With Nuneaton Folk Club having moved seamlessly (!!) last week from the planning stage to reality in October 2014, Bedworth Folk Club Host Malc Gurnham was obviously determined to be on his toes on Wednesday. He was out to flex his muscles, just up the road from Nuneaton, on a Wednesday night. With a bright new Club banner, increased promotional activity, higher profile advertising on Facebook, slick background lighting and a bill of no less than 16 floor singers, (one of whom was Phil Benson, host of Atherstone Folk Club). The gauntlet was well and truly laid down. The benchmark would be set high.
Actually, there is nothing other than very friendly rivalry between these three members of The North Warwickshire Folk Triangle. Malc has been a lifelong supporter of Black Parrot Seaside, and vice versa. It was Phil and Malc who finally persuaded BPS recently to take on the new venture and who have both pledged their support. Malc regularly plays bass guitar(s) with The Parrot, and Phil has acted as Sound Engineer for us. We all get on swimmingly.
And Malc Gurnham himself is the epitome of Club hosts and Show organisers. No-one could replace or eclipse him, and nobody would ever want to. Malc is an iconic role model for Folk Club and Folk Festival organisers everywhere. He works tirelessly to promote the Folk and Acoustic genre. He encourages newcomers and young talent, but also cajoles people out of retirement to come and play for him. Either playing and singing solo or singing alongside Gill Gilsenan, he puts on a very enjoyable musical package in his own right. He creates a friendly welcoming atmosphere at all of the Bedworth venues he uses. No wonder people were queuing up to help him raise funds for the Bedworth Festival 2014. Probably the country's biggest Indoor Winter Festival, it starts this year on the weekend beginning Friday 28th November and continues merrily all the way through to the Sunday.
What a feast the audience were treated to! Joe Roberts, Phil Benson, David Parr (another Parrot!), Sue Sanders, Thrupp'ny Bits, Dave Fry, Martin Banks, John Kearney, John and Elaine Meechan, Maria Barham, Katherine Fear and Jon Harrington, Kim Lowings (and (she claims)-her dad -he looked far too young!): Jan and Terry Wisdom and Black Parrot Seaside. All topped and tailed by Malc and Gill. We even Skyped Claire Latham into the room, courtesy of Phil. So many songs, of every time and genre and such magnificent audience singing that there is no space or time to describe them all. But honourable mentions must go to:
- John Kearney leading the company in a version of Petula Clark's "Downtown"-it was like something out of the Muppet Show:
- a stunning Bedduff debut for the excellent Kim Lowings:
- More inspirational group singing during Maria's "Californian Dreaming":
- the Thruppny's adorable Labrador, Spangle, making a break for it-cunningly scooting her lead reel along the floor with her, as Des relaxed:
- Malc doing a "Bosworth" with feedback on Maria, inadvertently nudging the volume up beyond 11:
- the incomparable Terry and Jan Wisdom showing us all how to do it. Again!
Coventry City were being despatched by Cardiff City on Sky in two other rooms, the Bitter ran out and so did the seats. But it was a great night. I even won a bottle of Rose in the raffle.