Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 83

Early May 2008

Hello there, and welcome to another packed folk club bulletin.

  1. ERIC ANDERSEN – LEGENDARY US SINGER/SONGWRITER. First up, an extended plug for our very special club guest on Thursday 15th May, American songster Eric Andersen. We are offering advance booking for this one, and as I write there are (surprisingly) quite a few tickets still available. They are £ 9 each (£ 8 concessions) and can be booked through myself or via the NCEM Box Office, 01904 658338, and website,
    I must admit that I when I was first approached about booking Eric, I recognised the name but didn’t know a great deal more than that. Perhaps you are in the same position. Despite a long and prolific career he has never had a high profile in Britain and has only done limited gigging here up to now. Reading through his “timeline” biography and listening to a promotional sampler CD, I soon realised something of what we have missed. Here are some brief highlights from his lengthy, illustrious and adventurous biography:
    Born 1943 in Pittsburgh. Self-taught at piano, guitar and harmonica. Eclectic early influences include Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Miles Davis and Woody Guthrie. In 1963 moves to San Francisco to hang out with the Beat poets, where he is “discovered” by Tom Paxton. Plays his first show in Greenwich Village NY in 1964 and has early songs published in Broadside magazine. Also spends some time on the Boston/Cambridge coffee house scene. In 1965 meets Joni Mitchell and teaches her open guitar tunings, shares stages with Phil Ochs and plays the UK Cambridge Folk Festival. In 1966 appears at the Newport Folk Festival and stars in an Andy Warhol film, Space.
    Between 1965 and the mid 1970s releases a series of albums with major labels Vanguard, Warner Bros, Columbia and Arista. Gigging highlights include the Festival Express train tour of Canada with the Grateful Dead (1970) and some Rolling Thunder Revue dates with Bob Dylan (1975). After a low-profile period in the late 70s / 80s, resurfaces with a new record for Virgin in 1989. Later collaborations include Rick Danko (ex The Band, with whom he releases two albums), Lou Reed and Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Also co-writes several songs with Townes van Zandt before his death in 1997.
    In 1999 signs with specialist folk/acoustic label Appleseed and enters a new and productive career phase, with new releases, reissues of older material, book and DVD projects, and more interesting collaborations, including Richard Thompson, rap star Wyclef Jean, Judy Collins and Norwegian band Spoonful of Blues.
    It is 2008, Eric turns 65, and you get the chance to see a living legend of the folk and popular music business in an intimate small club venue in downtown (old) York. What are you waiting for?

  2. DANA & SUSAN RETURN. The following Thursday, 22nd May, we stay stateside, with a return visit by two of our favourite American folk/roots minstrels, Dana & Susan Robinson. We have supported Dana ever since his first solo trip to Britain in 2001, loving his great feel for America’s rural folk heritage in both his own songwriting and in his reworkings of traditional songs. He plays a mean guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo, while Susan adds guitar and banjo and both of them are great singers. This tour coincides with the release of their new CD Round My Door and it should be another thoroughly enjoyable night. It is a “pay on the door” event, priced at £ 7 (or £ 6 concessions) with the usual “doors open” time of 8pm. Find out more about Dana and Susan at

  3. NEW CLUB BROCHURE IN PRESS. The next Folk Club publicity brochure is almost written and should be at the printers by the end of this week. I’ll attach the relevant text to the next edition of the Newsletter, but meanwhile here is a summary of the first few weeks:
    • May 29 – Singers & Musicians Night
    • June 5 – Jez Lowe. I’m sure that few introductions are needed for Jez. Tickets are now on sale (£ 8/£ 6.50) – from myself or via the NCEM Box Office.
    • June 12 – Jeff Warner. American traditional songs with concertina, banjo and guitar. £ 6/£ 5 on the door
    • June 19 – Double Bill with Wendy Arrowsmith and Mary Vipond & Andy Whittaker. Two talented acts from North Yorkshire. £ 6/£ 5 on the door.

  4. WEBSITE REMINDER. A quick reminder that we have a new URL for the folk club website, It already comes out fairly near the top of the relevant Google search, so hopefully it will not be long before the redundant old URL is totally eclipsed. Remember also that we now have a MySpace page, thanks to Phil Myers, at

  5. THE BLACK SWAN AS A FILM SET. Please note that the Black Swan Inn will be closed between 19th and 21st May as it is being used for location shooting on a new American TV series, a version of Robinson Crusoe from the same company which makes that drama about modern-day castaways, Lost, and using the same “flashback” techniques to take Robinson back to his childhood and youth. Film crew will be busy on Thursday 22nd restoring the pub to its modern state and we are promised that it will be business as usual by 7pm, in time for our Dana & Susan Robinson gig.

  6. FOLK WEEKEND LATEST. There have been a few small changes to the running order for the Marquee stage at the City of York Folk Weekend, and programming for the other rooms is now pretty much complete as well. See the Folkday webpages for full details.

Next, a miscellany of other news items:

  1. OVERTONES WORKSHOP CHANGE. David Moss tells me that the overtone vocal workshop which I mentioned in E-News 82 has been postponed until Sunday 1st June, still at Miller’s Yard on Gillygate, 11.00-4.00. This does clash with our Folk Weekend, unfortunately, but perhaps David and his students will come along to the Black Swan afterwards and join in festivities!

  2. SWORD DANCING IN HAXBY. Back in E-News 79 I wrote something about the Haxby traditional longsword dance. As part of the International Sword Dance Festival in York over the Bank Holiday weekend, there will performances of the Haxby dance and other local longsword dances in Haxby on Monday lunchtime, 26th May, starting at the Working Men’s Club, which is just off The Village (Haxby’s main street). There will also be a workshop on the Haxby dance at 2.30 in the Memorial Hall.
    Thanks to Peter Turner for the above information. What else is happening during the Sword Dance Festival I cannot tell you as the organisers have so far failed to send me or the folk club any details whatsoever. No doubt if you are anywhere in York city centre on 24th, 25th or 26th May you’ll see some sword dancers in action.

  3. MORRIS DANCING AT BENINGBROUGH. Meanwhile Minster Strays, our local mixed Morris team, are hosting a Day of Dance at Beningbrough Hall, north of York, on Saturday 7th June, from noon to 4.30pm. “Join us and our guests – visiting teams from the Midlands and North of England – for this colourful spectacle”, they say, “over one hundred dancers and musicians in this delightful setting. A perfect day out!” Normal admission prices will apply to non-National Trust members, but otherwise it is a free event. Further information can be obtained from Wendy Williamson on 01904 414157 or see

  4. ALAN LOMAX DOCUMENTARY. Many of you interested in folk music will know the name of Alan Lomax, the celebrated American folk song collector. Club regular Dick Hunter writes to me to recommend a recent documentary film Lomax: The Songhunter, put together by Dutch filmmaker Rogier Kappers. Dick says that a copy is available for rental at York Central Library.

Lastly, a quick look at some other upcoming gigs in and around York:

  1. ACOUSTIC NIGHT AT THE SWAN. This coming Saturday, 10th May, there is an acoustic concert at the Black Swan Inn, with Paula Ryan, Sarah Dean, Elaine Wallace and Beneath The Oak. Doors open at 8pm and entry will be just £ 3.

  2. BOB DYLAN’S BIRTHDAY BASH. Chris Euesden and his Bob Dylan tribute band Blonde on Bob hold their now-annual Million Dollar Bash on Wednesday 21st May at the Post Office Social Club on Marygate in York. On the bill this year, as well as Blonde on Bob, are the inimitable Rory Motion, Pete Mitchell (the Los Yobos front man, in solo mode) and our own Phil Cerny. Doors open at 8pm and tickets at £ 5 are available from or on 01904 610899. All proceeds go to Oxfam.

  3. MILES CAIN BACK IN ACTION. On Saturday 24th May, Miles Cain and his band are in concert at the Black Swan Inn, together with Jess Morgan and TWO. Miles has been a bit low-profile recently, during new fatherhood, so it is good to see him playing again, particularly since clashing commitments mean that this year he cannot take part in the Folk Weekend. Doors open at 7.30pm and entry is £ 5.
    Incidentally, Miles has been asked to compere the late night acoustic venue at next month’s Beverley Folk Festival (20th-22nd June). Starting at 11.30 each evening in the Wold Top Tent, he will be introducing a mix of festival acts and local performers, with the latter including Dan Webster, TWO and Allan & Liam Wilkinson. There will be an entry fee for non festival ticket holders.

  4. AFRICAN SOUNDS AT NCEM. The next World Sounds event at the Early Music Centre features the winners of the Best Album category in the 2008 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music, Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba. This is on Thursday 29th May at 7.30 (so clashing with our own Singers Night, but what the heck!) and tickets are £ 12 (£ 10 concessions, £ 3.50 students) from the NCEM Box Office

  5. MORE GOOD STUFF AT POCKLINGTON. Final folk/roots events this season at the excellent Pocklington Arts Centre include Spiers & Boden this Friday (9th May), the legendary Peggy Seeger (23rd May) and an American bluegrass special on 4th July (when else?) with The Coal Porters.

  6. HELMSLEY FOLK WEEKEND. Lastly, a reminder about the Folk Festival taking place this coming weekend (9th-11th May) at Helmsley Arts Centre. Concert guests are Last Night’s Fun (Friday), Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies (Saturday) and Vin Garbutt (Sunday), plus workshops and singarounds during the day. Find out more at or ring the Box Office on 01439 771700.

That’s all for now. I had quite a few other out-of-town events I could have mentioned, had there been the space. Maybe next time.