Review of Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp at the Folk Club on 28 October 2015.

The mood of this particular event was apparent from the start  as the residents and guests produced well-crafted songs and tunes, one after another to give a gentle and thoughtful tone to the whole evening. The guests were Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp;Laura, whose day job is Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House and her partner Ted Kemp (who is also a librarian) proved fine bearers of our native song tradition.


Their set was packed with a selection of songs from north and south of the country, always chosen with a variation of tune or words to delight the discerning traditional music audience. There were so many notable songs from the duo it is hard to pick one from the bunch but their performance of ‘The female highwayman’  was excellent and reflected Gordon Hall’s much loved rendition without being a parody which could so easily happen in the hands of less sensitive performers. Laura accompanied some songs on concertina and cello, whilst Ted accompanied Laura on banjo and guitar for many of the songs, but also added gentle vocal harmonies tIMG_0364(1)o a number of her songs, notably Frank Hinchliffe’s ‘The Golden Glove’, to subtle effect. Well-known songs such as ‘The Manchester Angel’ and the Coppers’ ‘Shepherd of the Downs’ sounded fresh in these performances. All lovely stuff.


A spirited set of tunes from the evening’s ‘pit band’ (Pete Coe, Steve Harrison, Johnny Adams, and Andy Day) opened proceedings. Pete Coe gave us two songs during the evening. On the first song he was accompanied by Steve and Johnny for his brilliant version of Spanish Lady which he sang in memory of Al O’Donnell (who passed away recently) from their days together at Cheltenham folk Club back in the 1970s. Later in the evening, Pete sang the seasonal soul-caking song ‘Welcome Cold November’ a very poignant recollection of his childhood in Cheshire, ‘Soul-caking’ round the streets of Northwich. Chris Coe showed yet again her mastery of the classic ballad form by singing ‘The wife of Usher’s Well’. Sue Burgess regaled us with ‘ Blue-eyed Sally’ and Sue van Gaalen  sang her version of a ‘Died for Love’ ballad. Alice Jones also sang a traditional song ‘The Cruel Mother’. All added to the evening’s sense of songs well chosen for the occasion, some reflecting the approach of Halloween. For the fashionistas amongst you, Alice’s dress was printed with lurid spooky monsters! Annie Dearman and Steve Harrison dug into their back repertory for ‘The Besom Maker’ and their anglicised version of ‘The Roving Ploughboy’ with words taken from Robert Burns and tune from Jane Turriff, both accompanied on melodeon. The audience were invited by a very welcome guest floor singer, Terry Evans to sing along with her in Tim Hardin’s ‘Reason to believe’,  proving just how well known and much loved the song is,  whilst accompanying herself admirably on concertina.


How lucky we are to have so many people able to create such a great atmosphere at our club.

Annie Dearman.

Review – Nic and Joe Jones

Nic and Joe Jones at the R3S Folk Club 30 September 2015

The opening night at Ryburn 3 Step’s Folk Club on 30 September was a stormer. Nic and Joe Jones entertained a packed audience with a mixture of accomplishment, humour, and nostalgia as Nic sang many of the songs that are indelibly associated with his unique style, and Joe’s guitar accompaniments displayed great virtuosity while being very much in the spirit of Nic’s original arrangements. For many people who were around in the folk scene in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Nic Jones was one of the most exciting, innovative, and talented singers of the folk revival. Sadly this was cut short by his serious accident in 1982, and for many years afterwards it seemed unlikely that this great talent would ever be heard again. But in recent years he has returned to the stage accompanied by his son Joe, and the R3S Folk Club run by Nic’s great friend Pete Coe was honoured to have this remarkable duo opening its 2015 / 16 season at the Works in Sowerby Bridge.


Joe plays the definitive accompaniments on Nic’s rebuilt guitar,occasionally joining in the vocals with the harmony line. Nic’s singing still displays his trademark mastery of phrasing and nuance so that if you shut your eyes you could be transported back to the folk clubs of 35+ years ago. But this live performance was more than recreating the songs – the father / son banter kept the audience much amused, and the overwhelming impression was that of two outstanding performers enjoying a really good time.

The songs we heard included The Indian Lass, Canadee – I – O, The Drowned Lovers, The Humpback Whale, The Little Pot Stove, Barrack Street, The Flandyke Shore, Farewell to the Gold, RapIMG_0347unzel, and Ploughman Lads. In introducing his version of Loudon Wainwright III’s Swimming Song, Nic invited Pete Coe, Chris Coe, and Johnny Adams to join him for the performance, delighting the audience with the recreation of the ‘Bandoggs’ sound.


Thanks for a fabulous evening go to Nic and Joe and the floor singers; Liz Conway on dulcimer who came down from Hexham and with Pete performed The Walls Of Troy written by her late husband Terry Conway; Johnny Adams and Chris Coe; Steve Harrison and Annie Dearman; Sue Burgess; Chris Manners; Sue van Gaalen; Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham; and Bob Butler.

Andy Day.

New Season starts with Nic and Joe Jones.

You can’t beat a good start to the season and this is the zenith of good starts….
The legend that is Nic Jones backed by his son Joe, a fine guitarist, is a great start to any season.

Tickets £15  available from
103 Oldham Rd
W Yorks

Cheque made out to Ryburn 3 Step
Please enclose SAE.
To check availability phone Halifax 822569 (STD 01422)

Folk Club Reviews

While you’re waiting in eager anticipation for the start of the R3S Autumn 2015 season with Nic and Joe Jones on 30 September, read a couple of reviews from last session:

Bruce Molsky was the guest at Ryburn 3 Step folk club, upstairs at ‘The Works’ in Sowerby Bridge on 27 May 2015. The 90-strong audience were treated to a very varied and excellent programme from this master of every instrument he plays. So there were great solo performances …

A long awaited visit from Aileen Carr on June 25th 2015, a Scottish singer well known in traditional folk circles for her lovely voice and sensitive rendition of songs learnt from printed collections and the great source singers in the traveller community. Aileen captivated the ballad aficionados and general audience with …

Enjoying the summer?

We’re on our summer break now, but Ryburn 3 Steppers are still active. The players, dancers and performers are appearing at some of the seasonal folk festivals, village fêtes and sessions. In the background, the committee are booking the dance bands and folk club acts that should delight you in the coming autumn and winter months.

If you’re passing Ripponden, maybe you’d like to join us on a Monday night in The Old Bridge Inn for our weekly music session. There will be the odd week when some of our key players are missing because they’re on holiday but there’s usually somebody around.  Check in advance by phoning 01422 822413.

Have a splendid summer!

Spring is in the air…..

Ok, we might yet have snow… it has been known to snow at Easter…  but Ryburn 3 Step is optimistic and looking forward to some sunshine to go with the sunny music we’ve got lined up.

After a great night with Bob Hall and Hilary Blyth, during which we were treated to a splendid mix of folk blues, boogie, Appalachian and self penned songs, we’re looking forward to a dance with a bunch of our favourite English musicians providing the music.  There’s Tony Weatherall (who also plays in The Boat Band) on melodeon, then on fiddle his colleague Neil Brookes (see their duo album The Whitchurch Hornpipe), their percussion specialist Chris ‘Yorkie’ Bartram , ably assisted by Christine Corfield on piano and last but certainly not least, The Old Swan Band‘s Neil Gledhill on bass sax.

If that wasn’t enough, we’ve enlisted the services of one of England’s top dance callers, Dave Hunt.
See more detail about the people by clicking the links in this post and for details of the dance itself click here .

Put on your dancing shoes…………

We’ve a great band and caller for this month’s family barn dance coming up this Saturday (Feb 21st). The Watch are a three piece with melodeon, parlour style banjo and piano keyboard. The members are musicians with extensive experience with other bands and a large catalogue of cd albums to their credit. The Watch is a relatively new combination and you can hear some of their music by following the link from the event page.

Andrew Swaine is an experienced caller whose style is adaptable across a range of traditional dance styles. Expect some fun stuff!

The Watch 2

An Independent Folk Development Project in the Ryburn Valley