Tom, Dick and Harry

It’ll be a quiet night, they said, after having a full house last week. Plus, we knew of several regulars, and occasionals, who were going to be away.

A good time, I thought, to try an alternative layout to the room, based on members’ suggestions collected over time.

Quiet night, my foot! By 8.00pm there were already ten performers on my list and every time I looked toward the door, more and more instruments were arriving.

Alan Ewing

We ended up with a record 23 performers and a total of 42 in the room – only 8 fewer than last week’s sell-out Edwina Hayes concert!

I’m not complaining you understand, after all, the club exists to provide a platform for local musicians to perform and for music lovers to enjoy.

It just turned out to have been totally the wrong night to experiment with the layout and turning the room around.

It’s all about the music
But what a great night of music it was. Just one new face at the business end of the microphones, plus several more that we hadn’t seen in a long while.

First off was Alan Ewing from Rhyl. Making his first visit of 2017, he opened the evening with Tom Paxton’s, “The Last Thing on my Mind”.

Arthur Laidlow

Then there was folk singer Arthur Laidlaw, who last journeyed from Chester through hail, snow and ice. The weather was kinder this time and we were rewarded with two songs from his Scottish homeland: “The Belle of Broughton” and “A Gordon For Me”

And speaking of Gordon… It’s some six months since Russell and Helen made made an appearance at the club as an unnamed, newly-formed duo.

The Everlovin’ Minds

Tonight they were back, bringing with them a gentleman with the aforementioned name of Gordon, performing as a newly-formed trio which does have a name: ‘The Everlovin Minds’.

Gordon, Helen and Rusty (he’s been out in the rain 🙂 ) opened after the mid evening break with an upbeat instrumental, “The Pan Handle Rag” followed by the George Jones song, “She Thinks I Still Care”.

One year, almost to the day, since his last visit, Canadian Phil Jones landed at Ruthin and hooked up with Tom Degney and John Bass to give us “Kansas City” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”. Phil moved from Wrexham to Alberta some twenty eight years ago and still makes regular visits back to his old stomping grounds.

David Rees, Tom & Lynda Degney, Harry Robertson, Richard Davies, Joe Lyon, Chris Birchall, Glyn Hudson, Penni and Bob Neale, Robin the Busker, Enid Toft, Alan Ewing, Pete & Di, Arthur Laidlaw, Phil Jones,
The Everlovin’ Minds
(Rusty, Helen and Gordon)
and new band Breeze
(Neil Wilkinson, John Rowell. Llinos Finnie).

Along the way there was a variety of excellent songs from our regulars (see the info box), including many impromptu collaborations, that kept John Bass and multi-instrumentalist Tom Degney on their toes. It was akin to the ‘battle of the Bands’.

All of which takes us nicely up to the grand finale – which was actually, a really grand finale – performed by one of the club’s most recently formed bands, ‘Breeze’.

John Bass and Llinos Finnie go back a long way, having had a band called ‘Mantra’ in the early days of what was then the Ruthin Folk Club. Mantra featured the late Bryn Roberts on guitar, and gained great popularity on the local circuit.

Well tonight we were privileged to witness the first public performance of  ‘Breeze’, featuring Llinos on guitar and providing the lead vocals with her sweet, pure voice; John Rowell, proving as always that there’s a very good reason he’s affectionately known as John Bass; and ‘new boy’ Neil Wilkinson (who we are used to seeing accompanying Enid), adding his impeccable guitar technique into the mix.

It is a combination that, frankly, cannot fail to win favour, and I predict we will be seeing and hearing a lot more of Breeze, not just at our club but at venues throughout the region.

Musical Chairs – The Verdict
And so what was the verdict on the re-jig of the layout? Was there more room at the inn?

Well there were arguments for and against. But suffice to say, I have a feeling we’ll be back to the usual set-up next week 🙂

(Click any image to enlarge)