The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #38911   Message #3426358
Posted By: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
26-Oct-12 - 09:39 AM
Thread Name: American folksingers who toured England
Subject: RE: American folksingers who toured England
Interesting to hear John Mackenzie talking about the days at Surbiton Assembly Rooms. Malcolm Price was a regular at the club from the early days, and if I remember, lived in somewhere like Croydon.

I believe there are photos on Derek Sarjeant's website of some of these people, and Bill Clifton did it several times, along with many other American visitors.

Whilst going through some old folders, I found some of the old Surbiton Newsletters. These were published every week, and consisted of a bit of blurb about that weeks' guest, and gossip about Derek and the various club regulars. On the reverse side was always a song, usually something topical, with words and guitar chords.

And with them I have a catalogue of ALL the newsletters from the start of the club in 1962 up till sometime in 1967. 292 weeks in total. Not sure what happened to the list after that as the club continued until the 1970s, and I was still going up until 1970. I am sure Derek will have the complete list somewhere - he never threw anything away either!!

The important thing is that this makes very interesting reading, and is an amazing record of the songs that were being sung in the clubs back then. One thing that also struck me was the frequency that artists were booked - often every 6 or 8 weeks, whilst they were popular. None of this once a year, or even once every 2 years, that you see nowadays. They were really able to build an audience that way.

Somebody mentioned that Bill Clifton lived in the UK for some years. I didn't know that - presumably why he appearred at Surbiton so often - but I would guess it was draft-dodging from the Vietnam war. That was certainly the reason why Keith Nelson (the banjo player) was over here. I was good friends with Keith for a period, but lost contact with him. Last time I saw him was on telly on a C&W prog a good few years ago. I guess he's back in the USA these days. Anybody have any info?

I've had contact with Rick Norcross in recent times. He's still performing over there.

This is obviously not a unique thing as the Topic Folk Club also had these records - see above. Many clubs did. An invaluable bit of social history.