Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 111

Early December 2009


  1. DICK GAUGHAN FULLY SOLD. First, a reminder that BOTH this week’s performances by Dick Gaughan, on Tuesday and on Thursday, are Sold Out. With new furniture (and a seasonal Xmas tree!) slightly reducing the capacity of our club room there is very little prospect of our being able to squeeze in anyone else on the night, so it probably isn’t worth coming along “on spec” without a ticket.

  2. NEW CHAIRS, NEW PA SYSTEM. New furniture, you say! Yes, our landlord has obtained a suite of new chairs. They are very comfortable and a great improvement on the rag-bag collection we used to have, but on the flip side they are slightly larger than those they replace. At the same time the tables have been thoroughly refurbished, so the whole room looks much smarter than before. Future works the Black Swan landlord has in mind include a rewiring of the whole building and repainting of the exterior walls.
    This week will also see the debut of our new club PA. We still have one or two accessories to source, but the basic kit of mixing desk, speakers etc is now in place. Thanks to Chris, Stan, Eddie and Michael for sorting this out between them.

  3. CHRISTMAS PARTY TIME. Our last meeting of the year is the annual Christmas Party Singers Night on 17th December. This is a Free Entry event, but we do ask people to bring a modest contribution of buffet food – savoury or sweet – for the half-time shared supper. With our usual Christmas MC Stan Graham going off to America, the honours this year will be divided between Phil Cerny and Eddie Affleck. Doors open at 8pm as usual – but if you can arrive a bit earlier and help me set up it would be much appreciated.

  4. THURSDAY NIGHT PARKING WARNING. If you are coming to the Party or to Dick Gaughan this Thursday, be advised that there is pre-Christmas evening shopping in York on those days. Traffic may be heavier than usual, some central streets will be closed to vehicles and the Black Swan Inn car park could be fairly full. Allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to look for alternative parking – perhaps in the Haymarket car park next door.

  5. LOTS MORE GOOD MUSIC IN THE NEW YEAR. We are closed for two weeks over the Christmas holiday, but then get back into business with a flourish on 7th January, courtesy of special guest Bob Fox. Be advised that half the available tickets for Bob’s show have already been sold at
    I shall be preparing the next club brochure pretty soon, with a view to having it ready by early January. Meanwhile, I have already opened booking for several future guest nights on the WeGotTickets website: Ember (14th January), Isambarde (28th January), Dave Burland (4th February) and Martin Carthy (two shows, 11th and 12th February). Early purchase is particularly advised for Dave and for Martin!

  6. FURTHER AHEAD. The Askew Sisters have agreed a new date of 9th September 2010, to replace their illness-scuppered visit last month. Another recent booking is for 8th July: My Sweet Patootie – swing jazz and folk from former Tanglefooters Terry Young and Sandra Swannell. Also worth marking in your 2010 diaries is a Sunday Special at the Black Swan Inn on 3rd October with The Churchfitters, who were such a hit on their first visit in 2008.

  7. YORK RESIDENTS FESTIVAL. The club has agreed to run another Sunday Afternoon Folk event during the 2010 York Residents Festival. 31st January is the date, 2pm until 6pm the time. As befits the ethos of the Residents Festival, we will showcase performers who live within the City of York. Already volunteered are Two Black Sheep & A Stallion, Tim Pheby, John Watterson, Susie Fox and Eddie Affleck, but there is room for two or three more, if any York-based artists want to get in touch. As regards audience, admission will be Free to York Card holders, £ 3 (£ 2 concessions to others). I should have more details in E-News 112.

  8. CONCERTS NEWS. A very successful show by Chris Wood last Monday wound up our autumn concert season at the National Centre for Early Music. The spring season begins on Monday 15th February with the lively Irish five-piece Beoga (, plus support from BBC Young Folk Award finalist Niamh Boadle. This event forms part of the 25th Jorvik Viking Festival and tickets are already on sale through the NCEM Box Office (01904 658338,, priced at £ 13 (concessions £ 11).
    Future concert guests in what is very much a Celtic Music season are another top Irish band Grada (8th March), cosmopolitan trio Uiscedwr (22nd March) and Scottish powerhouse Breabach (16th April). Booking for all of these should open in January, to tie in with the launch of a totally redesigned NCEM website.

  9. KEYBOARD URGENTLY NEEDED. Can anyone out there help us out with the Beoga concert on 15th February? We are asked to provide the band with a digital piano for the evening. The contract specifies “Roland RD700 GX or equivalent 88-key full weighted action digital stage piano, with split mode facility, sustain pedal and keyboard stand. No synthesisers please”. Do you have such an instrument which you could hire or loan to us?

  10. THANKS AND BEST WISHES TO KEN & SANDRA. Still with concerts, many past guest performers have been accommodated for us by Ken & Sandra Hudson at their Ascot Lodge Guest House. As folk fans and former promoters themselves, they have coped admirably with the sometimes quirky habits of touring musicians, and all on very generous terms to us. “After an enjoyable eight years here”, Ken says “we feel it is time to move on to other things” and so they are preparing to close their business. Our heartfelt thanks go to them both for their invaluable assistance over those eight years, and our best wishes for their future.

  11. FOLK WEEKEND REMINDER. Lastly for this section, a reminder about Folk Weekend on 5th and 6th June. I’ll be systematically contacting likely performers early in the New Year. However, I am already getting approaches from stranger artists from far and wide. My standard response is that ours is very much a local event for local people, and priority goes to singers and bands in the York area or having an existing association with the local scene (e.g. the Duncan McFarlane Band, already lined up for Saturday). Other people are welcome to come along to sessions, singarounds and the rolling folk club, but there is not enough time to give them a main stage spot. I hope this approach meets with general approval.


  1. BLACK SWAN INN NEW WEBSITE. The Black Swan’s own website is now up and running at . There are still some things to add (e.g. the Events page) but you can already find information online about the food menu, guest rooms and pub history.

  2. STAN’S FOURTH CD. A few days before he and Julie leave for an extended visit to America, Stan Graham takes delivery of his fourth album. Entitled “Music and Friends” and produced by Kenny Speirs, the CD includes many fine songs which will be familiar to club audiences, such as Kielder Water, Green and Gold and When Jessica Comes to Play. Stan has promised to leave some copies with us to sell at the club in his absence. Otherwise visit for ordering details.

  3. BBC FOLK AWARDS SHORTLIST. The shortlisted artists for the 2010 Folk Awards were announced last week. Recent Black Swan guests who feature include Jackie Oates (three nominations, including Singer of the Year and Best Album), Megson (Best Duo) and Saul Rose, of Faustus (Musician of the Year). The shortlist for the Horizon Award for new acts includes recent club visitor Sam Carter and a great duo who have entertained us on several occasions, Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts. Results will be declared at the Awards ceremony in London on 1st February. Find out more at

  4. YOUNG FOLK & OLD ON THE RADIO. Tune in to Radio 2 this coming Wednesday (9th) for three hours of folk and acoustic music. First, an extended edition of the Mike Harding Show includes the finals of the BBC Young Folk Award, one of the entrants being the aforementioned Niamh Boadle. The show will also include past winners and finalists, including Jim Moray, Ruth Notman and Jackie Oates, paying tribute to Pete Seeger with specially recorded versions of his songs. Then at 8.30, Radio 2 broadcasts He Shall Overcome: Pete Seeger at 90 – a tribute presented by Steve Earle and including contributions from such as Tom Paxton and Roger McGuinn.

  5. THIRD FRIDAY FOLK NO MORE. Sadly the monthly Singers & Musicians Night in Knaresborough has lost its venue and has been obliged to close. However, singer Sue Burgess has stepped into the breach and is trying to gauge support for a new singaround-style club in the area. She writes of her “long-held desire to run a monthly singaround within reasonable travelling distance of my home just north of Leeds. I am willing to organise something if I can. I have always felt that informal singarounds are an important and enjoyable way to participate in folk music, so I'm prepared to research alternative venues if there is enough interest. This is to find out who might wish to attend such a singaround and roughly whereabouts they live. Will you let me know what you think, please?” Contact Sue direct on or telephone 0113 2623298.

  6. BRIAN KRENGEL RIP. Another sad death hit the North Yorkshire folk scene recently with the passing of Brian Krengel. Singer, songwriter and co-founder of the Robin Hood’s Bay Folk Club and its associated Bayfolk Weekend, Brian was a really wonderful bloke whom I first met when he was Manager of the nearby Boggle Hole Youth Hostel. I have fond memories of a Friday night at the club followed by a cliff-top walk back to Brian’s hostel. Our condolences go to his family and the Bayfolk regulars.


  1. UNION CENTRAL AT THE SWAN. Local favourites Union Central perform at the Black Swan Inn on Saturday 19th December, doors opening at 8pm. This will be the band’s last concert with Josie Mills on lead vocals as she is moving on to other things. “However” writes Phil Quinn, “the good news is that we have found another fabulous front girl, Katharine Henthorne, who will be taking over from Josie in the New Year.” UC shows are always well supported so to reserve your ticket (£ 6) ring Phil on York 783029.

  2. AND BOB’S XMAS BASH. Looking for live music between Christmas and New Year? Head to the Black Swan on Sunday 27th December at 8pm for an evening of “nothin’ but Dylan” (but probably no covers from his Bobness’ new Christmas CD!) courtesy of Blonde on Bob and Rory Motion. Tickets are £ 8 at or on York 610899.

  3. FORESTERS COMING HOME GIG. Steve Marshall writes: “Any chance you might wish to mention a gig at Stockton on Forest Village Hall near York on Saturday 12th December? This is a special one for us as it is on home ground but more especially is a fund raiser for Macmillan Cancer Support Nursing. The Foresters have been on the road for 38 years now and the line up is unaltered since 1982. The line up is Jim Boldry (fiddle), Fred Ring (bass), Mike Brown (guitar, mandolin, banjo), Dee Marshall (vocals and percussion), Brian Oxberry (vocals & percussion) and Steve Marshall (guitar & vocals). Music ranges through folk, country, nostalgia pop and standards. The Stockton gig will be our Christmas bash with the usual fun and mayhem. Hopefully it will be another evening to remember. Do come and support this worthy cause. Tickets are on sale for £ 8.00 via Sue Boldry on York 400429.”


  1. GEORDIES IN THORGANBY. Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies are on the road this month with Geordie’s Winter Almanac Radio Roadshow, with special guests Benny Graham and Andrew Cadie. “Gather round the winter firesides of the cottages and terraces in the shadow of the dockyard cranes and the pit-wheels, for an evening of songs, tunes, recitations and comedy, with a backdrop of archive film and photographs” they invite. The tour visits Thorganby Village Hall, south of York (YO19 6DA), on Tuesday 15th December at 8pm. Tickets at £ 10 (£ 8 concessions) are available on 01423 339168. Other tour venues which might be within striking distance of some of you are Halifax Square Chapel (10th), Saltburn Community Theatre (16th) and Reeth Memorial Hall (18th). Find out more via

  2. FEASTING IN KNARESBOROUGH. The final folk concert this year at Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough is on 17th December at 7.30 with the duo Belshazzar’s Feast. Tickets are £ 12 - contact or ring 01423 541888.

  3. DUNCAN’S CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. The Duncan McFarlane Band play their annual Christmas Special for Otley Folk Club this Friday, 11th December, at Korks Wine Bar on Bondgate, starting at 8.45pm. The DMcF Acoustic Band will open with a 45minute set, followed by the DMcF Electric Band, which will play two hours of their finest folk-rock! The same evening Otley has its annual Victorian Street Fair with much to see and partake of before making your way to the concert.

  4. KFFC CHRISTMAS BASH. On Saturday 12th December, Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club holds its Christmas Party at the Village Hall, near Northallerton. Wendy Arrowsmith is the main guest, no doubt showcasing tracks from her new CD Seeds of Fools. Other artists scheduled to appear include Iain Glover, Joolz Cavell, Richard & Debbie Roe, Rebekah Findlay and Lyn Geddes. It’s a charity night, with all profits donated to SSAFA and to Wavell Community Junior School at Catterick Garrison. The fun starts at 7.30pm, there will be a licensed bar and tickets cost £ 5 with your first drink free! Cakes will also be available. Contact 01609 748259 for more details.

That’s all for this year! My best wishes to you all for a happy, joyous Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. I should be back in early January with more news.