing he could “Shimmy Like his Sister Kate” before launching into his “Dr Jazz” medley and Joe Lyon harked back to the days of vinyl 45s with “Dansette Dreams”.

Chris went all Beatles and Penni Neale got by with “A Little Help From her Friends”, before getting all starry-starry-eyed with Don McLean’s “Vincent”.

Robin Spreckley

“Peace Love and Understanding” was the message from Neil Martin, following it up with a rather tasty version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s 1968 song “Mr Bojangles”.

We are used to Robin Spreckley’s lively performances on his trusty mandolin and tonight we saw him mastering the ukulele – not just any old ukulele, but a rather beautiful old example that had once belonged to his grandfather.

Glen Hansard’s “Falling Slowly” was the first song from Alan Thompson and his sister Linda. Then they were joined by their former ‘Red Hill’ bandmate, John Evans, for Alan’s lovely composition “When My Time Comes Around”, recorded by the band back in 1996.

John remained on stage to perform one of his own songs, the beautiful and poignant “Young Born Soldier”.

Tom, Dick and Harry were up next. Harry singing the Darrell Scott song, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” and Richard, “The Moonshiner “. Then they were joined by Enid Toft for “Sea of Heartbreaks” and “Raining In My Heart”.

It was almost home-time before we heard from Chester band, The Time Bandits, comprising Ian, Jamie, Katrina and two Helens. They played a huge variety of instruments, swapping them between songs (and occasionally mid-song) in a lively set of traditional folk songs that included “Bedlam Boys”, “Sweet Lemeney”, “The Shepherd and the Shepherdess”, and a traditional folk song in which nobody actually dies.

And then, when it came time for us to all go rolling home, the band sent us on our way with the John Tams song “When we go Rolling Home”, our heads full of beautiful music and our bellies full of chocolate.

The Time Bandits

12 Singers and a Gremlin

By |April 14th, 2019|0 Comments

The last time I saw anything the like of it, was at a Quo concert when Parfitt and Rossi both proceeded to play the same guitar at the same time. Tonight, however, it wasn’t showmanship, Richard had forgotten the intro to their song (happens to all of us) so Tom snuck up behind him with a hands-on reminder, much to the amusement of our thirty-strong audience.

The multi-instrumentalist that he is, Tom is usually restricted to three different instruments: two that he and Lynda bring and a borrowed guitar. Tonight it was the dobro and the mandolin but I could see his eyes light up as Steve Bailey produced a recently-purchased blue ukulele.

Steve, who usually sings a cappella, acquitted himself admirably, playing it in public for the first time ever, whilst singing “New York Girls”.

The temptation proved too much for Tom however, who later borrowed the little blue uke for a performance of “Ain’t She Sweet” but not before an unwelcome ‘gremlin,’ in the form of a power surge, rudely interrupted Tom by flickering the lights and putting one of our speakers into an uncontrollable howling feedback loop.

It took highly skilled technical know-how to fix it. Yes, that old “switch it off and back on again” trick saved the day 🙂

Alan Thompson pulled two new covers out of the bag, in the form of Pink Floyd’s iconic “Wish You Were Here” and Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.

Glyn Hudson gave us Christy Moore’s “Nancy Spain”, Lynda Degney took us up “Fool’s Hill”, Joe Lyon sang about “Colours” and I told the tale of a “Horse With No Name”.

Making a welcome return visit, Lizzy Pegler opened her set with one of my favourite John Lennon songs “Working Class Hero”.

For his second spot, Richard Davies recruited Enid Toft to duet with him on the lovely Welsh classic “Myfanwy”, with the ever-present Tom on mandolin.

Both halves of the evening had been opened by Raphael Callaghan (left) with some fine blues numbers including his self-penned “Living Blues” and “Too Much Rain”.

Finale Time
Earlier in the evening, Penni Neale had reminded us, Gershwin style, that it would soon be “Summertime”. And now, for the finale, she treated us to “Can’t Remember If We Said Goodbye” and for an encore, a lovely version of Led Zeppelin’s  “Stairway To Heaven”.

Roll Call:
Raphael Callaghan, Steve Bailey, Alan Thompson, Glyn Hudson, Lynda and Tom Degney, Chris, Lizzy Pegler, Joe Lyon, Richard Ruthin, Enid Toft and Penni Neale.

Next Week: It’s a Good Thursday Singers’ Night with added chocolate.

A Perfect Ten

By |April 11th, 2019|0 Comments

Joe Lyon

It was a quieter night than usual, with ten performers and just over double that number in the audience. Nevertheless, it was most enjoyable, with wide-ranging musical styles.

Tonight, Matthew, I was Dylan, Neil Martin was Cohen and Joe Lyon was a Beatle.

Robin the Busker was… well… Robin the Busker, performing for the first time minus the Gall Stone to which he had become rather attached.

Lynda Degney

Lynda Degney was insisting there is “Nothing in the World Like Bluegrass Music”, before taking a “Walk in the Irish Rain” with husband Tom.

As Lynda went to dry out, Tom gave his new banjo an outing. Then, the multi-instrumentalist that he is, Tom stayed on stage to accompany Richard Davies, first on mandolin and then on the Dobro.

Bob Hall was accompanied by Birch-hall as he sang “If I were a Carpenter” and “Always on my Mind”, followed by a wonderfully animated performance from the inimitable Robin Spreckley on his trusty mandolin.

Robin Spreckley

Alan Thompson produced some rather nice Ryan Adams covers as well as his own fine compositions, bringing the evening to a close with his beautiful new song “Only Human”, written in honour of the refugees stranded on the Greek island of Leros.

Alan and his sister Linda together with Penni Neale had participated in two of the “Music makes a difference” concerts that raised over £3,000 to help support the refugees detained in camps on the island. You can hear that song and watch highlights from one of the concerts on Alan’s blog about the plight of those refugees.


Roll Call
Chris, Joe Lyon, Neil Martin, Robin the Busker, Lynda and Tom Degney, Richard Ruthin, Bob Hall, Robin Spreckley and Alan Thompson.