TOPIC NEWSLETTER 51 - March/April 2006
Greetings: and welcome to a half-March half-April Newsletter.
Mar 23 Judy Cook.
Judy is based in Maryland, but originated from a musical family in Virginia. She is now respected on both sides of the Atlantic for her clear unaccompanied interpretation of British and American ballads. She delights her audiences with her joy of singing, her respect for the tradition, and her fine sense of humour. Featured support comes from Andy Hill, a singer and songwriter of (sometimes humorous) songs, who regularly performs at a variety of clubs in the Yorkshire Dales. MC for the night will be John Waller.
Mar 30 Julie Ellison.
To complete a month dominated by female performers (not planned, it just turned out that way) we have one of the best technical guitarists on the circuit. Not only that, Julie is a fine songwriter with a sharp, even acerbic edge. Always enormous value. Featured Support will come from a Canadian pair that I wish I could have given a more prominent part in our programme: Danyluk and Card, a folk-fusion duo on tour who write their own material with a refreshing, organic sound. MC for the night will be bluesman Gerry Cooper.
April 6 Rodney Cordner and Jean-Pierre Rudolph.
An exhilarating Irish-French duo, combining fiddle, guitar and songs both original, traditional and witty. J-P R’s fiddle is breathtaking, exciting and fast. R C has a strong northern voice, lyrical songwriting and a performance reminiscent of Christy Moore. As the Dutch press reports: “Het duo Rodney Cordner en Jean-Pierre Rudolph gaat al jaren mee in folkland en komt iedere keer weer verrassend om de hoek op cd. Zanger Cordner heeft een stern die een beetje in de buurt van Christy Moore komt.” You can’t say fairer than that. Click on their website (via the Topic’s), and music flows unbidden from your speakers. No Featured Support booked as we go to press; but the evening will be in the capable MC hands of Ian Gobbi.
April 13 Singers and Musicians.
About 30 turned up to the March S and M session! That one had an Earth theme: we’ve had Water in January, so it is Fire this time. (And yes, Air in May.) Running out of inspiration? Never. Anyway, it isn’t compulsory: just an excuse to give you cause to look out something different.
April 20 A Double Header evening.
Emily and Ben are two talented musicians based in York, offering carefully structured, mostly traditional material on fiddle, low whistle and voice (Emily) and guitar (Ben). They are “partnered” by Bradford’s Mr Folk Music: certainly in terms of the radio airwaves, and also in the number of different instruments he plays (allegedly over 100). Yes, it’s BCB’s Tim Moon. Both acts are well worth a headline booking in their own right (they have been before, they will be again) and to have them both in one evening is a massive treat. MC for the night will be fellow fiddler Joy Leach.
April 27 Steve Ashley.
Now here’s a treat. One of the UK’s most consistent and prolific songwriters over the past 30 years, who has been in the forefront of folk-rock, and performed with many of the greats and legends. Come early! MC John Waller.
May sees us host John Conolly (May 4th be with you) and Bernard Carney from Australia (18th), winding up with Pete Abbott (of the John Wright band) on 25th. You can read about the upcoming programme beyond this on the internet www.topic-folk-club.org.uk or in future issues of this newsletter. We have some great acts coming up: acoustic guitarists Pete Smith and John Buckley, Newcastle Folk Music degree graduates CrossCurrent, Scotland’s Robin Laing, and our very own Roger Sutcliffe, making a June rather than July appearance.
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Unless you’ve been asleep for the last few months, you’ll know that the Autumn sees the 50th anniversary of the Topic Folk Club, the undisputed oldest continuously-running folk club in the world. We can’t quite pin down exactly when it was formed, but it was partly formalised following the Hungarian uprising in late October 1956 (to raise funds for refugees) and the financial year has traditionally run to October 31.
But instead of having a single bash, we are instead having a 50th anniversary season starting in October and going on to the end of December. This will be packed with big names: in no particular order: Julie Felix, Vin Garbutt, Wizz Jones, Dana Robinson, Paul Downes, Eddie Walker, Beck Sian and many more. Wizz claims to have played the Topic in 1958, Eddie in 1968 or so, and Vin has been coming for ever. We are hoping for full houses week after week.
Two Minor matters:
First, today I have changed email systems (not my idea). So if this arrives in an odd format, typeface or with other unusual features; that is the reason. I just hope my address-book system has survived the transfer. (From Eudora to Outlook, if you want to know)
Second, for those interested in my Chinese guitar exploits, know that I did buy yet another instrument in Beijing: of a beautiful purple colour; but quite basic in design and quality. I trailed it round eight cities in China, mostly playing it in airport departure lounges, before passing it on to a colleague for her daughter. So you won’t get to see it, probably. But I do also have a gourd-shaped reeded whistle …
Third, brewing has now started on the C ock and Bottle’s premises, and the first brew will be in the pumps by the end of the month.
Finally, do keep checking the website. There is a newish section called FAQ (the accuracy of which you may comment on) and also an expanding section on the history of the new venue. There are maps of 18th Century Bradford, and even a picture of the Laycock Rooms, the very first 1956 venue.
See you all some Thursday at the C ock and Bottle at one of the above events. 8.30 start. Be there by then if you want to perform a floor spot, which are still available every night even where there is a Featured Support artist booked. No smoking in the club room.
Topic Newsletter Editor
Topic Newsletter No 51: March/April 2006