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Most Relocated Folk Club

SPB-Cooperator 01 Feb 18 - 04:09 PM
Acorn4 01 Feb 18 - 05:27 PM
DebC 01 Feb 18 - 10:31 PM
Dave Sutherland 02 Feb 18 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,kenny 02 Feb 18 - 04:51 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 18 - 04:55 AM
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Subject: Most Relocated Folk Club
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 04:09 PM

Us there a folk club that cab hold the claim of having to change venue the most times in it's lifetime. Not counting clubs that operate from various venue such as Travelling Folk, I am mindful of two London Ckubs - Capital Folk Club - 6 venues? + reunions and Central Folk Club - can't remember bit it had a song written about its moves.

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Subject: RE: Most Relocated Folk Club
From: Acorn4
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 05:27 PM

The Robin Hood folk club in Nottingham has certainly been a moving feast over the years.

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Subject: RE: Most Relocated Folk Club
From: DebC
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 10:31 PM

The Topic has also moved a lot. I have their 50 year T-Shirt with all the venues they've inhabited printed on the back like a tour shirt. I'll dig it out and list them. That'll be a fun diversion from facebook :-)


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Subject: RE: Most Relocated Folk Club
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 04:47 AM

South Tyne Folk and Blues operated out of quite a number of South Shields pubs throughout its 20+ year history.

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Subject: RE: Most Relocated Folk Club
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 04:51 AM

Aberdeen Folk Club, since 1972, and I probably can't remember them all :

Highland Hotel, Dee Street
Aberdeen Trades Council Hall, the Adelphi
pub in Little Belmont Street - can't remember the name but but no longer exists
Aberdeen Art Gallery [ briefly ]
Ma Cameron's
Crescent Hotel, Bon Accord Crescent
The Cooperage, Cooper's Bar
The Lemon Tree Arts Centre
2 pubs in the Castlegate - can't remember the names
The Blue Lamp

That makes 12, but there were probably more before 1972. The club was certainly in the Royal Hotel in 1967, which makes 13 that I know of.

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Subject: RE: Most Relocated Folk Club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 04:55 AM

MacColl's Singers Club must be in the running for this one
From 'The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook (ed Peggy Seeger)
Jim Caroll

(1988 version)

From 1959 onward, Ewan and I formed part of the residents' group of the Singers' Club (see biography). The club had two recurring rituals: (1) the weekly end-of-evening cry of 'Tak' your glassses wi' ye!' (Take your glasses back to the bar before you go), the cry of the Scot Bruce Dunnet, our most faithful organiser; and (2) 'The Ballad of the Travels', which was only sung when we moved to a new venue. The Singers' Club started out as the Ballads and Blues Club in 1953 in the Princess Louise pub in High Holborn. When the Princess was turned into a wine-bar, the 'Ballad' began. We seemed to spend most of the next three decades looking for a pub to sing in and adding verses to the song. We were dogged by the the fact that very few of our members (bar a few legendary characters) were heavy drinkers. Now, publicans want to rent their spare rooms to folks who will drink. Again and again (often because the high attendance and good entertainment had given the club a high media profile) the telltale warnings appeared. The landlord would begin to refurbish his premises: new wallpaper, new furniture, often a new name for the pub and always (as far as we were concerned) followed by new tenants to rent the room for a higher price. Then singers, organisers and members would join in the hunt for new premises. The first night in a new venue was always exciting. All the regular clientele and those from the past years would assemble to hear the latest addition to 'The Ballad of the Travels'. The verses were always in Scots because 'Bawbee Allen' was in that language. The last verse was always with us from the very birth of the song. The club finally closed down in January 1992.

tune: Scots traditional ('Bawbee Allan')
new words and trad arr: Ewan MacColl (and sometimes Peggy Seeger)
(glossary is at the end of the text)

King Arthur's knichts they socht the grail,                        
And whiles they'd meet their nemesis;                        
But we have had oor problems tae                                
In the search for decent premises.

There was Peggy, Fitzroy, Bert and me
And piper Seumus Ennis;
When he was sober he was great,
But Christ, he liked his Guinness!

The Princess Louise was oor first hame
And a' oor needs it suited;
But the landlord moaned, 'You lower the tone.'
So oot o't we were booted.                                        

We moved abode to Tottenham Court Road
Hard by the auld Dominion;
But the landlord's son, said, 'Dad, they're bums,'
'Beatniks.' was his opinion.

From Paddington Green to Bloomsbury
From the Plough to Covent Garden,
Lamb's Conduit Street tae Soho Square
We bore oor heavy burden.

The Pindar it became oor hame
For twa lang years we kept it;
Till the landlord there gave us the air
And then, by Christ, we left it.

Week aifter week, ye followed us
And brocht your lasses wi' ye;                                
And rallied tae the clarion ca'
Of 'Tak' your glasses wi' ye!'                                

Oor next stop was at Warren Street
At the Prince o' Wales' Feathers,
Whaur wide-boys went and city gents                                
And suchlike folk foregaithers.

The place it was owre sma' for us,                                
More traivels were afore us;
There wasnae room tae swing a cat
Or get a decent chorus.

So tae a Watney's pub we gaed                        
Near Berwick Street located;
A' wee red lights and chandeliers.
And noise! Christ, we were fated.

The bloke that kept the place wi' us
Soon broke off good relations;
He said oor clientele was rough
And spoiled the decorations.

So like Ulysses we gaed
To see what fate would bring us;
It brought us tae New Merlin's Cave
The next hame o' the Singers'.

We settled doon in that big room
But alas, we were nae able
To be heard abune the juke-box tunes                                
And the clatter o' pin-tables.

And whit was worse, the beer was bad,
For the maist part quite undrinkable.
To stay there and be deafened (al -
so poisoned) was unthinkable.

The shabbiest room in London toon
Next became oor haven,
Ten years o' Saturdays we spent
In that auld Union Taivern.

We sweated there and gasped for air
Mair times that I remember.
Folks used to queue for drinks in March
And get served in September.

At times auld Dennis staggered doon
Just wearin' his wee doin's;                                        
At ither times he lay supine,
And slept while folk were queuin'.

For ten lang years we pleaded for
Some form o' ventilation,
Folks couldnae breathe and often needed
Artificial respiration.

At last we couldnae stand it mair
Frae Dennis then we pairted;
And we went back tae the auld Louise
The place frae which we started.

Twa weeks were scarcely past and gane
When builders and shopfitters
Cam' in and occupied the place
We didnae ken whit hit us.                                        

Week aifter week the wark went on,
The room got wee'er and wee'er,                                
Till at the end you scarce could bend
Your arm to drink your beer.

So once again we were cast oot,
Rejected and forlorn,
Condemned to face cauld winter's blast.
The orphans o' the storm.

We traivelled east, we traivelled west,
To find a new location,
And found a howff, the Bull and Mouth,                         
No far frae Holborn Station.

The landlord raised and raised the rent
Beyond oor expectation.
He turned us oot, gave us the boot,
The victims o' inflation.

The wheel o' fortune gaed full turn;
At last in desperation
We gaed back to oor haven, the Union Taivern
No far from Kings Cross Station.

Ae nicht a ghost, that's rarely seen,                                
As rare as Halley's Comet,
Cam' in and sat doon at the back.
'By Christ!' says I, 'that's Dunnet.'

'You're richt,' he said. 'My name is Bruce,                        
Why should I no' admit it??
He said, This place is a damned disgrace,
I think it's time ye flitted.'

He said, 'I'll swear by my grey heair
And Rabbie Burns's bonnet,
I'll find a room unlike this tomb,
Or my name is no' Bruce Dunnet!'

He found a room fit for tycoons
In a howff they ca'd the Cora;
We thought we'd stay until doomsday
Or at least till ninety-four-a.

There was mirrors braw and fancy drapes                        
And bonny chandelier-us.
And though some did groan aboot microphones
At least ye a' could hear us.

But O my friends, ye let us doon!
Ye werenae good at boozin';
The bar receipts when doon and doon
And the Cora sent us cruisin'.

Then, due to superhuman toil
By Ian, Bruce and Tony,
The Singers' Club and the Marquis pub
Were entering matrimony.

Every week a new landlord,
And chairs kept disappearing;
And the marriage wi' the Marquis
Soon upon the rocks was steerin'.

Landlords came and stayed a week
Then departed - banished.
Receptacles for beer were scarce
And more and more chairs vanished.

Ae week the room had vanished tae
And we were maist emphatic,
Protesting when we had to move
Upstairs intae the attic.

St. Paul's trip tae Damascus toon
Provoked a' kinds o' heresies;
But Trevor Smith gaed just as far
Lookin' for new premisies.

Haunting pubs and boozing kens                                
Became his sole activity;
Orpheus was nae mair resolved
When searching for Euridice.

He lookit east, he lookit west,
While drinking quarts o' beer-O,
And then Tom Paley nipped in smart
And found the Belvedere-O.

It was a dump, an awfu' dump,
That dark and dreary boozer,
We'd reached rock-bottom in that hole
But beggars can't be choosers.

The walls were diarrhoetic brown,
The ceilings were the same, O;
The floor was dirty spinach soup
But at least we'd found a hame-O.

The second week that we were there
A wall it went a-missin';
We'd have had mair comfort doon the road
In a cell in Holloway Prison.

So Trevor's on the road again,
Frae Battersea to Highbury,
And a room he found deep underground
Beneath the Finsbury Library.

This place was camouflaged, weel-hid
Frae the prying eyes of strangers;
And the road to that wee iron door
Was sair beset wi' dangers.                                        

Many a ballad buff was lost -                                        
For weeks on end they wandered,
Roond and roond that library
Till strength and youth were squandered.

When Theseus trod the labyrinth
He didnae dae sae badly;
But folks couldnae find the Singers' Club
They hadnae Ariadne.

London Toon is fu' o' rooms
Some guid and some richt stinkers;
But if we want to keep this place
We need some heavy drinkers.

So for god's sake, keep your glasses filled
Spend a' that's in your purses;
Let's settle doon and keep this room
And write nae mair daft verses.        

abune        above
ae        one
booted        kicked
braw        brave, wonderful
brocht        brought
buff        expert, connoisseur
daft        silly
didnae ken        didn't know
doin's        see GLOSSARY
howff        place, home
kens        hangouts
knichts        knights
oor        our
oot        out
owre        over, too
richt        right
sair        sore
socht        sought
tae        too
tak'        take
wee'er        smaller
whiles        sometimes
wide-boys petty criminals

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Mudcat time: 20 November 12:55 PM EST

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