All posts by Johnny Adams

REVIEW: Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

After a last minute bad weather cancellation of his gig in February we managed to re-arrange a date for Cohen this June, even though we had to run a special club night to accommodate it. Not only was it a ‘special’ night in the sense of ‘extra’, it was a special night in that  other sense – a young man performing with a skill that belies his years, engaging in easy, humorous and natural communication with his audience and displaying instrumental virtuosity coupled with a singing borne on complete understanding of his chosen material.

Word of mouth ensured that there was a full house, the audience coming from far and wide and including an impressive number of gigging musicians come to see a fellow artist strut his stuff. We were treated to a preview of Cohen’s musicality when he joined previous guest Nick Dow to provide a beautifully crafted melodeon accompaniment to his version of Jackie Munro, a song many will have heard as Jackaroo from Joan Baez decades ago.
It was preceded by another previous guest act, Lynda Hardcastle and Alan Rose, who sang Bob Pegg’s Instructions to a Young Lark Man, a beautiful piece from Pegg’s Calderdale Suite, soon to be performed by Bob himself in Hebden Bridge (23rd June) on the 40th anniversary of the original performance.  Other first half supporting pieces saw the welcome return of Sue Van Gaalen – (now Sue Nicholas) singing a late May song For The Lass That I Love, Tim Edwards with McDonald of Glencoe, Sue Burgess with a lesser known version of Seeds of Love, and our favourite songsmith Chris Manners with an amusing I Will Be Your Rescue Dog.

Cohen – Ryburn Folk Club 6 June 2018. Photo: Andy Day

With zero fuss, Cohen started his first half with The Jovial Carrier, immediately setting the scene for audience chorus singing. This was swiftly followed by Babylon, collected by Ewan MaColl from Scottish singer John McDonald and accompanied by melodeon bass runs to chill the spine. Of the many tunes entitled Trip to … somewhere, we weren’t expecting Trip to Birmingham, the first in a set of three 18thC dance tunes.
Tom The Barber, a version of Willie of Winsbury collected by Cecil Sharp in Somerset , was delivered in a way reminiscent of the late Tony Rose (who also sang the song) with long high notes holding us in suspense and lyrics playfully crossing the bar lines.
A bass concertina came out of its case to accompany The Whitby Tailor, an amusing song taken from the Yorkshire Garland web site,  highwayman Tom King (a contemporary of Dick Turpin) was celebrated in a self penned song, Scott Joplin’s Palm Leaf Rag demonstrated some precision concertina (anglo) playing and the first set finished off in fine form with The Golden Vanity with much chorus.

With a full house, the interval ‘buzz’ was difficult to bring to a halt but future guests Mary Humphreys & Anahata (booked for January 30th 2019) brought things firmly under control with the tunes Trip to Brighton & A Charming Maid on melodeon and concertina.
We were treated to yet another Bob Pegg song (just like buses, you don’t get any for ages then two come along together) from Cath Charnock and Pete Norman who sang Elvira Madigan. Laurence Marshall & Phoebe Ophelia Douthwaite lived up to their growing  non-conformist reputation by imitating Johnny Cash and June Carter singing Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man, and  Mal Jardine’s Farmer and the Nobleman  preceded a final song from the floor, Pete Coe‘s lovely rendition of Flora, The Lily of the West, collected by Baring-Gould in 1889.

Cohen’s second set started with a Henry Purcell baroque piece expertly adapted for anglo concertina. At the insistence of Sue Coe, he donned an original Ryburn Longsword waistcoat to deliver The Ripon Sword Dance Song which was followed by a 19thC railway poem, The Fireman’s Growl set by the late Karl Dallas to the tune Tramps & Hawkers.
Gigue, by German baroque composer Johann Mattheson was a definite ‘party piece’, followed by Forty Miles, collected by Frank Kidson in Leeds, whose old abode was just 56 doors away from Cohen’s old student digs. A couple of murder songs – Edward and Andrew Rose brought us to the last song – a bright 19thC  tale of an innocent abroad in Cohen’s home town of Birmingham – A Country man in Birmingham.

The inevitable encore was the music hall song Two Lovely Black Eyes,  sung out enthusiastically by an audience who had enjoyed a superb night of music.

Cohen is a powerful story teller who quite naturally uses all manner of subtle techniques to keep the narratives constantly engaging his audience. His instrumental abilities could be described as virtuoso but they also contain that secret ingredient which causes a song text or tune melody to transcend the words and/or notes and become something special and compelling. Go and see him if you get the chance.

Johnny Adams

Next guests at the Ryburn Folk Club are The Nobles, Wednesday 27 June at The Malthouse. This will be the last Ryburn Folk Club of the 2017 – 18 season, so please come along for another great night with this wonderful family of singers. More information HERE
We then close for the summer (while we go off to festivals and perhaps a bit of a holiday), and return for the first Folk Club of the 2018 – 19 season on Wednesday 26 September, with guest Chris Foster – all the way from Reykjavik!


Read the REVIEW of Sunjay at the Ryburn Folk Club on 30 May HERE….


OTHER NEWS from Ryburn 3 Step:

Ryburn Longsword will be dancing at The Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden, on Wednesday 13 June. We will be joined by Oakenhoof and Sowerby Bridge Morris; dancing starts at 7pm, afterwards from 9.00pm we will retire into the pub for a music and song session. All welcome.
MORE INFORMATION HERE: Ryburn Longsword_Bridge_13jun18

On Saturday 26 May Ryburn Longsword danced at Touchstones, Rochdale, at the opening of the Doc Rowe exhibition. Read about it HERE.


Our 2017 – 18 Barn Dance and Village Dance programme has now ended, and we’ll start the 2018 – 19 season in September. We’ll publish the programme towards the end of the summer when we’ve booked all the bands and callers.