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Folk Roots Appreciation

Although this group is full, names can be added to the Waiting List

This group started in Sept 2012



Meeting Time

Monthly First Thursday
2pm - 4pm

Group Co-ordinator

Jill Palmer

Contact Via Email:

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Quiz Winners May 2015

We are a group with an interest in folk and roots music. Each meeting has a theme, chosen in rotation by members of the group, and we each choose 3 songs to fit the theme. Sometimes we are introduced to new music and musicians; sometimes we encounter old ‘friends’. Recent topics include wanderlust, witchcraft and magic, the natural world, and Bob Dylan covers by folk artists.

Feb 2020 Fran played a selection of tracks with the theme Sins and Misdemeanours. The songs included deeds of murder, incest, adultery, highway robbery, slavery and fratricide - never a dull moment!.To view the tracks we played click here.

June 2018 To view the tracks we played click here.

February 2018 Fran played a selection of mainly traditional songs featuring murder, massacre, highway robbery, imprisonment and transportation. But some of it sounded quite jolly! To view the tracks we played click here

January 2018 Jill played a selection of tracks on the theme ‘Posh Folk’, featuring Kings, Queens, Lords, Ladies, an Earl and a Knight!

December 2017 This month we all brought along songs with a seasonal theme and played them to the group.To view the tracks we played click here.

November 2017 Mike took a circuitous and eclectic voyage across the Atlantic (and back) via YouTube videos. Included on the silver screen were: Ewan MacColl, Taj Mahal, Cyril Tawney, Terry Allen, Bellowhead, Reverend Blind Gary Davis, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Click here to view some of the featured musicians

October 2017 David played a selection of songs by Tom Russell, who wrote them from his research into his family history. Tom's great-great-grandparents were immigrants to America from Norway and Ireland, and he decided to write a song cycle about their stories, called The Man from God Knows Where.

Various roles are sung by Iris DeMent, Dolores Keane, Dave Van Ronk, Sondre Bratland and Kari Bremne as well as Tom himself. Musical accompaniment is provided by a host of European and American traditional players on Uileann pipes, Norwegian fiddles and other instruments including banjo, trumpet, piano, drums, tin whistle and harmonica.

The full cast of The Man from God Knows Where were assembled in Norway at a castle on the wild rugged coast. They spent two days there and performed the cycle for Norway television. To view the tracks we played click here.

September 2017 Debbie went to the Cambridge Folk Festival in July this year and picked out a few of the bands she enjoyed most, trying to choose a mixture of old favourites and some newer ones. Some of the performances were not strictly folk and there was quite a lot of ‘world’ music but the eclectic nature of Cambridge is what makes it so enjoyable. To view the tracks click here

August 2017 This month we all brought along songs we liked and played them to the group. To view the tracks we played click here.

July 2017 Sandra played a selection of songs about Rivers and Lakes, thus completing a trilogy with a watery theme! To view the tracks Sandra played click here.

June 2017 This month we all brought along DVD and video clips we liked and played them to the group.

May 2017 Sue played a selection of songs about ‘birds’. Andy performed the first two live. To view the songs Sue chose click here.

April 2017 Jill played a selection of tracks on the theme of ‘Celestial Heaven’. Musicians included were, The Chieftains, Kate Rusby, The Imagined Village and Lady Maisery. To view the full track listing click here.

March 2017 Fran played us music that illustrates aspects of the natural world, from the rising sun to seals and the seashore, from trees and flowers to moon shadows. Fran said the tracks almost all chose themselves – having listened to them once, she had to hear them again and again. To view all the tracks played click here.

February 2017 Malcolm played us the CD "A Ramble along the Viking Way" by Dave and Julie Evardson. Centred upon Grimsby, their songs dealt with the local countryside, and the effects on this fishing community of the Iceland Cod War and subsequent fishing quotas.

January 2017 We spent a virtuous afternoon as David played a selection of tracks illustrating qualities inspired by ancient Greek philosophy, St Paul of Tarsus and the seven heavenly virtues! These included a gripping tale by Tom Russell and Rambling Jack Elliot, a song about a local hero at the Battle of Camperdown and a stirring finale full of hope from Merry Hell! To view all the tracks played click here.

December 2016 This month we all brought along songs we liked and played them to the group. To view the vast range of music we shared click here. Also in December we had a group visit to see Johnny Coppin’s Christmas show at The Spring, Havant. It featured songs from his CD ‘All on a Winter’s Night’ and Festive readings.

November 2016  Sue played a range of music from West Africa. To view the tracks she chose click here.

October 2106 Sandra played a selection of Sea Songs, not necessarily originally sung by sailors! To view the tracks played click here.

September 2016 Debbie presented music on the theme of 'Drink'. To view the tracks she played and the album covers click here.

July 2016 Jill gave an intriguing presentation on the theme of 'Threads and Boots of Spanish Leather'. To view the tracks Jill played, click here.

June 2016 Fran played some of her 'Finds', music she had found from a wide range of sources. They included Bella Hardy with her own song about the lives of the herring girls, who were famous for their skill and speed in the fishing industries of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Furrow Collective with Hind Horn, a song based on the medieval romances of the legendary King Horn. Click here to view full details of Fran’s ‘Finds’.

May 2016 We each played a selection of tracks on the theme of May or Spring. To view the tracks played and album art, click here.

April 2016 David gave a talk called ‘A Country Calendar – a seasonal journey through the rural year.’ It was inspired by the book ‘The Seasons’ by Nick Groom. We heard a mouth-watering recipe for the wassail cup, some of the seventy seven names for the hare and how on September 14th the Devil is said to go nutting! David told some of the history of Bonfire Treason Day and revealed the traditions surrounding Apple Wassailing and Apple Tree Man! Click here to view all the tracks played and album covers.

March 2016 Mike presented a playlist titled ‘Why Should the Devil Have All The Best Tunes’. The selection ranged from early religious folk songs in America, usually called ‘spirituals’, to a contemporary ‘gospel’ track from Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. To view the tacks played click here.

February 2016 Sue presented a set of music on the theme of Australia. Hats with corks were optional! To view the tracks played click here

January 2016 Sandra presented some sea shanties, which originated as work songs. To view all the tracks / tape / video played and related notes / album art, click here.

December 2015 Folk Roots of the Iberian Peninsula : Yvonne introduced us to music from Spain, mainly with clips from YouTube. Since the death of Franco there has been a strong revival of regional languages and dialects, music and dance. Click here to view details of the videos and music tracks played.

November 2015 Jill introduced various songs about various Johns by various performers sometimes also called John plus tracks by yet more Johns .Click here to view all the tracks played.

October 2015 David presented a set of music involving arrivals and departures. They included a traditional track from the 13th Century by the Furrow Collective, an hilarious song by Jake Thackray, and Tom Russell with a tale of a cowboy who breaks out of jail – but leaves his teeth behind! Click here to view all the tracks played.

September 2015 In September we all brought along tracks from new people we had either seen at Summer festivals or wanted to introduce to the group. Click here to view all the tracks played.

July 2015 Fran presented "Scottish Folk", a variety of songs from all over Scotland including Shetland and the Outer Hebrides: music ranging from lively dance tunes to songs about longing for one's homeland and bawdy 'goings on’! Click here to view all the tracks played.

June 2015 Sue shared a collection of songs which all illustrated love affairs, which turned out badly. Murders, the use of the press gang, battles, hostile parents, marrying for money and fickle young men all featured! Click here of view all the tracks played.

May 2015 In view of meeting on the day of the General Election, Mike first played the track ‘Parliamentarian Election Blues’ by UK one-man-blues-band Mike Whellans. Mike then moved on to the theme of ‘Early Cowboy Music and it’s Roots’, including tracks by The Sons of the Pioneers, Jimmie Rodgers and the Girls of the Golden West. We also discussed the music recognition app ‘Shazam’ with a database of 15 billion songs – including folk and roots music! Click here to view all the tracks played.

March 2015 David gave a presentation of songs called ‘1649 and all that’, illustrating snapshots of English history where the world turned upside down. This included The Full English with a rousing song of a sea battle taken from a broadside ballad, Ian King with an unusual version of The Isle of France and Eddi Reader with a song about John Lilburne, the leader of the Levellers in the Civil War.
Click here to view all tacks played

February 2015 Sandra presented a set of songs about a bunch of rogues and villains. These included a tale of Jesse James by Bruce Springsteen, a rousing smuggler’s song by The Men They Couldn't Hang and Steeleye Span with a Berthold Brecht song about a servant’s villainous fantasy!
Click here to view all the tracks

January 2015 Sue played a selection of protest songs ranging from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 through the anti-slavery and Civil Rights movements to modern issues like country life. Click hereto view the tracks played.

December 2014 Our travels at the meeting last month on the theme of PLACES spawned further locations in December. This time places visited included Alabama, Baker Street, Rangoon and Liverpool. Artists included Sandy Denny, Gerry Rafferty, Annie Lennox and Ewan McColl. To view all the tracks played click here.

November 2014 We took PLACES as our theme this month. The tracks we played included Yeovil Town, Newcastle and Padstow in England. While further afield, our travels included: Venezuela and Mauritania. Artists featured included Bad Shephrds, Show of Hands and the Chieftains. Click here to view all the tracks played.

October 2014 Mike forayed into new territory for the group with ‘moving pictures’ as well as sound being presented. The film and TV footage of folk documentaries, concerts and promotional videos were projected onto a large screen using the U3A group digital projector.
Groups and singers included: Sister Rosetta Tharpe; Joni Mitchell; Fotheringay; The Weavers. To view what was seen, as well as heard, click here.

September 2014 Fran took us on a trip down memory lane, and introduced tunes/tracks from performers she saw at folk clubs in and around Portsmouth in the 1970s. These included two comic acts from Jeremy Taylor and Fred Wedlock as well as nostalgia from Ralph McTell and tragedy from Bert Jansch, a classic sea shanty from Frogmorton, and Cornish and Scottish love songs. Click here to view all the tracks played.

July 2014 With Jill as our guide we re-entered the world of work enjoying songs on various rural occupations such as farming and mole-catching, as well as the traditional trades of blacksmithing and weaving, plus songs about more industrial work such as mining and steel-working. Performers ranged from the Chieftains and Brass Monkey to XTC and the Decemberists. To view the tracks played and album art click here.

June 2014 We spent a sinful afternoon as David played a selection of tracks loosely connected to The Seven Deadly Sins. The Kipper Family explained the importance of practice; Warren Zeevon gave us some bad examples, while Ry Cooder told a sad tale of a carnivorous pig! Fairport Convention rounded it off with a drunken show stopper! Click here to view the tracks played.

May 2014 Sue shared some of her favorite Irish music, ranging from fast reels to slow fiddle tunes, traditional songs (several from County Down in Northern Ireland) and a few examples of humorous song. Click here to view the tracks played.

April 2014 Our meeting was spent playing CD tracks and watching DVD and YouTube clips on the theme of DANCE. They included Sword and Coconut dances, The Dark Morris inspired by Terry Pratchett and music from Shetland, Sweden and Louisiana! Click here to view the tracks played.

March 2014 Sandra played some tracks linked to the Napoleonic Wars. Several songs dated back to the early nineteenth century, and dealt with the effect of the conflict on ordinary people, and with famous battles such as Trafalgar, Waterloo and the retreat from Moscow. Interpretations differ according to the musicians involved, rousing and heroic, sweetly lamenting and cynically humorous by turns! Click here to view the tracks played.

February 2014 Fran took us on an amazing musical journey with ‘Around the World in 12 Tunes’, with some You Tube video clips as well as CDs. Countries included amongst the twelve tunes were Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Sweden, Mexico and Peru, to name just a few! Click here to view the tracks played.

January 2014 Mike introduced a Richard Thompson (ex Fairport Convention) Concert DVD. Richard was in top form at this concert recorded in San Francisco in 2006. Richard is accompanied by Judith Owen (vocals & keyboard) and Debra Dobkin (percussion & vocals). The songs in the concert spanned a vast time frame, starting at 1260 and finishing in 2000! Click here to view the tracks played

December 2013 Our Christmas meeting was spent listening to seasonal songs and carols. Click here to see them

November 2013 Jill presented Part 1 of 'Fairport Convention'.. Click here to see them

October 2013 David presented a set of tracks on the theme of ‘Journeys’. Click here to see them

September 2013 Our September meeting was spent listening to a selection of tunes and songs chosen by members of the group. Click here to see them

August 2013 Meeting – A Transatlantic Session

Union Jack Stars

We shared ideas and tracks on how songs changed as they crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic.

The tracks played are on our tracks page. Click here to see them

The meeting was also treated to a life performance by Andy James on fiddle and ukulele, along with tracks from Andy’s rare vinyl.

Live 2 B&W Small.jpg


July 2013 This meeting was hosted at a different venue, which boasted a ‘record player’ and the crisp sound of vinyl being slipped from the Cellophane inner cover was heard again. Taking the songs of Bob Dylan as the theme (though Mike managed to include two tracks by His Bobness, singing his own songs) we enjoyed a vast range of interpretations, many bringing back waves of nostalgia. The tracks played are here.

June 2013 Sandra played a selection of music on the theme of Magic.

May 2013 Fran played a variety of tracks at our meeting this month.

April 2013 Our April meeting was spent listening to songs on the theme of springtime.

March 2013 David's presentation followed the 'Desert Island Discs' programme format, telling of incidents in his life recalled through folk and roots music, with Sandra playing the part of interviewer. Afterwards members of the group played tracks they particularly liked or ones that brought back memories.

February 2013 Mike played a selection of tracks including blues, jazz and country music but also included Steeleye Span, Fairport, along with Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band. He circulated a hand written / illustrated study of the blues he had made while at art school, along with relevant vinyl album art work.

January 2013 Sue played music connected to the Copper family. This family, from Rottingdean in Sussex are one of our main sources for traditional folk songs. We have around 150 songs from them, mainly because James Copper 1845-1924 and his son later on decided to write them down and then grandson Bob became an important collector in Hampshire and Sussex as well as writing books on songs and country life. A few of their songs had been collected in 1898 but it was only in the 50’s that they were properly transcribed and aired on radio. Since then there have been thousands of different versions recorded and lots of the songs are standard singaround favourites. The books Sue brought along were both by Bob Copper: 'A Song for every Season' and 'Songs and Southern Breezes'.

To find out more about the Copper family: http://www.thecopperfamily.com/

December 2012 Our Christmas meeting was spent listening to carols and midwinter songs.

November 2012 Jill gave a brief run through of the folk music she has enjoyed from her teens to the present day – a sort of a Desert Island Discs but with more choices.