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Glyde House, Glydegate, Bradford BD5 0BQ
01274 271114


Established 1956



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Topic Newsletter Archive


At Glyde House, Glydegate, Bradford BD5 0BQ

Newsletter No 171 - September 2016 

A little earlier than usual so you will get this before the new season starts on 1st September (there won't be a singers night to start off the month as we've had them during the whole of August).

During the Autumn season we will be bringing you some of the bigger names in the folk world for your delectation and delight as we celebrate or 60th anniversary. Here's what's coming up this month: 

1st September  :  Michael Chapman
The guitar and voice of Michael Chapman first became known on the Cornish Folk Circuit in 1967. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI's Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums: LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound. The influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the guitar of Mick Ronson and Rick (Steeleye Span) Kemp's bass, was John Peel's favourite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman 'hit', Postcards of Scarborough, a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.

This self-styled old white blues guy from Yorkshire is one of the most under-rated heroes of our time. With his uniquely English melancholic perspective and emotive guitar style he deserves wider recognition. 6/5

This is the sound of a real songwriter who’s lived a real life and all that entails – Q Magazine

For this, the opening event of our autumn season, we have a support act, popular local duo Keystone, with their mix of original and well-chosen covers. Plus a visit from the Deputy Mayor of Bradford, who, it is whispered, is a bit of a folkie, a song writer even, himself. Who knows, there may be a floorspot from a man in chains. Another first for the Topic...  

 8th September:  Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
Another welcome return for these two-time BBC Folk Award winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, as well as being nominated for Best Duo in 1915. Soon after the meeting and joining together musically in 2011, the duo were signed to Fellside Records and in July 2012 released their debut album, The Queen’s Lover. Numerous tours followed as the duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene. In January 2013, the pair picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award. Following the award win, Russell and Algar toured the country in April and, after completing school and University Exams in May, began touring again at the beginning of June - a schedule which saw them play venues and festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention as well as appearing live on Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Show.

After recording their second album in the November of 2013, again with Fellside, Russell and Algar received the Horizon Award for Best breakthrough act at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The second album, The Call, was then released in July receiving 5 Stars in fRoots, 4 Stars in both R2 Magazine and The Telegraph and a host of other brilliant reviews, Bright Young Folk describing it as an “outstanding show of maturity” with “enormous promise”.

The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces. Algar, originally a member of TRI became All Ireland Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Russell had begun a career as a solo musician supporting acts such as Karine Polwart and Lau, amongst others. 6/5

The press coverage and folk club reports have been glowing and rightly so  -  R2 Magazine

15th September:  Bob Fox
One of the leading champions of the North East’s great musical heritage, alongside the likes of Jez Lowe, Billy Mitchell and Benny Graham, Bob Fox has been a professional folk musician since 1975. He has a sublime voice and a highly individual guitar technique and has performed in many parts of the world, both solo and in different combinations.  He completed an 18 month stint performing as "Songman" in the National Theatre’s West End production of Michael Morpurgo’s Warhorse to great acclaim.  Bob has been nominated Best Folk Singer several times in the BBC Folk Awards and his version of the Chris Leslie song My Love is in America gained a nomination for Best Original Song: he has also been involved in recording 6 new Radio Ballads for the BBC produced by John Tams. 6/5

The sound we hear in live performance, that astonishing guitar technique coupled with one of England's finest voices  - Ralph McTell

22nd September: Dana & Susan Robinson (USA)
There are no finer exponents of Americana than these two superb singers/instrumentalists. Guitars, banjo, fiddle, mandolin and harmonica with subtle and exquisite harmonies are features of these most talented of performers  with their mix of traditional and original songs and tunes. Their unique blend of contemporary songwriting and traditional Appalachian music bring to their performances a deep understanding of America’s musical heritage.

With a excellent new CD The Angel’s Share recently released, this tour promises to be their best yet.

The genius of a Dana and Susan Robinson performance lies in their ability to capture the imagination of their audience as they take them on a journey across America and convey the mystery and wonder of the places they visit. 6/5

Many songwriters have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthries or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and the soul of folk music – Dirty Linen

29th September: Joe Topping
Joe Topping is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been described as a “cross between Ry Cooder, Woody Guthrie and Paul Brady”. From the traditional music heard in the folk clubs he grew up around to the Americana and blues influences from his adventures in the USA which have included living in a pickup truck and driving around America for the best part of a year and later walking 1400 miles with a guitar on his back from Chicago to New Orleans to raise awareness and funds for New Orleans musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Joe has developed his own unique bottleneck guitar style which he employs in many of his original songs and has a voice that can move from velvet soft to steely and powerful. He has played on stage and in the studio with many legends of the British folk scene including members of Fairport Convention, While and Matthews and Andy Irvine.

Joe toured with The John Wright Band after the late John Wright heard and covered one of his songs, The Flame Danced Flamenco. He has also been a member of the successful Elbow Jane, Ashley Hutchings’ Rainbow Chasers and more latterly The Vagrant Kings. 6/5

… heartfelt vocal backed by intricate, intensely accomplished guitar work -  fRoot magazine

has a gift to write songs that will last and that others will want to sing – the late John Wright


IMPORTANT in the Grassroots Music Awards run by the Yorkshire Gig Guide website 2016 is still open and will be so until 31st August. There are 13 categories covering many aspects of the local acoustic music scene in which you can cast a vote should you wish to do so, including artists/bands, venues, clubs etc etc. For the full nomination lists visit:  (yes that does say 2015!)


For those who are interested there was a programme on BCB radio on 22nd August devoted to the Topic's 60th anniversary, featuring reminiscences by some of those who have been involved in running the club over the years, interspersed with music from people who have appeared on our stage. The programme Into the Buttercup was presented by Rob Martin and Molly Kenyon and you can listen again (for a while) by following this link:

It's the first item at the top of the page titled "Specialist Music Monday 22 August"

The final date for the Topic Song (see  previous newsletters) is approaching: bring it on down on 3rd November when you will be able to perform it to an eager and breathless audience.

Usual stuff

Don't forget the Topic song project for this year's anniversary - see recent newsletters for details. You can contact me,, if you would like any further information.

For performers who may be thinking of approaching the club for a booking, please note that the bookings organiser is Rahel Guzelian, email address :

If you would like to become a member of the Topic Folk Club, it costs just 5.00 per year, running from 1st January. Being a member entitles you to the lower ticket prices shown in this newsletter, as well as the chance to become more involved in the workings of the club if you would like to.

If you’re visiting the club for the first time, be sure to come and say hello, and if anyone has any suggestions for the club, for example if you would like us to try to book a particular artist, we’d like to hear them.

The Topic runs on Thursdays at Glyde House, Glydegate, Little Horton Lane, BD5 0BQ 8.30pm start. (Singers & Musicians nights normally start at 8.15pm). Like all the clubs in the area, our aim is to provide good quality live entertainment to suit all tastes of those interested in folk music, and we thank you for your continued support.

Floor singers are always welcome, especially in the first half, though may be limited when we have a booked support act - please check. Please try to get there by 8.15 pm if you’d like a slot – it helps the MC to plan the evening.

To find the Topic on Facebook search for "Topic Fc"

Tony Charnock, Topic Newsletter Editor 

Topic Folk Club

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