Diz Disley 1931 - 2010

Sad to say that Diz Disley has died. Of the generation that brought us Billy Connolly, Tony Capstick, and Jasper Carrott, this great guitarist collaborated with Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick and perhaps most famously, Stephane Grappelli. This from Dave Swarbrick: “Hello folks. Diz died today, Monday 22nd March. Sadly, he was destitute and funds are needed for a fitting send off. If you feel you would like to make a contribution, please make your cheque payable to DIZAID and send it to me at 5 Dronfield Road, Stoke, Coventry, CV2 4BZ. The DizAid Concert mentioned below is still going ahead. Very many thanks, Swarb x

DizAid Concert
The band 'Shagpile' with Dave Burland are putting on a DizAid benefit gig at Rob Shaw's club, The Rock at Maltby. All proceeds will go to Diz. If you want to spread the word, it's on Saturday, April 10th and Roy Machin is doing support. See The Rock web site for details.

Arrogance, Ignorance & Greed II

Steve Knightley and Phil Beer, both friends of the club were on BBC Breakfast News this morning talking about their award-winning song Arrogance, Ignorance & Greed. Watch the video of the interview and a brief live performance on the BBC site.

Claude Bourbon

Claude live
He modestly calls himself ‘the frog with the happy blues’, which endears him to you immediately, yet no one was really prepared for the incredible talent that this Frenchman has - at times it seemed there were three or four guitarists on the stage, not just one. His fingers became a blur as he produced medleys that incorporated what he terms ‘medieval blues’ (and that’s exactly what it sounded like) and personal interpretations of classical, folk, jazz and footstompin’ blues numbers. His musicianship is ‘premier league’ and leaves many better-known artists wanting.

But Claude can do sad as well as happy; he is also a master of the ‘chanson triste’ and songs like ‘there’s somebody missing tonight’, ‘ghost’ and ‘I see your face’ (it’s worth buying his album ‘Stop breaking down’ for this alone) mark him down as a great songwriter and lyricist.

The evening was truly memorable; the delivery sincere and effortless and he also has the best agent that we have worked with in two years of running the club. All in all, it’s no surprise that he has a gig list as long as your arm for 2010.

Our advice – book him if you run a club, and go and see him somewhere else, if you missed him at ours.

Arrogance, Ignorance & Greed

Here’s the official video of Show Of Hands award-winning song, Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed. It won Best Original Song at the BBC Folk Awards.

BBC Folk Awards

For those of us not invited to the flashy awards ceremony on February 1st, here’s a run down of who won what at the annual folk awards. Special mention goes to Phil Beer, one half of Show Of Hands who’ll be playing at the club in the middle of March. Anyhoo, here’s that list.

  • Folk Singer of the Year went to Jon Boden, who accepted the award from actress Zoe Wanamaker. Jon also presented The Magpie’s Nest in London with Folk Club Of The Year.
  • Squeezebox player John Kirkpatrick was named Musician Of The Year. Eddie Upton, Director of Folk South West, accepted the award from actor Greg Wise on Kirkpatrick’s behalf.
  • Eliza Carthy presented Lau with Best Group, an award they have won for the third consecutive year. And singer/songwriter Benny Gallagher presented Cara Dillon with Album Of The Year for the critically acclaimed Hill of Thieves.
  • Arrogance Ignorance And Greed, written by Steve Knightley and performed by Show Of Hands, was named Best Original Song. This award was presented by poet Ian McMillan. Show of Hands, winners of Best Live Act in 2004, were named Best Duo by musician and BBC 6 Music presenter Tom Robinson, and also performed on the night.
  • Best Live Act was presented to Bellowhead by actor Kevin Whately. And Nitin Sawhney presented guitarist Sam Carter with the Horizon Award for folk’s best emerging artist.
  • Martin Simpson was presented with Best Traditional Track for Sir Patrick Spens by fellow musician Richard Hawley. Simpson also performed as did Lau; Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds who played a cover of I Fought The Law; and Cara Dillon.
  • The Good Tradition Award, presented by Dan Tyminski, went to Mike Alexander and Douglas Eadie, producers of the legendary BBC TV Transatlantic Sessions, who were joined on stage to accept their Award by Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas.

More news, video and audio clips at at the BBC’s web site.

Christmas Party

The Taverners are holding their annual Christmas Party on Monday December 21st at the Brighton Trades & Labour Club, 15 Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 3HP. Now in its umpteenth year this annual nostalgia bash will be supporting the Martlets Hospice, a wonderful local charity. Looks like a great night with Stuart Reed, Pete Cartlidge & Geoff Goater who’ll be joined by special guests Paul Downes (guitar & mandolin) and Amy Reed (fiddle). Doors open at 7.30 and tickets are £7.00. Go along and support if you can. Happy Christmas all.

St Agnes Fountain

St Agnes
It's that time of the year when four strangers from the east, the midlands and the north, come again to a town near you to bear witness to the Christmas miracle. Or something like that. St Agnes Fountain are Chris While, Julie Matthews, Chris Leslie and David Hughes and together they make some of the most beautiful - and entertaining - festive music we've ever heard. They're not coming very near Brighton on this tour - boo - but if you can catch them, we'd recommend it. A very special evening.

Michael Chapman

Here's Michael Chapman playing one of his classic songs - Soulful Lady at the club in November 2009. Thanks to everyone who turned out to see this great performer in action. We had a fab night with some especially good floor singers as well - hats off to everyone who took part. See you all next month for Paul Downes.

Mary Travers R.I.P.

Mary Travers, best known for her work with Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow, has died from the side effects of chemotherapy after a long battle with leukemia. She was 72. Peter Paul & Mary were one of the cornerstones of the New York beatnik scene in the 60s and despite hits with Puff The Magic Dragon and Leavin’ On A Jetplane, never forgot their roots in the protest movement.

“Mary Travers fought cancer and its consequent illnesses with an inspiring strength and determination, maintaining a positive outlook and uncomplaining spirit throughout. Mary’s life and legacy remain a great American treasure. She was a passionate singer of songs, songs that have enlightened us and moved us to action as citizens of America and the world. She never failed to champion those most in need, those most deprived of their rights as citizens and human beings, and those targeted by racism and discrimination; the powerless, the infirm, the poor. Mary never shrank before a threat to her person if it got in the way of pursuing her deeply held convictions, and she was as loyal on behalf of her friends as she was to her principles. Mary helped awaken mainstream America to the humanizing message of folk music. She reached millions of people in the struggle to guarantee social justice for all and has left a profound and lasting impact on all of us. Each of us, many in profoundly personal ways, will deeply miss her and the gifts she has given us--as an artist, as a triumphant role model, and as a dear, beloved friend. Well done, Mary Travers. We shall miss you beyond telling.” -Peter, Paul & Mary’s family and friends and loving associates

For more information go to Peter, Paul & Mary.

The Amazing Mr Smith

Mr Smith
Hard to know what to expect when the guest turns up looking a little like ‘Doc’ out of Back To The Future, hefting a huge holdall full of props, a tiny guitar and an electronic box of tricks and then proceeds to tickle every rib in sight with two sets of hilarious songs and great banter. It’ll be a long time before anyone forgets his Buddy Holly impersonation (which features a xylophone attached to his neck on a coat hanger, played with a little mallet stuck to the side of his glasses) or his five part harmonies on ‘At The Hop’ - which he changes to ‘At the shop’ or ‘duelling banjos’ (a single fretboard with a banjo at each end) or a rousing River Dance, complete with plastic bottle bodhran and castanets tied to his feet. We’ll also remember the charm and fine musicianship. And the condom bagpipes. Another great night.

Chris While and Julie Matthews

chris and julie
The brilliant Chris While and Julie Matthews (deserved winners best duo at the BBC Folk Awards this year) are playing just up the road - well, you know what we mean - at the Hailsham Pavilion on Sunday May 31st at 7.30pm. They’ll be joined by Bella Hardy, a fine young fiddle player and singer. Get more details from the venue or the girls’ web site. Go and see them - they’’re great songwriters, wonderful singers and generally very fab human beings.

Fairport Convention on tour

FC in van
Blimey. It doesn’t seem that long since Fairport were out on the road for their annual winter tour which saw them play Worthing Pavilion as part of the annual electric slog round the country. Although featuring exactly the same line up, this is the acoustic Fairport with less gear, which allows them to play different - smaller - venues. The electric band’s great and anyone who’s caught the acoustic Fairport proper knows how good that is, so this hybrid could bring the best of both worlds. Closest they get to us is Hailsham, but full details of the tour are on the band’s web site.

Show of Hands

Don’t miss this. Steve Knightley’s back in Brighton on May the 6th doing his day job together with Phil Beer - as one half of Show Of Hands, one of the world’s finest folk duos, supported here by Miranda Sykes on bass and backing vocals. This is like listening to U2 play English roots music: powerful, anthemic songs that still manage to sound personal and intimate. They’re great performers, serious about what they’re doing and a great laugh as well. Show of Hands have a strong connection with Brighton and it’ll be a great night. Tickets are on sale from the Komedia box office. Call 01273 647100 for details or e-mail them.

Feast Of Fiddles

The joy that is Feast Of Fiddles is on the road again. Never heard of them? Try these names for size: Dave Mattacks, Joe Broughton, Brian McNeill, Tom Leary, Ian Cutler, Phil Beer, Peter Knight, Chris Leslie, Dave Harding, Martin Vincent, John Underwood and FOF mastermind Hugh Crabtree. These lads are some of the finest fiddlers in the land and it’s a hoot to boot. They’re touring at the moment. More details from their site.

Steve Knightley

SK blog
It was no surprise that we sold out of tickets for this event 10 days before it was held. So Steve played to a full house - and an audience of devotees. It was possibly quite a nostalgic gig for him. The Open House, or the Springfield as it used to be known, witnessed many performances in the seventies of people like him. But not many of them went on to become national folk heroes or to produce world-class music. It was a nostalgic evening for the audience as well. They knew the words when it was time to sing along and they lapped up any references to past times.

Steve always gives a great performance and this was one of his best. He has a collection of beautiful instruments and he produces an eclectic repertoire that includes ballads, contemporary folk songs, traditional numbers, with and without instruments, and the occasional very tasteful cover. He writes everything from haunting ballads to songs for the audience to join in with; he puts poetry to music and he brings tales of humour and hardship to those who come to listen. But what is most memorable when you walk away is his obvious passion for life and his ability to write that passion into his music. Many of his songs are stories and they make you sit up and think about who you are and where you come from - they get right to the soul.

So our second club night was everything we had hoped for and more. We’re very grateful to the bar staff, who looked after us all so well, and to Stuart Reed, Pete and Annie, and Chloe, who gave quality floor spots. But most of all, we give a very special vote of thanks to Steve Knightley.


Billed as "our finger in your ear" this is a regular series of folk and acoustic-related podcasts which you can download to your iPod (or other music player) for free and then listen to whenever you like. Check out the archives for old shows that are still available and get downloading now. Folkcast is here.

Fairport's Cropredy Convention

Cropredy 2008
Most of the line-up for this year's Cropredy Convention has been announced by Fairport. Held in the heart of rural Oxfordshire, one of the friendliest and most eclectic festivals in the land will feature artists including Richard Thompson, Steve Winwood, Seth Lakeman, Buzzcocks, Ade Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, the John Jorgenson Band and Ralph McTell. If you've never been, we can't recommend it highly enough. Fantastic facilities, great food, family-friendly and an essential date in the folk and blues calendar. This year the festival runs from Thursday 13th of August to Saturday the 15th. Tickets go on sale from March 1st. Keep up to date by visiting the Fairport web site

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

Now in its 10th year, this annual awards ceremony recognises the best in acoustic music from all over the world. The awards are voted for by a panel of around 170 movers and shakers in the folk world including broadcasters, journalists, promoters, festival organisers and agents. There's a special award for the best folk club too. You can read about this year's awards here. And watch some video from the night here.

Helen Watson

Helen W small
What a delight it was to see Helen Watson last night. Her presence was warm, witty, gentle and understated, but her performance was outstanding. From the moment she started singing, we were there with her, locked into a beautiful unaccompanied version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I aint got you’ and then treated to a magical mix of original songs from her new album ‘Headrest’ (which sold like hot cakes) and haunting blues and soul numbers such as ‘That’s all it took’ (George Jones) and ‘I thought you should know’ (Steve Earle). You realise straight away that Helen is a professional artist, someone who thinks about her audience and delivers a mesmerising repertoire with charm and ease. We will definitely be having Helen back; if you missed her this time, don’t miss her again

This was our first club night since December, we were in our new venue and the atmosphere was great. So thanks to the Open House bar staff who made us very welcome and helped us out during the evening, and thanks to all our floor singers: Mike Ainscough, Chloe, Pete Cartlidge and Tim Broadbent, for contributing their range of styles and musical talent to this extremely enjoyable evening.

Ness and Alan