Mudcat Café message #2705492 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122842   Message #2705492
Posted By: GUEST,John Howson
21-Aug-09 - 12:02 PM
Thread Name: Liverpool Folk Club 1970
Subject: RE: Liverpool Folk Club 1970
Although I've now lived in deepest, darkest Suffolk for the passed thirty years, I suppose I should put my oar in!

The first folk club I went to was Jackie and Bridie's which was held at the Domestic Mission in the Dingle. A gang of us used to go when we were in the fifth year at school. It was not licensed so we had no problems getting in. The first three guests I saw there were Packie Byrne, Trevor Lucas and Christie Moore. Not a bad start I suppose! We then regularly went to the Spinners and Carlton Folk club (Monday and Fridays at Gregsons Wells) and on a Sunday night it was the Bothy in Birkdale or the Leesiders in Seacombe. Then we discovered the Green Moose Coffee Bar in Brooke's Alley. Colin was the owner then, followed by Ted (and finally Brian Ferguson -'Fergie'). It was always our meeting place on Saturday afternoons and Thursday night the Kirby Town Three's folk club was held there, run of course by Willie Russell. I think that was the first club I sung a song at in public. On a Friday night after the Carlton club Ted would open up the Moose for late night coffee and bacon butties. I remember one night Carthy and Swarbrick had played a concert at the Philharmonic Hall and they came down, but without their instruments, so Martin borrowed the crappie house nylon strung guitar and Dave borrowed a tenor banjo from a couple of young musicians from Scotland who always seemed to be around. They were known as the Carrick Folk and were Tich Frier and Davey Johnson (a brilliant banjo player who has been Elton John's guitarist now, for many years). I was then a regular at Vic (MTG) on a Saturday and a member of MFRA and travelled on the big green bus to festivals and customs all over the country. We all used the Customs House in Canning Place and I had my Twenty First birthday there. As for Oily Joes too many memories to relate!

My first musical adventure was when I formed a group called the Wakes with accordionist Tom Brown and singer Frank McCall, and we played most of the clubs in Merseyside. After that I played with Bernie Davis as a duo for many years and along with Tony Wilson (Molyneux) started the Liverpool Folk Club at the Mitre. I then teamed up with Barbara Bennion (Snape) and again we performed all over the area and we were invited to become residents and the new Liverpool Traditional Folk Club when it was started at Gregsons Well. I compered the first night and somewhere I have a recording of the programme Stan Ambrose made for Radio Merseyside. The club moved to the Cross Keys and finally the Vines (the Big House) in Lime Street. At Gregson's Well other residents included a superb Irish music band called Seoda Ceoil which comprised of Mick and Elaine Johnson, Shay Black, Tony Gibbons and Davie Brennan. That reminds me that I haven't mentioned Monday nights at the Irish Centre in Mount Pleasant, The Liverpool Ceili Band, trips to Ireland and of course my dear old mucker Bruce Scott. That's another story!

If anyone from past would like to get in touch you can contact me via