14h September 2021
It was a damp and dewy starlit night….sounds like the beginning of a song! But it’s how it was. After a slightly slow start, we ended up with 12 performers outside and 2 in the back room. It will probably be our last outside gig this year, because the nights are drawing in and the air itself is becoming moister which isn’t good for our instruments or PA. So, hopefully, from the 28th September we’ll be back in the back room.
I’m so sorry if I don’t get all of the details right. I was trying to take photos, write notes and stay warm, which seems to be a little much for my poor old brain.
Simon brought his amp down and setup, like he always does, and opened up the evening with Calm before the Storm, Try a little Tenderness and his Brexit song. As always, his performance was clear and cool, with a touch of humour. Always enjoyable.
Manus followed with some slick jazz-style guitar and gave us his arrangements of Dylan’s ‘Don’t think Twice’, John Martyn’s ‘May You Never’, and ‘The First Time ever I saw Your Face’ which was made famous by Roberta Flack but originally written by Ewan MacColl (father of Kirsty) for Peggy Seeger in 1957. I do like to find out these little details! All tricky songs, and all played in true Manus style.
In the meantime, Greg was playing his electric double bass in the back room with a friend on acoustic guitar. He’d set up there and was worried about the damp air affecting his bass. I popped in a couple of times and there was some lovely music going on in there! Hopefully he’ll be able to join the rest of us when we all move inside!
Jason and Lisa were up next with their beautiful harmonies and totally sympathetic duet performances. They performed two of their own songs, ‘Go Gently into that Dark Night’, and ‘Song of Silhouettes’ followed by their rendition of ‘Ruby Tuesday’ as a tribute to Charlie Watts. Always a pleasure to listen to them.
It was lovely to see Clive, and he brought me a Sumac for my garden. Thanks Clive. He started with the politically incorrect ‘Water Melons’ song. Always good for a laugh although I couldn’t find any information on it. Then he sang his own song, ‘The Path’ and then ‘Caravan Girl so Fair’. Always lovely, clear performances from Clive, although I didn’t manage to find a couple of the writers. Sorry ☹
Ollie was up next, with his footrest, and gentle picking style. He gave us ‘She belongs to Me’, Dylan, and ‘Jersey Thursday’ by Donovan. A couple of lovely classics.
Helen was up next for her a Capella slot. Her first song was ‘On the Wings of a Nightingale, written by McCartney and performed by The Everly Brothers as a tribute to Don who left the building last month. This was followed by The Letter by the Box Tops, then Steph joined her for a performance of Wayfaring Stranger, a classic song the origins of which are unclear, but has recently had new life featuring in the film 1917. This was a touching rendition with some lovely harmonies.
Steph carried on with Some Kind of Love by John Stewart, then managed (almost) to keep a straight face through ‘Oh Pray Gentle Maiden’ otherwise known as The Chastity Belt song and I think might have been written by Jasper Carrot. The rest of us tittered!
We were pleased to welcome Peter Wilkins next, as a newcomer to The Six Bells Fold ‘n’ Blues. He opened with Ralph McTell’s ‘The Girl from the Hiring Fair’. I think this was followed by a song about the great explorer Matthew Flinders, but I had a loo break. Sorry Peter. His last song was his own composition about Britain’s Last Hangman, Harry Allen, called ‘An Ordinary Bloke’. Not easy to be a gentleman hangman. Apparently, he always wore a bowtie as a sign of respect but never lost any sleep over the hangings. He also worked as a bus driver and a publican. Interesting the things you learn hanging around Open Mic nights! Lovely to meet you and listen to your music Peter. I do hope you can come again.
Helga performed a classical flute piece on the flute, strangely haunting in the gathering dewy night, then sang ‘Let it Be’. She finally joined forces with Lisa for a performance of ‘Black is the Colour’, one of my favourites.
Keith Willson was up next with his own composition ‘Colonsay’. Keith’s guitar playing is always a pleasure to listen to. I love the way he can combine jazz, folk and classical influences to his music. He followed this with his arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Georgia’. Lovely.
I followed with a couple of my own songs, ‘Double Entendre’ and ‘Lady by the Shore and finished with James Taylor’s ‘You’ve got a Friend, which I think is always a warming feelgood song! We were getting rather damp and chilly by then. Have I mentioned the damp before? It was starting to pour off people’s guitar cases and my scarf was definitely soggy!
Chris finished the evening with three of his own compositions, ‘The Man’, ‘Journey’ and ‘Scrapheap Blues’ all sung in his own inimitable style. I particularly enjoyed his rendition of Journey which I thought came over very well.
Thank you for coming everyone. Chris and I won’t be there next time. Hopefully we’ll be warmer, and dryer, in Madeira, but the evening will be held in the back room where we look forward to joining you all the following time.
31st August 2021
We might have expected better of the weather in August in the midst of a climate emergency but no, it was overcast and later on it got a bit chilly. But what we lacked with the weather we made up for with quality. A guitarist of the year and a radio star were among those who turned up to play.
I started the evening off with three songs then retired to a safe distance. I started with the Grateful dead song "Monkey and the Engineer", followed by "The Rocket" I don't know who wrote that and lastly my own composition "Too Much Snow". Anyone who wanted one could have a bonus track later and, with a nod to hurricane Ida, I chose the Randy Newman song Louisiana 1927.
Next came Chris Martin a man who has produced a number of CD's and is no stranger to the recording studio. From his back catalog he chose "Life's a Race", "It's Only My Time","Paper Wings" and "Toast for One". You will find all of these on Youtube if you are to look.
Chris was followed by the star of Paul Huggett's Golden Nuggets, Heather Currie who has recently released an album called "Old Friends" which is well worth a listen. Her songs were "Ruby Tuesday", "Sometimes" by Heather, Paddy McGinty's Goat and "Seasons" also by Heather.
Next up we had Guitarist of the Year Terry Lees. He was only Guitarist of the Year once for the simple reason that once you have won you are banned from standing again. What a great title and as you might expect we had a performance to match. Terry's offering were "Merrily Kiss the Quaker" and "Angie".
Accompanying Terry we had Greg on sax. It is always a treat when he turns up and fortunately he is versatile enough to sit in on most types of music. He later joined Helga and Terry in a jam and joined me on my final song.
Terry was followed by newcomers Leia and Geoff a very polished father and daughter combo. Leia sang the Billy Eiish number "Happier Than Ever" and I have to say if you know that number Leia had it down to a T. Dad Geoff accompanied on guitar. Clearly wanting to leave the punters wanting more, that was all we heard from Leia. Geoff then played an instrumental, the Irish tune "The Burren". Both were very polished and we hope to hear more of them in the future.
Helga's first song had a German title which is beyong my pay grade. She followed this with an extended jam with Terry and Greg which optimistically included "Summertime".. Helga has been learning jazz singing techniques and was able put this into practice.
Lastly we had Oliver Hill, he gave us some rock standards to finish the evening "I Can See Clearly", "Mr Tangerine Man" and "Donna, Donna" a great set to round off the evening.
Hopefully we will have greater numbers next time.
17th August 2021
With 10 participants we were able, if we wanted, to sing 3 songs each.
As usual Simon kicked off proceedings with the Mark Knopfler song "Ticket to Heaven", then Lucinda Williams 'Sweet Old World' and finished with "I Don't Look Good Naked Anymore" - no further comment.
Lance was up next with "Better Eat Your Veggies", "You Must Never Ever Eat a Vindaloo" and "Sadie the Flatulent Horse".
Helen sang unaccompanied and performed Stings "Fields of Gold" and Joe Brown's "Pictures of You". Then, Helen and Steph combined and performed "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You".
Keith sang three of his own songs "Too Sad to Sing the Blues" and "Baby Steps" with flute backing provided by Helga. Lastly, we heard "Brighton Rock".
Helga was up next and player her flute. The song was called "Elegy". She followed this with a song remembered from her youth by Reinhard May. I have no idea what the song was called. Reinhard is now 78 years young. Lastly, Helga was joined by Keith and performed "St James Infirmary".
Manus came next with3 songs......"Please Climb Down" and "Murrays Bar" both his own. Lastly, he performed "Georgia on my Mind".
Chris played us therr of his originals from the 1980's I think. They were "I like to be Sad", "Guardian Angel" and "Little Red Car".
Heather was next and sang Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" followed by "The Owl and the Pussy Cat" and lastly, a song by Phil Coulter that I hadn't heard before "The Town that I Know So Well".
Clive was last to perform and sang Bob Dylan's "Percy's Song". I had never heard of it....next to be performed was "Sweet Sixteen" written by James Thornton and performed by the Furies, a version of the 19th century traditional song. Clive's last and the final song of the evening was "London River".
We all left deliriously happy.
Lance of Seaford (Retired)
Thank you to all the lovely performers at the Six Bells; Simon, Helga, Manus, Clive, Derek, Keith, Lisa and Jason
Another memorable and most enjoyable evening
Here's to our continued freedom.
6th July 2021
The word chilling has at least three meanings - the first is a verb similar to 'relaxing', the second is an adjective likening something to the effect of a horror movie and the third, also an adjective, means that something has the propery of making things colder. The third is the most appropriate to the eveing in question.
Of course there was competition from certain semi-finals so the overcrowning was much reduced and we were mostly able to fit under the substantial canopy, with some self-huddling outside on the nearest tables. We missed Simon Watt, who had to isolate, and we will welcome him back next time.
Chris Martin's prolific song writing means that he rarely has to repeat himself. Tonight we had The Only Problem Is and Sugar Monkey and Nut Pig.
Appropriatly, Clive started off with Football Crazy. This one really goes back to the days of blobby lines on a glass screan, with Robin Hall and Jimmy McGegor on Cliff Mitchelmore's Tonight programme ("... and the next tonight will be tomorrow night.."). Actually Wikipedia says it was written by a Glaswegian called Jimmy Curran. Clive followed up with Cat Steven's Baby, Baby, It's a Wild World - always a nice bit of chonky reggae to tap your feet to - but then decided to abandon it for some technical reasons before going on to do Julian Lennon's Soft Water.
Heather further channelled the spirit of the sixties corner box by singing Paddy McGinty's Goat. Oh yes, the impossible-to-dislike Val doonican could always be relied on to come up with this one, delivered from a chair with a sweater. Sometimes the back of the box was more interesting than the front, with all those little glowing orange valves inside to be seen through the holes in the brown hardboard. Memories, memories.
But the whiz - bang - into the twentyfirst century with one of Heather's own songs about finding something to do when you're bored - Boredom. This is about how mothers won't won't let you get away with doing nothing.
Helen and Stephanie showed their skills at harmony in Gerry and the Pacemaker's Ferry Across the Mersey - another sixties song, this time about the friendliness of the Liverpool people. Chris Liddiards's songs are being performed more and more by people that knew him. Painting a Picture is a song full of colours and Helen and Steph did it justice. I remember playing bass with Chris when he sang that song at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. It was at an opening night when one of his pictures was on show. Happy days
Helga sang Leonard Cohen's seminal work Suzanne, with some interesting blue note variations showing jazz is never too far away. Classical music next as she played flute ably on the Bouree by JS Bach with my guitar accompaniment. I missed the repeat sign and, for a few bars, we had the right notes in the right order, but in the wrong place. Jethro Tull made this piece famous in you-know-which decade.
Helga stayed on for my Clapham Station Blues with her jazz flute agaist this sorry tale of public transport in Clapham in the 1980s. I followed with Rupert's Song a tale of love and class by the great songwriter and recordist Jon Turner..
Lance writes very singable songs. In a Gardener's World is becoming a standard of his and equally good was Time is a Schemer. Observation and gentle humour go together well.
Manus did a very blues version of Singing the Blues. Was the Tommy Steele or Guy Mitchell version better? If you can remember you're not as young as you once were. A brief conference followed about the pronunciation of Ray Charles' real surname, before Manus played that very man's Halleluiah I Just Love Her So.
Chris Shepherd is a very welcome addition to the club regulars. Tonight he performed Bob Dylans's Don't Think Twice it's All Right beautifully, followed by Chris Stapleton's Starting Over.
Finally Emma, another very welcome recent regular, performed Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi and One Call Away.
And so we packed up after another success at keeping live music going. A pat on the back for all of us.
23rd June 2021
It is always a risk running a folk club outside, even in June but tonight night it paid off. The weather cleared up and the temperature was stable to the point that no one had to resort to extra clothing. We even saw some late evening sunshine but even so, rain songs were a feature of the evening. Great minds eh?.
I knew the attendance would be low because of an important England match but with nine performers and a smattering of audience it was not a bad showing. So it was that just after 7:30 we were off, gamely competing with the noise of the motorbikes and church bells that makes this pub garden so special.
I led the way with Randy Newman’s “You’ve got a friend in me” followed by Kate Wolfe’s “Here in California” (into which I added a few wrong chords just to make sure everybody was awake) then back to Randy for the first rain song “Louisiana 1927”. I then handed over to Chris Martin.
Chris being a prolific song writer and recording star gave us three of his own tunes, the lugubrious “Running out of Time”, “Journey” and the bouncy upbeat “Toast for One” (which included support from Chris’s backing singer Heather). There being so few of us anyone who wanted to sing one again got an extra song and Chris chose his thoughtful song “Ghosts” and if you want a reminder of the “good” times in the Back Bar you can see it here.
As we all know “Love is………sharing a pop-shield” and so Heather followed Chris. Heather treated us to the second “Rain” song “Just a Little Rain”, the Marianne Faithful hit from the sixties. Heather’s second song was a beautiful story of her growing up with her dad, they obviously had a great relationship. Heather is recording her first album so her third song was “Lady by the shore” also self-penned. Finally, she sung “Sometimes” for us as her bonus track! It will not be long before she is also claiming PRS.
Continuing the “Rain” theme Clive sang the classic “Early Morning Rain” the sixties hit for Peter, Paul & Mary, then the Percy Sledge soulful number “When a Man Loves a Woman”. He finished with the up-beat Doobies Bros, “Listen to the Music”.
Up next, we had Keith who bravely competed with a motorbike stampede to sing “The Slow One” which he followed by his truly moving composition “Requiem”. Lastly “Pathetic Little Strategies”, all beautiful Keith songs all beautifully performed.
Manus followed Keith and to be honest Manus is probably the only person who could match Keith in his command of unnecessary chords. Most of us make do with chords that are in the book, these guys invent them. To start with Manus gave us the jazz standard “Misty” followed by “Murray’s Bar” which he wrote and is all based on fact! Then Manus gave us his take on Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” and when he came around for a second time “True Colours”.
We were extremely fortunate this evening to have a new duo in the form of David & Pete both fine musicians. David played guitar and Pete brought along a double bass. They said that they had not been playing together for very long, but it didn’t show, their performance seemed pretty polished to me. The songs they chose were “Over the Hill”, “May you Never” the John Martyn song - David arrived wearing a John Martyn cap so I suppose this was to be expected, “Baby I’m Trouble”, “Leap in the Dark” and lastly Dave Lofts’s “Little by Little”.
I hope everyone enjoyed the evening, I know I did.
Until next time - Simon
8th June 2021
Simon started off the evening and performed 3 songs….’It Never Rains in Southern California’ and another song called ‘Soft Spot’ and lastly an amusing song about Kim Jong Un called ‘Rocket Man’…..it became apparent that the 3 songs per person would have to be reduced to 2 songs as so many performers came forward.
Next up was Heather Curry who performed 2 of her own songs ‘Glory Can Wait’ and ‘ Lady By the Shore’
Chris Martin was next up with to of his compositions ‘Cry’ and ‘Home’
Jane Ingles was next and sang ‘Both Sides Now’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’
Jane was followed by Steph Innes who sang a song called ‘Rye Bells’ and another about divorcing someone at the right time of year….’The Right Time Of Year’
Helen sang unaccompanied and the songs she sang were ‘In The Morning’ and ‘Dock of The Bay’
Clive Woodman was up next and sang ‘On the Road Again’ and ‘Gambling Man’
Lance (that’s me) was next and sang ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘Sadie The Flatulent Horse’
Derek managed get the crowd singing with his choice of songs “Things We Used To Do’ and ‘Hey Baby’
Chris Shepherd followed Derek and sang ‘Joy Of My Life’ and ‘Wagon Wheel’
Geoff Robb followed with 2 self composed instrumental pieces on the theme of Trees…..He performed ‘The Cherry’ and ’The Willow’.
Terry Lees and Natasha Norodian were next up and performed 2 traditional songs ‘Bushes and Briars’ and ‘Canadio’
Jason Loughran and Lisa Jackson were up next and performed ‘Lifeline’ a song written by Jason’s father and ‘Cotton fields’
Manus McDaid and Helga were up next to perform’Masquerade’, a Leon Russell song, and his own composition ’Tone Poem’
‘Keith Willson sang 2 of his own songs ’Too Sad To Sing The Blues’ and Don’t Let Anybody Ever Let You Down’
Lastly, Chris Shepherd returned with Emma Furlong to perform 2 songs ’Sweet Child Of Mine’ and ‘What’s going on’
8th December 2020
Lockdown 2 is over and it was time to leave the nest and hit the stage again. The first icy night of the season and the car windscreen needed scraping before we set sail for Chiddingly.
It seemed strange and slightly eerie driving past an unlit (with the exception of one of the windows upstairs) Six Bells - it reminded me of a Stephen King film set. I wonder what happens in that lit room? Is it a private club like in prohibition times - who is Chiddingly’s answer to Al Capone and is it all jazz, girls, cigarette smoke and bourbon?
Anyway, heaters on in the village hall, Simon’s amp set up with line-in for guitar and a single mic and we were ready to boogie, well, ready to folky and bluesy. I was meant to have written a Blog for our final outing (27/10/20) before Lockdown 2 and didn’t do it! My punishment from our esteemed leader was to go on last and write a blog about the return of the open mic brigade.
Normally, I would list each performer and their songs and try and say something clever, or entertaining about them. The blog is not a critique and I would hate that job. What can I say, we had 12 performers, (including some duo action) and they all did a couple of songs, some country, some blues, some jazz, some pop, some covers (quite a few covers) and some original stuff. An enjoyable potpourri of acoustic based music. Along with the older folks, we had a couple of youngsters. The gender demographic was about 50/50. We had 4 beards and 2 slightly unshaven chins.
Simon – Keith – Heather – Jason & Lisa – Manus – Colin – Chris S – Emma – Helen – Steph – Helga – Chris M
Heather has posted a set of photos on the club Facebook page and a video of Chris Shepherd doing an excellent performance of ‘Wagon Wheels’.
Thank you to all the performers - we’ll be back on 22/12/20 for our Christmas Special. Let us know if you want to be there, as we are limited to 16 people and we do obey all the rules.
My choice of videos: The two songs I performed and a cover of my second song by Danny McEvoy. My version of ‘Cry’ was filmed at The Six Bells this time last year - little did we know what was coming down the line, but hopefully we will get a return to the old normality before we’re too old to remember it. x
Chris - C J Martin
Plan B was enacted on Tuesday 13th October and the folk club met at Chiddingly village hall. The venue ? It was easy to find, welcoming, pleasantly warm and extremely comfortable. There were tea and coffee making facilities with excellent lavatories. 15 people could easily social distance inside. A well lit stage and superb acoustics added to the ambience and everyone performed better as a result.
I kicked off proceedings with one of my own songs “Man’s Best Friend” followed by “Fat Man and Wiggly Worms” and “He isn’t There Any More”
Simon left at this point to collect Roy from the 6 Bells
Mark was up next and sang 3 songs “Loving You” written by Leiber and Stoller and performed, most notably, by Elvis Presley “City Of Stars” from La La Land. Mark finished his initial 3 songs with a song written by Jackson C Frank called “Milk and Honey”. This song had been covered by Sandy Denny.
Simon had returned by this point and sang 3 songs.The first was “Went to the Doctors” by Loudon Wainwright IV, a Gillian Welsh song “Annabel”. He finished with his own composition about Elon Musk who, Simon told us, had put a polystyrene driver in a Tesla car and launched it into space where to this day is speeding through the solar system with Bowie’s “Space Oddity” playing.
Helga was next up with Leonard Cohen’s :Suzanne”, Joni Mitchell’s song “River” and then played “Boure” on her flute. Simon asked Helga to play 1 more song as she was the last performed. She performed “All Of Me” ( I think!)
I was next up with “No Going Back On Love”.
Mark played an instrumental version of the Pentangle song “I’ve Got A Feeling”
Simon ended off the evening with It Never Rains In Southern California
Did I tell you that the hall is a warm, comfortable, welcoming venue with great acoustics with a fabulous stage….?
See you next time!
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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