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!
15th September 2020
Remember the days when the reception from Radio Luxembourg was a variable feast, dependent on air currents across the channel? So it was last evening at the 6 Bells Folk and Blues open mic. I had settled down in isolationist mode, idly toying with my iPhone, when lo and behold a Vodafone 3G signal briefly flickered into life, allowing me access to my emails - there was Simon requesting I might write the evening’s blog - and we were already two acts in.
It had been decided that the participants would be subject to the rule of six, one party in the marquee, the others arranged in sporadic fashion around the garden. We were all compliant, sanitised and ready to go.
A few players omitted to introduce their songs, something that I am also too often guilty. I admit laziness prevented me from trawling around for information, so relied instead on lyrical fragments and some mean detective work to establish their provenance. A few will go unacknowledged - apologies for that.
The marquee party had kicked off first, led by the indomitable Simon. I think enough people have expressed their thanks for his continued determination in keeping these evenings going. No finger could possibly be pointed at us for any violation of the rule - unlike the young overcrowded and socially cohesive table left of stage - the message not to kill your granny is obviously not getting through.
Simon began with ‘I’d rather be Lonely’ by Louden Wainwright IV. ‘Bernard the Fireman’ was next (I missed the back story to this SW original) and finally the Leiber and Stoller number ‘DW Washburn’ that was covered by The Monkeys. Two points to make, if you don’t know that Leiber and Stoller were two of the most important songwriters of the early days of rock and roll, you should look up their back catalogue and prepare to be awed by the breadth of content. The second is that Simon’s overall vocal and guitar sound was the best of the evening - knowing your own equipment has to be key.
Helga was next with the marvellous ‘Matty Groves’ - a traditional folk song made famous by Fairport Convention, who had set the tune to an otherwise unrelated Appalachian song called “Shady Grove’. She followed this with Ralph McTell’s crowd pleasing Streets of London - strangely, a song I have never considered worthy as his lasting legacy. In my view, he was a much better guitarist and songwriter than this song reflects. Helga finished with a lovely flute piece by Handel, all without need of microphonic assistance. That girl hasn’t half got a pair of lungs on her.
Jason and Lisa are the Sonny and Cher, no let’s say the Ashley Hutchings and Shirley Collins of the open mic circuit, since folk rock was definitely in the air this evening - more of which later. They started off with a number I believe was entitled ‘Acoustic Faffle’ - or maybe I’ve got that wrong and it was Ry Cooder's ‘Across the Borderline’ that caused a momentary hiccup - Jason at it again. Not withstanding, they followed with two self composed numbers entitled ‘Go gentle into that dark night’ and ‘Perfume Garden’. I hope I’m right on those titles. Both were penned during the lockdown period (nothing better to do with your time, eh?) and both were beautifully executed.
A relative newcomer, Chris was up next wielding an acoustic flat top bearing the signatures of several obvious guitar heroes, Tommy Emmanuel for one. Good choice I’d say. Another hero must be John Mayer, since he’d chosen to sing two of his songs, ‘In the Blood’ and ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’. I’d always had my reservations about John Mayer, knowing him more for his high profile girlfriends than his guitar playing. However if you’ve ever seen him live, you’ll appreciate just how great a guitarist he is. Chris also offered us a song by Chris Stapleton, a title I didn’t catch but containing this inimitable line ‘…rock me mamma like a wagon wheel, hey mamma rock me…’. It’s not for me to comment, but dare I say it, for a newcomer Chris certainly has it.
Clive hides his light under a bushel. He graciously elected to sing only two numbers so as to compensate for the time wasting antics of his peers between sets. He started with the Proclaimers ‘I’m Gonna be (500 miles)’ and finished too soon with Steeleye Span’s ‘Hard Times of Old England. No, you definitely should have held out for more, Clive.
It was now time for The B Team to enter the fray. I must mention Lance’s sterling work in setting up microphone stands, plugging in cables and sanitising all within range. He started off with a song about man’s best friend - this time a Jack Russell that got in on the act at a recent open mic event. This was followed by the obligatory protest song condemning tax avoidance, ‘Follow The Money’. He finished with ‘This is War’, a song reflecting the present refugee crisis. I was half expecting an appearance by Gary Lineker on guest vocal, but instead the nearby church chimed the quarter hour in perfect harmonic unison. Celestial intervention or what? Just the usual clever and original work we’ve come to expect from Lance.
Chris Martin presented us with a meze of strumming techniques, purportedly as a result of Heather forcing him to go all Monty Don in the garden, ruining his nails in the process. Songs about The Man, Tomorrow’s Man and Standing Room Only morphed into a frenzied display of staccato strummage that had us all holding our collective breath. Women! They have a lot to answer for.
Heather calmed the proceedings down with another Ralph McTell composition, a song all about saying goodbye…. You'd better get Chris back in the house soonish I’d suggest. She followed with another protest song 'a cappella' style, followed by a haunting rendition of ‘Those Were The Days’. This Russian romance song was made commercially famous by the Mary Hopkins’ version, produced by Paul McCartney. Some lovely guitar work, Heather.
John Budden came on with the Rodgers and Hart classic ‘Blue Moon’ arranged for guitar and vocal - a nice and original take. ‘Leave Me’ was next, a JB original of which I'm particularly fond - unlike his next choice which I hate, as well he knows; Soft Cell’s ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’. Ah well, each to his own.
I followed John, ploughing through Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’, Pentangle’s ‘Circle The Moon’ and Sandy Denny’s ‘Fotheringay’.
Manus brought the evening to a close with his own take on Bill Wither’s ‘Lovely Day’, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘Wave’ and finally some free form Bossa nova accompanied by Helga on floaty flute - a case of leaving the best till last and with impeccable timing, the curtain came down on the dot of ten twenty-nine.
My three video suggestions have to include John Mayer’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ live at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, Chicago; a modern rendition of Steeleye Span’s Hard Times of Old England and The BioEXFEL Trio playing Jobim’s Girl from Ipanema.
Where did all the time go?
Tuesday September 1st
Many people say that September is the start of Autumn. -- Not me. I say that it is still summer, and autumn doesn't begin till October. Especially here in the lovely county of East Sussex. In fact, my own theory is that October and November are Autumn, December and January are winter, February and March are Spring, which then gives us SIX months of Summer, from the start of April, through to the end of September. It's true!
So, at the moment the weather has been good enough for us to be able to have our music nights outdoors in The Six Bells garden. It's was great to be able to reconvene after the Lockdown, on July 21st, the first time since March 3rd, and lovely to meet up with each other again ( with distance). The evenings have been run without the usual host, but we have still had a volunteer Blog writer. My turn tonight. I apologize in advance for any mistakes or omissions with song details etc. I think we all know how tricky it is to get everything right.
Very punctually, Simon Watt took his seat, and in his friendly way, gave us 'You got a friend in me', a Randy Newman composition, followed by 'The Brexit song', a Simon Watt composition. Manhattan Transfer's 'Operator' was next on the line, and then we heard Simon's take on 'Bring it on Home'.
I expect Chris Martin eats his Five a Day, but tonight he sang 'Unwanted Fruit', and then told us that he was not going to sing 'Summertime', ( would he ever)? The song 'Ghosts' came before 'Insomniac's Dream', followed by 'Sanity'. I think if I'd eaten unwanted fruit in the summertime, and seen ghosts, I wouldn't sleep, and I would question my sanity. These were Chris's own songs. ( Except 'Summertime').
Now that Heather Curry and Chris are in a' Bubble', Heather took to the floor sharing Chris's microphone pop cover, and set sail with 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.
The Seekers sang 'The Carnival is Over' in 1965, and Heather sang it tonight. This year, the Sussex Carnivals are Over before they even start. She gave us 'Let it grow', before doing her own song, 'Weald and Sea', a song about Sussex, with a Scottish flavour.
Next in line was Manus McDaid, holding the 'Key to the Highway', and then his Jazz version of ' Little Sister', a number done many years ago by someone called Elvis Presley. 'Pole in the Ground', one of Manus's own compositions, was followed by
'Alright Now' by the band 'Free'.
Lance Maleski played us four of his own songs. First, he dived into 'The Old River', a nostalgic story, then we were told to 'Pick up your own Dog Shit' ( I haven't got a dog).
We heard about 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' , and then 'Black Lives Matter'.
Just like Deana Carter, Ella Moonbridge was asking 'Did I shave my legs for this?' Ella went on to give us Mary Gauthier's 'Mercy Now', and Iris Diment's 'God may forgive You'. The song 'Truth', came as Ella's fourth one. Written by Patti Griffin,this was also done by the band formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, but who now have to be known as The Chicks. That's the truth.
I put myself next on the list, and began with Bob Dylan's 'Love Minus Zero', then a song that I have liked hearing on the radio this year, 'Someone out there Loves You', by Rae Morris. Trini Lopez died in August, so I did a tribute to him with 'If I had a Hammer', written by Pete Seeger. Trini Lopez was well known for a number of songs in the 1960s, and he also designed guitars for Gibson. I finished with the Canned Heat song 'Let's work Together', written by a man with a marvelous first name: Wilbert Harrison.
Derek Walmsley came in at number nine, with the refreshing 'Two Pina Coladas',before 'The Master's Call' by Marty Robbins. 'This Little Bird', by John D Loudermilk, was done by Marianne Faithfull, and tonight we heard Derek's version. Then we were invited to 'Save the Last dance for me'.
Helga Dittmar began with 'Take Heart', sung in German with an English translation included. Keith Willson joined her with guitar accompaniment for her next offerings,and they were both joined by the star attraction of the evening -- HULOT -- the singing DOG! Someone sitting in the 'audience' had this little dog with him. Whenever there was a high note, the dog joined in with an even higher note! If the birds had still been singing, we could have had -- Woofers and Tweeters!
Helga over-ran her time, so Keith Willson who was going to play us out, was only able to fit in one number. Sorry Keith! We must put a time limit on players to keep them from straying. We must let Keith go on earlier next time.
---- Next time ---
Will we be outside again? The pub has a plan for another marquee in the garden which could be heated, so hopefully we can still carry on outside whatever the weather. September is still Summer!
Thanks to everyone involved tonight.
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
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