Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 69

Mid June 2007

After a longer than usual interval, here is another folk music bulletin from York.

  1. LAST FEW BOB FOX TICKETS. As I write, there are around a dozen tickets left for Bob Fox’s visit to the Black Swan next Thursday (21st). If you want to enjoy an evening with “one of the best voices in England” (according to Ralph McTell), then grab your ticket fast by giving me a call or sending me an e-mail, or by contacting our ticket agent at the NCEM Box Office, 01904 658338, online

  2. CHANGE OF PROGRAMME 28 JUNE. Sadly, OK Brandy are splitting up and have had to pull out of their “end-of-term” booking on the 28th June. In their place we’ll be holding an extra one of our very popular Singers & Musicians Nights.

  3. EARLY JULY AT THE BLACK SWAN. Next month kicks off with a further Singers & Musicians Night (5 July), so there’s plenty of opportunity for our many fine local performers to have a go. These nights really are great fun, with music of a mostly high standard and a wonderfully varied mix of styles and voices. There are always a few “newcomer” artists and part of the pleasure is never quite knowing what is coming up next! Non-performers are welcome and an evening’s entertainment for just £2.50 (or £1.50 for concessions) must be good value.
    It will be a delight to welcome Kate Bramley back to the club (12 July). Though she is based near York, she has such a busy schedule (solo, and with Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies) that we rarely see her, let alone get to enjoy a whole evening of her music. Kate plays fiddle, bouzouki and guitar in a style which mixes English folk with Celtic and American influences. She sings self-penned songs, traditional numbers and covers by such writers as Jez (naturally!), Peter Bond and her former and much-missed partner in Freewheelin’, Jacquie Hanham.

  4. NEW CLUB LEAFLET READY FOR PUBLICATION. The next club leaflet is with our printers and should be ready in a week or two. It covers the period from 19th July right through to Christmas, with full details of all our Thursday night guests, a diary of Singers Night dates, and the autumn season folk line-up at the National Centre for Early Music. Last time’s switch to a 4-page A5 leaflet was generally well received and I have used the same format this time.
    I hope you find that the programme continues our tradition of balancing different styles of music, soloists and duos/groups, male artists and female, top names and promising newcomers. There is a special show about the man who tried to burn down York Minster, Jonathan Martin, and a Jake Thackray theme night. One Double Bill event focuses on female singer-songwriters, while a second is devoted to young performers. On the concert front, we have solo shows by Vin Garbutt and Martin Simpson and the return of Scots band Malinky, while NCEM themselves promote a performance by Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny’s fusion band Mozaik.
    All Thursday nights bar one will be “pay on the door” events. The exception is John Wright’s pre-Christmas visit (13 December). Booking for this one and for the NCEM concert series will open sometime in August or early September.

  5. YORKSHIRE GARLAND LAUNCH DAY. You will see that the new club leaflet includes an advertisement for an event at NCEM on Saturday 15th September. This is not a Black Swan promotion, but I am very happy to give it our support. Yorkshire Garland is recently formed group of folk song enthusiasts devoted to the collection, preservation and performance of Yorkshire songs. In particular, they aim to develop a free-of-charge website where songs can be downloaded as both musical notation and as recordings by original singers.
    Yorkshire Garland have received financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Local Heritage Initiative, and they are using the York day as a major launch event. There will be an informal afternoon concert (1pm-4.30pm) of Yorkshire folk songs with a line-up of well-known traditional singers. This session is in memory of the late song collector Nigel Hudleston and the young Holmfirth singer Haydn Thorp (1976-1999). The main evening concert (7.30pm-10.30pm) features members of the Waterson Family (NB – not the standard Waterson:Carthy line-up), plus support from Will Noble & John Cocking.
    Booking is through the NCEM Box Office and is open now. If you would like to find out more about the Yorkshire Garland project, contact Steve Gardham on 01482 850819,

  6. FOLK DAY RETROSPECT. By general consensus, last month’s City of York Folk Day was the best yet. A small selection of the comments I received have been posted on the club website, along with a huge selection of photographs courtesy of Phil Myers and others. There was a lovely, positive and friendly atmosphere and events in all four rooms seemed well-attended virtually all day. Thanks to all of you who supported the event in one way or another.
    After the summer I will convene an Open Meeting to consider our options for 2008. We can discuss again the usual questions. Do we stick to one day or expand to a whole weekend? Do we keep to the same weekend in May or move it a little later? Also, the Black Swan’s landlord (Mike Dobson is back in harness, following Shelly Jenkin’s departure) plans to erect an outdoor smoker’s shelter by the autumn, which may have implications for any future marquee.

  7. HARVEY ANDREWS LPs. Shortly before Harvey Andrews’ recent sell-out show, I was approached by a well-wishing former fan who donated a dozen or so old vinyl albums. We thought we might auction them for charity on the night of the show but time was against us. I happily gave Harvey himself a couple of the records, where he only had single copies in his personal archive. That leaves me with:
    • Writer of Songs (1972 original and later reissue)
    • Friends of Mine (1973)
    • Fantasies From A Corner Seat (1975)
    • Someday (1976)
    • Margarita (1980)
    • Old Mother Earth
    • PG (two copies)

    Condition of both discs and sleeves is variable. If anyone out there would like to put in a “bid” they are welcome to have some or all of them. Any monies received will be donated to Macmillan Nurses, Harvey’s nominated charity.

  8. RALPH ON THE MOVE. Local guitar maker of international repute Ralph Bown has had to move out of his city centre workshop in Paver Lane, and wishes it to be known that he can now be contacted at 8 Gillamoor Avenue, Burnholme, York, YO31 0QE. The telephone number remains unchanged (01904 621011) and a website should soon be up and running at

  9. FAREWELL TO TRACK RECORDS. Sad news reaches us that Track Records, York’s main independent record retailer, is closing down. For many years they carried by far the best selection of folk & roots CDs in York (likewise mainstream rock and genres such as Country and Americana) and what they didn’t stock could be obtained quickly and efficiently. Squeezed by the discounting supermarkets at the chart end and by internet downloading across the board, they are calling it a day. Look out for sale offers in the final few weeks at the store in Goodramgate.

That concludes the York area news for this mailing, but as usual I have details of a few upcoming events in the wider region. I am always happy to mention these, if space is available, but as newsletter publication dates are variable I cannot guarantee inclusion.

  1. JOHN KIRKPATRICK guests at the Beverley folk club at The Foresters Arms, Beckside North, next Monday, 18th June at 8.30pm. Entrance is £6. Find out more on 01482 823743. Incidentally, John K will be at the Black Swan early in 2008 in his “Sultans of Squeeze” duo with Chris Parkinson (of whom more below).

  2. ISLA ST CLAIR guests at the monthly Processed Pea club at The Light Dragoon in Etton on Tuesday 3rd July. Info and reservations on 01430 810699.

  3. FOLK AT THE MART is a one day festival on Saturday 7th July at the Mart Theatre in Skipton. Headliners include Norma Waterson & Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson and Jez Lowe. A day ticket costs £25 in advance (£22 concessions). Find out more at or on 01756 791411.

  4. CHERISH THE LADIES visit Reeth Memorial Hall in Swaledale on Monday 9th July. This six-piece all-women Irish-American band, complete with Irish dancers, are sure to draw a big crowd. Find out more at

  5. NORMA WATERSON & MARTIN CARTHY, fresh from Skipton, do a rare gig in their home village of Robin Hood’s Bay. Accompanied by Chris Parkinson, they are at Old St Stephen’s Church on Thursday 12th July, in an acoustic performance in aid of church funds. Find out more from Deb Gillanders on 01947 600653.

  6. THE BURN, aka Kirkburn Acoustic Night, has won an award for “Enhancing the Social Wellbeing of the East Riding”. This lively and eclectic “open mic” event is next held on Saturday 14th July, when it will be a 1960’s theme night, at the village hall in Kirkburn, near Driffield. Find out more and (performers) book your spot by ringing the organisers on 01377 229048 or

All being well I shall be back in another month or so with another bulletin. Meanwhile, enjoy your music this summer!