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Looking Back.....


.....to September 1979



In those days, the magazine had a 'Club of the Month' feature and for this issue, the Club of the month was Bury Folk Club. Jean Seymour wrote this article and sadly, her prediction of closure came true, for the club closed some time ago and unfortunately there is no longer a club in the town (unless, of course, you know different!)

As with the other articles in this group of pages, the text is reproduced below the scan of the actual page.





Bury Folk Club began one Saturday night in the early sixties in the Albion – a pub in the town centre. No-one now seems to know exactly when. Perhaps as we approach 21 someone might be stirred to find out.


In the early years the club moved several times from the Albion to the Black Bull and thence to the British Oak, where I caught up with it in 1966. The final move to the present venue, the Old Blue Bell, was made in 1968 and I have had the often thankless task of organiser since late 1969.


The club’s policy has always been to present traditional songs and music, with only very rare forays into the other forms. This may seem narrow and unbending but from past experience we find it works. Our audience prefers it, finding that traditional music gives a greater variety within itself than can be found in the other forms.


Over the years we have been fortunate in having a plentiful supply of excellent resident singers. In the early days John Dickinson, Steve Heap, Lea’ Nicholson (Nick) and Dave Smith, Bernard Wrigley and Dave Brooks, and the inimitable Bob Duckworth could all, be heard every week. Late came the Valley Folk, when John and Steve were joined by my two sisters and myself. Nick went to university and Davie joined the Britannia Coconutters - but we gained Dave Weatherall, (now of Jolly Jack). In those days Singers’ Nights were often more popular than the guests and with a line-up of that calibre it was hardly surprising. Perhaps we never attain the dizzy heights as regards famous residents, but we’ve still got a large number of LP covers on our walls witnessing our home-grown talents.


In the late sixties Lol Lynch did a stalwart job as the regular M.C. and mainstay of the residents, particularly after the demise of the Valley Folk. By now Dave and Bernard and Dave Weatherall had gone their different ways but new talent began to emerge. For the first time the club was short of residents and people who had rarely sung began to show themselves in their true light. Some, like Alan Seymour and Ken Bolton, are with us yet, both as singers and part of the Bury Pace Eggers which revived the local Easter custom in 1970.


The early seventies saw the upsurge of interest in dancing and I started a group as an offshoot. When the dance group was at is best we had a demonstration team which proved popular and dance and song were often combined to present Lancashire Nights for various local organisations. Soon some of our musicians decided they would rather play than exercise their three left feet, so the Fiery Clockface was born, later to become Chatterton Riot and now simply the Riot Band. The line-up changed with each new name but all the bands have enjoyed great popularity. We now also have the Bury Ceilidh Band which in turn is achieving recognition outside the club.


  The dance group ceased to exist some four years ago but we still hold regular ceilidhs in local halls and mini-ceilidhs in the club room which are always very popular, and with one of our own bands working for only a few pints, are a useful source of income without which we might have ceased to exist. Like many clubs we have been suffering from falling attendance figures. However, most of the remaining staunch supporters would readily agree that the standard has usually been maintained. However good the guests and the residents the atmosphere is bound to suffer when there is only a handful in the audience. We have had something of an improvement in recent weeks, and we are hopeful that it will continue, for it would indeed be a pity that a club which has had so much to offer should be forced to close  for lack of a supportive audience.


 Jean Seymour



OK - That was an example of the Club of the Month feature. There was also a regular page for songwriters....




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