Wednesday April First 2015-April Fools Day-will see the first “Themed ” night at Nuneaton Folk Club: a “Comedy Night.” Admission is free, and events will start promptly at 8pm. All proceeds-money and food collected-will be donated afterwards to Nuneaton Food Bank.
It is easy to get bogged down in the myth that all Folk music is drab, gloomy stuff about hangings, drownings and tearful farewells. But consider Jake Thackeray, Jasper Carrot, Billy Connolly,Cosmotheka and Richard Digance. All of whom cut their teeth in Folk Clubs-and some of whom once ran them. Many of those appearing at The Crown on April 1st have already been on stage there before, so some guests will be familiar. A few might even reproduce familiar songs already chortled at and applauded there. Other Guests will take you to newer realms of comedy. Oh, there will still be traditional songs of death and unrequited love or anthems about blood and war, but there will also be examples of Comedy Noire and Irony, Satire and protest songs. Anything goes so expect Audience participation, slapstick, and some dressing up. Expect a sensible raffle and a slightly Silly one. Expect Traditional Folk, Music Hall, Talking Blues, Shanties, Chorus Singing and Pop. Anticipate double entendre, clever parody, Recitations, story telling, and " Oooh! Matron!" jollity. Expect a broad base, from Charlie Drake to Lonnie Donnegan, from The Singing Postman to Cyril Tawney.
Continuing to mine the huge vein of talent in the area, there will be original songs written by local entertainers, too. We shall undoubtedly meet John Kearney's “Jolly Boys,” once again, and, via The Mac Awe On Tour Big Band, reacquaint ourselves with Mr. Albert Balls, Beyoncé covers, Endangered Rhinos and Risk Assessment as applied to 18th Century Pirates. (Arrr!).
The guest list includes debuts from Joe Roberts and Brian Phillips, plus the welcome re-appearances of John Neal, Dave Webb, Dave Parr, Finger In The Jar, Terry and Jan Wisdom, Gill Gilsenan and Malc Gurnham and Thruppn'y Bits. The second half Finale will include many of these artistes guesting in The Mac Awe on Tour Big Band. (We do mean big..in every sense).
“ The Bonny Black Hare,” and “Cold Haily Windy Night” are well-loved Traditional Folk songs popularised by Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span respectively. But they remain a masterclass in Innuendo. Ancient homages to drink such as “The Barley Mow,” “ Little Brown Jug” and “ Ale, Ale Glorious Ale,” may be long in the tooth,but are almost Falstaffian examples of celebrating good times and joviality. The Dubliners' biggest hit was “Seven Drunken Nights,” managing to combine inebriation,comedy and cuckoldry. Indeed, Irish folk music has long celebrated wry humour in songs such as “Paddy McGinty's Goat,” “ The Hot Asphalt,” and “The Ship Turned Upside Down.”
There is humour and irony also in The Blues: a staple item at many Folk Clubs. Bluesman Bo Carter made his living from naughty songs, and both Bessie Smith and Billie Holliday knew how to raise an eyebrow or two with lyrics one could take several ways. Contemporary songwriting also has comic moments. Bob Dylan's “Positively 24th Street” isn't exactly Carry On Singing-but the clever, bitter lines have brought a smile to many an audience. Check out also the work of Randy Newman, or Roy Harper's album “ Come Out Fighting Ghenghis Smith,” or revisit John Cooper-Clarke's poems.. From George Formby to Billy Bragg-the humour and laughter is there if you look (and listen) for it.