Reg Meuross at Ryburn Folk Club

We always expect to see a drop in audience numbers when the summer weather kicks in, but there was a a good crowd to see Reg Meuross on the last day of May. It included a few people who had travelled a way to catch him and as I had never heard Reg before, I thought that was a good sign.

The night was well supported with the usual residents and one surprise visitor, former guest at the club Matt Quinn, relaxing a bit after a hectic tour with The Dovetail Trio. His song The Serving Man was collected from Sussex singer Ethel Powell who resided in his home village of Portslade. Tim Edwards squeezed in a final May Song and Annie Dearman was joined by Steve Harrison and Chris Coe separately for Rosemary Lane and Broadstripe Trousers. Sue Burgess’ sung story Locks and Bolts contrasted nicely with Huw Evans’ spoken story about a bus load of cyclists en route to a meeting point.

Reg Meuross is an extraordinary song writer. His songs are on the gentle side but always have something to say – sometimes social and/or political comment and sometimes just cleverly observational about the human condition. His introductions and explanations are very long and detailed and normally one would be thinking “Come on, get on with it” but not so in this case. The back stories are as important and gripping as the songs themselves. We needed to know the circumstances leading to him singing a song about Dick Turpin in a relevant cell in York Gaol, about the fight undertaken by Headscarf Lily and the other fishwives of Hull to get safety measures in place on the trawlers carrying their menfolk out to sea.

An odd bit of information came allied to his song about Tony Ben’s Tribute to Emily Davidson, the suffragette who hid in a cupboard in the House of Commons on census night so she could state that it was her address. When Tony Benn installed a commemorative plaque in the cupboard may years later he was assisted by Helena Kennedy QC and a young Jeremy Corbyn. The touching back story to The Band Played Sweet Marie told of the fate of a violin belonging to a musician of the band on The Titanic.  My Name Is London Town generated complaints when it mentioned a fishmonger in Smithfield Meat Market, except such a thing did exist.

Using both strummed and claw hammer techniques, Reg plays a 1944 vintage Martin guitar which he bought as a wreck and had restored. Given the wartime circumstances of the Martin factory it was likely that it wasn’t made by a man and this is set out in his song The Hands of a Woman.

It would take too much space to comment on all of his songs, but being something of a political animal, I am delighted to have discovered Reg Meuross and hear the title track from his forthcoming album, Faraway People, which name checks a number of people off Calum’s List, people who died after being pronounced ‘fit for work’ following an ATOS assessment. I fully expect the track to be banned by the BBC like his other song, England Green, England Grey.

I can recommend Reg Meuross!

Johnny Adams

Flaming June again..

R3S Folk Club:

The next Folk Club at the Malthouse features the ‘Long Hill Ramblers’, with their eclectic mix of Old Time and good time songs and tunes. Make sure you come along for a great evening’s entertainment – Wednesday 28 June – MORE INFORMATION….

After a wonderfully varied programme of dances, folk clubs, mumming, playing and stepping, the 2016-7 programme of events organised by Ryburn 3 Step draws to a close this month. Activities recommence on Wednesday 27 September with Dave Burland as guest at the folk club and a village barn dance in Ripponden.

During the summer, Appalachian Step Classes will finish for the school holidays and the Ryburn Singers will finish with a final session on June 8th. Ryburn Longsword will be dancing out at Greenhead Park in Huddersfield, Shrewsbury Folk Festival and of course Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing as well as Wednesday evening practices.  More information on the Longsword page.

Thanks to all our regulars, residents, fans and friends for supporting us so far in 2017, and we look forward to seeing you on 28 June and then in September.

Ryburn 3 Step Annual General Meeting – 15 June 2017:
The behind-the-scenes work of organising the Ryburn 3 Step events is undertaken by a team of 11 people, five of whom are officers, ably assisted by six co-optees. The officers are chosen from nominations submitted to the annual general meeting.

The Ryburn 3 Step Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Thursday June 15th at 7:30 in our Ripponden base (103 Oldham Road, Ripponden HX6 4EB). An open invitation is extended to all attendees at Ryburn 3 Step events to come to the AGM, learn about all our activities and meet us.  Please get in touch with Sue Coe on 01422 822569 or by email at

If you wish to nominate someone to the post of Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary or Funding Officer please complete the form  below and post it to the Secretary, Liz Cryer, at the address indicated on it to arrive no later than Monday June 12th.

R3S Officer Nom Form-1_19may17

Alternatively, you can email a scan of the completed form to

Pete Coe – The man in the red van CD launch

Pete Coe’s new CD ‘The man in the red van’ was launched at our regular folk club venue, the Malt House at Rishworth. Members of the Black Box Band (a few others) opened the proceedings with 20 minutes of lively dance music and then there were floor spots for some visiting performers including Alan Rose & Lynda Hardcastle, other members of the famous Bacca Pipes folk club ‘wall of sound’, and several other musical colleagues from Pete’s past. Ryburn Longsword squeezed in for a dance.

Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald
Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald





Then it was time for Pete’s set of selected items from the new CD; Vic Gammon’s ‘Ash and Alder’; ‘Banks of Red Roses’; Terry Conway’s ‘Walls of Troy’ (with Liz Conway on mountain dulcimer); and the wonderful version of ‘Spanish Ladies’ assembled from the singing of the late Al O’Donnell and verses donated by Mary O’Connor.

Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald
Photo: Bruce Fitzgerald





After supper and more guest performances the evening ended in the only way possible – Pete singing his emotional ‘Rolling down the Ryburn’.

You can order a copy of ‘The man in the red van’ HERE….

Dance review – Tenterhooks and Sue Coe – 15 April 2017

Barn Dance 15 April 2017

The Ryburn 3 Step Barn Dances always take place on the third Saturday in the month from October through to April which was Easter Saturday this year. Although some of our regular dancers were away on holiday, we had a good number of dancers and an enjoyable evening’s dancing.

Photo: Steve Jones

Caller Sue Coe recently received a gold award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society, in part for her work in promoting traditional English dance in schools up and down the country. Sue encourages the children to create their own dances and we were treated to three of these;  ‘Westfield Four Star’, ‘Railtrack’ and the ‘Zetland Circle Dance’ (the latter with its distinctive clapping pattern which is harder than it looks). Many of the other dances were  favourites such as ‘Bridge of Athlone’ and ‘Clopton Bridge’, and the evening was rounded off with everyone on the dance floor for ‘Soldiers Joy’.

Tenterhooks with Sue Coe. Photo: Steve Jones

Tenterhooks provided a varied range of tunes which were well-matched to the dances. Particularly enjoyable was the pair of Lakeland jigs selected for the Circassian Circle called ‘Liberty for the Sailors’ and ‘Kendall Ghyll’. ‘Barley Break’ was pushed along in fine style by the jigs ‘Trip to the Lakes’ and ‘Whip her and Gird her’ and the various combinations of instruments gave a pleasing variety to the music.

This dance was Ryburn 3 Step’s final barn dance of the 2016-7 season and the 2017-8 season begins on October 21st with Baz Parkes and Phoenix. However, there will be dances at Waring Green on May 20th and September 16th courtesy of Dave Webster.

The Tenterhooks Band line-up was:

Chris Partington – fiddle
Paul Roberts – fiddle and border pipes
Johnny Adams – piano and fiddle

Sue’s dances included:

Circassian Circle – single circle
Buttered Peas – Sicilian circle
Bridge of Athlone – 4 couple longwise
Holmfirth Square  – 4 couple square
Zetland Circle Dance – double circle
Cumberland Long Eight – 4 couple longwise
Cumberland Square Eight – 4 couple square

Westfield Four Star – Sicilian circle
Barley Break – 4 couple longwise
Circle Waltz – single circle
Grapevine Twist – 4 couple square
Railtrack – 4 couple longwise
Clopton Bridge – 4 couple longwise

Steve Jones.


EFDSS Gold Badge Award to Pete and Sue Coe

On Wednesday 16 November Pete and Sue Coe received their Gold Badge awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) presented by the Chair of the EFDSS Board, Alistair Anderson.

Photo: Annie Dearman

Over 100 friends attended the event, which included songs and music from many of the performers that Pete and Sue have collaborated with, taught, or encouraged over careers of more than half a century of Folk song, music, and dance. Four other Gold Badge holders were among the friends attending: Bill Leader, Alistair Anderson, Derek Schofield, and Vic Gammon.

Photo: Annie Dearman

For more information about EFDSS Gold Badge awards, go to .

Pete’s contributions include traditional song research, song writing in traditional style, the founding of several seminal bands, plus solo and duo performances, dance calling, recording, field research, local folk activism in Ryburn Three Step and teaching at various levels. He has  worked extensively in schools throughout the country as a visiting musician both on his own account and for the EFDSS on the Take 6 Project. He was the founder member and visionary force behind three particularly ground breaking groups – The New Victory Band, Bandoggs and Red Shift – all of which brought something new to the folk scene.

As well as developing a wide range of traditional songs for performance, Pete has had an illustrious songwriting career with many songs covered by other artists. His collecting of a single verse of Marching Down through Rochester with its Waltzing Matilda tune, and its subsequent expansion to a full song has made him the focus of attention by various researchers in search of the roots of the famous Australian song. Most recently Mark Radcliffe featured his rather personal Rolling Down The Ryburn on his BBC Radio 2 programme, sung by Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.

Pete has contributed a number of field recordings including Caleb Walker (musician for Manley Morris), travellers Charlotte & Betsy Renals and Sophie Legge, and Willy Taylor. He has carried out extensive research into the work of Frank Kidson, which resulted in a touring show and a CD under the title of Five Finger Frank.


Sue successfully gained funding and promoted Ryburn Three Step in the early days as well as teaching Appalachian step dance and the Ryburn Longsword dance team, which she formed 22 years ago. As well as Appalachian dance and Longsword, Ryburn Three Step also organises a range of regular activities for local people including clog step dance classes, a singing group, an offshoot rapper side, a mummers side, monthly folk club and dances, occasional workshop days plus weekly music sessions in the local pub.

Sue led and developed Ryburn Longsword for many years, recruiting youngsters from local schools and including their mothers in the dancing, resulting in a junior and a senior team. Along with team members she developed new dances with a local flavour and has presented the team regularly at dance festivals. In addition to her ongoing Longsword and Step dance activities she now runs weekly workshops around West Yorkshire for disabled and wheelchair bound youngsters, developing dances suitable for their abilities and providing for them a very necessary inclusion.



An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley