Mudcat Café message #2720830 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122842   Message #2720830
Posted By: GUEST,Rod Davis
10-Sep-09 - 01:40 PM
Thread Name: Liverpool Folk Club 1970
Subject: RE: Liverpool Folk Club 1970
Some great stuff here on this thread! Why doesn't someone write it all down whilst there are still sufficient people around who remember it?

I was amused to see a reference from Andy Seagroatt to Mabel's Own Ceilidh Band. We used to play in the Old Post Office pub round the corner from the Green Moose, much to the annoyance of the landlady, Mabel. It would have been a problem finding another place to play so we hit on the idea of asking Mabel if we could name the band in her honour. This absolutely did the trick and there was no more talk about getting us out. I even heard her telling some guy at the bar "Them's my lads playing in there!" The wonders of PR….

When we played in the band competition at Bluecoat Chambers we provided our usual thrown together sound. Somewhere I still have photocopies of the judges handwritten verdicts, Bert Lloyd just wrote "Good Old Mabel!"

The pub with the bamboo room was the Victoria, down the left side of St George's Hall as you go towards the tunnel. It was notorious for the Newcastle Brown which flowed like water. I would drink six bottles and drive home. Nowadays after six bottles I wouldn't even remember if I had a car……

I first heard about the Spinners Club in October 1960 from a fellow Liverpudlian I met at university. When I came home for the Xmas vacation I joined the club. This was soon followed by the Washhouse in the basement of Sampson & Barlow's, pointedly subtitled "The Singers' Club", a less than subtle reference to the fact that most of the members were floor singers from the Spinners Club who wanted a bigger crack of the whip.

Some years later Pete McGovern himself introduced the Bluegrasss Ramblers when we appeared on Hughie Green's "Opportunity Knocks" at the Granada Studios in Didsbury. We sang and played "Boil 'em cabbage down" but we were told that we had to change the words of one verse as it constituted advertising.

Our original verse ran:

"I bought my girl a pocket watch she swallowed it one day
And now she's taking Epsom salts to pass the time away."

We had to change "Epsom Salts" to "Liver Salts".

In the early days of course Jacqui McDonald played mandolin for the Spinners, I was very impressed with her curly Gibson. A few years later I was privileged to see Doc Watson for the first time when he appeared at the Coach House with Ralph Rinzler.

I clearly remember Paul Simon appearing at Sampson & Barlows several times, it must have been at the Spinners Club. Paul did a sort of egocentric cabaret act rather than the slightly self-deprecating thing the average folk club guest served up. This really got up my nose and I would stay outside drinking until he had finished as I couldn't stand the smarm!

Regarding Jim and Shirley Peden, I also assumed that the group had been called after the song "The Calton Weaver", however when I checked this with Jim he told me that it was because they lived in Calton Avenue just by Penny Lane!

Stan Ambrose once borrowed my Swarbrick and Carthy LP so he could use a tune from it as the signature tune for his radio show. Stan - if you ever get to read this, have a look in your record collection just in case it's still there, it must be worth a few bob by now!

A few names from the dim and distant with whom I am still in contact are Ben Manning, guitarist and habitue of the Green Moose (he worked in Littlewood's IT department). Ben has been living near Minneapolis for many years and he is now retired and makes musical instruments. Alan Ward, mandolinist of the Bluegrass Ramblers, is still around in the London area and is still picking brilliantly; Bob Hughes, guitarist from the same group now lives in Oxford but doesn't play much. Dave Gould, our banjo player, sadly died a few years ago in Israel to which he had emigrated, I am still in touch with Natalie however.
Rosie Davis, (sister of Bernie and myself), lives in E Sussex and is very active these days on the festival scene.

Best regards to anyone who still remembers me! - Rod Davis


I repeat - it's about time somebody did a decent write up about the folk scene in Liverpool, maybe there is one already and I have missed it???