The Poppy and Pint, Pierrepont Road,
Lady Bay, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
The Poppy Folk Club's first Folk Day, to celebrate our first birthday in May 2012, was such a success we couldn't wait a whole year to have another. And so it was that a fine array of singers and musicians gathered for to provide twelve hours of music to an excellent audience.
Morning Singaround and Music session
We started the day at 10.30 in the morning with a sing and play session. Ten thirty am? Would anyone turn up at that hour? Well, yes, they did - in fact we struggled to get everyone on before we had to get the room ready for the first concert. A big thank you goes to all our performers: Claire, Phil, Julie and Dave (the organisers); Catherine, Trevor, Fred, Corinne, Yvonne, Jim & Sally, Jim Holland and newcomers Phil and Ann. And a special thank you to the Giles River Company who livened up the morning in style.
Early Afternoon Concert
The first concert of the afternoon kicked off bang on time with a set of tunes from our very own Claire Halliday, including a Swedish Polska, a French Bouree, a French dance tune slowed to a lovely air, and no less than three Andy Cutting tunes, all played with great skill.
Next up were Poppy regular Lyn Cooper with musician-singer Martin Tabraham. Both lovely singers and multi-instrumentalists they took us through a lovely selection of songs, tunes and styles: Adieu Lovely Nancy, Shandon Bells, Wim's Waltz, Norma's Song (one of Lyn's own compositions) and a set of French Bouree tunes; with guitars, concertinas and whistles.
Dave Collins, who has been a supporter of the club from the start, has contacted us to say he was trying to shake off a three week-old chest cold and might not make it. But, dosed up with linctus and wrapped in a warm coat, he braved adversity like a trooper and gave us five of his own songs in the next spot. Dave has written some really top class songs and gave us his 'Blame the San Jose, Queen of the Midlands and 'Down the Meadows'; among others. And his voice held up to the end …
There were quite a few guitarists in the audience that afternoon, and I suspect many of them had come to see our headline act for this first concert - Lynn Goulbourn and Steve Hicks. Lynn has been a great supporter of the club and is a lovely singer-songwriter and guitarist; Steve is one of the best finger-style guitarists around. Together they make a terrific act. The audience were spellbound by a show of quality singing, some of Lynn's written-from-the-heart songs, and barely believably guitar playing. Standing out from the set for me were the Harry Lime theme (normally heard played on a zither); Lynn's song 'Waiting for my Tea'; and a Fairport-style version of 'A Sailor's Life' with a Thompson-like guitar solo from Steve. Wow!
Second Afternoon Concert
A short break to recharge glasses and empty bladders, and it was on with the show, and the second afternoon concert - starting with a set of songs from Chris Orme. Chris is a leading light in Notts Alliance, who sang for us in May, and is a well-known singer in the Notts/Derbys area, as well as one-time member of Dolphin Morris. A nicely put-together set of songs (with a joke between each) closed with a lovely version of Tom Padget and, one of the songs Chris does best, the Road to Mandalay.
Fay Brotherhood is a local singer of traditional and self-penned songs, and has a powerful voice and a style all of her own. She won the open-mic competition at Southwell Folk Festival a couple of years ago and has been in demand ever since. She has a large repertoire of songs, and today she performed several of her own songs including Black Annis's Bower, Disguise and Mother Moon, as well as a lovely version of the traditional Wife of Usher's Well.
Our third singer in this concert was Lawrence Leith - another great supporter of the club and a terrific singer. Lawrence sung with power and passion throughout, but the song that really hit the spot for me was his performance of Ewan MacColl's 'Joy of Living. Lawrence sang that song at the funeral, seven years ago (almost to the day), of his father Andy Leith, who was a key part of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club and the Tiger Folk Club and a great singer himself. It was a very moving experience!
Closing the second concert were Marc Block and the Breezes. Marc is another of the club's great supporters and has played and sung for us on several occasions. He has a lovely voice, nice guitar style, and writes good songs (and has a solo CD about to be released), but today he was with us as part of his lively and talented band 'The Breezes', with Milli Galgut on fiddler, Bee on percussion, and Chris Pitcher on bass guitar. They all sing, and produce some great harmonies in a style they have called 'jaunty acoustic-pop with an earthy vibe'. They sang 'Live Not Where I Love', 'Black Dog' 'Hal & Tow', 'Cradle of Sunshine' and 'John Ball', among others; all with a great up-beat summer's day feel.
Evening concert with Kirsty Bromley and her Band
Sarah Matthews, who has twice performed at the Poppy Folk Club as part of the band Cupola, has recently set off in a new direction as a solo artist, and we were delighted when she agreed to start our evening concert with a 30 minute set of tunes and songs from her solo repertoire. She is a delightful singer and musician, and got the concert off in style with some of her own songs, like the excellent song 'Oh How that Valley did Change' from the Mills & Chimneys project; and songs from the writings of Maddy Prior (Bewcastle Fell), Robert Burns (Red Red Rose) and Gerald Short (T'owd Brahn 'En).
Then, it was time to welcome Kirsty Bromley and her band (well, most of it - guitarist Philippe Barnes was snowed-in in the South of England). With one of the team missing, the other members of the band had spent all afternoon rehearsing and working out new arrangements of each song. They also drafted in Sarah Matthews to help out on a couple of songs. I'd never seen Kirsty before, and I was about to be very impressed!
Kirsty has a voice as clear as a bell, ringing out strong and true. Her band - Simon Dumpleton on keyboards and Accordion; and Oli Matthews (another Cuplola member) on Melodeon, Cajon and a range of wind instruments - complement her beautifully. And her choice of material was perfect!
She announced at the start of the concert that she expected the audience to join in, and then sang songs that made it difficult not to. We had Utah Phillips' 'Singing through the Hard Times', Paul Metsers' 'One More Time', Sydney Carter's 'The Crow on the Cradle' (with a trumpet solo from Kirsty); 'Eat, Drink and be Jolly'; and 'Sweet Nightingale' to join in with, as well some tune sets and a lovely solo version of 'The Trees they do Grow High'. They over-ran considerably, but we neither noticed nor cared - it was a terrific show, and after a call for 'More!' the band closed the evening with 'John Ball' - the second outing of the day for that song, which was also the first song ever sung at the Poppy Folk Club.
Roll on the next Folk Day - see you there!