THE NEWslETTER OF TIGERFOLK
They say that little things please little minds and so I am getting quite excited about this coming weekend (24/25th February). A week or so ago my wife informed me that she, daughter and Granddaughter were off to spend a weekend with her niece at Whitton Gilbert (Whitton Giblet as it was known at Birtley Folk Club) meanwhile our son will be at an all day concert at Nottingham. No matter, but Forest are away to QPR and the lads from the Nags Head are away on a golfing weekend on the Yorkshire coast so I have arranged to undertake a 48 hour stint of painting and decorating.
So what is there to look forward I hear you ask?
Well Christmas was very vinyl orientated with us buying our lad a record player since he has turned over his entire CD collection in order to go LP only, while I in turn also received a turntable and four LPs to go with it so while I am trying to keep the Magnolia off the carpets and furniture I can listen to my records for a sustained and uninterrupted period of time. However it does pose one particular risk and I must seriously discipline myself to resist the temptation. A few years ago in the interest of creating more space at home I bought some storage boxes and consigned all of my vinyl collection to the garage where it has stayed until now and of course the overwhelming desire to go and grab a few favourites will surely be there. Nothing wrong with that of course but then it will be tempting just to have a look at a few more, and more until the day will be gone and I won't have done a stroke of work.
I may have said this before about LPs but they were something on their own that tapes and CDs could never replicate. I can vividly remember those Wednesday lunch times in the sixties as a student at Newcastle College of Art and Industrial Design on day release making a bee line for Windows, Newcastle's large independent music shop, and browsing the Folk record section until it was time to tear myself away to get to my class. The "folk" collection was a pretty broad church with various acoustic songwriters, manufactured groups and collections of comedy/bawdy songs that they couldn't place anywhere else! Then there were the gems; MacColl's "Choruses from the Gallows", A.L.Lloyd with "Outback Ballads", the first two Martin Carthy albums, Fred Jordan's "Songs of a Shropshire Farm Worker" as well as a host of compilations such as the magnificent "Iron Muse" pictured above. The list of songs, the sleeve notes and the profile of the artist could keep me enthralled for ages and the same thing was to happen when Bill Leader started recording some of the major revival singers a few years later and his collections were on offer around folk clubs and festivals. Then in the late eighties came the advent of the CD and the magic of browsing was destroyed; start looking through a rack of CDs and after five minutes I was sick of my life!!
Not that the CD has been banished from my household; far from it and this format will come into its own at the beginning of next week when I have two long trips to our Nelson factory (and back) to anticipate. Having just changed my car, well a two door saloon and two grandchildren was a bit ambitious, and the first thing with a new car is to try out the sound system and so for the last fortnight it has resounded from everything from Beethoven to Miles Davis to Bob Dylan to Bob Fox and Stu Luckley. The single journey from Long Eaton to the Lancashire/Yorkshire borders is enough to get through 3 CDs so I'll have to choose half a dozen over the weekend to help me while away the hours on the A50/M6/M65.
Yes I know there is always TalkSport but it gets a bit boring if you are not in the Premier League!!
Does anyone still play their vinyl or have any of our readers made the recent conversion back to vinyl and in doing so paying up to twenty times as much as the LP cost when it originally came on the market all those years ago (and that is for a brand new album; some pre-loved ones in mint condition can cost even more!)
If so let us know your experiences or your favourite vinyl recordings as I'm sure that we'd all be most interested.
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Sunday 4th March 2018
I think that I introduced Notts Alliance on their last appearance at TATT by saying that their taster spot at the beginning of the evening was probably quite pointless as all Tigerfolk members would be pretty clued up about this trio by now! Since our very early days the lads have been great supporters of the club, individually and collectively. I reckon this must be at least their 6th booked appearance at TATT/Tigerfolk and it has also been a pleasure to welcome them singing from the floor on numerous occasions. As such they were nailed on to be one of our guests on the 2016 tribute concert for Roy Harris and Gren Morris.
We look forward to listening again on Sunday night to their imaginative harmonies and their thought provoking songs - Welcome back Notts Alliance.
Sunday February 4th
It wasn’t a propitious start to a birthday party: Dave, the first of us to arrive, found the room unheated, in a mess with chalk all over the floor from the last darts match; the landlord wasn’t on the premises. The rest of us (and our guest) arrived to find Dave with a commandeered broom, trying to clear up before we could set out the tables and chairs.
Professionals of the experience of Brian Peters have played in all sorts of unpropitious settings, I expect. It wasn’t the kind of welcome we like to extend but the Benthams had at least given him what was no doubt an excellent meal and we rather think of Brian as one of us, so we knew he wouldn’t think any the worse of Tigerfolk for circumstances out of our control. By the end of the evening, due to our fine array of floor singers and the excellent birthday cake provided by Karen Harris, we hope we had managed to make up for that cold and dusty start …
Sheila ran the evening, opening the proceedings with a local ghost story calculated to send even more shivers down the spine inside the coats we were all still wearing. Songs from a mixture of the residents and regulars – Paul Mansfield and Steve Plowright – and a new visitor to the club, Adelaide (sorry, I didn’t get your second name – come back again and tell me!) who gave us a beautifully played version of “Berwick Green” on the flute, a tune recognisable to Radio 4 listeners …
Brian was introduced and made his way up for his first spot – at which point the door opened and there was a member of the bar staff with a bag of coal. Never mind, music is more important than heat and we were in no mood to stop just as the high point of the evening had arrived. The coal stayed at the top of the stairs until the interval.
In a set from Brian, it’s not just about the excellent singing and multi-instrumental accompaniments – now including banjo, since Brian found himself having to supply Jeff Warner’s role as well as his own in jointly devised programmes. The enjoyment also comes in no small part from the stories and background that go with every song (or tune). So we now know what were the only songs collected by Cecil Sharpe in Lancashire and Yorkshire respectively (and how he was indirectly responsible for the roots revival of the Goatland Plough Stotts) and that there is a version of The Isle of St Helena in which “The Prince of Rome and the Prince of Guyana says he’ll bring his father home from the Isle of St Helena” – a second mention (and two new titles) for the unfortunate younger Buonaparte in English folksong that I’d never heard before. That was all just from the first half of the first set!
I clearly can’t go on listing every song Brian sang or every story he told. Suffice it to say that after an interval of cake and firelighting (it meant that at least the singing area got a bit warmer, if not the far reaches of the room where Angela and I sit!) our second half was started in fine style with songs from Jenny Bell and Will Walker, our own John Bentham, Margaret Peters, Phil Hind, Dave Walters and Karen and Ed.
I wrote myself a note after Brian’s opening song of the second set, which he sang acapella (Queen Caroline Hughes’ version of The Trees They Do Grow High): this is an illustration of how a great singer makes you hear well-known songs afresh. The full-throated voice bounces off the notes and dances to the tune, but every word of the story is fully inhabited.
I stand by that.
There were some longer songs in this half: one from Roy Palmer’s collecting which Brian calls Factory Lords, and False Foudrage, which I have loved ever since I first heard Brian sing it at a ballad session in Whitby years ago – for me, a totally immersive piece of story-telling; I can’t identify with the audience member (who shall remain un-named) who actually counted the number of verses …
Margaret joined Brian for Our Captain Calls – always a pleasure to have her here. The evening was rounded off in fine, uplifting style with a shout-out to Bruce Springsteen who also sings Pharaoh's Army from Julie Vroom in North Carolina, if somewhat differently in style, then with Ranzo, Ranzo as a rousing encore.
Thank you so much, Brian, for making our birthday evening such a rousing success in the face of such an unpropitious beginning.
We were running a bit late so an executive decision was made; forget going to the Carpenters in Westwoodside to see the daubing of the Fool but head straight for the Kings Arms at the bottom end of Haxey.
Good idea. Get in the Kings before it gets too crowded, claim your spot, have a beer and wait for the Haxey Hood entourage to arrive and enjoy the singing, making sure we weren’t too far from the back door so we could nip out, into the car and up to the Loco and do the same there.
Bad idea. The Kings was boarded up and hadn’t seen a customer for some months but we will return to the Kings a little later. So logic dictates we head back up into the village and into the Loco. Sure, we will be earlier than normal but there again, would the programme be changed and the lads just come into the Loco and then into the Duke William next door and forego the defunct Kings Arms? Get a beer and let’s see what happens.
Two beers later and there we were, as normal, safely against the wall by the window watching the red coated, feather and jewellery adorned, top hatted Lord and Chief Boggin, the tattered clothed, black and red daubed faced Fool and a dozen red jumpered Boggins making their way into the centre of the pub. It was the same time as every year, one o’clock, give or take, and what with the size of the beer fuelled crowd and the beer and rum fuelled Boggins, the singing nearly did shake the plaster from the walls. The Farmers Boy, John Barleycorn and Cannons rang out so that even those outside could hear and join in, you might call it community singing but there was rivalry in that mix of communities. At the moment all were easy in each other's company and after the songs and greetings and nattering the majority followed The Lord next door in to the Duke William to do the same all over again. As the crowd thinned we were able to catch up with one or two old retired Boggins and other acquaintances to get the low down and what was happening and the local gossip.
Apparently, the owners of the Kings shut it some months ago and, so we were told, have no intentions of selling it even though they have had some offers. There appears to be an impasse and no-one knows what is going to happen. Nevertheless, in keeping with tradition, all went down there and sang outside the sadly neglected pub but accepted a drink from the B & B just opposite. More intriguing were the rumours circulating about the Loco and the Duke. We had noticed when we first went in the Loco that it didn’t seem as well stocked as normal and as you might expect, especially on Hood Day and more especially as it was a Saturday and there were many more people around than normal, so that was a bit disconcerting although the beer was in excellent condition. But back to what we were told and on more than one occasion, in fact several, that, allegedly, the owner of the Loco, who also owns the Duke, next door, might be looking at developing the land for housing, so bye, bye Loco and Duke. Because of these rumours and although both pubs were packed today, as you might imagine, he is not a popular bloke. It was also suggested that if the Hood came down to Haxey then it might not be released from the Sway so no pub could claim victory. Time will tell.
It was thronged in front of the church with a crowd numbering in thousands, not hundreds. The Fool escaped, was captured and brought shoulder high to the mounting block where he was ceremoniously smoked before leading everyone up the hill for the Hood. Sack Hoods flew around in the air and the kids chased and fought after them so as to claim the £2 per Sack Hood prize money and this happened for at least an hour. Suddenly the Lords Wand was held aloft, a signal for the main Hood to be thrown up. A short speech and the invocation of “Hoose Agin Hoose, Toon agin Toon and if a Man Meets a Man, Knock ‘Im Doon But Doan’t ‘Urt ‘Im“went up and so did the Hood. Now there is always an intensity to the Sway, that’s where the Hood is firmly held, it’s a bit like a rugby scrum but with many, many more people and its own rules, but as a number of us noted it was more so this year. That community spirit was no more; Haxey and Westwoodside were on opposite sides, literally, of the Sway. We were told that on Friday night when the Lord, the Chief Boggin, the Fool and all the Boggins went into the Carpenters Arms in Westwoodside, you could hardly move there were that many people in there. “It was worse than Dungworth on the Sunday before Christmas” we were told. And maybe that gave an indication as to what might happen on Hood day. And they weren’t wrong. The Sway hardly made any headway either towards the main road or down the slope of the field, both of which favour Haxey. Instead slowly and sometimes, not so slowly, the Sway moved its way towards the top right-hand corner, a sure indication that it was heading towards Westwoodside. Within an hour the last awkward humpy area and rise up to the back road were negotiated and the sway was only going one way. Never in the forty odd years of going up for the Hood Game have we seen it move so quickly off the field. As the inevitable became apparent Dale, The Fool, came along for a natter and he expressed real concern as to what might become of “The Ancient game of Haxey Hood” but only time will tell as to what happens to the pubs in Haxey. One thing is for certain, Westwoodside aren’t complaining!
Subsequently a planning application has been received by North Lincolnshire Council for the erection of 9 dwellings and the demolition of the public house, namely The Duke William in the village of Haxey…
SEE YOU AT THE STUMBLE INN!