The Railway Folk Club Newsletter

2001-2002 Archive<<  >> 2003-2004 Archive>>


(Judy Dinning, Kenny Spiers and Joe Wright)

Judy has been to The Railway before as a member of Jez Lowe's Bad Pennies, and also tours with 'The Lucky Bags' in addition to solo work. Kenny and Joe were here as members of the old John Wright Band.We had a very enjoyable evening! These three have really 'gelled' as a band, and we'll be seeing more of them at The Railway.

19 September Singers Night


The man Mark Knopfler immortalised as 'Guitar George - he knows all the chords'!

Not quite what we normally expect to see at The Railway, and he brought a lot of his fan club with him! His beat up old electric guitar and Vox AC30 amplifier were sometimes restrained, and sometimes... not! He performed mostly his own songs, leaning to a more 'folky' style for the most part, and gave us an entertaining evening.

3 October Singers Night

10 October ROBIN LAING

Robin's back again! In the folk tradition, his influences are The Corries, Ewan McColl, Lizzie Higgins and Hamish Henderson, all for different reasons. He has many other influences; musically, from classical composers like Bach and Mahler, in poetry from Tennyson and in songwriting terms from Paul Simon and Stan Rogers, to name just a few. All of these influences find their way into the process that produces Robin's own song compositions. They have a variety of styles because of this, and tend to have their main strength in the lyrical side of the composition. The songs are constructed with care and attention and a great deal of selection along the way. More can be found on his website...

Robin's mix of humorous and poignant material never fails to please, and tonight was no exception. He had quite a few requests, including 'I'm going to drown my cat' to the tune of 'All around my hat'! Click here to see the photos!

17 October Singers Night

24 October EMILY SLADE

Because Emilyís parents run one of Britainís longest standing folk clubs, some of her earliest memories are of her home being filled by folk greats such as Martin Carthy, Hamish Imlach, Alex Campbell, Richard Digance, The Tannerhill Weavers, Johnny Silvo and Allan Taylor. She is regarded by many as a versatile guitarist and singer, with an expressive voice, soaked in character and soul. Her choice of material ranges from haunting renditions of traditional folk to the gutsy, hard-hitting style of her own compositions. Her relaxed, chatty introductions captivate her audiences wherever she plays. More on her website!

Emily was relatively unknown to most Railway regulars, but endeared herself to everyone with her mix of traditional, contemporary and self-penned material, her great voice, and her excellent guitar playing. She's been booked for next year! Click here to see the photos!

31 October Singers Night

7 November CRASDANT
(Huw Williams' new band)

Take four gifted instrumentalists, all with impeccable solo musical credentials, combining out of mutual respect and with a focussed aim of placing the Welsh instrumental canon alongside its Celtic brethren. Robin Huw Bowen, Wales' best-known triple-harpist, Stephen Rees, from Ar Log, Andy Mclauchlin and Huw Williams, Wales' foremost exponent of the art of step (or clog) dancing, are Crasdant. Plenty more info on their website...

Crasdant are predominantly an instrumental quartet, with Welsh Triple Harp, Fiddle, Flute, Pibgorn (wot?!) accordion and guitar amongst the instruments featured. This was not Huw Williams and a backing group - they are a tightly knit, highly accomplished band of musicians with an interesting repertoire of traditional Welsh tunes, which were a joy to behold. Needless to say, Huw's stepdancing was featured, too!

14 November Singers Night

Stewart Lever, who will be taking over from Don as 'Bookings Secretary' in January, made his debut running the Singers' Night this evening. Welcome aboard!

Our Trevor's new CD - 'A Lancashire Look At Life' - and book of poems - 'Lots of (nearly) True Stories - were also launched upon an unsuspecting public this evening - if you want a copy (2 quid for the book, or 7 quid for the CD and book together), come along on a Singers' Night!

21 November ALLAN TAYLOR

Back again! For 30 years Allan Taylor has been considered as the consummate performer, a writer of literary gracefulness whose troubadour chronicles encapsulate the realism of otherwise unsung heroes, otherwise uncharted lives. His songs are faultlessly constructed and flawlessly performed, with his instantly recognisable voice, attractively dark and mellow, accompanied by his intricately detailed yet full-sounding guitar. Visit his website!

28 November Singers Night


Back again, by popular request. To date his recording career spans 33 years and more than 30 albums, many considered classics of their genre. One of the most engaging performers you're ever likely to see, his exceptionally intimate performance combines songs, humorous bush poetry recitations, stories and anecdotes of outback life and comments on Australian history and culture that typically leave the audience ready to book the next flight out to Sydney! Visit his website!

12 December The Railway Singers Christmas Party

Butties by the trayload... need we say more?!

Tonight's party was particularly poignant, because Don announced that Heather and he are retiring from organising the club, and Stewart Lever is taking over the reins from January 2003. The butties were good!

19 December The Railway Irish Christmas Party

Yes, we've dusted them off, blown away the moths and cobwebs, and propped them up in a corner for your entertainment! Hope to see you!

Tonight saw Don and Heather's 'Swan Song' as club organisers, as Stewart Lever takes over in January.
The line-up of Garva was a little different, as Terry Coyne couldn't get back from Amsterdam in time for this evening's 'do', so Phil Hare (guitar) stepped in. They played the old favourites, with some of Phil's material interspersed through the night.

26 December (closed)

2 January
I'm glad I survived Christmas and New Year
Singers Night

9 January Singers Night

Martin Ellison & Roger Edwards

Jane and Amanda have earned themselves a reputation for high quality, both in their tasteful harmonies, and in their choice of material (mostly traditional); their accompanists, Martin (melodeons and whistles) and Roger (Anglo Concertina and Guitar), sympathetically augment the sisters' singing. The result is spine-tingling... If you haven't already bought their CDs ('Morning Tempest' and 'Gown of Green'), tonight is as good a time as any to correct that oversight!

Tonight was Stewarts 'baptism of fire' - his first guest night as Club Organiser. If nobody turned up, then the guests would have to be paid out of his pocket!! With a class act like the Threlfalls, it was hardly surprising that he didn't have to dip into his pocket after all! People were already starting to fill the room at eight o'clock, and by the time the residents' spots were over and the band was due to appear, there was hardly a spare seat to be found.

Stewart started the evening off, followed by the newly emerging band of Rick and Lesley augmented by Richard Peach. Bernard, with his iron lung, rounded off the residents' contributions, and introduced the band... and what a treat was in store for us! Jane and Amanda are so perfectly matched vocally, and their harmonies are a joy to hear. Roger and Martin produce skilful and intricate accompaniments without detracting from the girls' singing, and the whole sound has a wonderful warmth to it - clearly these people are intensely passionate about their music, but convey it to their audience in an endearing rather than oppressive manner. Click here to see the photos!

23 January Singers Night

This evening was to have been run by our resident poet and raconteur, Trevor Morton. Sadly, he suffered a massive stroke around midday, from which he did not recover. We dedicated the evening to his memory, and gave him a fitting 'send-off' - a celebration of his life as we feel he would have wished us to have done. Click here to read more.


Scolds Bridle are Sue Bousfield and Liz Moore... "Scoldís Bridle offer songs ancient and modern, seasoned with warmth and wit and are the perfect act for a listening audience which is keen to participate. They make hearts swell feet tap and tears flow with evocative sets. You shall be moved." - according to their website!
...and moved we were! Sue and Liz talk with the audience rather than at them, which makes for a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Railway puns abounded, but nobody is quite sure who won the competiton! They'll be back... Click here to see the photos!

6 February Singers Night

13 February JEZ LOWE

Jez Lowe seems to be the 'Tom Jones' of Folk! Women of all ages swoon at the very mention of his name! Well, he's here for our 'Valentine Special'...
It was only to be expected... standing room only! Jez's fans turned up in their droves, to be delighted by a professional, polished performance. Photos to follow soon...

20 February Singers Night


The man with the red guitar, ably assisted by 'Little Mo' on keyboard and vocals - a.k.a. Elizabeth van de Waal!
What a treat AJC had in store for us! Not only did he have Elizabeth with him, but they have become a trio with the addition of Clive Leyland. Clive is, perhaps, better known as a member of the Auld Triangle, residents at Westhoughton Folk Club. Elizabeth was so overcome with excitement that she even sang the chorus of 'Tuesday Night is Always Karaoke'! Clive played keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, in addition to backing vocals, and also wrote one of the songs. Photos to follow soon...

6 March Singers Night BIG Spot

Tonight is the first of our 'Big Spot' offerings - every couple of months or so, one of the Railway regulars will be asked to do an extended spot after the beer break on a Singers' Night.

The first such offering will be by our own Bernard Cromarty! Modesty prevents me saying any more...!

Stewart writes:

Well, what a fantastic start to a new idea...extended spots 'Big Spots' for some of our regular singers/performers.

Bernard was brill! I thought so and so did loads of the audience, who told me that they had never seen enough of Bernard to realise how talented he was.

With virtuoso performances on accordion, English & Anglo concertina, six & twelve string guitar with fancy tunings and five string banjo and both slow haunting songs 'Sally Free & Easy' & 'Ellen Vannin' and funny chorus songs 'Ball o'Yarn' and 'Slap Bum Tailor'... and my particular favourite guitar instrumental was 'Dallas Rag'.

We all enjoyed it, Bernard looked like he was loving it too...and I can't wait for the next time we see him for his next 'Big Spot'.


The ever-popular singer/songwriter makes a welcome solo return to The Railway.

A goodly-sized crowd came to see Steve, who was on really great form! As is to be expected, he had a few new songs for us to hear.

We also had a visit from Shaun the Sheep, with his handler Sylviane (Shaun is a set of Flemish Bagpipes, in case you didn't know!); Stewart started us off, Sylviane played a couple of tunes, Richard gave us a solo offering, and was then joined by Lesley and Rick. Bernard gave us a couple of songs which had been on the short-list for his 'Big Spot' and needed using before they passed their sing-by date, then Don and Heather took us up to Steve's first set. You get value for money at the Railway! All that for a mere fiver!!
(Photos to follow really soon!)

20 March Singers Night


It's always good to see Harvey at The Railway. He has been around the folk circuit for as long as most of us care to remember, and continues to improve with age! No doubt he will arrive armed with some new songs he has written, as well as his old favourites...

Sure enough, Harvey had the audience eating out of his hand within minutes of appearing on stage - and that was during the sound check!! Such is the calibre of performance we have come to expect of him. There are few singer-songwriters with the charisma that Harvey generates, and even when recounting his experiences with a 'Baker's Cyst' on his knee, the audience were falling about with mirth!

3 April Singers Night


Nasty rumours abound that John has nineteen fingers on each hand - which would go some way towards explaining why he gets sounds out of his box that the rest of us mere mortals only dream about!! We are guaranteed a lively night, as John's repertoire of tunes and songs, old and new, cannot fail to please! Bring your crash helmets in case he starts whirling that accordion around his head instead of the concertina!

Well, don't say I didn't warn you! John rose to the challenge, and really did whirl that accordion round for a few seconds at the end of the evening! However, to the beginning...

Stewart started the evening off, followed by father-and-son double act, Rod and Daniel. Rod played some tunes on his B/C melodeon, with Daniel accompanying him on the famous 'rhythm accordion' invented by Rod. Bernard joined them on mandolin and vocals for the second item 'The Leaving of Liverpool', after which Rick, Lesley and Richard entertained us for a while.

Bernard then took us through to John's first spot, which was widely varied, starting with a couple of polkas on his famous button accordion. Afterwards, Lesley commented on how diverse John's material was - he is a true entertainer. So many other guests, even the 'top flight' people who are as legendary as John himself is, tend to be somewhat restricted in the 'window' of material they choose. Not so John Kirkpatrick! He sang traditional songs, contemporary songs, self-penned songs (one of which he forgot in the middle, and there was a hilarious minute or so as he played for time whilst Bernard looked up the next line in John's own songbook, which was in the merchandise on sale!) - and for the encore we had 'Warm and Tender Love', that famous Percy Sledge hit! He played button accordion, single row melodeon and Anglo concertina, agian with a widely varied selection of material. There is truly no-one to match John Kirkpatrick! (photos to follow).

17 April Singers Night


Traditional songs and ballads and the odd bit of rock and roll - voice, guitar and flute with something for everyone!
Tonight saw Nick and Lyn debut as the newest addition to the Railway 'residents' list, and they did so in fine style! Don't forget they will be doing a 'big spot' later in the year...

Stewart was away on holiday (already adopting Don and Heather's mantle quite well!!), so our Bernard ran the night. Quite a few people were away on holiday, so it was a quieter night than of late, but enough were present to genarate a cosy atmosphere...

Needless to say, Gordon didn't disappoint us! His usually wide variety of songs and tunes was stretched even further by a medley of 60s hits as an encore! We had a set of Irish tunes on flute in the first half, and Scottish tunes in the second half, some traditional songs, a bit of Burns, even some classic Tyrrall! (photos to follow).


Vin is another guest who has made many appearances at The Railway, and still manages to be equally fresh and interesting on each and every visit. There cannot be many people who don't know him - if you don't, then perhaps you'd better come along tonight and see what you've been missing! Oh, and you'll have to queue up behind his number one groupie, Julie!

Very few tickets left - contact Stewart to avoid disappointment!

All tickets sold - a capacity audience! Stewart started the evening, followed by the return of the intrepid adventurers, Don and Heather! Nick and Lyn made their second appearance as residents, with Bernard completing the line up of residents for the evening.

Vin gave his usual mix of hilarious patter and thought-provoking songs, but it was a little disappointing that we only had one short set of tunes on the infamous whistle. Vin sang quite a few of his early songs, which appear on his new album, 'Songbook', including his very first song - 'The Land of Three Rivers' - with which he started his first set. (Pictures to follow).


Irish singer, songwriter and raconteur. He's a great talker to the audience, has some fine songs and tales, loves the sea and Co. Cork, Cork City and Ireland - and who wouldn't indeed!? Visit Jimmy's website for more information.

Jimmy Crowley wowed us with his bazouki... what superb bass notes. For those techno freaks out there, the bass strings are 76's. The super evening of Irish music came to a finale when Jimmy and his pal played a couple of jigs together on mouth-organ and whistle."

15 May Singers Night BIG Spot
Rick, Lesley & Richard

Tonight sees the second of our 'Big Spot' offerings - Railway regulars being asked to do an extended spot after the beer break on a Singers' Night.

This time it's the turn of Rick Nelson, Lesley Turner and Richard Peach. Rick and Lesley have been singing and playing together for quite a few years, and going from strength to strength as residents at the club. Over the past few months Richard has been rehearsing and gigging with them, so tonight promises to be quite special!

...and indeed it was!! Stewart writes:

People turned out in droves to see The Septic Isle Ė Richard, Lesley & Rickís name for the night, doing their "big spot" - we rather liked the "Lesley Buttie"!
By my reckoning, 75 came to see the trio perform. And what a performance! With flute, guitars and fiddle and vocals and with such a span of music from traditional - 'Peggy Gordon', 'Dark Eyed Sailor', to Blues - 'I havenít got the Blues at all!', to revivalist church music 'Heavens a-bove' (where the trio were joined by our very own Rob, Heather & Terry).
A super night was brought to a close with their well-deserved encore - 'The Mighty Quinn'.


Clive, born and raised in Manchester, is an accomplished singer, musician and record producer. His start in the music business was as the leader of Any Trouble, a band that made five albums and performed hundreds of gigs but which broke up at the end of 1984. He then formed a partnership with Christine Collister, and toured as Gregson & Collister between 1985 and 1992. During this time he also toured with the Richard Thompson Band. Find out more on his website!

Another 'standing room only' night at the Railway! It seems this was Clive's first visit to the Railway, but it was certainly memorable! His first set consisted mainly of new material (once he is back home and has finished moving house, he will be recording a new album), but his second set was his 'greatest hits'!!

Clive likes to tell his audience how he came to write each song, which adds another dimension to the enjoyment; we particularly liked the explanation of how Sparkle Street in Manchester came to be named! A particularly drab street associated with the rag trade - it seems the street became littered with buttons. Okay... anyone care to explain the nearby Paradise Wharf?!

29 May Singers Night


Tom is a perennial favourite at The Railway - he has even appeared as a floor singer!! Whether on his own, or with Pauline Cato, or Gordon Tyrrall, his mastery of the fiddle and his fine voice always make the evening memorable.

The evening started with spots from the club Residents, starting with Stewart, followed by Lyn and Nick, Richard, Lesley and Rick, and Bernard. Once Tom stood up, and feet were tapping from the moment he started playing until we finally let him go home!

12 June Singers Night


Les can make his audience laugh just by standing there - few people have that gift. His humorously skewed outlook on life guarantees the audience will be rolling all over the floor within seconds... so we aren't bothering with chairs this time!

26 June to 6 July
26 June Festival Singers Night BIG Spot

Tonight sees another of our 'Big Spot' offerings - Railway regulars being asked to do an extended spot after the beer break on a Singers' Night.

This time it's the turn of Graham Sowerby, who looked after booking guests before handing over to Don. We are guaranteed a professional quality offering from Graham! If the last two Big Spots are anything to go by, you'd better be early or you won't get a seat!!

Graham rarely performs solo these days, as he is a member of a few different song and drama groups. He was quite apprehensive about playing in front of a Railway crowd once again, but his fears were groundless - he was his old, sublime self. He is quite a prolific songwriter, and we were treated to quite a few of his own songs, as well as other traditional and contemporary material. Well done, Graham!


Just in case it has escaped your attention, Best o't'Bunch is a collective name for the Railway Residents! Don and Heather will be away in foreign parts, but Stewart, along with Rick, Lesley & Richard, Nick & Lynn, and Bernard, will be endeavouring to keep you entertained!

For the two of you who missed last year's Festival Lancashire Neet, the Haddenham Hoofers are an enthusiastic bunch of Appalachian dancers... from Buckinghamshire! They really stole the show last year, so we've asked them back.

Well, many of the regulars commented that tonight was one of the best evenings they have ever had at the Railway!

Stewart started us off in great style with his 'hunt the pint' set...! He sampled quite a few interesting brews before he found his own - carefully hidden, of course!

Next up were the Haddenham Hoofers and their famous portable dance floor - unfortunately there were only four of them with a CD player instead of live musicians, but they made up in skill and enthusiasm what they lacked in numbers!

Rick, Lesley and Richard then gave us another taste of the great show we saw during their Big Spot a few weeks ago, once again augmented by Rob, Heather and Terry for their 'Gospel' item!

The Hoofers brought the first half to a close with a sample of Acker Bilk... no, Acapulco... erm... unaccompanied dancing, which was truly breathtaking (especially for them!!).

After a short beer break, Richard's group 'Flotsam' made a rare appearance at the Railway. They have that rare knack of being able to lull you into a false sense of security before absolute mayhem breaks out!!

The Hoofers danced another set, and had to give us an encore before we would let them sit down!

Last of all, our Bernard got up with his particular, unique brand of Lancashire entertainment! During the set he asked Charlotte up to give us her Lancashire Dialect song 'Steam and Temper', then Rob asked for the Titanic, which had everybody yelling for more. So... the Man Who Waters the Workers' Beer segued into 'Blaze Away', leading up to the evening's Grand Finale...

All the performers gathered upon the Hoofers' portable dance floor, and after a few rousing choruses of 'Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go' led by Bernard, it was time to sing 'Take Your Glasses To The Bar' and wend our reluctant way home!


Yes! Garva will be here for the festival! Tony, Lesley, Terry and Kevin will all be here... don't miss this rare opportunity!!

3 July Festival Singers Night

10 July
17 July
Singers Nights

24 July Singers Night BIG Spot

Tonight sees another of our 'Big Spot' offerings - Railway regulars being asked to do an extended spot after the beer break on a Singers' Night.

This time it's the turn of Sean Kavanagh, our erstwhile rock star turned folkie!

Sadly, our Stewart missed this evening through illness, leaving Bernard to take 'the chair'. As it was the middle of the summer holidays for many, we had a total of fifteen singers and managed to get round everyone twice, finishing the first half with a spot from Tony Gibbons and Kate. We hastily rearranged the furniture, and Sean did his Big Spot, assisted by some barracking from his daughters!! He included some of his favourites - 'This War Is Over' and 'She Moved Through The Fair' to name but two. The night ended with Sean and Bernard jamming to the old Beatles' classic 'I Saw Her Standing There'!

31 July
7 August
14 August
Singers Nights

21 August Singers Night BIG Spot

Tonight sees another of our 'Big Spot' offerings - Railway regulars being asked to do an extended spot after the beer break on a Singers' Night.

This time it's the turn of club organiser Stewart Lever, who is covering for Rod and Daniel Scotney. Rod is unfortunately indisposed; we wish him a speedy recovery, and hope to see him and his son, Daniel, some time in the new year instead.
This time of years is always relatively quiet (some clubs even close!), as many of our regulars are taking their summer holidays. The Railway does not close, and tonight saw Stewart, our fearless leader(!), taking his turn to do a 'Big Spot'.
For a change, the first half was run 'concert' style, with floor singers being invited up to the stage to take their turn doing a couple of songs, and we had offerings from Bernard, Mark, Jan, Kath, Sean, Nick, Lin, Lesley, Richard, Rob, Ed, Terry and Alan.
After the beer break, Stewart took to the stage and sang a mix of old songs, contemporary songs, and self-penned songs. He commented afterwards how quickly the time passed - but we wouldn't let him rest until he gave us one last song, which was Allan Taylor's 'Journey On'. Well done, Stewart!

28 August
4 September
Singers Nights

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