Ray’s Chat 1-7
So We have got to RAYS CHAT NUMBER Seven.
You know my Folk roots go back a long way:
Yes I was Folk Clubbing in the 60’s. There was a great little Folk Club in Solihull at the Masons Arms.. NO: not that place called the Masons arms now.. The old Masons was a real old Coaching Inn with an Arch the horse drawn carriages would have driven thro.
And the old stables were where we met Yes great Club called
THE MASONS ARMS FOLK CLUB. I was friendly with a guy who was Jasper Carrots flat mate.
And Jasper started another Folk Club called “The BOGGERY”..
That was another GREAT Club; and YES I went to the Boggery. And also in the 60’s Malcolm Stent had a Group called the Timoneers which I used to go to.
Oh Yes I remember there was a guy in the Timoneers played THE SPADE!! Yes. a qarden spade. Crazy.
And of course, I then found “THE JUG OF PUNCH”.
And even occasionally, if I could find the time I would go to
YES I was pretty well spending most of my spare time in some Folk Club or other.
After I had been going to “The Jug” a while I managed to get into a Group that met on a Sunday lunch time in an upstairs room in a Pub in Moseley. An entirely unorganised sort of thing.
Guys would just drop-in with maybe a guitar, or a fiddle; or like Tommy Dempsey with his pipes. Oh yes Tommy. He was only young then, and maybe Dave Phillips would drop in and Dave Sawbrick. Just Anyone: It was MAGIC
Someone would start playing and other would join-in, and we had the most marvellous times there. MAGIC music
How on earth I ever managed to get into that? I will never know; as I was the only one that was not a musician. Oh YES; totally wonderful sessions.
I was still living at home then, and my Mother always had Sunday lunch at 1.00pm. I used to say Mom Don’t do me a meal.
But I would get home about 5.00pm and find a dinner on a plate steaming, so the gravy was like brown paint round the edges of a shrivelled up dinner.
I think maybe she was hoping I would see sense and get home for 1.00pm lunch. BUT no way. Sorry Mom. In the end She did realise I was not giving-up my Magic Sunday sessions.
So Yes; you see I had a real good grounding in All sorts of Folk and near Folk, and Jazz. Not Modern jazz; the great dixieland jazz.
Oh and talking of Jazz: Two of the BEST Jazz performers used to come to The Jug. Diz Disley was a GREAT Jazz Guitarist and sometimes he would come with Stefan Grapelli. Well I can tell you they were just FANTASTIC performers. Diz was one of the VERY best Jazz guitarist. (He had his own Jazz Trio):
Unfortunately he is no longer with us),
And Stefan Grapelli: Well you had to hear him to understand WHY he was JUST THE VERY BEST.
BUT: maybe the Very best thing; was at the end of the night;
Stefan, and Diz would go on stage, and the Campbell group would join them, and then anyone else who had performed that night; AND we had the most MAGIC session you ever heard.
I always loved it when Diz came, He was Great FUN and a wonderful guy. I will tell you another story about Diz sometime.. But I seem to have gone on and not even mentioned a song title!!
Well The American Folk Scene had got going a bit earlier than the new English scene. So it was mostly American Songs that were going the rounds. Great new song writers Like Pete Seeger,
Tom Paxton, Gordon Lightfoot were all writing great songs , which The English new Folk guys were loving and doing great performing those songs.
Gordon Lightfoot the Canadian Folk Singer is still singing at 78.
a superb performer: been singing all his life.
He wrote many songs that are still sung today; like;
If you could read my Mind; the last time I saw here face; and’ Early Morning Rain.
Yes I think I will choose The Gordon Lightfoot song as the song of the week. EARLY MORNING RAIN.
Gordon himself does a very good job singing it: Yes listen he is good. But I found some other good versions which I think you might like: In fact if you just put in “Early morning Rain”, you’ll get about 7,000 entries to sort through.
I have managed to select FIVE I think are all worth listening to: My first love was always THE KINGSTON TRIO version.
THE KINGSTON TRIO, were one of the early Folk Groups that
stormed America; certainly one of the MOST important Groups of
the Folk Revival in the early 60’s.
The line-up changed over the years, But they were always Great.
Another Very important Group ; PETER,PAUL & MARY, and they also do a super job singing Early Morning Rain.
But I found a guy I had never heard of: NO Never :
And I think HE is VERY good.. Yes look at JERRY REED.
See what you think of His version.
And another NEW one for me: Try THE BROTHERS FOUR
But my number one choice:
And you’ll think I’ve gone CRAZY
Is ELVIS PRESLEY. Singing EARLY MORNING RAIN.
Yes I really like his version.
Well maybe a Crazy choice for a FOLK CLUB??
But our Red Lion Folk Club does have very varied styles of what is
performed. And I like it.
And so what for next time?? Well I have just been chatting about Early American Folk Music; So what better choice for next time.
Yes I have mentioned three of the Great American Groups of that period and so YES we will chat about them..
Yes some good stuff coming-up.
I hope you are
enjoying Rays Chat.
Nice chatting to you.
So Here we have got to: RAYS CHAT NUMBER Six
First: I wish Simon the Best of Luck in his new home in Totnes Devon. Oh what a lovely town to live-in?
I am real envious. have a lovely life Simon.
We are all going to miss you very much at the Club.
I said I would talk more about THE JUG OF PUNCH.
It was the biggest and BEST Folk Club in the World.
Anyone in the Folk World who was passing thro, would drop in the JUG. One night James Taylor, just in from Australia, dropped in and played a few songs. I thought he was Ok..
But Nothing Special!!
And then he went to be one of the Best.
OH!! That was long before he went to America and married Carly Simon. Incidentally SHE did a good Job singing “Nobody Does it Better” for the Roger Moore; James Bond Film “The Spy Who Loved me”.
Yes we had a few Overseas visitors drop in at the Club.
One night a young guy called TOM RUSH did something I had never seen before He BOTTLED HIS GUITAR..
WOW!!. It is a Blue grass technique. You break the neck off a bottle and wear it on your finger, and as you play the guitar you move the bottle neck up and down the strings, FABULOUS SOUND.. BIT LIKE AN HAWIAAN GUITAR.. magic.
YES: This good looking 21 year old certainly could certainly sing well and his playing of the guitar was breath taking.
Yes I saw his when he was 21; And He is 73 now. and he still plays and sings and WOW his audiences..
Yes a Great Performer
And I have found a real GEM.. OHHH YES.. I have found
Tom Rush singing the Joni Mitchell song “The Circle Game”.. But: we’ll come to that in a minute or two
Talking about Joni and “The Circle Game”
I was at “The Jug” on the night that Joni Mitchell came as Special Guest. WOW!!. It was Packed that night
Just a few times in your life you get to see someone Special.
It is hard to describe; But they have a Magic: So you are captivated, and you know you have seen a SPECIAL person.
I have been lucky enough to have it happen a few times in my life,
Yes I once got to see THE GREAT DON McLEAN in just a small theatre with me in a front row seat!! I was absolutely HIS FAN FOR LIFE… OH YES He was Magic.
Yes one of my great moments IN MY LIFE:
and Joni Mitchell was another such a person.
YES: She had that special something.
And; I was lucky enough to have seen and heard Joni when she was at the height of her fame;
and she sang: Her own song; One of the Greatest Songs of all time: THE CIRCLE GAME.
OH YES:: It truly was Something Very Special.
The Ian Campbell Group also made a great recording of
The Circle Game; which was very good
BUT YES.. Come back to Tom Rush. He was another SPECIAL GUY Only young But SO talented. His guitar playing was breathtaking; particularly that Bottling.
I have found you a Great Recording
Yes absolutely My choice for this week
TOM RUSH SINGING “THE CIRCLE” GAME”
The video is quite good too!!
I reckon this is one of my Best Finds.
YES: Well just listen to that Guitar. !!.
I love this recording. And He was just 20 when he recorded this:
Yes really just so young and SO good
Now: How Do YOU Follow THAT???
Well pour a glass of Vino; Relax in your favourite chair and listen to: SHANGRI-LA Al Marconi. relax for 5.58 minutes.
This is different: Yes, Relax You deserve it.
Well: What a Week? I think you have to admit that those choices are MAGIC!! I bet you needed to play that Tom Rush Again and Again; well I did. It has a special MAGIC..
Yes What a JOY that record is. Thank Goodness for the Magic of recordings. Aren’t WE the lucky ones??
We are not going to get much better than this: The 60’s were the wonderful days of Folk. The American Folk scene had been going more than ten years and there were very many GREAT songs being Sung. And So many real good singers were coming on the English scene; Many influenced by the Americans.
I remember Harvey Andrews saying to me he had been greatly influenced by BUDDY HOLLY; Well not really Folk.
But it was enough to get Harvey writing and performing HIS own songs. And Harvey became one of the GREATEST of the UK Singer/Writers. He has written very many Great songs.
We will talk about him in a later time.
Clubs were springing-up all over the place. Many very Good Clubs. I was a member of Four Folk Clubs.
The Solihull Mason Arms Folk Club.. Yes that was an early one and was very good. Couple of guys I got to know there. Dave and Allen called themselves THE PEACEMAKERS.
I used to book them for do’s I was running. Great Guys.
Actually Alan had been Lead guitarist for the singer Wayne Fontana, who was a pop singer of that time.
Another Solihull Club was The Boggery that was Jasper Carrots Club; Yes that was good.
A bit later The Timoneers had a Club at “The Sherwood”
And, of course.. The Greatest Club of them all THE JUG OF PUNCH. Yes I was getting a large dose of FOLK.
And I also had a very special Sunday Afternoon Jam session I was invited to..
Tell you about that next time
and I will tell you more of my Early
NICE CHATTING TO YOU RAY
So it’s RAYS CHAT NUMBER Five
Well it seems to be going well: I have had some very kind comments; and I am pleased that you have been listening to the songs I suggest. It makes my efforts all worth while to have someone say; “Oh that was a lovely song I had never heard before”. Yes well that is WHY I am doing this. I want to keep these LOVELY Songs ALIVE;
We are in danger of losing them, as the younger singers tend to sing newer songs; and songs they write themselves. and the younger new guys have never heard many of these Great Older Songs that I remember. So Listen and SING them.
There is so much great stuff out there. We are the lucky ones;
we can search the web and find them.
YES, Do listen, and if you are a singer, the WHY NOT sing them?.
In Chat Four I said this would be about the JUG OF PUNCH FOLK CLUB and THE IAN CAMPBELL FOLK GROUP.
It was the biggest and Best Folk Club; and I was a member from the 60’s until it closed.
And even then I used to catch-up with Ian and his Group at various places.
I got interested in Folk in the late 50’s. I had never previously heard Folk Music. Television was very new.
I had bought a nine inch Pye Television.. YES nine inch.. And of course Black and White. There were only a few programmes being broadcast.
But one was this New Folk Thing, in a cellar. And I loved it.
Then; I saw a notice in the local Rag, that the IAN CAMPBELL FOLK GROUP were going to be at the Solihull Civic Hall. I went; and just loved this wonderful music.
In the Interval I went to Ian and asked “Where can I hear Music Like this”, and He said “THE JUG OF PUNCH” On a Thursday.
From then on Thursday was my BEST night of the week.
If I had to miss for any reason it was like having a Leg off!!
Yes it was always Wonderful.
And soon after I joined: The Campbell Group, with Dad Dave,
and Mom Betty. Hired a coach for a two week Scottish holiday; And the remaining seats sold to the Club.
I WAS ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES. FANTASTIC TIMES!!
I was so lucky that I was able to go on that coach journey.
We met up most evening with a local Scots Folk Groups, and during the day we visited famous places; including some Whisky Distilleries.. OH yes I could tell takes about some of those days. But NO my lips are sealed. And so I got to know the Campbell family quite well. So I always had a Special place at “The Jug”. They were My friends.
I would request songs from both Ian and Lorna, and indeed later (After Dave died) I would ask Betty to sing.
I would say to Ian is your Mom going to sing? and he would say You’ll have to ask her; She won’t sing for me!!
BUT she always did sing FOR ME. I sat in the isle seat second row. And Betty would look at me as she sang. She was a lovely Lady with a gentle almost child like voice:
I was so lucky to hear her sing, for me!!.
And my request for Ian was always for THE EARL OF MORAY. Which I always considered to be one of his very best songs.
If you search Earl O’ Moray: There are quite a few versions.
Isla St. Clair does it to a different tune.
The Corries with Paddie Bell version is VERY good. and is much like the version Ian does.
But Ian singing solo definitely does it for me.
So: CHOICE ONE HAS TO BE
IAN CAMPBELL FOLK GROUP-EARL OF MORAY. 3.28
THE EARL OF MORAY as sung by Ian is a truly fine version of this song. It is a very old Historical song, telling the story of the murder of the Earl Of Moray. Yes it is true History; and there are many versions: But for me Ian’s version Wins:
Listen and ENJOY.
We lost a really GREAT Folk Singer/Writer when Ian Died.
He wrote very many songs. and had a repertoire of over 4,000 songs. He was a Great Folk Expert.
IAN DIED NOV 2012, AGE 79.
Well it just has got to be Lorna for my Second Choice.
Lorna was trained as an Opera singer; With a lovely voice.
Very powerful voice. I remember one evening she arrived at
“The Jug” half an hour late.. I said to her “You’re Late Lorna Where have you been?” and She replied; Oh, I have been backing DUSTY SPRINGFIELD on a recording; and they had to keep moving me further and further back as my voice was Drowning HERS. Yes: She had a gorgeous powerful voice;
She did not need microphones, and never did at “The Jug”..
So Put in:
Lorna Campbell Highland Widows lament 3.28
Yes SECOND CHOICE
Lorna Campbell singing THE HIGHLAND WIDOW
I must have requested those TWO songs hundreds of times.
They did in fact issue a EP with the Earl one Side and the Highland Widow on the other. I am pleased to say I have a copy.
Yes my two favourite songs.
The Jug Of Punch was Total Bliss for me. I was oh so lucky to have been able to go there; And doubly lucky having the Campbells as my friends. Wonderful days.
We are so lucky that we can find these Songs on the web.
Just at the touch of a button we can hear these songs.
Yes it is Magic!! So Enjoy these songs.
So time to say Cheerio till next time..
and I think I might tell you
some more of those Happy days
Days of my youth
My JUG OF PUNCH days NICE CHATTING TO YOU RAY
So it’s RAYS CHAT NUMBER FOUR
And this is going to be about the very bad times of the Irish Potato famines. Yes it was going to be Number Three:
But I found JUDY COLLINS singing TURN TURN TURN and that just HAD to be my choice for CHAT THREE.
I hope that She impressed you as much as She had impressed me.. Great Song, Great Singer.
Shame a lot of people missed the Friday 18th March Folk Club. Yes I know it was BBC SPORTS RELIEF; and a damn cold night a well. But you missed a real good night.
The Guest for the night was Paul McClure; And he was very good. Just occasionally you might get lucky enough to meet Magic guys; They have something about them that just gets you.
I suppose it is personality and being totally self assured in what they do. Paul won me. Just a few times in my life I have had this happen; Don Mclean being one I remember when I was lucky enough to see him live. Yes Paul got me. He somehow reminded me of Harvey Andrews.
We will be talking about Harvey in RAYS CHAT NINE. Look forward to that. If you don’t know Harvey; you are in for a treat
And not only did we have the great night with Paul:
But Mike and Ann had us all singing and WOW Mikes Guitar was just Magic.
And Thanks for the great comments about Rays Chat.
Seems I have managed to help you find GREAT MUSIC and I hope here’s some more to please you.
So now I am going to chat about a song that is about the time when a guy could be transported to Australia for stealing a loaf of bread: YES, just listen to the words of THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY. The poor girl is watching the prison ship taking Michael, her husband, away because he had stole corn to feed his starving Family: She being left to bring-up their child alone.
Those famine times in Ireland were VERY hard: So many starved..
It was times when so many Irish emigrated to America.
This song is almost a second National Anthem in Ireland.
SO YES: This weeks choice has to be
THE FIELDS OF AT HENRY
But there are so many to choose from, I came up with 2,108 choices WOW!! Well which version do I choose from THAT lot?
VERY DIFFCULT. But I have whittled it down to just THREE.
So I will give you my three choices and let you decide which one YOU prefer.
My first choice is MARY DUFF She has a lovely voice,
So very Irish. Is She the BEST?
Oh YES: But listen to My Second Choice:
Paddy Reilly with the Dubliners. Great Crowd participation.
Yes; this takes a lot of beating; it would have been GREAT to be there: Yes this is what Folk Clubs are about; when everyone can have a great sing in the Chorus.
My Third Choice: JIM McCAAN. Just a great voice singing a lovely song
Three VERY different versions for you to choose from.
I find it a difficult choice?
Mary’s gorgeous voice, and so Irish.
Or Great Audience Song with THE DUBLINERS, this is a Great Folk Club song.
Or the lovely gentle style of Jim McCaan
And that’s My choices for you this time. I hope you have enjoyed listening to these great songs.
And talking about great songs; I was pleased to hear
Rik Middleton sing the ABBA Song Fernando.
I hope someone will sing “Dancing Queen” one day.
Oh Memories of 40 years ago; dancing the night away to Dancing Queen.
And for next time. I think it is time I did some “JUG OF PUNCH” songs? and stories
Well those were the days in the 60’s and 70’s when Folk was in it’s Hey day. And “The Jug of Punch” was THE BEST and Biggest Folk Club: Over 400 of us used to gather in the Old Digbeth Institute back hall: I was lucky to be there as a regular member: and I was lucky enough to be friends with Jane..
Jane was a number one fan and used to get there early and “bag” the front row and part the second row.. Yes that was MY seat.
I wonder what happened to Jane?
Oh YES Thursday night was THE BEST NIGHT OF THE WEEK.
Yes: I will tell you a few tales of those glorious days.
And now for a Great bit of News:
Simon has come -up with the idea that some weeks one of the Club will sing the RAYS CHAT Chosen song of that week.
I think that’s a GREAT idea, and I look forward to hearing some super singing.
I am getting some great feed back from some of you and I am glad you are enjoying Rays Chat.
So Cheerio for now.
Nice chatting to you.
So it’s RAYS CHAT NUMBER THREE. And Folks A CHANGE OF PLAN.. Yes: I was going to do a song about the days when you could be transported to Australia for stealing a loaf of bread.
But I found this weeks choice!! and I HAD to let you have it.
So wait till RAYS CHAT FOUR for the “stealing a loaf of Bread ”
And Thanks for the great comments about Rays Chat.
Seems I have managed to help you find GREAT MUSIC and I hope here’s some more to please you.
You know my Folk days go way back to late 60’s early 70s GREAT DAYS; In the late 60’s the FOLK SCENE really took off and there were some REALLY superb People around; and many wrote their own stuff as well.
So: YES folks it is going to be 60s Music for this week.
If you search for 60’s Music you get over 2,000 choices.
SO: YES it is a real hard job to make a single choice.
I thought Maybe:
PETER, PAUL & MARY singing EARLY MORNING RAIN
SO WHY this one??.
Well First: Peter, Paul and Mary were one of the First Groups that went Commercial in a big way BUT STAYED TRUE FOLK. AND THIS RECORDING FROM 1966 is SO Good. Peter, Paul & Mary do a good job on the Gordon Lightfoot song “Early Morning RAIN”.
BUT: THE SONG That has made me change what was to be this weeks song: IS MY CHOICE
JUDY COLLINS singing TURN, TURN, TURN.
This Pete Seeger song is THE BEST recording of this (not so well known song) I have ever heard.
Just listen to it. SUPERB!
And as a bonus I give you another superb song from 60’s which I am sure you will know
Joan Baez singing WE SHALL OVERCOME.. There are lots to choose from:
But I choose the one recorded at the BBC Television Studios,
June 5th 1965. Superb voice.
I tell you this: I had to keep playing the Judy Collins track.
It just GOT me.. Yes a real find for me.
I hope you like it.
Hey!! I am enjoying this RAYS CHAT.
I hope you are?
And Yes Number Four will be the sad tale of a desperate man.
Nice chatting to you.
Yes here we are with RAYS CHAT NUMBER TWO. You seem to like my first effort. Well Thanks I will keep trying to find interesting things to say and choose some GREAT FOLK MUSIC for you.
The one for this time goes back a long way FOR me. Way back in the early 50’s
I belonged to a record Club where you hired a record. Well this one time I sent for “THE BAHAMAN LULLABY“. by a guy called ROY GUEST.. I liked it; so I bought it.
NO don’t bother to look for it on YouTube. it’s not there.
Many years later at “The Jug of Punch” Roy Guest came.. NO not as a singer,
But as the Manager of a young new comer I went up to Roy and said “I have got your record of Bahaman Lullaby” and he said
“OH SO YOU MUST BE THE GUY THAT BOUGHT THE OTHER ONE”
HaHa!! Well I guess he never made it as a singer!! But I did like it and in fact still do;
These days Bahaman Lullaby gets called different names.
The one I am going to tell you about is now called ALL MY TRIALS.
I was trawling thro the All My Trials on YOU TUBE. If you trawl thro, you will find lots of people have recorded “All my trials” People Like Joan Baez, and Judith Durham (remember Her and the “Seekers”?). EVEN Paul McCartney ( NO don’t bother!!) And Harry Belafonte. YES I like his version. and found a version by a famous singer who was new to me. ANITA CARTER
To get it: Put in “Anita Carter All my Trials” You will come up with a list.. choose the one with a BLUE “d” 2.56 mins. This a very old recording been redigitised ..
Quality maybe not so good BUT WOW!! What a voice. IT: Goes to the top of My choice list. Yes go for it and see what you think?
Anita Carter is one of the VERY famous CARTER FAMILY who were some of the most famous country and folk singers in the 50s 60s.
In fact if you put THE CARTER FAMILY in to Search you will get Hundreds of songs by them; Yes they were BIG in their time.
Anita broke away and had a very successful Solo career and was known as “The Appalachian Angel.” She was VERY popular particularly in America. Had her own Radio programme. Born 1933 and died in 1999 age 66. Yes again you are listening to history.
And if you put her in “search”, you will get lots of her songs come up. She is more “Country” than Folk’ But a great voice.
Well I hope you like my this time choice..
Next time I am going back to a Folk Song that was from the period when Men could get shipped off to Australia for stealing a loaf of Bread!!. I wonder if you can guess which one that will be?
And WHO? will be My choice of performer, or performers?? Nice chatting to you. Ray
This is the Club NEW idea. You will know there are very many Folk Songs on Youtube.
If you put-in a song title you will come -up with lots of versions..
The trouble is: It takes a heck of a long time to trawl thro them to see which you like
WELL.. Now you got ME to help.
Each couple of weeks I will tell you of a Song, or Person, I have researched and I will tell you which hits the Jackpot with me. and tell you how to get to it.
Do you like the idea?? Well I hope so.
The Music Search programme I use is STASHIMI
It is easy to use and is FREE
And my First suggestion is:
CARRICK FERGUS. A superb Old Irish song. BUT ; if you just put Carrick Fergus in and search.. you’ll get 100s of versions by all sorts of artists..
ARE YOU going trawl thro THAT lot?? to find the BEST??
Well I’ve made it easy.
I HAVE trawled thro the lot and yes; it took a while.. and sometimes difficult to choose as there are some real good ones to choose from?.
AND for me a Couple of versions of CARRICKFERGUS, stand out and here they are:
For just Gentle Singing I like Jim McCan. lovely soft singing.
To get that track put in “Carrickfergus October 12 2013”.
(it comes up Top of the list in my search).
Yes a gentle lovely version of this old song. I like.
For many years Jim sang with the Dubliners. But he also had a very good Solo career. This version of Carrick Fergus is one of his Solo recordings.
Jim died in 2015 age 70 after a long singing career.
But if you want a more Gutsy version try putting in:
Liam Clancy Carrickfergus
It starts so gentle with the soft voice of Liam Clancy.. But it get going later on,
So you are listening to History.
Well there you are.. My First Two Offerings.
Next time I have a lovely gentle song for you, YES: Whilst researching it; I came across a very lovely version, which was a super NEW FIND for me: I had NEVER heard it before.
But that’s for next time.
Well I hope you have enjoyed Rays Chat, Number One. We’d love to have your comments?