An interesting resource for folkies

Recommended to me by my friend Andi Lee (The Ashen): a Mixcloud podcast series by Jon Wilks at The Old Songs Podcast. Here’s the current listing:

  • Ep12 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Banks of Green Willow’, ft. Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
  • Ep11 – The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Lord Gregory’, ft. Burd Ellen
  • Ep10: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’, ft. Jim Moray
  • Ep9: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Myn Mair’, ft. Owen Shiers (Cynefin)
  • Ep8: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hal-An-Tow’ ft. Lisa Knapp
  • Ep7: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Dives and Lazarus’ ft. Nick Hart
  • Ep6: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘Hard Times Of Old England’ ft. Billy Bragg
  • Ep5: The Old Songs Podcast – ‘An Acre of Land’ ft. Paul Sartin
  • Episode 4 – “The Sweet Nightingale” The Old Songs Podcast with Jackie Oates & Jon Wilks
  • Episode 3 – “On Humber Bank” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Ben Walker
  • Episode 2 – “Tam Lin” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Jim Moray
  • Episode 1: “Henry Martin / Lofty Tall Ship” The Old Songs Podcast with Jon Wilks & Nick Hart

I’ve been dipping in and out of UK and Irish folk music for many decades now, and am well-acquainted with most of these songs, but still found much to enjoy here.

David Harley

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CD review – Dan Penn

Another review for, of an album by Dan Penn. Southern Soul isn’t really my thing, but it’s a pleasant CD.

David Harley

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‘Silk & Steel’ – video for Collective Aid in Penzance

I don’t normally promote my own material on this blog (and yes, I did say further posts here would be rare if they happened at all), but it’s for a good cause…

Here’s the link to a video I recorded for Global Jamming St. Ives in support of Collective Aid, in Cornwall.

Here’s a link to their Just Giving page, if you care to contribute: they’re raising funds for a new van to help their operations in Northern France, supporting displaced people in Calais, Dunkirk and the Balkans.

Words and Music (c) David Harley

Here’s an MP3 recorded at Centre Sound, London, in the 1980s.

And here are the lyrics.

Rapid-fire repartee, quicksilver conversation
Tongues that stroked and struck, caressed and clashed.
I remember all too well the arching of your eyebrows
When you pruned my self-importance when you saw that I’d been rash
And left my lines over-extended, and my flanks undefended:
Tactically, I never could compete with you.
But you always held back from the coup de grâce
So finally you met your Waterloo.

In the long years since I left you, I could never quite forget
Through all those other beds and battlefields.
It’s been so long since we crossed blades, and I forget the finer shades
Of the skirmishes where we laid steel to steel.
But the silk of your caress, and your blazing red-haired temper
Left a scar that never really did quite heal.
Like your after-midnight tenderness: somehow across the years
I never quite pull free of silk and steel
And I never quite cut free of silk and steel.

Silk and Steel is actually a type of guitar string with silk wound round steel. The song isn’t about guitar strings…

(Why would you use strings like that? Because they’re a bit easier on the fingers, though the tension is quite different to what you find on nylon strings, so the tone isn’t any more ‘classical’. In my experience, they didn’t last very well, so I didn’t use them for long.}

David Harley: vocal, acoustic guitar.

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A fond farewell…

After discussion with Fliss Burke, who originally launched the Sabrinaflu site, it’s been agreed that it’s not really practical for us to continue to keep this resource adequately updated even after the Covid-19 crisis abates. I will, for the moment, leave the regular events page as it is, and if I’m contacted directly about changes/corrections, I’ll do my best to flag them here, but the page is inevitably going to be less and less accurate as time goes on. The Events Listings/Resources page does list some alternative resources, though I won’t be continuing to maintain that page either. I’m leaving some other pages up, but again I won’t be adding to them.  However, I will for the moment be making corrections to any pages if advised via the Contact form.

I’m not in a position to go through checking links at this point, I’m afraid, so don’t go to anything without checking with the organizer or venue. But then, that was always my advice!

It’s been a pleasure maintaining this resource, and I’ve learned a lot from it. Unfortunately, issues with age, health and (in my case) geographical location make it impractical to continue to maintain it. However, Fliss and I will continue for the moment to maintain the Sabrinaflu Facebook Group and you’re more than welcome to post relevant links and other material there. It doesn’t take a lot of moderation, and if anyone is willing and able to help out with the administration – preferably someone younger! – we’d be very happy to hear from you. Again, you can use the contact form here if you’d rather not contact us via the group.

Best wishes

David Harley

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Closing/suspended events

Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, a large number of regular events have already been cancelled or at least suspended. I’m afraid I can’t promise to keep on top of all the events listed here as they go offline and (hopefully) resume further down the line. Of course, I’ll remove anything I know to have stopped happening altogether in due course. Where I can, I’ll continue to repost any relevant information on the Sabrinaflu group page on Facebook. Whether you decide to go to events that are still running is up to you, of course, at least until the government decrees otherwise: for the moment I’m leaving the list intact with contact details – where I have them – so that you can check on current status.

David Harley

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New session in Bishops Castle

News from Trevor Hedges:

“Since the demise of the popular folk session at The Sun Inn in Clun we’ve been looking for a new home – and it looks as if we may have found one. You probably know that The Six Bells in Bishops Castle is in new hands and Mandy, Keith and the team have already made big improvements to the place. There used be a great session in The Six Bells twenty-odd years ago and we’re hoping that with Stuart Altman and Scott Zwetsloot in the chair we’ll be able to resurrect some rather excellent traditional music. The first session is on March 25th – we hope you’ll come along and give it a whirl!”

Added to the Regular Events page.

David Harley

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Changes to this blog

I’ve been carrying out extensive changes to this blog (among others), many of them arising from the fact that I need to spend (even) less time on it. Mostly it’s been a matter of amending some out-of-date info or hiding pages that aren’t useful/updated right now, so it’s a lot less cluttered. However, there are two major changes.

  1. All the pages I’ve modified this time round should have today’s date at the top. This is in the hope that if at some point in the future I’m unable to update the blog and no one else has come along to take up the slack (hint, hint…) it will be reasonably obvious that the information is out of date.
  2. I’ve modified the ‘Regular Events’ page – which is probably what most people come here to look at – to a slightly more cohesive format. Specifically, events that happen less frequently (e.g. every month) are grouped following the weekly event for that day, rather than in a separate group.

David Harley

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My Folklife column

[Update: after discussion with the editors, the May issue will be my last column for Folklife.]

For the last few years I’ve been writing a short column for Folklife with a listing of regular events in Shropshire. However, I’m planning to quit writing the Shropshire page for the magazine at or before the end of 2020 as I spend very little time in Shropshire now and, surprisingly, I’m not getting younger. As a matter of fact, I’m in the process of decreasing the amount of maintenance I do on this blog, for similar reasons. I will, for now, continue to contribute occasionally to the Facebook group since that’s mostly just a case of sharing links from other Facebook resources.

Folklife is now published every four months rather than quarterly, a print magazine with a free online version and with quite a few online resources, including news-pages for several areas including Cornwall, Bristol & Gloucestershire, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Worcs, Brum, Coventry & Warwickshire, Wales, and Oxfordshire. (The links for those pages were broken again, so I’ve just removed them. You can still reach the site via the link above, however, but that’s actually a redirect to the new site.)

If anyone has a little time they wouldn’t mind spending on a Shropshire column for Folklife in place of mine, let me know via the contact form and I’ll put you in touch with the editor. Come to that, if you feel like helping with the Sabrinaflu blog…

David Harley

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CD review: Gemma Mae Anderson

Another review for nice album, but a bit pop-y for my taste.…/ Still, making money for Versus Arthritis is a good thing.

David Harley

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Folk down the track/Knucklas update

The Castle Folk Night due to take place on the 16th January has been cancelled for this month only.  This is because 2 days later we are having our annual KNUCKLAS WASSAIL – please come and join us!

Saturday 18th Jan KNUCKLAS WASSAIL – the procession  starts at 7pm from 3 Castle Green (don’t forget torches and your posts & pans to make a noise)  or meet in the Castle Inn at 7.45pm for the Wassail ceremony! Music session and songs to continue afterwards.


Saturday 25th Jan BURNS NIGHT – 7pm Knucklas Community Centre –  Meal, Wine, Whiskey, Music & Dancing – £20 –  Phone me on 528223 to book your tickets.

All the best


Both events organised by the Knucklas Castle Community Land Project


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