Back To ‘Normal’ ?

Hi all!!

It’s been a long time since anything like our normal service was hanging around on the ‘interweb’ but it is good to be back.

You will find all the usual people and stuff. Annie Jay (@Annie_jay39) is still here with her reviews of new goodies and making the odd cuppa for our CEO, Mr’G’. As for ‘albums you must get your mitts on’, it is still here but now in the capable hands of ‘Fairport Fee’ (@Fairport_Fee) who makes a cracking job of giving us what we missed the first time around. And for all the new ‘folkies’ we have ‘Julies Jottings’ (@barlowsgirl) bringing you a sideways glance of the folk scene and gig reviews not always of a folkie nature.

All in all, a good mix of the stuff we like best without the aid of a finger in the ear!

Let’s kick this post off with a report from ‘Fee’ about an album I think we would all enjoy…….

……I felt a very recognisable chill this morn, oh yes winter has returned and music was needed to lift the spirits. So out of my record collection I pulled, ‘Rout of he Blues’ the 1970 classic album from Harrogate brothers Robin and Barry Dransfield. It’s iconic sleeve photo of the handsome brothers walking through a wintery forest at dusk, a light dusting of snow on the ground, really jumped out at me from all the other albums.

‘The Blues’ in the title of the album do not refer to any form of melancholy or indeed the music from the ‘deep south’ of the U.S.A. but to the ‘Royal Horse Guards’, who were known as ‘The Blues’. I quote from the sleeve notes;

This song about their mustering was put together by Barry from The Idiom of the People, ‘Ingledrew’s Yorkshire Ballads’, and a vaguely remembered tune learned originally from Dave Howes of York.

From the first bar of the opening track, the quiet energy leaps forward and immediately captivates the listener and transports them to a simpler place in time, before the age of ‘auto tune’ and digital editing. The Dransfields sing with the heart in their wonderful Yorkshire accents and harmonize so perfectly together, the way only brothers can. The instrumental work on the album is without equal, Robin playing guitar and Barry on fiddle, held uniquely in the crook of his arm allowing him to sing to his own playing!

The album contains 12 tracks, a perfect mix of self penned instrumentals and traditional English classics beautifully and uniquely arranged by the Dransfields. Although 40 years old, it still sounds as fresh and as distinctive to this day. It’s an unforgettable classic from two of the most uniquely talented men ever to grace the British Folk scene. So for those of you who haven’t listened to it in a while, why not give ‘Rout of the Blues’ a spin and fall in love with it’s timeless beauty once again and for those who haven’t heard it yet, put it straight on your ‘must have’ list. I guarantee it will not disappoint! (many thanks to Fee (@Fairport_Fee) for that super review that makes me feel my age ;-0..Phil))

So you fancy playing the mandolin?

If you do, the following article may go some way to answering the odd question you may have…it is a story to be told over many blogs to come but in the meantime send any questions you may have along to me at FTF Towers by the usual routes.

Where do I start? Well I suppose it has to be the instrument? Now this is the tricky bit…do you go ‘entry level’ and spend less than £100 (nowt wrong with that, quite a few goodies to be had but also a lot of rubbish too), or ‘mid range’, £200 to £400’ish? (Zillions of choice here…maybe a bit too much!). Do you get what you pay for? In the main, yes. Over £500 and made by hand you may be paying for the beauty of the timber and choice of finish but well worth the money. I would say that see if you fall in love with the playing first and give it a while before you part with that kind of dosh. I will list a few of the better retailers and makers in a future blog. For now, see if you can befriend a player to take with you, ‘on the day’. Most of us do not bite and only a phone call away. Just as a tease… have you ever thought of a kit? Available as both acoustic and electro (looks like a shrunken Fender Telecaster!). You get a lot of mando for your money so well worth a thought or two. I have just built an electro and it’s super…more next blog, with pictures.


Flaming June (@flamingjuneuk) are to hit the studio soon to record an EP, I’m sure it will be worth the wait. Contact Louise for details.

Under A Banner (@underabanner) have just released an EP which is of their usual top quality, (a full review soon).

Alan Jones (@cyclingalan) has a monthly Celtic music night at Barnsley Folk Club, (full details and dates next blog or contact him on Twitter or Facebook).

Loads more goodies soon but for now, happy folkin’, Twitter @folktalkinfolk FTF Towers hotline 07784023787.


Long Time No Blog!!

Hi all and thank you for your visit.

I must apologise for such a long lay off the keyboard. It is not for the lack of news on the folkie front but finding the time!

I start with all good intentions, with tons of this and that to pass on and up pops summat else to do. Of late, it is the preparation and  practicing for a return to performing and recording in 2014, but much more about that in the near future.

The main reason for this post is to inform you all about the sad passing of Annie Jay’s (@Annie_jay39) mum earlier this year. I’m sure all her followers on Twitter and readers of her welcome articles here at FTF Towers would join me in letting her know how sorry we are to hear such sad news and our thoughts are with her. It goes without saying if you need anything Annie just let us know! Also good wishes to Mr ‘G’ (our CEO) who I am sure must be a tower of strength.

Starting with our next post you will see a difference here at FTF. Along with ‘yours truly’ and the great contributions from ‘Annie Jay’ we will have ‘Fees Folder’ from ‘Fairport Fee’ (@Fairport_Fee) with her take and great knowledge of albums past. Plus ‘Julies Jottings’ (@barlowsgirl), who will bring you views and comments from someone new to folk music and the odd gig review (not always of the folk variety!) thrown in.

Mucho to look forward to.

Please send us any news you may have re festivals, gigs, albums, clubs, photo’s and good old gossip to :-

@folktalkinfolk, email, tel 07784023787 (from 1st Nov)


Belt and Braces

The sad news of the demise of HMV got me thinking (and that’s always bad news!).

Just for a while put on your ‘drug addict I must get a fix’ head on. So the people down the street go to the folk club or for a pizza every Monday without fail. I’m going down there to help myself. You get in and what do you take? Is it the 500+ collection of CD’s in the rack along one wall? Or is it the nice PC, Laptop or TV? It’s a ‘no brainer’ grab the laptop and hop it.

What the hell has that got to do with HMV? Well, two of the main reasons they have gone are our music buying habits. If we want that CD ‘in the flesh’ we go to that site on the interweb named after a long river. But more often than not we download it in the format of our choice. If we get round to it, it may get as far as our phone but that’s about it. Even when we upgrade our laptop the guys at PC Thingamybob transfer our not to be lost files over to the new machine before we give it to next door for the kids to play with. The same goes for our photo’s. One day I’ll print these off, but we never do. Your laptop or PC exits through the patio doors and so do your tunes and pic’s of Aunt Mauds 100th birthday party.

I will get to the point. For £40-£50 you can get yourself an external hard drive the size of a paperback book with enough storage space for a city centre library. To which you can send all those ‘never to be lost’ memories. Then all you have to do is use a few of those brain cells thinking of the best place to hide it!

When you get home following a great night at the folk club and your 60″ TV, XBox and laptop have gone you can rest easy in the fact that your contents insurance will take care of the hardware and your portable hard drive will take care of your memories.


Next week will see the return of gig listings, news of albums and EP’s just around the corner. Also hope to have an ‘essential album’ review.

So it’s love and best wishes from Mr G, Annie and myself, enjoy the folk awards!

I have a feeling you will not have seen one of these before?

Welcome back folks. We have a varied blog for you this week starting with the views on the first edition of the new BBC Folk Show and the explanation of this weeks blog tital.

Following one of our ‘power’ meetings here at FTF Towers Annie was told to go to the listening room with nothing more than headphones a bottle of Merlot and a long straw to give a good listen to the new show. She must have been very nice to Mr G to get that job. I only ever get a bottle of pop!….Over to Annie for her report…..

Bellowhead the energetic 11 strong band opened the show and, in all, played three numbers, 10,000 Miles, Lillibulero and the ever popular Roll the Woodpile Down. Replacing the ‘sacked’ Mike Harding (host of the show for some 15 years) is the nervous sounding Mark Radclffe. The Folk Show must go on and rumour has it that despite the publicity both are still good pals. The show remains true to it’s folk and acoustic traditions and in my opinion the live interviews and sessions give it a contemporary feel which I like.With a glass of Merlot in my hand I felt I was at the gig! Could Mike Harding have presented this new concept? Yes, did BBC Radio 2 want to play folk music while avoiding beard growth!!! Maybe.

Thanks for that Annie and hope you enjoyed your wine?

Now back to that strange tital to this weeks post.

Now take a look at the following photo….what do you see (apart from a well used case)?

A bouzouki…right? Wrong, take another gander…a bouzouki with half the strings missing? Wrong, now here is where the quality of photo does not help. Now go to the fifth fret and you can just spot a tuning peg. Yep you have got it, a bouzouki body with a five string banjo neck! A ‘banjolouki’? Well thats what Rosie @banjoloukiHQ says it’s called and is the proud owner and as far as she knows it started life just the way it is now. I would love to know how it sounds. Maybe one day. She is a first class ‘tweeter’ and well worth a ‘follow’ any day of the week.

Sorry must cut short here as I managed to delete first copy of this post so this is a ‘rush job’. Promised mentions and links in next post….bye for now.

Louki 1

I am not about to do a ‘Septic Peg’ and guess what 2013 holds…..

All the same, “Happy New Year” to one and all. One thing I will do is place a bet that 2013 is going to be drier but I could be wrong!!!!

First, a quick catch up from ‘our Annie’ who (lucky girl) managed to catch the Bristol leg of the Kate Rusby ’20’ tour. The 20 meaning 20 years on the road!!!

Anyway, take it away Annie :-

Colston Hall, Bristol, 13th December.

If you think the likes of Wham or Slade have the perfect compilation of festive tunes you clearly have not seen or heard Kate Rusby at Christmas. Kate is a folk singer of the highest order from deepest South Yorkshire and in addition to those tunes she has a warm heart and many a story to tell which she shares with all on a regular basis and you never tire of hearing them, just super!

Kate opens with a rendition of ‘Cranbrook’ which is interesting in itself as three versions of ‘While Shepherds Watch’ in different guises appear throughout the set.

She also performs ‘Little Town of Bethlehem’ then tells the story of the school nativity play and playing the part of Angel Gabriel required wings which her mum kindly made from feathers from the family cushions.

Post interval Kate appears clutching yet another ‘cuppa’ as well as scarf and gloves and jokes that the heating could have been turned on a little earlier!

The highlight of the set was ‘Here We come a Wassailing’ and her ‘band’ from all corners of the country just add to the overall Rusby experience. All the people who came away from this concert were full of Christmas cheer and the enjoyment Kate Rusby has given us and best of all, we have another 20 to look forward to. I for one cannot wait and I bet she makes a great mum too!!!

Thanks to Annie for that.

It’s ‘plug time’ again.

I have had my ears on ‘Under a Banner’ for what must be getting on for a year now and I’m pleased to let you know that if you drop Adam a mail ( he would be very happy to help part you from a very small amount of money for one of those CD things full of ace tunes to boogy on down to. Seriously they are good.

At long last I seem to have all the contact details for Louise Hamilton aka Flaming June all in one place. As we know by now she wears several ‘hats’ so here goes.

Flaming June the band :- Twitter @flamingjuneuk (this will also reach her for her anti abuse work), Her anti abuse blog, No doubt if I have missed owt she will let me know!!!

Just ‘afore’ I go I have a quick ‘One to Watch’. That should say, three to watch, ‘Said The Maiden’ are a trio of lady types with real belting voices and tunes to match. Catch them at Will do a ‘bio’ on them next post.

Last of all. Jools Hootnanny last night (new years eve), what a mix as usual but good to see the Dubliners with Gerry O’Connor standing in for ‘Banjo Barney’ a good choice if ever their was one!

Anyway have a great 2013, hope to catch you at a gig or festival this year and hows about a party for my 60th birthday!

Twitter:- @folktalkinfolk, Mail:-, Moan:- 07563949114

Good News and Bad News……….

Beverley 2013

First of all I think an apology is in order!

My last posting did not intend to give the collectors of vinyl records a hard time. In fact I think it is a top hobby and like most of us I have a few ‘gems’ under the bed (awaiting a device to play them on) myself. All I was trying to say was I could not see the point of a new release on vinyl….thats all…..sorry!!!

I guess we should start with the bad news. As I think we all know now Mike Harding is on his way out of his regular BBC Radio 2 folk and acoustic show. His last show will be on Boxing Day and he will be missed by us all. I am not about to get into why and it should not happen etc. I would just like to say “thank you Mike” from all us folkies. I’m sure this will not be the last we hear from the great man. Come the new year I will be doing a whole posting pointing you in the direction of his past recordings which you should not miss. But for now, good luck Mike.

Serious head on for a mo…….one of my Twitter pals and a jolly good folk singer to boot, Louise Hamilton @flamingjuneuk is raising awareness about domestic violence. She has her own blog which can make uncomfortable reading but read it I think you should and offer any views you think fit. I will post a link soon following the confirmation of the details. She will also have a new EP out in the new year plus a video!!! If you fancy a bit of acting you could be in it, please contact her Twitter account for more.

Annie (Mr G’s PA) is going to let me know how much she enjoyed (or not) her visit to a Kate Rusby gig…watch this space.

I managed to catch the Saw Doctors in Leeds last Friday and a tip top concert it was too. They played their first CD (If this is rock and roll I want my old job back) from start to finish. What a night! As usual we had the age range 8 to 80 and that ear wax clearing volume…..belting night!!!

As you can see from the top of this posting we have the dates for Beverley F.F. For your diary and summat to look forward to.

Loads of news to come so see you soon…Phil, @folktalkinfolk and if you have urgent info 07563949114

Am I missing a point….?

This, I’m sure, will be a ‘back to the old days’ kind of post but am I only person who thinks like this?

I read with interest that Seth Lakeman’s new album will soon be released on vinyl, why? Back in the day, you did your paper round or Sat job, got your ten bob and off to HMV you went. Then a rush back home to play your latest sounds on the Dansette. This was a wooden box (came in several colours) containing your turntable, speakers, (in mono) etc. It had  one knob for on/off, volume and one for tone, ace! As your wages grew and hi-tech marched on we bought hi-fi seperates still with the turntable for bobbing your 12″ lump of plastic on for a good listen. If you went within 10 feet of the little bugger it jumped to the next track along with more hisses and buzzes than you can chuck a stick at. Why did we buy these? Cos we had nowt else and you had to keep up with them next door. OK, I’m going on a bit but look at the choices we have today. You can run a marathon with 10,000 tracks strapped to your arm with not a jump, pop or hiss. Fantastic ‘very’ hi-fi sound etc, etc. So why the hell are we going back to the enjoyable but dark ages? Good on Seth if it makes him a few extra bob but I cannot see the point. By the way, it is a very good album and a review will come soon

Just a short post to get back into the swing, Annie and Mr G (who has not been too well of late) will be examining this post to make sure it is down to my usual low standard!

Have loads of news, links to other very supportive sites to come so see you all soon for more drivel. Before I go I must tell you a new album by David Hope is out soon so lots to look forward to in early 2013. Bye for now, Phil. @folktalkinfolk..