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Oldest folk clubs?

Peter K (Fionn) 06 Aug 01 - 05:45 PM
Bert 06 Aug 01 - 05:48 PM
Greycap 06 Aug 01 - 06:09 PM
Geoff the Duck 06 Aug 01 - 08:29 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 07 Aug 01 - 05:09 PM
Rick Fielding 07 Aug 01 - 06:49 PM
Jeri 07 Aug 01 - 07:09 PM
JennieG 07 Aug 01 - 07:28 PM
Armen Tanzerian 07 Aug 01 - 10:21 PM
Geoff the Duck 08 Aug 01 - 02:43 PM
Mr Red 08 Aug 01 - 03:00 PM
SueH 08 Aug 01 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,PCW 08 Aug 01 - 04:33 PM
Mr Red 08 Aug 01 - 05:59 PM
CraigS 08 Aug 01 - 08:19 PM
Bugsy 08 Aug 01 - 08:56 PM
Art Thieme 08 Aug 01 - 10:12 PM
RoyH (Burl) 09 Aug 01 - 12:55 PM
ard mhacha 09 Aug 01 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Dave (Bridge) 09 Aug 01 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,PCW 09 Aug 01 - 04:54 PM
Jock Morris 09 Aug 01 - 05:08 PM
SueH 09 Aug 01 - 05:30 PM
SueH 09 Aug 01 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Terry 09 Aug 01 - 07:56 PM
Abby Sale 09 Aug 01 - 08:57 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Aug 01 - 08:37 AM
Mr Red 11 Aug 01 - 06:05 AM
CraigS 11 Aug 01 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,John Leeder 11 Aug 01 - 01:53 PM
Mr Red 11 Aug 01 - 02:53 PM
Bob Bolton 11 Aug 01 - 09:33 PM
Geoff the Duck 12 Aug 01 - 01:29 PM
Abby Sale 24 Aug 01 - 11:13 PM
bill\sables 25 Aug 01 - 04:38 PM
AliUK 25 Aug 01 - 07:04 PM
Aaardvark 25 Aug 01 - 10:19 PM
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Subject: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 05:45 PM

According to Cyril Tawney's website (see the C. Tawney, Good News thread) he's been earning his living as a folksinger longer than anyone in Britain (since 1957). Quite a claim - and quite an achievement.

His first work was mostly for radio, and his first club booking was at Southampton in 1961. I'm assuming this must have been one of the first provincial clubs, or did the British folk revival go back even earlier? Does anyone know if it's still running, and are there any clubs that go back even earlier? Presumably folk clubs were well established around N America by then, where the revival seems to have kicked off so much sooner.

The first club I was involved with was at Newark (on Trent) around 1967, though it had probably been running a few years by then, under the organisational prowess of one Roy Barker.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Bert
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 05:48 PM

Not a specific FOLK club but folk songs and folk dancing was very popular in the Youth Hostels association in 1955.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Greycap
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 06:09 PM

The Topic at Bradford was certainly going in '63, as was Harrogate at the West Park Hotel, later at the Empress., My 2 cents worth.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 06 Aug 01 - 08:29 PM

The Topic FC in Bradford was started around November 1956, originally in an upstairs room at a chinese restaurant. According to original members much of the music was initially American folk/blues of the Woody Guthrie / Rambling Jack Elliott type. I believe that in the early days they started by listening to recordings of such singers and later progressed to playing or singing themselves.
The Topic was not the first UK club, but was the first outside London, and as it is still running, is the oldest surviving folk club in England.
GtD (Topic Committee 1981-84-ish).


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 05:09 PM

What's the venue for the Topic now, Geoff? Any connection with the revered recording label?


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 06:49 PM

Not sure what the longevity record is, but Fat Albert's in Toronto has been running for about thirty five years in the same location. Think I'm right about that. Maybe another Toronto Catter can confirm or shoot down.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 07:09 PM

Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY will be 41 years old next May. It began in May of 1960.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 07:28 PM

The Bush Music Club has been going in Sydney Oz since 1954 - still going strong! Mainly focuses on traditional Australian music (whatever that is) but we aren't purists are we Bob?
Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Armen Tanzerian
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 10:21 PM

The old Club 47, founded in 1958 in Cambridge, Mass., became Club Passim, which is still very much in existence. (There was a brief period when the Club was "dark".) The Freight and Salvage out in Berkeley, California, opened in 1968 (I thought it was older). I think Lena's wins, at least in North America.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 02:43 PM

Fionn - The Topic Record Label started shortly before the Topic Folk Club. The folk club had no direct connection with the Topic record label, but the name was chosen because of the Record Label. Further than that I myself cannot recall much more detail.
I hope that helps you!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:00 PM

Would C# House qualify as the oldest Club in the England?
as opposed to sessions etc.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: SueH
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 03:47 PM

Hitchin Folk Club, (Hertfordshire, UK) has been going for at least 36 years, & is still run by Kieron & Maureen Smith.

SueH


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: GUEST,PCW
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 04:33 PM

Colchester, Essex UK was founded in 1964

Sorry Mr Red C#House is a building not a club. There have been at least 2 song clubs run on the premises. The Cellar Club relocated long ago and is now the Cellar Upstairs at the Golden Lion, Royal Colege Street.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 05:59 PM

Well Guest PCW if you have to pay to join and you have to pay to use the Vaughan Williams library or be a payed-up member then ...... the association that resides in C# House is **IMHO** a club.
Ok, OK, OK the EFDSS is the oldest Folk Club ... the thread didn't specify it had to be the "resident singer / floor spots / then guest guitarist" format. Call me picky for being unpicky but....... OK so I'm picky.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: CraigS
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:19 PM

As an ex-member of the Topic FC I can say that it's the oldest in Britain - the Australian club has other claims. The EFDSS has no claim, because it was too interested in dance in the first place and temperance in the second place - it's well known that dancers would give Cecil Sharpe any old steps to make him go away once they found out it was Dry Boon


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Bugsy
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:56 PM

Sue, I'm glad you mentioned the Hitchin Folk Club. I think it's claim to fame is that it's the longest surviving folk club still under it's original management.

And a bloody good club it is too!

Cheers

Bugsy

originallyfromstevenagebutnowfromOz.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 10:12 PM

In the U.S.A. "a folk club" was usually a store front or a building where the club was in a permanent space that opens usually as a bar or restaurant during the day and presents folk songs on a stage at night. THE NO EXIT CAFE (a coffeehouse) in Chicago sarted in 1957. I started playing gigs there in 1960 and played there for the next 37 years off an on. 'Twas a real oasis.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 12:55 PM

The most excellent Swindon Folksingers Club celebrates it's 42nd anniversary next January, run all that time by Ted Poole and his wife Ivy.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 12:58 PM

How about every ancient Ceili House in Ireland, clubs in all but name. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Dave (Bridge)
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:36 PM

The Bridge Folk Club, in Newcastle upon Tyne (England) has been running since 1956/7, although previously called Folk Song & Ballad it was started by Johnny Handle and Louis Killen and is still going very strong indeed.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: GUEST,PCW
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 04:54 PM

Ok Mr Red, how about Thaxted Morris Men - 1911


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Jock Morris
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:08 PM

Dunfermline Folk Club is celebrating 40 years of folk music in Dunfermline this month. Although the club as such hasn't been around that long, there were regular sessions in The Howff 40 years back. Such well known names as Barbara Dickson, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connelly used to perform there.

Scott


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: SueH
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:30 PM

How true Bugsy.
And what a shame, if you're now in Oz then we can't expect to see you at our club, can we? (was in Letchworth, but in Baldock from September onwards as our Letchworth venue is closing...)
SueH


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: SueH
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:33 PM

Oh, and Bugsy.....who are you really? I'm afraid I lived in Stevenage for some of my formative years (13 to 21), so we might know each other.
And where in Australia are you (my best friend emigrated to Australia)?
SueH


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Terry
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 07:56 PM

Devonport Folk club at the Bunker Auckland New Zealand is thirtyyears old and although not the oldest club in the world must be one of the best run and certainly has the best view!!! i'm sure you'll agree if you've been there! has anyone??


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 08:57 PM

There've been venues, house parties, round-robin sings, coffee houses, etc with regular evenings and folk singers for centuries. Sam Pepys' diary entry for Jan 2, 1666: "In perfect pleasure I was to hear her [the actress, Mrs. Knipp] sing, and especially her little Scotch song of Barbary Allen."

As to modern-type clubs, 1st meeting of the Edinburgh University Folksong Society was 4/18/1958 although we didn't join until 1966. It was an unusual, if wonderful, experience for us but we had no reason to think it was unique. We had regular singing get-togethers at my house in the late 50's and I'm sure thousands of others did, too, and long before.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 08:37 AM

CraigS - did you used to be Arbuthnot Thrope???
If you were, then you will understand the question - If not I am talking gibberish!!!
Quack
GtD


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 06:05 AM

Devonport Folk club
Is it still going? Wow! I was there in 1987.
They even let me sing
Happy memories.
Do they still pay the peppercorn rent of 6 pence a year?


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: CraigS
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 09:50 AM

To Geoff the Duck

Yes, I have been known as Arbuthnot Thrope, Perfect Pitch Percy, and Blind Orange Peeler. My schizophrenia has now extended to the point where I do (operative word) folk evenings in three half-hour spots as Rambling Craig Rumpo (the historic folk singer), Steel Rail Craig (Robert Johnson's buddy), and C. Lee Farquhar (nuff sed). I am also in a blues band called Boffa, with three other people who think they are sane. Who the blazes are you?


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 01:53 PM

The Vancouver Folk Song Society has been around since 1959, and likely is Canada's oldest "folk club" (in the British sense). The Canadian Folk Music Society (now the Canadian Society for Traditional Music) was founded in 1956 as a "folk club" in the sense of an organizatiion devoted to folk music.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 02:53 PM

GUEST,PCW
how about Thaxted Morris Men - 1911 ????
OK so I assume a lot but doubt I am wrong
Being a Morris Men's side in 1911 puts them in morris ring territory and excludes the other end of the gender spectrum. The spectrum we call folk.
Sorry, I can't see them as a Folk Club per se.
If we can include men only drinking clubs I would have suggested the Pall Mall Club.
****very BG******


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 09:33 PM

G'day,

It all revolves around the definition of club - versus 'society', 'organisation' &c.

The Bush Music Club was started in Sydney, Australia, in November 1954 by the members of the Bushwhackers Band (not to be confused with the 1970s Bushwackers Band [only one 'h']!). This was in response to the numbers pf people wanting to join the band. The club sought to teach the songs and encouraged people to form more bands, since a band can't grow infinitely. The Club thus recruited people to learn the Australian songs that they had not previously realised existed - to help collect them and to publish them.

The Club met weekly, had a singaround of everyone present, presented newly collected material ... and published it; firstly as Bushwhacker Broadsides then in Singabout Magazine. The club also had social outings, organised a Concert Party that acted as a learner band for people, many of whom went on to join groups or perform individually.

All this still happens, even if the main emphasis looks to be the dancing side. Today, we have several hundred members ... mostly there for the social dancing ... but roughly 10% are players, singers and performers. We still publish the occasional book, put out a 2-monthly magazine Mulga Wire (mostly Club news) with a Singabout section which is reserved for music and folklore.

The "Bush Bands" largely work in the dance music area, but also do entertainment gigs. (We used the term "Bush" [Australian country areas], abck in the 1950s, to distinguish a friendly, social, interactive, largely non-commercial approach to entertainment from the 'city' ethic of paid, professional, non-involvement entertainment.) There was a 'commercial' Bush Band boom in the 'late 70s / early '80s, when a lot of rock bands changed hats and made more money from "Bush" gigs, but that was then ...

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 01:29 PM

Hi Craig /Arbuthnot / Blind Orange etc.....
Geoff Gilday, Topic Committee from about 1981-1985 originally to help out after Trevor and Alan left the Committee. In later days as M.C. / Doorman / Seller of Raffle Tickets and collector of empties in the plastic Milk Crates.
I would have at that time been playing an old Barnes & Mullins 5-string Zither Banjo with a picture of a rat smoking a ciggie inscribed on the vellum. I recall your alter ego Arbuthnot Thrope with a certain degree of bemused fondness!
Three years back I got married to Jane (Mrs.Duck), moved to Pontefract and am now father to Twins, Molly and Rowan, who were two last week.
It's a SMALL WORLD, and surprising just WHO turns up when you least expect it.
Best Wishes, Geoff!


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 11:13 PM

re: the Edinburgh University Folksong Society I mention above; I just got a note from President Taylor that I should expect a contact from one Neil Palmer of the School of Scottish Studies. Seems the man came across Edgar's considerable memorabilia of the Society and he's doing a PhD on it. Feels that this makes one of the finest documentations anywhere of the Revival.

Those was certainly exciting times, folk-wise - in many ways better than even Greenwich Village or Cambridge (Mass) where I'd also lived.

President Taylor goes on: "Cute to think that the stuff that we did for fun in our youth is now the subject of academic study." It is. But I guess all events eventually coming under study were lived by actual people whose purposes had nothing to do with recording the events for history.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: bill\sables
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 04:38 PM

Birtly folk club in Co. Durham England must be a contender It was established around 1956 and run by Jack Elliot. It is still running now and it has stayed in the Elliot family with Pat Elliot, John Elliot and Doreen Henderson (Nee Elliot)


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: AliUK
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 07:04 PM

SueH, Hitchin folk club actually started in Luton ( according to Maureen) but that was before my time. I used to go infrequently to Hitchin Club ( is it still at the Sun?), as it used to be on the same night as Luton Folk Club (Sundays) I was recently back in England, but unfortunately I couldn't get to the club. Ask Maureen and Kieran if they remember Alistair from Luton Folk Club and The Wild Ogre Club. If they do remember me then send them my love, if they don't send them my love anyway as they are a cracking pair and run a cracking club.


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Subject: RE: Oldest folk clubs?
From: Aaardvark
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 10:19 PM

Oh it me Tyke i'm at aaardvarks house recovering from the Whtby Folk Week The Doctor say's i should be sober enought to drive by Tuesday. I digress The Topic Folk Club has been running since 1956 with out a break I belive. As I have pointed out it was formed by the Bradford Comunist Party who all resigned in protest when the Russians Sent the tanks in to take controll of? (Now was it Hungary?). The Topic was then formed so that they could still meet on a Friday Night and sing the same songs. The Grove Folk Club in Leeds though established in 1960 has had probaly more than one or two breaks of more than a couple of weeks. However it can claim to have one of the oldest original Organiser who is Still going Strong. Yes Geof Wood! who is also a folk Song collect or of some note With Lish Young Bria Broom as just one of his credit's. Good on you Geof keep up the good work is what I say and who care who is the oldest I'm only interested in the young at heart! That keeps the traditional music fresh and alive! Please excuse the spelling as I'm still recovering from the Tap n Spile and whitby Folk Week!


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