Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 95

Christmas 2008

Season’s Greetings! We are back home at the Black Swan Inn! Please read on...


  1. WE’RE BACK AT THE BLACK SWAN! The Black Swan Inn reopens on Tuesday 23rd December under new management. I’ve just had a meeting with the incoming landlord Andy and his wife Steph, and they made it clear to me that they are more than happy for the Folk Club to continue as before. After a peripatetic month during December we are therefore delighted to be going back home to the Black Swan Inn when we resume activities on 8th January.
    Andy and Steph have years of experience in the licensed trade, most recently at The Montpellier in Harrogate, and they sound as though they fully appreciate the historic ambience and traditional pub qualities of the Black Swan Inn. When I called on them they were busy giving the old place a thorough clean, and while they certainly have plans for how to develop the business (e.g. revamping the kitchen and reinstating early evening meals) it doesn’t seem likely that the fundamental character of the pub will change. Let’s show them what an asset a well-run music club can be with some good (and thirsty!) turnouts in the new year.
    The new landlords have also indicated a willingness to carry on with our annual Folk Weekend, and so next year’s event will go ahead as originally planned on 30th and 31st May. I’ll have more news on that in future E-Newsletters.
    I must also say a warm thank you to Donna at The Winning Post for giving us a welcome home on the 11th and 18th December, and to the staff of Melton’s Too for taking us in at such short notice on 4th December. Thanks to them no club events had to be cancelled or postponed.

  2. GRACE NOTES TO LAUNCH OUR NEW SEASON. Our next publicity brochure was unavoidably delayed by the question mark over venues but it has now gone to the printers who are doing it as a rush job before Christmas (thanks, Gill). It covers the period 8th January to 14th May and I will have it in circulation as soon as I possibly can after the holiday break. Full dates, blurbs and prices have already been loaded on the club website,, as have appropriate links to our ticket vendors WeGotTickets.
    We always try to book an outstanding act to start the year and 8th January 2009 is no exception, being graced by those three exceptional singers Maggie Boyle, Lynda Hardcastle and Helen Hockenhull, alias Grace Notes. Hard to believe, but they are now in their 16th year together. Their highly praised harmonies and thoughtful repertoire have made them one of the folk scene's best loved female groups, including here in York. Their skilled arrangements of traditional and contemporary songs, both acapella and accompanied, will give us lovely start to the year. Should you not already be familiar with them, you can find out more at
    Phil Cerny is MC for this one and tickets are £ 7 (£ 6 concessions), available on the door or bookable in advance through As usual, we open doors at 8pm and have live music from 8.30pm until just after 11pm, with one half-time break.

  3. CONTINUING WITH FLOSSIE. Whereas Grace Notes have visited the Black Swan on numerous occasions, the flamboyant French singer Flossie Malavialle has escaped us until now. I’ve had several requests to book her and at last she will be climbing our famous staircase on 15th January. Flossie came to Britain on a teacher exchange in 2000, found her way into a local folk club and was soon smitten. She is now based in Darlington and has become an extremely popular performer at clubs and festivals all over the country. Passionate and extrovert, Flossie sings beautifully in both English and French, across an eclectic mix of songs – from Brel and Piaf through jazz standards to the work of modern folk and rock writers like Allan Taylor or Bonnie Raitt. To say that she also has great stage presence would be a serious under-statement. Find out more and hear audio samples at or David Swann drew the coveted MC slot for this event and tickets are £ 6 (£ 5 concessions), either on the door or in advance from

  4. AND EVER ONWARDS WITH GREAT MUSIC. January continues with a Singers & Musicians Night on 22nd January, hosted by Stan Graham, and then we have a return visited by the highly rated young Sheffield-based band Crucible on 29th January, under the supervision of Susie Fox.
    While most Thursday guest nights will have plenty of tickets available on the door, a few are almost certain to sell out in advance. One such is of course the mighty Steve Tilston, who appears on 5th February accompanied by bassist Dave Bowie, and another is likely to be the York debut of highly touted youngster Ruth Notman on 5th March, when she will be joined by Saul Rose on melodeon. Book early at if you want to come to either of these nights.

  5. YORK RESIDENTS FESTIVAL SPECIAL. The Folk Club was approached recently about taking part in the York Residents Festival on 31st January and 1st February. This event, formerly Residents First Weekend, is a celebration of York’s many treasures for its local people, rather than for the tourist trade. We have agreed to host a musical afternoon at the Black Swan Inn on Sunday 1st February, showcasing a selection of the best folk singers living within the city boundaries. The event will kick off at 2pm and will include sets by Stan Graham, Eddie Affleck, Chris Euesden, Diad and Susie Fox, possibly plus some others still to be agreed. There will also be a few open “floor spots”. The whole event is open-ended and could go on into the evening if required. Entry will be free to York Card holders, £ 2.50 (£ 1.50 concessions) to others, and I’ll have more details in the next E-Newsletter.

  6. NEW SEASON AT THE EARLY MUSIC CENTRE. The club website now has details of our NCEM concerts during Spring 2009. These begin with Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy & Chris Parkinson on Tuesday 10th March and continue with a contrasting series of male duos, Spiers & Boden (30th March), John Renbourn & Robin Williamson (15th April) and John Tams & Barry Coope (13th May). For good measure, NCEM themselves got in on the act and hired Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham for 28th April. Please note that booking for all of these is online or by phone through the NCEM Box Office (not WeGotTickets) and will not open until 9th February, because the Early Music Centre is having a new box office system installed during January.

  7. MAILING LIST UPDATE. We have welcomed quite a few new people to this mailing list recently and the total now stands at 743. I shall have to think of a suitable prize for number 750! Mind you, email does funny things sometimes. Twice recently, all mailings to Demon users have been bounced back, yet at other times they seem to go through without a problem. On another recent mailshot, items sent from my Yahoo address to AOL users were rejected (“couldn’t find any host by that name”), but not those sent at the same time from my Hotmail account to the same service provider!
    On top of such funnies, other emails just vanish into cyberspace. If you think you have missed out on some, have a look at the Newsletters page on the club website, where the latest one is posted within a day or two of its issue. Let me know if there is a persistent problem. Perhaps you have an alternative address we could try.
    Lastly, of course, you can unsubscribe at any time by sending me a short message.


  1. WELL DONE EMILY. Our heartfelt congratulations go to recent NCEM guest performer Emily Smith, who won the vote for Singer of the Year in the Scottish Traditional Music Awards earlier this month.

  2. WELL DONE EDWINA. Exciting news from local favourite Edwina Hayes: her song Pour Me A Drink has been recorded by Nanci Griffith, no less, for her next album, while Edwina’s version of Nanci’s song Hard Life has been accepted for a Nanci Griffith tribute album currently in the works. Edwina is currently busy recording songs for her own third CD.

  3. STAN ON AIR. The broadcasting work of club resident Stan Graham continues to expand. His weekly Akoustik Hour programme is now given two repeats on Drystone Radio (first transmitted Mondays 8pm, repeated Wednesdays 8pm and Saturdays 8pm) and it also goes out on Fridays at 11pm on Phoenix Radio. Both stations broadcast in the West Yorkshire area (106.9 and 96.7 FM respectively) and can be found online at and
    Closer to home, Stan does a Folk for Fifteen Minutes news slot each Wednesday evening on Sandie Dunleavy’s show on BBC Radio York. This goes out around 8.15pm (so not clashing with Mike Harding on Radio 2) and resumes after the Christmas Break on 7th January. On top of which, Stan has his own guest booking coming up at the Bridlington Folk Club on Tuesday 27th January (at The Broadacres on Kingsgate) and he appears at the York Residents Festival event (item 5 above), with a concert to follow in the Victoria Theatre, Halifax on Wednesday 25th February. A busy man!

  4. DYLAN AT THE POST. News of the Black Swan reopening came a touch too late for Chris Euesden’s band Blonde on Bob. Their concert on Saturday 27th December, which promises a splendid evening of “Nothin’ but Dylan”, was moved to the Winning Post when the Black Swan closed suddenly and Chris has decided to stick with the Bishopthorpe Road venue. The show begins at 8pm, entry is £ 5 and tickets can be bought in advance at or reserved on 01904 610899.


And finally another round up of some other folk, roots and acoustic music events taking place around the Yorkshire region.

  1. SALTAIRE LIVE. I met up with the indefatigable Simon Heginbotham at last week’s excellent Koshka concert at NCEM (great musicians who earned a standing ovation!) and he pointed me to the new season of shows he is running at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. This begins with Salsa Celtica on Friday 16th January and continues with Altan, Chumbawamba and Show of Hands. Find out more at Simon also has a hand in folk events at the Otley Courthouse, with bands including Le Vent du Nord and Breabach coming up. Their address is

  2. REETH LIVE TOO. Another hard working music enthusiast is John Little of Reeth in Swaledale. His 2009 season at the Memorial Hall also begins on 16th January, with Chris Sherburn, Denny Bartley and Bella Hardy, and continues on 27th February with an Appalachian night which includes an old and dear friend of the Black Swan, Debby McClatchy. See

  3. AND KIRKBY FLEETHAM. The lively Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club (just off the A1, between Leeming and Catterick) continues to flourish. Their next meeting is on 24th January with headline act Brother Crow, then their Winter Warmer Weekend takes places 20th-22nd February. See

  4. WUTHERING HEIGHTS FOLK. Jim Pickles asks me to mention folk evenings on “the western edge of Yorkshire”, at the Wuthering Heights Inn, Stanbury near Haworth (BD22 0HB). There are Musicians Evening on the second Tuesday (so next on 13th January) and Singers Nights at the end of the month, next on 27th January with a Burns theme. See

  5. ARLO AT THE DUCHESS. Here in York, The Duchess in Stonebow House has sixties legend (and son of a famous father) Arlo Guthrie coming up on 1st February. See The week before (25th January) at the same venue there is another “famous son of a famous father”, namely Teddy Thompson. Nice ones, Tim!

  6. LEEDS UNI FOLK FEST. The University of Leeds School of Music hosts a series of folk events between 4th and 8th February, including Joe Broughton, Chris While, Dearman Gammon & Harrison and the Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble. I’ll have more info next time, or you can look at

  7. HENSHAWS FOLK NIGHT. Phill Hopkins asks me to mention another folk event at Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre, Bond End in Knaresborough. This one is on Friday 6th February and features Keith Kendrick, Sylvia Needham & Friends in “Knaresborough By The Sea”. Tickets are £ 7 from the Centre office on 01423 541888.

  8. VIKING STORYTELLING. The Folk Club had hoped to stage a concert for the Jorvik Viking Festival in February but our plans were thwarted when the band concerned cancelled their UK tour. Nevertheless, the JVF has other events of interest to our supporters. In particular, master storyteller Hugh Lupton recounts the tale of Beowulf on Friday 20th February, aided by percussionist Rick Wilson. “Thrill to the atmospheric retelling of the oldest story in the English language”, they say. Suitable for adults and children over 12, this event is at the Early Music Centre in York. See for the full Festival programme and booking details.

Do have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous and musical New Year. I should be back with another bulletin sometime in late January.