December/January events catchup

From the just-updated ‘Coming Up’ page:

  • 4th December, Knighton Drill Hall: Mellstock Band.presents ‘The Christmas Hearth’ at 7.30PM IN KNIGHTON DRILL HALL.Tickets at £10 (including a mince pie and mulled wine). More info 01547 528613.
  • 9th December: Blue Boar, Ludlow, SY8 1BB. Song House: An Evening of Seasonal Songs, Tunes and Carols
  • 9th December: Royal Oak, Fishguard: An Evening with Rapsquillion.fishguard
  • 10th-11th December: Shrewsbury Winter Festival
  • 16th December: Christmas Blues Jam at the Unicorn, Corve Street, Ludlow.
  • 27th January: Sultana Brothers supported by Jack Brett and Blue Moon at Ludlow Brewing Company. sultana-bros-a4-1-724x1024
  • March 4th 2017: 3rd Shropshire Hills Irish Music Day. Bookings are now open. Workshops include fiddle (Pete Cooper), flute & whistle (Jem Hammond) & session favourites (Kitty Greenwood)
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UB40 Review for

While not many people would think of UB40’s reggae-based rhythms as characteristic of a UK folk band, there are enough of their own songs of social commentary in their back catalogue to put them in a similar category to singer/songwriters like, say, Billy Bragg. (In fact, social commentary is a dominant thread among reggae songwriters but this isn’t the time for that lecture, and I’m not really qualified to give it anyway.)

That said, both the CDs recently released by the band calling itself UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey contain a high percentage of cover versions of songs that you probably won’t encounter much in a folk setting. But that doesn’t bother me: my finger was surgically removed from my ear many decades ago.

Once upon a time – when I first started to listen to folk music – there was the Clarion Skiffle Group, the Ian Campbell Trio and the Ian Campbell Folk Group. As well as nurturing such luminaries as Dave Swarbrick, Spencer Davis, Christine Perfect, and Dave Pegg, Ian was himself the composer of a number of fine songs, many of them with a political message. He was also the father of four sons, two of whom, Ali and Robin, went on to become founder members of UB40, a heavily reggae-influenced band also noted for its political sensibilities.

In 2008, however, Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue left the band, and in 2013 percussionist and vocalist Astro followed. Subsequently, the three of them were reunited in the line-up represented on CD called Unplugged, now released along with a Greatest Hits CD compiled from recordings by the lineup that remained stable until 2008. It doesn’t include recordings where Duncan, a third Campbell brother, replaced Ali as the original band’s vocalist. (There is yet another brother, David, at one time the band’s manager but as a performer more inclined to the traditional, and not to be confused with the Guyana-born singer/songwriter David Campbell, now living in Canada.)

My review of the two CDs can now be found on the site: UB40 FEATURING ALI, ASTRO AND MICKEY – Unplugged + Greatest Hits (UMC)

David Harley

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Shropshire Hills Irish Music Day

I’ve previously mentioned the 3rd Shropshire Hills Irish Music Day, with workshops by Kitty Greenwood (‘Play it by ear’), Pete Cooper (fiddle), Jem Hammond (flute and whistle) and Wisewood Folk (Irish session favourites). It takes place at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, School Road, SY7 9RS Craven Arms on 4th March.

Apparently there are still some places. Contact Kitty Greenwood (contact details on the Facebook page linked above) for more details.

David Harley

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Events at Knucklas, Clunton, and Knighton

From Siggy at Knucklas. Sorry I’m a bit late mentioning the first item, but I had a load of email to get through…

  1. Thursday 17th November 7.30 pm, Folk Evening, Castle Inn, Knucklas, a mixed session of tunes and songs, all welcome (Contact Siggy 01547 528223). (The next Folk down the Track will be on 15th December with ‘Bandamania’ – same venue.)
  2. Monday 28th November 7.30pm Session at the Crown Clunton.(Contact Richard 01588 660226)
  3. THE MELLSTOCK BAND Presents ‘The Christmas Hearth’SUNDAY 4th DECEMBER AT 7.30PM IN KNIGHTON DRILL HALL (see attachment for details).

    Tickets at £10 (including a mince pie and mulled wine) will be available at the Folk Evening on 17 November.”

    Or from

    The Tower House Gallery, Broad Street, Knighton or Tel 01547 528613 email or or

David Harley

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Review: Bap Kennedy, ‘Reckless Heart’

Sadly, Bap Kennedy died a few days, before his final album was due to be released. (It comes out on the 18th November.) Here’s my review for

BAP KENNEDY – Reckless Heart (Last Chance Records LCR 048)

David Harley

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Ludlow Fringe Festival 2017

I received this in email just now. Alas, Ludlow is a bit off my beat nowadays, but your mileage may vary. (Mileage from Cornwall is a bit impractical for a night out…)

Would you like to get involved with helping to organise next year’s Ludlow Fringe Festival?

If yes, then we would love to meet you!!

Please come along to our fortnightly
‘Fringe Nights’,
starting on Wednesday 9th November at 7.30pm in the Sitting Room (upstairs at the Blue Boar).

These are informal, friendly and sociable evenings where we can work together to plan, organise and make next year’s festival happen.

See you there!!

That’s The Blue Boar, 52 Mill Street, Ludlow, SY8 1BB. Tel.01584 878989

David Harley


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Session at Old Post Office, Shrewsbury

Just saw this posted by Richard Powell to the Musician Mateys🙂 Facebook Page:

Acoustic Knights Session at the Old Post Office Pub , Shrewsbury
Thursday 8.30 – 11.30 pm.

Come and play along or sing some tunes with a bunch of friendly musicians, nice people and good conversation, sitting round the tables playing.

Anyone wanting to try out their voice, anyone who has taken a break from music and wants to ease back into it will get a warm welcome. We are not a critical bunch, and are very supportive of each other, so it’s a great atmosphere to nurture abilities, no matter what your age, instrument or musical style. We currently play : 30’s, through to 90’s and contemporary music, plus a little flamenco and even Zorba the Greek, and the occasional pan pipe tune !
Come along and join in !

This is a regular event, so I’ll be adding it to our listings.

David Harley

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