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The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!

Nicholas Waller 24 Jan 11 - 04:42 PM
bradfordian 24 Jan 11 - 05:05 PM
Nicholas Waller 24 Jan 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Joe G 24 Jan 11 - 05:14 PM
Nicholas Waller 24 Jan 11 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Joe G 24 Jan 11 - 05:47 PM
Nicholas Waller 24 Jan 11 - 06:26 PM
bradfordian 24 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM
Dave Hanson 24 Jan 11 - 07:12 PM
Nicholas Waller 24 Jan 11 - 08:11 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 11 - 04:52 AM
bradfordian 25 Jan 11 - 05:44 AM
Nicholas Waller 25 Jan 11 - 06:04 AM
Ross Campbell 25 Jan 11 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Joe G 30 Jan 11 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Topic 56 02 Feb 11 - 06:56 AM
Nicholas Waller 06 Feb 11 - 03:35 PM
The Sandman 06 Feb 11 - 04:08 PM
Nicholas Waller 06 Feb 11 - 06:49 PM
Cath 07 Feb 11 - 02:18 PM
Nicholas Waller 07 Feb 11 - 02:57 PM
Cath 07 Feb 11 - 06:52 PM
Cath 07 Feb 11 - 07:05 PM
Nicholas Waller 07 Feb 11 - 09:25 PM
The Sandman 08 Feb 11 - 07:27 AM
Cath 08 Feb 11 - 10:30 AM
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Subject: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 04:42 PM

The guest Gigs List of The Topic Folk Club in Bradford now stretches way back into the 1960s! Take a look, if you're interested.

On February 5th 1960 Roy Harris played The Topic in Bradford, and again a few more times until his most recent appearance on 31st July 2003. The Spinners played The Topic on 12th September 1964, and Martin Carthy on the 20th November that year. Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger (30/4), Bert Jansch (26/11), and Robin Williamson and The Incredible String Band (10/12) came in 1965. Noel Murphy (30/8), Maddy Prior and Tim Hart (27/9), and Christy Moore (20/12) were guests in 1968.

I look after the website of The Topic, the oldest continuously-operating weekly folk club in the world - established 1956 and still going strong. One of the pages on the site is the Gigs List 1960-2011 page, as comprehensive a listing of all the booked guests in the club's history as we can make at the moment.

From 1992 onwards we kept a well-maintained list, but earlier information was harder to come by. Then in 2004 former Committee member Trevor Charnock compiled a list of dates from a variety of historical sources, such as Tyke's News from 1975 and old flyers he had in his possession. But he could find little data from before October 1970 (except a date for The Humblebums in October 1968, from the club's 25th anniversary history pamphlet published in 1981), and the list was only really comprehensive from late 1972. Useful club Minutes and Treasurers' books had gone missing somewhere.

However, a little over a year ago Trevor was given a case containing some old club equipment, and in there he found missing club minutes covering September 1958 up to November 1986 and a Treasurer's book covering November 1968 to October 1974.

It turns out this was less useful than it could have been. For instance, in the minute books, in a lot of cases the guests were named but not the dates that they were booked for, and there are no recorded minutes at all from November 30th 1962 to January 29th 1964. The Treasurer's book had a period - around 1970-71 - where often the date and the amount that the guest was paid was entered (figures were generally £10, £12, £15, £20 and £26 at the time) - but not the actual name of the guest!

Still, Trevor was able to compile a lot of information from this and other sources (in one case, a photo at a club night showed a poster on the wall that gave him dates for four gigs). And now we have put it all together on the Gigs List 1960-2011 page (complete with a random digest of world newsy events in each year for a touch of context).

So, if you're wondering what sort of acts were touring 1960s folk clubs, go and have a look at our guest list. For instance, on July 18th 1969, Apollo 11 was half way to the moon and Bob and Carol Pegg were on at the Topic. The following week, the 25th, Jon Rennard (who was killed in a car crash three years later) was on the stage, by which time Armstrong and Aldrin had walked on the moon and come back to Earth.

We hope in time we might be able to fill in some of the remaining gaps - Trevor might steel himself to go into the Central Library and look through ancient back copies of the Bradford Telegraph & Argus for any ads placed by the club, for instance.

And if anybody out there in Mudcatland happens to have old flyers, info or diaries that might fill in some gaps, then let us know.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: bradfordian
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:05 PM

Regretably, I did not frequent the TOPIC, as my friends were members of Paul (Dad) Tattersall's club on Sunday nights. There was a bit of a rivalry there and I know I missed out on a lot of great Folk music at the Topic (but we still had a great time at the Bradford Folk Club especially when it was at The Commercial Inn opposite the fish market)

Dennis Sileby who I believe was a Topic member in those days is with me here in Nottingham, so if you wish I could ask him if he has any relevant information.

Well done on the archive!

bradfordian


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:09 PM

Sure, bradfordian (now nottinghamonian?), ask your mate - you never know, he might have yellowing flyers from 1963 in a suitcase in the attic somewhere.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:14 PM

Thanks Nick for posting this and if Dennis can help that would be great!
We still have a superb line up at the Topic with guest nights most weeks and a singers/musicians night once a month. This week we have Reg Meuross, followed by a singers/musicians night on 3rd Feb and Tom Kitching & Gren Bartley on 10th Feb. A visit from the legendary Swarb is scheduled for 17th Feb! Be good to see some new faces at the club (as well as us old ones!) to help keep music live in the heart of Bradford.

Meanwhile any contributions to Trevor's sterling work would be most appreciated!


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:23 PM

Swarb seems to have first appeared at the Topic when he showed up with Martin Carthy on March 11th 1966... almost exactly 45 years before this forthcoming appearance.

(On that day in 1966, according to Wikipedia, Indonesian President Sukarno gives all executive powers to General Suharto, and French President Charles De Gaulle states that French troops will be taken out of NATO and that all French NATO bases and HQs must be closed within a year.)


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:47 PM

When he spoke to me Swarb mentioned that he was listening to a recording of him and MArtin Carthy made at the Topic - not sure when.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:26 PM

There was a recording of Swarbrick and Simon Nicol at the Topic in 1983:

9th September Dave Swarbrick & Simon Nicol -
Their performance of Sloth here tonight was recorded and now appears on the recent [2003] Dave Swarbrick retrospective boxset 4-CD Swarb!


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: bradfordian
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM

I might also be a "Nottinghamian", Nicholas, however I'm sure I can only be native of one place.
I believe Dennis was also a involved at managerial level at the BRADSHAW TAVERN Folk Club (Sundays, I think)


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 07:12 PM

Dennis Sabey in fact started Bradshaw Folk Club, we went on the very first night when Derek and Dorothy Elliot were the guests.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 08:11 PM

The Topic produced a 25th Anniversary pamphlet (priced 15p) in 1981, outlining a brief history, which I typed up and put on our site.

Here's one relevant section:

"The 1960's continued to be good years for the TOPIC while other folk clubs formed and flourished around the area. Many of these were "breakaways" from the TOPIC; the Bradford Folk Club (Paul Tattersal), the Bradshaw Tavern Folk Club (Denis Sabey), the George Folk Club (Cleckheaton, Jackie Richardson) later the Phoenix Folk Club at the Richardson's Arms, Oakenshaw and then at the Armytage Arms, Clifton - of these only the TOPIC and the Bradshaw Tavern are still running. The TOPIC and the Leeds Folk Club became affiliated to encourage interchange between them and although a ceilidh organised jointly with the local EFDSS was proposed in 1967, the idea did not come to fruition until the first TOPIC ceilidh of 1976!"


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 04:52 AM

Topic 56
Denis Sabey see's Trevor Charnock on an annual baisis at Cleckheaton Folk Festival.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: bradfordian
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 05:44 AM

Topic 1971
"8th October Bill Sables Northeastern singer — musical saw, Jews harp etc."

Musical saw!!!! Cool our Bill!!!!


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 06:04 AM

It's not a flippant comment, btw, that people might have odd old flyers or documents in their possession in their attics.

As I mentioned, Trevor Charnock established four dates from some posters on the wall in the background of a photo taken at the club. In his notes on compiling the list, he mentions thanks to one woman who let him know "from notations in one of her diaries a guest night that had been changed at short notice".

So, for instance, if you went to Topic in the 1950s and 1960s and kept a diary, maybe you made a note of seeing some guest on a specific date, and we could fill in another little hole in the database.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 04:07 PM

I can't offer any help in the specific case of the Topic, I did get there a couple of times in the seventies.

Your comment about diaries and other material is well made. I still have most of the diaries, magazines, newsletters, fliers, festival bills and programmes that I accumulated since I arrived in Lancashire nearly forty years ago, and I am sure there would be a few other hoarders like myself around the country. The only diary entries I can recall making were for which artists were to be on at which folk clubs. In the seventies it would have been possible to attend a different club/session every night of the week without going more than twenty miles from home (St Annes on Sea at that time. Tabulating all that would make a very interesting project, but contemplating sorting through the mound of boxes/binders/folders gives me a headache - maybe later?

Congratulations to Trevor for the effort he has put into this - a worthy tribute to the club's long and varied life.

Ross


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 30 Jan 11 - 07:09 PM

Just thought I'd bump this up ocassionally in case anyone has missed it and may be able to help

Joe G


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: GUEST,Topic 56
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:56 AM

Hi Bradfordian
Yes there was a lot of rivalery between The Topic and The Bradford Folk Club. I have to say that there was a lot of nastiness directed at The Topic by the late Paul Tattersal. It gave me a great deal of amusement when his folk club folded that he returned to The Topic, where he had the fatted calf killed for him.
I don't suppose you have a photograph of The Fox and Goose from The Bradford Folk Club's time there? If you have e-mail it to Nick Waller it will be another picture of one of The Topic 's past venues for the site


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 03:35 PM

Thanks, yes, I have had difficulty finding pics of some of the older Topic locations:

1959: Fox and Goose, Canal Road
1963-1968: Sun Inn, Sunbridge Road
1968/9 (6 weeks only): Market Tavern, Godwin Street
1969 : The Ukrainian Club and the Rawson Hotel

Here's a list of all of them with links to pics where available.


At the 50th anniversary in 1956 The Topic made a T-shirt, the back of which was like a band tour T-shirt, only this was all the venue locations of The Topic (up to then) as if a 50-yr tour of Bradford.

NB the page linked to is old and I am not sure if there are actually any T-shirts left.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 04:08 PM

30th March Dick Miles - Members £1.50. Non-Members £2.00. - Guitarist/singer.[ in correct he was a singer concertina player, song writer at that time]
25th October Dick Miles - Contemporary & traditional music from talented singer and concertina player.[correct]
March 19 1993 Dick Miles[history does not relate perhaps he has taken up belly dancing?]clearly his belly dancing was not popular.18 years later he is still available contacthttp://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 06:49 PM

Thanks, Good Soldier.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Cath
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 02:18 PM

I was involved in doing the bookings around late 60's and early 70's with my then husband and we certainly co-operated with Johnny and Rita Walls at the Memphis in Leeds as we arranged mini tours for guests with Thursday in Leeds, Friday in Bradford and Sunday at Bradshaw. I think we also used to send them over to Lancashire for Saturday gigs!
I remember the move to the Star as I put the curtains up in the room and I remember taking my son (now aged 40) in one Saturday afternoon and Marion rushed off to check if it was legal. He (not Marion) was about 3 months old at the time.
Martyn Windham Read was a guest in early 1970 but I can't remember the date but I do remember going over to Leeds to meet him and take him back to Cullingworth to stay.
I could write more but I have a festival committee meeting in a few minutes!


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 02:57 PM

Hallo Cath

I would be great to get more from you... if you ever have time do you think you could write something at more length about The Topic in those days, for our website?

You might remember a regular at The Topic in the early 1970s called Trevor Carolan, who was in a duo with Paul "Josh" Grundy... he lives in Canada now and wrote in a few months ago with his memories, and with his permission I put it on our website.

He also sent a few photos, including one which might include your curtains at the Star, in front of which Martin Carthy is performing.

As for Martin Wyndham-Read, we don't have a record of him visiting in 1970 in our handy-dandy gigs list, but we do have him coming a couple of times in 1968, on May 9th 1969 and next 6th October 1972. He came several times since, the most recently in 2009.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Cath
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 06:52 PM

I'm fairly certain it was 1970 as my first baby was very young and the second was born in 1973. We left Cullingworth shortly after for Dronfield. It's odd what you remember but I distincly remember it was the first night he slept through! I notice there were gaps around early 1970 though.
My recollections of just who was on are very hazy now but I do remember that every time the Topic moved, which was often in those days, it always seemed to be Keith Marsden (with Brian Senior I think) who opened in the new venue.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Cath
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 07:05 PM

Just read through some of the list! Bill Clifton drove a Bentley and I can remember being driven to Bradshaw and being able to see over the walls! His justified it because you could always sell it for the price you bought it for as they never depreciated in value - I wouldn't know as I've never had one.
I can also remember making a crochet waistcoat (those were the days) for Ed Pigford and taking it to him when we went up to Birtley for a Miners' Benefit gig. And we'll not mention the red trousers I made for Bill Barclay!
I think I'd better stop there.


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 09:25 PM

I assumed any single-date gaps in our list, such as 20th February 1970, would have been Singers' and Musicians' nights, but maybe that's the date you're thinking of. I'll see if Trevor Charnock can dig some more info out of the treasurers' and minute books... sometimes people are listed as booked but not the date they're booked for.

From 1969-1979 there seem to have been very few Singers' nights at all... from a cursory glance, fewer in those 11 years than in a standard year now, when we have about one a month, plus all of August.

So I guess there was little of the August/summer festival circuit in the 70s, and August appeared to be just like any other month in terms of club bookings. Maybe people didn't go away on holiday so much either.

It's in the 1990s that August became a mainly guest-act-free zone, and in fact in the early 90s most of July as well as August was also local singers only.

Since 1999 it's been almost (but not quite) 100% rigid: if it is August, it is a Singers' and Musicians' night, if it is July 31st or September 1st it will be a booked act.

(For completists, August exceptions are 8th August 2002 with Stanley Accrington, and 31st August 2006 for Jim Malcolm with featured Support Pillowfish - though this latter was a special case, marking the opening of the Topic's 50th Anniversary Celebratory Autumn Season).


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 07:27 AM

HI Cath, isn@t his name ed pickford?


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Subject: RE: The Topic's gig list - back to 1960!
From: Cath
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 10:30 AM

You could be right. I wasn't sure when I wrote it and was in a bit of a rush. I admit it didn't look right.


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