FOLK FOR ALL: Folk round-up from the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 6

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Times change. My children meet potential partners online, whereas my wife and I met in the good old-fashioned way – through an ad in the personal columns of a local newspaper. You know the sort of thing: Good looking hunk seeks short-sighted woman. And it worked, reader – it worked! (Like some things you will read in those personal ads, there is of course an element of fiction here.)

Now I’m going to try again. Not for a life partner this time, but a composing partner.

Hammerstein needed Rodgers, as Lennon later needed McCartney, and while I am certainly no Oscar or John, I could do with a Richard or a Paul – a musician whose melodies would give life to some folky lyrics that lurk, unsung, in a folder at the moment. For example:

I hope these words find you, Mrs Bridges, / as well as they leave me, / my husband and I have prospered so well / since we crossed the sea. / I hope that Fate’s been as kind to you - /

though that could hardly be, / when you look at all the things that it’s done / for a servant girl like me.

This is the first verse of a lyric based, word for word in places, on a letter published in 1848 in The Bury and Norwich Post.

It was written by Harriet Elsdon who had worked for a Mrs Bridges in Pakenham and then migrated to Australia with government help – a campaign designed to encourage poorer families to leave so that they would not become a burden on the rates in years to come.

(Our 19th century economic migrants did not overcrowd the countries they went to, you’ll recall – they just decimated the local population and claimed the country for Britain.)

Some research at the record office uncovered a story of considerable interest that is now enshrined in a sequence of four lyrics that I’d love to hear given the folk treatment, and maybe hear performed in Pakenham one day, where Mrs Bridges’ grave can still be seen. So if you are a frustrated tune-smith in search of words, specially if you can sing, please get in touch! I’d love to hear from you, on 01284 701947. R.L.

October 23, 2015. Farewell Bill Keith. One of the finest banjo players ever. B.K.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6 – MILKMAID FOLK CLUB. Constitutional Club. 8pm. Members £10, non mems £12. Jim Moray supported by Erin Brown and Matt Cudby

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8 – BLACK FEN FOLK CLUB. 7pm. Check before going.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – GUITAR CLUB. Constitutional Club, Bury. Free. Real Ale. 8pm.

All comers welcome. Contact Kevin Cawser.

THE BULL P.H., WOOLPIT. Free. 8pm-11pm. Sing around in back room. First timers welcome as are old timers.Ask for John or Peter. Managed by Dave Cooper.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12 – OAKES BARN. Buskers Night. Oakes Barn in association with Bury Busk and Folk For All.

Free. 7pm. Curtis Cronin, Cam Brown, Neadean Cronin, Big Marc, Emergers, Almost Spring Heeled Jack, and more. Raising money for St. Nicholas Hospice Care. Please support. Don’t miss the pumpkin. Recommended.

HORNINGSEA FOLK CLUB. Plough and Fleece. 8pm-11pm.

Contact Tony 01638 741 743. Check before going.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13 – LONG MELFORD FOLK CLUB. Cock and Bell. 8pm sharp. Free. Sing around. A new era with Pauline O’Brien as your M.C.

MILKMAID FOLK CLUB. Constitutional Club. 8pm Members £8, non mems £10. The Carrivick Sisters supported by Thursday’s Band. Recommended.

The pumpkin is at the Barn!! B.K.