Special Anniversary Issue
Drawing by Mark Stead
was not something you could easily obtain in the years when I was growing up.
I suppose Harrods probably sold it in some form at extortionate price but your
local corner store and the Co-op in the High Street certainly didn't. They
did sell Camp Coffee which came in a square shaped bottle, a treacle sort of
mixture which wasn't coffee at all, it
consisted of water,
sugar, 4% caffeine-free coffee essence, and 26%
chicory essence. It was revolting. But as the Fifties
rolled into the Sixties coffee became more available and the coffee bar syndrome
broke out all over
quite a lot of folk clubs in coffee houses in the 1960's one of the strangest
was run by Richard Digance in East London and I found myself there on the
evening of the 6th June 1967. It was an old
I'm going to
move on now to 1969. Quite a significant year for me insofar as I found
myself gracing the stage of The Royal Albert Hall along with Don Partridge,
If you don't advertise a show properly then it matters not who is topping the bill nobody will show if nobody knows. It was a disappointing turnout to be honest; but an experience I will never forget.
was the Boggery Folk Club in
list that month at the Boggery Club looks pretty impressive. Magna Carta
was made up by Chris
Simpson who went to
Murphy with Shaggis! I never did see them together. Shaggis
moved on briefly to play with
Magna Carta and later became guitarist with
Elton John's band, a position he still holds. To my knowledge
Shaggis (real name Davey
apparently now lives in
Derek 'The Amazing Mr'' Smith
It was in
1970 on Wednesday 10th June that I met Derek Smith. He had invited me to
perform along with The Yetties at The Welcome Social Club in Beckenham.
There will be a lot more about Derek in further issues. The lad had just
Then later that year I was playing at The Anglers in Teddington. The club was run by Skyport Ade Tucker. Ade was a bluesman who still performs today. For me it was just a regular folk club night where, if I say it myself, I went down rather well. After the show was over I was told that Hughie Green, drinking in the bar, had heard the laughter coming from the club room and had come in to watch. Apparently he was very amused. So I sent Hughie some of my publicity material. To my surprise he replied, and from his home address!
Realising I was totally unsuited to the programme I later had second thoughts
about it; and took the invitation no further. But
Next month we enter 1972 and I make my first LP
Special Anniversary Issue
Volume 3 follows next month.
Always nice to receive letters to the Ramblings especially when they are complimentary, and there seems to be a goodly number this month in response to Volume One of the Special Anniversary Issue. Keep them coming. One rather vitriolic letter arrived from a gentleman berating me for repeating a rumour that was rife 50 years ago who in the same sentence goes on to shoot himself in the foot by repeating a rumour about Martin Carthy that is to my knowledge bang up to date. Well, put it this way, I'd never heard it before, but I welcome the information be it true or false, nonetheless. But rather an odd thing to do I thought. Perhaps he was hoping his letter would upset me, but it didn't; actually I was delighted to receive it. Someone should tell him that I welcome controversy, indeed I'm sometimes rather naughty deliberately stirring it up. But regular readers will know that anyway. At his request, I've removed his address from my address book so communication is cut and he won't be seeing this issue, or his letter, unless a friend sends him a copy. I think he's made a bit of a prat of himself if I'm honest. Still we all make prats of ourselves from time to time don't we? After all I've made a living from it.
a Kimber's Men rehearsal last month we discussed whether the shanty SHALLOW
BROWN has racist connotations. It had never occurred to me before that it
could be construed this way. For the uninitiated, according to Hugill
(Stan Hugill worked on board sailing ships and was THE AUTHORITY on matters of
sea songs), the song was of West Indian origin and told the story of a
slave being sold to the Captain of a whaling ship. The wretched individual
being sold was leaving behind a girlfriend called Juliana. One of them,
and Hugill wasn't sure which, was of mixed race and had a complexion described
in the title of the song as "Shallow Brown". The song, which in the 1800's
was a work song used mainly for pumping, is in itself an historical document and
for those reasons alone it would be a real pity to lose it. Another reason
why the song has good qualities is that it is very easy for the audience to join
with; and to my knowledge never before has anyone questioned whether it should
be performed or not. We live in an age where
Oh I'm bound to leave you
Bound on board a whaler
Master's going to sell me
Sell me for a dollar
Put my clothes in order
The packet sails tomorrow
Fare the well my Juliana.
are in for an interesting interlude probably lasting until 2021 and hopefully I
will still be alive; because it's going to be a very interesting next five
years. Having vowed never to vote Labour again after Tony B Liar took the
country into an illegal war in
Martyn Wyndham Read sent me a rather lovely You Tube link by the way; look for :- Martyn Wyndham - Copper and May
Fixture List for Kimber's Men and
(Joe) St Anne's School,
13th (KM) Recording New CD at
14th (KM) Recording New CD at
15th (KM) Recording New CD at
Nov 20th (KM) Market Theatre, Market St, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2AQ
Nov 21st (KM) Rhosygilwen, Rhoshill, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire. SA43 2TW
6th (KM) The Bothy Folk Club, Park Golf Club,
Dec 19th (KM) The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis.
Jan 6th (Joe) Pudsey Men's Forum
Jan 30th (KM)
Feb 1st (KM) Barnsley Folk
Feb 3rd (Joe)
Feb 5th (KM) West Deeping
Feb 6th (KM) Binbrook Village
Feb 12th (KM) Burton Joyce
Feb 13th (KM) Gunthorpe
Feb 19th (KM) Long Whatton Community Cente, The Green, Long Whatton.
Feb 20th (KM) Elmesthorpe
Feb 26th (KM) Morton Village
Feb 27th (KM) Market House,
Mar 18th (KM) Harmston
Mar 19th (KM) Frampton
May 13th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 14th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 15th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 20th (KM) Either: Shepley Folk Festival with Skelmanthorpe Brass Band
May 22nd (KM) Or: Shepley Folk Festival with Skelmanthorpe Brass Band
May 26th (KM)
May 27th (KM)
May 28th (KM)
May 29th (KM)
Jun 17th (KM) Mylor
20th (KM) Sixmilebridge Festival,
21st (KM) Sixmilebridge Festival,
22nd (KM) Sixmilebridge Festival,
Excuse me. Suggesting that someone is doing time for IRA gun-running, but then saying you’ll retract the rumor if someone "can prove it’s untrue" is, to put it mildly, bullshit. Nobody has to prove a rumor is untrue for you not to spread it when you don’t know, yourself, if it is untrue. That’s smearing somebody’s name to show you’re hip to the inside track or whatever you’d call it. And that is bullshit. Got it? Do you have the balls to check this out with Martin Carthy? Or is the rumor true that he thinks you’re a bullshit artist?
You can drop me off your email list any time you feel like it. I don’t even know how I got on it — you just started clogging up my emailbox a few months ago.
WOW JOE !!!
This has been one of the most interesting accounts I have read for many a year
When Carter was asked what he had seen when looking through the gap they had created in the wall hiding Tutankhamun treasures - he replied -"Wonderful things"
That's how I feel your writings were this morning Joe!
I have been a keen admirer of yours for a long time, and you go from strength to strength
I sit here with 'baited breath' hoping that Part 2 of your script will arrive tomorrow!
Perhaps its now time to write that book?
Every success to you in the future
I was at all of your gigs at Downe folk club., including the first one.
fascinating. Some family history I was not aware of. I vaguely remember the
Eagerly looking forward to the next chapter!
All the best,
Really interesting historical account of how you got involved and progressed in Folk.
Looking forward to Part 2 when the photos might start looking like you.
I really enjoyed the Rambling this month and reading about your life and experiences. I doubt you would want to do another 50 years as a professional performer but I sincerely hope you will be around for many more years to come. Lots to look back on with many happy memories and you have never lost your focus on ‘world peace’. Music can help to make the world a better place and perhaps someday all people will realise the need for tolerance and understanding.
Congratulations on your special anniversary.
Congratulations and well done; looking forward to the next installment.
Great to read episode one of your life story. I recently did a live session on a local radio station and wrote a few words ( 2 sides of A4 actually ) on my life in Folk Music and this has now led me on to put pen to paper and record all the other things that have gone on sine the 8th October 1942. Thought it good to do it now before I forget who I am and indeed I'm looking forward to your second episode which no doubt will remind me who lots of other people are, or in some cases, were..
It is a part of my life. I guess musicians do not always know how much they can effect others. A local musician died recently and I wrote to his wife saying that her husband didn't know me as a friend or anything, but he had been a part of my life for many years through the music he played, and how sad I felt at his passing. I guess some of us punters do not say thank you enough to musicians...There must be loads of people out there whose life you have enriched, but you will never know..
It is good to get your newsletter.
Re. The folks and clubs you remember from your early days.
Hope to catch up with you along the way.
I always enjoy your ramblings but particularly the last one. Your reminiscence of the mid to late sixties reminded me of that magical time. I was, throughout the sixties working for H.M’s Grey Funnel Line but whenever ashore with a weekend off I would make my way up to the Big Smoke to see my then girlfriend, now wife. We frequented the upstairs room of the “Scots Hoose” Cambridge Circus where the resident band were “The Tinkers” and when they kicked us out around eleven we would make our way to “Les Cousins” in Greek Street for the all night session, seeing many of the performers you mentioned and several that you didn’t. I well remember a diminutive American guy who wore a beret, called Paul –something biblical. He was apparently courting an English girl at the time and happy to do the odd floor spot as well as a gig or two. Good singer, songwriter. I wonder what happened to him ! We always assumed that The name of the club Les Cousins was French ---the cousins--- and one day on the tube I was talking to a guy with a guitar and mentioned that we were on our way to Les Cousins—the cousins. “Les Cousins” he said laughing , “ It’s not Les Cousins it’s Les Cousins, the guy who runs it is Leslie Cousins. Many years later I was talking to Noel Murphy who was often the compere at Les Cousins and related the story. “you were right” he told me “ It was called Les Cousins after the French language school above it of the same name. The property was owned by a Greek called Mathias who had a son who was a friend of Cat Stevens---ring any bells? We also frequented The Roundhouse and The Student Prince—the later kept moving venues.
Looking forward to part 2.
It was great to see you on Saturday but I didn’t want to hold you up as I could see you had a few people to speak too. And I was with Julian en familie so we had our hands full.
I thought you were superb but was SO, SO disappointed at
your venue. Why oh why couldn’t Kimbers Men have been sited by the old Dockyard
where all the tall ships were moored? There was oodles of space there &
you would have drawn such a crowd & kept them spellbound. The place was
buzzing by the river. Shame on Royal Greenwich for siting you down a side
road, out of the way, off
I loved your recent blog – such a lot of local history
which I could relate to regarding venues & locations when you were starting out.
For instance I never knew you lived in
Anyway, keep singing & keeping in touch – S xxx
The news of Jimmy MacGregor's death is greatly exaggerated! He's 84 and performed at Celtic Connections this year!
I really enjoyed this issue Joe and I learned a few things. Congratulations on the anniversary.
One minor error that jumped out at me. Jimmy MacGregor isn’t dead. I wouldn’t want him to do a Swarb and starting a market in signed obituaries. He is still performing occasionally, and still capable of attracting an audience and entertaining them.
Cheers Pete Heywood
PS. Note: Fiona Heywood is now the Editor of The Living Tradition and can be contacted using email@example.com I am still involved with Living Tradition but my role is more with specific projects. I will continue to respond to my firstname.lastname@example.org account and will forward messages that are better directed to Fiona. The best 'personal' email for me is this one - email@example.com
(+44 1563 571220)
That is brilliant, thank you so much for including me on your mailing list, I feel quite privileged.
I will be passing this onto my sister in Kendal, as I know her husband used to enjoy your gigs.
Do you remember a couple of gigs you did for us down at the Anchor pub in
lead to believe that people from
My daughter and I went to the McDonald's checkout to pay our bill and I gave the clerk a £5 note.
Our total bill was £4.20, so I also handed her a 20 pence piece.
She said, 'You gave me too much money.'
I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me £1 back.'
She sighed and went to get the Manager who asked me to repeat my request.
I did so, and he handed me back the 20 pence and said 'We're sorry but we do not do that kind of thing.'
The clerk then proceeded to give me back 80 pence in change.
Do not confuse the clerks at MacDonald's in
We had to have the garage door repaired. The GARADOR repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener.
I thought for a moment, and said that we had the largest one GARADOR made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.
He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.'
I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4 and he said, 'NOOO, it's not. Four is larger than two.'
We haven't used Garador repair since.
I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbour call the Highways Department to request the removal of the 'DEER CROSSING' sign from our road.
The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars on this stretch of road!
I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing, any-more.'
Story from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
SIGHTING No 4
My daughter went to a local Kentucky Fried Chicken and ordered a Taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had Iceberg Lettuce.
SIGHTING No 5
I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked,
'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?'
To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?'
He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'
SIGHTING No 6
The traffic light on the corner buzzes when the lights turn red and it is safe to cross the road. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged friend of mine.
She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red.
Appalled, she responded, 'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'
She is a Local County Council employee in
When my husband and I arrived at our local Ford dealer to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the Service Department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the Driver's door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the passenger door-handle and discovered that it was unlocked. 'Hey,' I announced to the Fitter/Mechanic, 'it's open!'
His reply: 'I know. I already did that side.'
This was at the Ford dealership in
Keep smiling, keep singing.