An evening at the Jug of Punch folk club at The Crown, Station St., Birmingham
ALL over Britain folksong clubs are flourishing. Mostly held in pubs, where a filled glass soon abolishes inhibitions about joining in the chorus, these clubs feature resident singers, guests from other parts of the country and members of the club's audience, or 'singers from the floor' as they are often called.
Each of the hundred or so folk clubs in Britain has its own character and atmosphere, sometimes derived from the decor, but usually from the style and quality of the resident performers.
On this record, we have tried to capture the atmosphere on a Tuesday night at the Crown in Birmingham. The resident singers are the Ian Campbell Folk Group, whose blending of harmonic arrangements, instrumental accompaniment and the traditional style of singing is unrivalled in Britain at the moment.
Ian Campbell leads the group in most of the items on this record, and sings the eerie Scots ballad 'The Twa Corbies' (The Two Ravens) unaccompanied. Lorna Campbell's thrilling voice is heard in the Gaelic song 'The Boatman', and Dave Swarbrick leads the shanty 'A Hundred Years Ago', whilst his virtuoso fiddle gets underway in the opening two fiddle solos, and can be heard to good effect in 'Broom Besoms' and 'Jolly Beggar'. To complete the group Dave Phillips sings the high parts and plays guitar, John Dunkerley plays banjo and sings bass.
The guests from the floor this evening are Eileen Feeley who sings beautifully and quietly in the somewhat declamatory and decorated country style of Irish singers, and Mike and John Chapman — veteran folk club organisers — represent the dance instrumentalists, who, on a good night round off a ceilidh at the Crown with an impromptu dancing session.