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Saturday, 20th April 2019
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Dobcross Delights...

Swan InnI posted in May that the new landlord of the Swan Inn in the village square in Dobcross, where I had ran a Folk Club from 1967 until 1971, had persuaded me to make a comeback and reopen the club  … after 42 Years!

When we announced that “Folk at the Top House” was to reopen, we had a few ribald comments such as “42 years – there’s nothing like a long summer break”, and were pleasantly surprised by the number of people still fondly remembering the club. There were some great reminiscences from old friends such as Mick Haywood, who recalled many memorable nights, particularly the Mayor of Saddleworth’s Charity Yorkshire / Lancashire Night, where Mick and Bill Price represented Yorkshire, and Mike Harding and Pete Smith Lancashire. The Mayor dressed up as a tramp in an old battered raincoat and did a monologue. Everyone thought it was just a floor spot - then he removed the raincoat revealing his gold chain underneath and thanked us for our support.

There was also another charity event, which I can’t imagine being repeated now, when we played a football match against another folk club, followed by a singaround back at the Swan. The Oldham Tinkers played (can't remember which team). After someone rugby-tackled one of our players, the referee gave a bounce-up, on the grounds that our player was going to do it, but the other one got in first!

Anyway, the club finally reopened at the beginning of June – we were hoping to get a decent sized audience and that it would go well but it exceeded all our hopes, thanks to guests the Hometowners for their excellent combination of musicianship and wit, the floor singers for getting everyone in the mood, the audience for their enthusiasm and joining in the choruses, and the landlords for their support and making us welcome.

Since then we’ve run on the first Sunday of each month, featuring guests Strid and Brillig, and resident Kath Reade previewing her new album "Devotion to Song"’. We also had our first singers’ night. One floor singer I’m sure we’ll hear more of was local lad Phil Corbett, who sent an email beforehand saying he was “looking for a chance to perform in front of a live audience”. On the night, he was rather self-effacing and only wanted to do one song, but it turned out to be self-penned, with Spanish guitar accompaniment, and got the best reception that we've heard in any folk club for a long, long time! It was also good to hear a floor spot from Harold Nield, who was the landlord of the Cross Keys in Uppermill when the well-known folk club first opened there in the 1970s.

From January 2014 we’re switching the club night from the first Sunday of the month to the last Sunday, and the guests booked so far include:-

Sunday 8 December – Philip Cockerham "... engaging songs ranging from topical and catchy tunes to thoughtful ballads"

Sunday 26 January – Didikai: “…amazing breadth of line-up encompassing duelling fiddles, uilleann pipe and fiddle duets, and songs” who recently went down a storm at Skipton and Blacko clubs

Sunday 23 February - Stanley Accrington: great humour (and some serious songs). "... a leg-end in his own trousers"

We’re really excited about the club and looking forward to welcoming old and new friends. You can find full details on our website  and also an embarrassing photo of Paul from 1967!

- Paul and Kath Reade


Dobcross Folk Club
Kath Reade
Philip Cockerham
Stanley Accrington

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