Monday, 27 December 2010

The Masher Reviews 2010 Part 1. Dedicated to absent friends.


It's that time of the year when, in looking forward to the New Year looming a few days a head, we all tend to look back on the year that has been. In fact without these annual reviews how on earth would the News Papers fill their pages during the first eight days of Christmas? How would the television channels fill their programme time?

The bad news for you lot is that The Mashers News Blog is no different!!!!

But first, recent activity.

Yes, The Masher was out this week, showing off his hair cut, and joining the folks that despite Christmas preparations, the freezing conditions, and being completely spent up, made their way to The Cross Keys at Handsworth to listen to some poetry, sing a few songs and listen to The Wyrd Wych doin' her stuff.

Thinking back, going out on the evening I had my hair cut may not have been such a good idea, as I suspect that is where my current head cold took grip, causing this Christmas to be a second in consecutive years to have the edge taken off it by a complete lack of taste – oh well – it sort of sums up the year.

But I would not have missed Tuesday evening for anything, a really nice evening spent with some good friends. Nothing better as a warm up for Christmas. Particularly good to see Phoebe heading up the evening in Wyrd Wych mode with a couple typically interesting sets with songs ranging from the traditional to classic rock.

In Masher mode it was also good to dig out a couple more rarely performed songs, with even Shirley being given an airing for the first time in a few years.

Just a reminder that one suspects all the usual suspects will be out in force this coming Wednesday the 29th for a Special Nellie Folk. It's going to be a special one, with an important member being given Guest of Honour Status for the evening, so if you're bored of the telly, mince pies and turkey sandwiches or simply need to escape the family for a few hours do come down and share in the fun at The Bridge. Starts around 8:45pm

Don't forget Tuesday 28th from 2:00pm for The Black Bull, Aughton all day Festive Special.

So how do I review The Mashers year? To be honest it's an impossibility. There are just so many mixed emotions.

It's just so very strange, with the year starting on a high as Myke and I finally felt that we had eventually stopped experimenting and began putting together some really positive sets that were received so well by audiences. There are two that stand out in my mind as being one's I will forever remember.

The Haiti Appeal at The Riverside on a particularly wet Tuesday night at The Riverside in Sheffield, organised by Dave Paskell would be the first. Even though the audience was limited, it was just one of those sets that we knew worked so well.

Listening back you can hear just how much we were enjoying ourselves and just how well we were beginning to work together.

It was the way I always imagined The Mashers being. Never claiming or seeking to be “pretty” in any sense our performance had to work on a message and entertainment level, and that evening at The Riverside was the first time we came off stage feeling we had achieved those twin objectives over a half hour period.

Not long after we featured on The Folk Against Fascism stage as part of the Love Music Hate Racism Carnival Day in Barnsley. Seeing the audience gather around the stage as we performed, being able to hear people joining in on the choruses, egged on by Dorothy Fryman from the side lines bashing away on her tambourine we hit the right mood of the day. 


Myke and I came off stage after that set and strangely said nothing to each other.

To the outsider it wasn't anything special, just two old buggers bashing out Political Songs with a bit of humour – there was even the moment when the wind took away my lyric sheets, whoops, Myke's script of Deliberate Mistakes, yet there was a special buzz after that performance.

We both felt it.

It was some twenty minutes later, sat in a pub, with our friends around us, that we gave each other a hug – and looking back the poignancy or even the significance of Myke saying just how much he had enjoyed the set and how good it had been, one he said he would always remember, will forever be burnt into my memory.

We were never again to play a full set together.

Yet we were to have an almost private sing together. Due to play The Handsworth Folk Club we ventured out to test a few of our old songs out at what we thought was an Open Mic at The Butchers Arms at Braithwell. Playing to a very intimate audience, we played and sang our songs, digging deep into the bottom of the song book it was a fun evening.

It was our last.

During the Saturday night / Sunday Morning of the 16th May Myke moved on to find a new audience for his music.

It as Sunday I shall never forget. Even now it all seems unreal.

The next few weeks are a blur, yet so clear in my mind. The Mashers set on the 18th May at The Cross Keys went ahead as planned with A Masher performing with his unseen friend beside him. What an evening that was!! So many friends packing the bar out and contributing to an exceptional evening of music to honour Myke.

And to perform “Dance On the Grave of Mrs Thatcher” with John McCullagh, the writer, who was visiting from Australia will forever be a musical highlight.

Myke's Funeral................. well that still chokes me. The finale which I had the honour of delivering will I hope remain with all those who attended for years to come. The cheer, the standing ovation to a true troubadour is something I shall remember. If you've not shared it yet you'll find it HERE

And of course fittingly there was a fantastic wake, with so many of Myke's friends, old and new, contributing to an emotional day I shall never forget.

And of course Myke's Birthday Bash in July, launching the Myke Barritt Music Trust, set up with the general aim of raising money from Myke's personal collections, and fund raising activities to reinvest so as to encourage the local music scene. MORE DETAIL HERE Another stand out music event.

At the time I wasn't sure if the Birthday Bash was going to mark the end of The Rawmarsh Mashers, I didn't know if I'd be able to find the energy or the will to keep the concept running. Perhaps it's a tribute to Myke that while it took a lot of thinking about, and let's be honest, still does, that I soon realised that I cannot escape The Rawmarsh Mashers. Wherever, I play, I will always be a Masher.

So I went into a series of gigs Myke and I had planned basically solo. However, I was both surprised and grateful when out of the blue a couple of mates stepped forward to give me a hand.

Helping me at The Worcester Music Festival was my mate of many years Gary Emms who unfortunately lives in the South and so can only help if I cross that Southern boarder. What a Saturday we had at the Festival, with Gary being thrown into two sets after only a few minutes practice.

It was great fun taking our songs to two new audiences. And it was two completely different types of audience, with our afternoon set being made up of a Folk audience and the evening being a typical Worcester City Saturday night out crowd. Even better when it seemed that they enjoyed our efforts.

Above all though it was great to be part of such a fantastic Festival. So a big thank you to Worcester and I hope we'll be invited again.

Up North I was joined by Phillip Hartley. With Phillip The Mashers played the local Rawmarsh Star Festival for the Children's Charity When You Wish Upon a Star, a new Acoustic Festival at Topcliffe, The Wirksworth Village Street Music Festival and a rather strange Open Mic session at The Winter Gardens in Sheffield for Sheffield Live. All great fun, even if I rather irritated Phillip by occasionally calling him Myke, habit can sometimes be a bad thing.

Ideally I'd love to find a new permanent Masher. But this is easier said than done. The identity of The Mashers being so well defined now that some people who have expressed an interest are scarred off. If it's to be, so it will come to pass, but until then it's The Rawmarsh Masher that will be out and about again in the New Year.

Same songs – same humour – but with even less clever bits............. and so far Gigs at Bootstraps, Wakefield in January and alongside my old mates Cracktown in Hull for February already on the books. Something to look forward to.


Our little local contest with Jack's Rake for the Number One spot on the local Reverbnation Folk Charts has continued for much of the year. The Mashers enjoyed the odd weeks as number one, while Jack's Rake for 2010 has sort of won out............... except someone from Wakefield is currently keeping both of us in our place at the moment. Always great fun the Reverb Charts, no one knows how they calculated and for over a month not one act in the top 25 has moved which suggests that they may be as reliable as Myspace. (I'm being ironic)

Myspace has simply been a nightmare. Here's a Murdock run business that deserves to fail on the basis of 2010. Change after change has been made to the service, non of it good, non of it useful, and non of it working affectively. It seems that rather than develop the new look in isolation to the working site Myspace has chosen to load the new bits without first checking if it all was working. For The Mashers this has meant that we have had to re-jig our Blogs, (we relied upon Myspace as the RSS base) and it is more difficult now to establish just how many of you are reading them. What we do know is that around 135 tuned in weekly while on weeks of high controversy or critical events the hit rate was in excess of seven or eight hundred.

The Acoustic Rotherham / Mashers Web Site has undergone major changes during the year. We've added a new section for The Myke Barritt Music Trust as well as attempting to find ways to improve the page code to allow for quicker downloading onto peoples computers. More changes are planned as we learn more about what you read and the pages you don't look at.

Acoustic Rotherham has gone from strength to strength during the year. It is fantastic that so many great acts want to come and play at The Queen's and so many want to return. The audiences have varied during the year, always appreciative of the artists, the overall numbers have been slightly disappointing. However, I have to accept that Post May I have been just a little distracted and hope that in 2011 we can actually build on the basic foundation we have.

The next Acoustic is Rotherham is the 30th January 2011, with some super acts coming our way. You can check the full listing HERE

We do rely upon your help to get the Acoustic Rotherham word out there and to round up the audience. It's all free folks. You can download fliers HERE to pass out at your Club or any venue you happening to be travelling to or simply join us on Facebook HERE and help propagate the word by sharing The Mashers / Acoustic Rotherham links that are frequently posted.

All communication about Acoustic Rotherham, The Myke Barritt Music Trust and The Rawmarsh Mashers come out via The Mashers News Letters you can sign up for by simply subscribing to the Weekly News Blog. This is just to keep things as simple as I can.

Finally, as previously stated, Acoustic Rotherham is free!!! We rely upon donations and the collection bucket to keep the Web Site and the events going. However, advertising, Site Servers etc.etc. Is not free and while I've managed to keep things going in 2010 I can't promise that 2011 will be the same. We're all feeling the squeeze, and the recent freeze out has made life very difficult. So please help us. Do the publicity bit and also if you're buying CDs / books or whatever via the Internet remember our Amazon links. Every little helps.

In return of course we endeavour to feature and promote local Yorkshire artists as much as we can, in addition to our supporters from further afield.

Of course non of this has really been helped by my general health in the year which has taken a little turn for the worse. But I'm still going and I'll do everything I can. I hope to be out a bit more in 2011.

But that ends Part One of our Review of 2010. Next week more of the nitty gritty stuff. And if I miss you at some point DO HAVE A HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL 2011.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Not Much Christmas Spirit Around this Year

So we head straight into the main of the week. Was it the Government being told that they were completely out of order to pull the plug on the Forge Masters Loan? well, no, that little gem hardly rated in the news but it's a fact, and of course the Government are less than sorry. Strike one against Nick continuing as Hallam's MP one hopes.

Was it my results from the clinic, more bad news in an already depressing year? Nop.

Was it the Local Government Finance announcement, more bad news for the North who have been hit hard along with most Labour areas, while many Tory Councils have got off lightly? Of course not, and neither is it the profiteering of Power Companies and Petrol Companies nor the weather for a change, or anything like that.

No The Masher after a whole six week break got off his arse and did a thirty minute set. And from the opening two words of the classic Slade Christmas song, “Merry Christmas”, the only two words I know, the set proved to be quite a minor success with folks joining in and of course the lovely Sue providing the dancing girl routine on the last song. All great stuff.

It was good to be contributing to the Myke Barritt Music Trust Christmas Bash, and to be amongst good friends again.

It's a pity that more friends did not turn out for what was a splendid evening of music, with Myke Bands Tyburn and Earthtales (both featuring of course, the lovely Phoebe on bass), turning out in acoustic type formats (e.g. the drummers had all gone missing), The Masher of course with great support from Dave Kidman, Welsh Geoff, Barry and Sue, Sylvia and her companion (forgot his name) and Tina and Matt all topped off by a brilliant set, especially under the circumstances from First Fall, the super voice of Karen accompanied by some brilliant guitar playing from Nigel.

The event was to make money for the Trust and this over the day it did, the final sum not yet established, the raffle, bric-a-brac and cakes all contributing to what had been a nice a day. The final sum will be published as soon as possible.

However, besides the non appearance of some notable faces, yes, as normal it was a bit like the promised World Cup votes, it's a pity that I have to turn to the negative side of things.

It was a strange day, after a day on the road I arrived to do what I thought would be a Graveyard set at 7:15pm. I was gratified by what turned out to be a comparative maximum turn out. But from there the audience started to dwindle. Apparently many of the people who were about early evening had been at the event most of the day and by 8:30 were beginning to slag and in need of substantial food. And who can blame them.

But the enthusiastic folks who remained kept the party going till the finish at 11:00pm

So it's really disappointing that one of the listed acts, in fact the one that had been placed as the “Top of The Bill” decided, initially because there were not enough people in and not worth performing because there would be no feed back, and backed by supporting arguments concerning having to get up early for work and the like, decided not to play.

To be completely fair this applied to one half of the act, the other half was more than happy to meet his commitment to the event.

The comments were thoughtless and arrogant. It seems he had clearly forgotten what the event was about, which was to raise money in the name of Myke Barritt for the local music scene. OK the full aims are not yet clear, but the basic principles are available on the Myke Barritt pages of the Web Site, and they will be more clearly defined early into 2011, so woolliness of the objectives is not a an excuse.

And why Myke Barritt, because he would play anywhere to anyone and was never known, except when unwell or under extreme provocation was never known to walk out on any audience, be it zero or two hundred.

And that is why I take exception to this well known local Prima Dona's comments to the hard working organiser of this event, Phoebe, who was really upset by what was said to her.

The paradox is that Myke was a person who would play to an empty chair, drunk, sober, tired, ill or simply in bad mood, Myke would always meet his commitments, yet this person thought himself too good.

Pictures from the event can be found HERE

The Masher Pictures can be found HERE

By this time next week Christmas will have been and gone for another year. I have to be honest. This year I simply cannot get into the mood, or feel in the least bit Festive. Normally I'm as bad as the kids but for some reason I don't feel Festive at all.

Driving around the streets of Rotherham as I do, I get the impression that Mrs Masher and I are not the only one's in this state of mind, the decorations are going up very late, and even the number of people turning their house into illuminated flashing adverts for the season are not so great this year. Even in this chilly wind there are very few giant snow men or Santa's floating about the sky.

I'm hoping the coming week might just catch it all alight............. but it's not started well with our cricketers already pouring cold water on any change in mood.

But for those of you who are up for the Festive season there's plenty going on. Barnsley Folk Club have their Christmas Party tomorrow (Monday) night, there's a Yule Time Handsworth Folk and Poetry Club meeting on Tuesday, with The Wicked Wych supported by Welsh Geoff in residence, and perhaps a couple from The Rawmarsh Masher too. The full listings can be found HERE

I shall be putting together the January Diary over the next week, so keep sending those dates in and I'll make sure they are listed.

The Festive time might give me some time to sort out the technical difficulties with the Web Site. I'm going to attempt to strip a lot of the Flash features which should help those on slower Broadband connections to load pages quicker.

I also think it's about time that we had a sort out and cleared some of the pages that don't get used.

While sorting through all the discs lying around on my desk I came across some really good quality video of The Mashers very first Gig. I've put it on the Mashers pages of the Web Site as a Download file. HERE. Sorry it's a rather large file and will depending upon the speed of your connection take some time to download, but I think you will find that it's a fun. All put together by our old mate Ken the Hat – thanks Ken.

Meanwhile the Condems are working hard to make Christmas 2010 memorable for us all. The savage cuts imposed on Local Government are frightening. At this rate we'll be running refuge collection as a volunteer service, let alone all the social and welfare organisations that are going to be hit to kingdom Come.

But are they doing anything to stop their friends from profiteering – of course not.
I see that Uncle Vince and that chap who has the title Chancellor are meeting the Banks this coming week to try and cut back on the Bonuses and encourage more lending. Call me a cynic, but I think the Banks will nod their heads in all the right places but then just get on and do what they like – as they have done since they caused this economic mess.

Banks consider themselves above us all, they think that we cannot live without them, and I would suggest that there is no one within the Condem Government, or Labour come to that, with the imagination and creativity to provide an alternative. We seem to be stuck in a “carry on, business as usual” mentality. No one seems to be able to think outside of the box.

Above all else though when will we all “wake up and smell the coffee” - oh I hate that phrase - we are currently being ripped off whichever way we turn, inflation is rocketing in what is basically a neutral economy, everywhere you look prices are rising not on a monthly basis, but sometimes weekly or even daily. And we just accept it.

Can we make 2011 any better, because in these days of the Big Society it will be down to us all to make some sort of difference.


Next week we'll be taking a Masher review of 2010 – in common with everyone else of course.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Political Teeth are grinding - the tom toms are banging + News and reviews and events

So after the disaster of the weather we start to return to some sort of normality, but only under the threat from the weather man that it's all going to go pear shape again at the end of the week ahead.

Just in time for Christmas then!

And what a week in the political arena it has been. I can't help feeling that The Lib / Dems fell for the oldest trick in the political book when they signed the pledge not to increase Higher Education Tuition Fees to students.

To be honest I have no sympathy for the Lib / Dems, the political naivety that has led to them now facing political oblivion is all of their own making. And is it any accident that Mr Cameron gave the Political responsibility of introducing the £9K fees to a Liberal? Of course not.

Of course what this has done is to demonstrate to our young people just how corrupt our Political system has become, when not even a signed pledge has any meaning. No wonder they have taken to the streets to demonstrate.

Of course our media has concentrated upon the violence that has irrupted during the demonstrations, and dare I say a little one sided, yes the windows got smashed, the Royals shaken up a bit, but put against the total decimation of our Higher Education system these amount to a mere bagatelle.

How many realised that whole of Arts Teaching Government funding was being withdrawn. That Science was having it's funding cut. That's why the fee's are being increased, not to add any sort of value to our University Education, but to provide the funds for their very existence, especially in the area of the arts.

And don't look so smug you boys on the Labour Left. I'm sorry to say that it was you via that fine Socialist Tony Blair that first introduced the concept of Tuition Fees. Pushed through in the days of his huge majority. I look back in disgust, for surely it was obvious that once the principle had been established future Governments would use it as a tool to reduce direct Government funding of Higher Education.

Perhaps those of us of the generations that enjoyed free access to Higher Education, I personally had six years (equates to £54K of debt before Maintenance Grants or lack of them come into the mix at given the top Universities I was lucky enough to attend, at the new prices), should think very carefully before we criticise students for taking to the streets or feeling moved to take direct action to make their protest felt by an establishment that has shown that they don't give a fig about young people.

And this is just the start. As the New Year kicks in and more and more people begin to become directly affected by Osborne’s emergency Budget there will be more and more violence on our streets as people demonstrate their objection to the cuts coming your way.

We're hearing a lot from this Government about the Big Society and how this Coalition Government has been heaven sent to sort the economic mess ironically created by their good mates in the City. I see no justice at all in making us all pay for the sins of the greedy “quick buck” merchants. And while the young and disabled find budgets being cut major Companies like Vodaphone are allowed to get out of massive tax liabilities and others are allowed to profiteer while hiding behind the cloak of the bad weather etc.

And if the Liberals really want to know why their message that it's all going to be easier for the Students under this new system is not getting home, they should look to of their honesty and integrity. The message that all this is in the National good is complete rubbish. It's about fairness, it's about justice and if the Liberals do not realise it they are contributing to propping up a Government that subscribes to the Bankers Club.

It's no good looking back and saying, why could we afford it back then and not now? And not realise what the answer is, TAX RATES. The attack on tax rates has been relentless. I can remember a time when I was paying 33% of taxable income when I first started work. It was a fact of life if I wanted to enjoy the all the privileges of free education, medicine and a welfare network. What needs to be done is to work out a Tax system and rate that returns us to balance.

Greed has created this hiatus, and yes we do need to rediscover the Big Society an all inclusive Society and recognise that personal or Corporate greed has nothing to with Society.

So I take my Mashers hat off to the Students - our Youth have been quiet for far too long – it's great that they have at last found their voice, and discovered that they can have an impact upon the way that decisions are made. And if this goes as deep as I would hope, then yes unwittingly The Lib Dems may well have been responsible for a major change to British Politics. They might reflect upon this and use it as a comfort blanket as they look in from the outside in the years sat in the wilderness I fear they now face.

There endeth one of our infrequent political rants.

Hey and wasn't it good to see our Cricketers giving the Aussies a “rite kicking”. Amongst the gloom of the weather and the political scene an innings and 71 runs does one spirits a great deal of good. So long as you're not Australian that is. One in the eye for this chap HERE

And non of that has much to do with music, or does it? Look closely.

For me personally this weather has been a complete disaster. Looking at my Accounts for this year there have been four weeks of minimal or non activity. Not good for the self employed. And then it always takes a bit to kick everyone back into some sort of action.

It's not been great for the Folk Clubs or sessions either with yet more events being cancelled. Ironically those that have gone ahead have been well attended – I have been told.

The Mashers moved nowhere.

But we will be out on Tuesday night for Myke Barritt Music Trust Yule Time Bash at The Bridge. There's an amazing list of acts on show, so head off HERE for all the details.

On a personal note I'm looking forward to meeting up with some old friends. It's been a long time for me to be totally inactive. It's now reached the stage where I don't know where health issues and just not being bothered to go out / laziness meet. So it will be a bit of tester for The Masher so come give me a cheer or heckle – any sort of reaction will be good.

Don't forget the Philip Cockerham's Charity CD for “Help For Heroes” Three great tracks. Phil is working really hard visiting as many Folk Clubs as he can before Christmas selling his CDs but if you miss him here's where you can get a copy HERE 

You can of course get other stocking filling presents from the Acoustic Rotherham Amazon Store.................... tuners / strings / CDs from all Acoustic Rotherham's favourite Regional artists. HERE

On the negative side I was sorry to hear that the Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club are cutting back on their activities. No Winter Warmer in 2011 – not good news, and the Monthly get togethers are no more. On the positive side they are promoting a series of Acoustic Heroes Concerts with an impressive line up coming your way. January 14th they have Phil Beer supported by Brother Crow, April 8th it's Martin Carthy with support from Rebekah Findlay and 20th May Chris Woods. Tickets available from Paul Arrowsmith at £10 at this Email

Well, I actually found myself out Saturday night. I think I was just a bit stir crazy as we headed for Rotherham Trades Club where Real Madness were strutting their stuff. Don't be fooled by the name, this is not a Madness tribute Band, no, this duo are probably the top Party sound in club Land. I love their performances, OK the cheesy mix of music is sometimes predictable, but wow, the energy and overall slickness of the performance is just awe-inspiring. Forty five minutes of spirit lifting music.

There was only one place to go after that, yes The Bridge, where Searching for Sylvia were punching out their songs in their typically slick manner. We were also lucky to just catch a couple of songs from their support for the night Rachael Barley. What a voice.

While on top local acts. Here's a new one. Some of you will already have had the chance of to see this new duo in action, I haven't as yet, but judging by the sound of their tracks they are going to be in great demand. Meadowland. On first listening their Country based Americana roots sound will I think be very popular. See if you can spot who makes up this duo on their Myspace page HERE

It was good to get out, even if I'm likely to pay for it as today (Sunday) wears on.

So fingers crossed, lets hope the weather forecasters have got it all completely wrong again and that the run into Christmas is not affected by piles of white stuff laying on the ground. Don't forget you can keep up with all the events running into the Festive season HERE on the Diary page and if you want something adding just Email me at

Whatever you're doing this week, have fun and keep it live.Keep up with news by heading to News pages regularly HERE

Sunday, 5 December 2010

It was Nearing December when - Yorkshire stopped for Snow

So it was an eventful, event less week for most us, especially those of us who found themselves under a couple of feet of snow, or more, by Wednesday tea time.

The week had not been without it's personal disaster for Richard. As I was later to find out when my leaky pipe was sorted on the car and the coolant topped up not enough anti freeze was added, so when last Sunday I started the the car there was dreadful grinding sound, followed by a lot of smoke pouring into the cab as the water pump belt frayed. The RAC man later showed me the frozen pipe of water that caused the problem.

Fortunately no major damage was done, and it does demonstrate the importance of making sure that the anti freeze in your car's coolant system is properly topped up.

I was impressed by MSN who Manage the Bill Plant Fleet though. I called them at 9:00am on the Monday of the week to report the breakdown. By 11:00am I had a replacement car and mine was making it's independent way to the repair man. Not that conditions allowed for any driving lessons.

And yes I managed to loose a complete week of work, not the best thing at this time of year when one is already fighting to keep the Bank Manager from the door.

The Park was nice though.

That's not to say that I have been completely idle. Fortunately a Web Site job presented itself and I've been able to get a working site up in some sort of shape in very short order. If you've got time pop over to and I'd be interested in finding out if the site works for you – not the subject matter necessarily but the colour and build of the site.

For most Folk Clubs etc, this week has been a non starter. Top of the casualties being Doreen and Roy Blackman's Party which was due to happen on the 4th. No new date has yet been announced but as soon as it is we'll let you know.

ALSO CANCELLED IS DAVE'S FOLK DAY, ON MONDAY 6th December, at The Bridge. This event is part of an exchange Singers Club with events taking place in Lancashire and soon Yorkshire. The date is now 10th January 2011.

But coming up very soon, The Myke Barritt Music Trust Yule Time event on the 14th December. Check out all the details and the cries for Santa's little helpers on the MBMT page HERE There's some great acts confirmed for the evening event from 6:30pm. With duos Tina Mckevitt and Matt Hegarty, First Fall, and Florin being supported by the gang of Myke's Bands, Tyburn, Earthtales, The Mashers, with Welsh Geoff and Barry and Sue doing a bit to. So fingers crossed that the weather conditions allow it all to go ahead. Remember that it all starts at 2:00pm with a Singaround hosted by Dave Kidman and a Bring and Buy sale with a few bits of Myke stuff up for grabs. 

Some more bad news came my way this week.  The Rawmarsh Mashers have always been great fans of the young band of musicians collectively known as Folk On Fire.  So I was greatly saddened to learn that they will not be setting our stages alight anymore.  What the trio acheived over the past eighteen months was nothing short of brilliant. 

You can find a couple of FOF tracks on the Acoustic Rotherham Player HERE and Lucie tells me that their are still a few CDs left at £5 if you Email her at

There is some good news though Lucie and Matty are still going to be out there, and there is talk of an electric folk based band being rehearsed - and even Acoustic Rotherham just might make an exception to the rule to welcome them when they are ready back to the Queens.  

There has been a few additions to the Diary pages for December, and I suppose I'm going to have to start on January very soon.

Many of you will have noticed that The Rawmarsh Mashers Blog has disappeared from the RSS corners of some sites. OK I've said this before – but it's worth repeating that this is has nothing to do with Richard playing, it was just done without notice by Myspace. I did ask Myspace for help to put this right, and the answer I got was typically unhelpful, they are “not allowed” to help me. This means that I still have to find an answer to the problem. Meanwhile the best way to find us is to head to the Acoustic Rotherham News page or The Mashers News Page. The main upload now goes to Blogspot HERE and you can, despite everything, still find The Blog on Myspace, but you'll need to go to Rawmarsh Mashers Profile.

Since the sudden “cut” two weeks ago we've had a drop in readership around the World, by about 50% so I'm working really hard to sort the technical problems out.

And of course there's my seasonal cry for support for Acoustic Rotherham by buying your CDs etc through our Amazon store............... Amazon has everything you need at really good discounted prices and with free postage in many cases. So go on use the Acoustic Rotherham links on any of our site pages and help to finance the Web Site please – please – please. What's not in the Acoustic Rotherham Shop can be found by clicking through to the Amazon main site. 

And while we're on Web Sites - what on earth is going on at Reverbnation.  All very strange.  According to their Charts not one act in the top 25 moved up or down a postition in the Yorkshire Region.  All very strange.  

So let's hope the temperature keeps rising and that we can all get out and about in the week ahead. You might like to know that it's not snowing in Ambridge yet.

Meanwhile I really look forward to seeing friends old and new at The Bridge on the 14th, it will be really good to be out and about again. 


Sunday, 28 November 2010

It's Getting towards Christmas. + More Technology

I'm afraid it's been another very quiet week for The Mashers. Quiet, in so far as outings have been none existent.

Before going into the reasons, first an important note. I GOT IT WRONG!!! The November Diary got it right – despite what I said in the last up date Email there is NO NELLIES TOMORROW NIGHT – MONDAY. It was in fact last Monday. So please don't venture out to The Bridge on the 29th.

However, Monday 6th will see a Folk Day at The Bridge, yes that's a Monday, and it's one for the traditionalist. I'm told it's part of an exchange session with some singers from Lancashire. Sounds as if it might be quite interesting.

It's a busy week so head off to the December Diary Page for details.

The new Mashing Machine is now at very nearly full speed. I have to say I'm really enjoying the speed of the machine and it's general look and feel. Even Acoustic Rotherham pages load quite fast.

But no sooner had my personal technical problems sorted themselves when Myspace did for me. Suddenly and without any warning the RSS feed that allowed the News Blog to be placed at various places on the Web and helped readers access the Blog disappeared.

This is, I am afraid, typical of Myspace recently. For much of this year they have been updating everything and as a result the Myspace site has become virtually useless, with so many features being dropped or simply not working. They have sorted the loading speed, sort of, but we are only just discovering the cost.

It would help if they actually informed folks of the changes they were making and when. So much of the Myspace reconstruction has been done without telling anyone with the result that their users have become more and more frustrated.

If you are a musician the only place to be at the moment is Reverbnation, who provide a simple link into a Band Page on Facebook essentially two key places for the work of one.

I've got around the Blog issue by placing our News Blog on Blogspot which I've been able to RSS out to all the key places with the exception of the Ning sites, if anyone is still using Ning that is. I've noticed that Folk Show site has fallen into disuse since Ning started charging for their instant Web Site service.

So you can now link into the Blog via Blogspot, The Mashers site, Acoustic Rotherham, Reverbnation and the News letters of course. It will also be placed on Myspace.

Well, we're into December this week. The rush of Christmas themed songs has already started, prompted one suspects by the rather harsh cold weather that has hit us this week. I'm sure that I do this every year, but for anyone looking for alternative Christmas Songs with side wipe head off to the Bob Rivers site HERE. I'm sure you'll find something to tickle your fancy, and if that's not enough why not try Martin Nesbitt's offering HERE. And for the blood thirsty try this HERE

I've been quite busy of late, but I really hope to get around to places before Christmas – I'm becoming quite boring and perhaps it's time to get out there again. Unfortunately the health issues persist, which is rather undermining all my good intentions, but we'll fight on.

So – head off to the December Diary page for all that is going on, top rated this week, The Play On Club back at the Fat Cat on Friday night, that's if you can resist Wizz Jones, tickets £7 and £5 from Pete GO HERE and before that at the Princess Royal there's the fantastic Toein' In The Dark on Thursday night the 2nd.

Don't forget if your Club has a Festive event or something new going off like The Barnsley Folk Club's Beginners Sessions starting on December 6th then get in touch and we'll get the News out there.

Finally – if you're buying Christmas presents from Amazon, please, use the Acoustic Rotherham link through to the site. By buying through our links it helps to keep the site going. Even if we don't have what you are looking for in our Shop HERE by clicking through the “search” to the main site it still registers as a sale from Acoustic Rotherham.

And don't forget there's some great music to give this Christmas on the Acoustic Rotherham CD Shop page – all direct from the artist check out what's on offer HERE.

And with that it's off to the day job.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Technology Takes up Time - But we Try

I think we can settle down to a bit of normality now.

The Technology problems appear to have slowly but surely been worked through. By Tuesday the Old Mashing Machine had been returned in a condition that allowed me to get at the essential data it contained on the Hard Disc and by late Tuesday it was all safely placed on an external Hard Disc.

The New Mashing Machine was delivered on Friday and it is on that machine that I am writing this weeks News Blog.

All the data moving has caused some problems with the Web Site, it will take me a bit of time to get discover all the missing links. However the good news is that I've managed to sort out the download files on the Web Site and all the links now work. That means you can now get at and download The Mashers Folk Up Front which was repeated by Terry Ferdinand on Bishop FM HERE on the “Book The Mashers” Page. You can also find a number of other Masher downloads on this page as well.

If you couldn't listen in on Radio or over the Internet last week it's well worth a listen, with Myke's music selections being more than a little off of centre.

Currently I find that my teaching Diary is rather full, and I'm also working on a Commercial Web Site job which means time is limited, especially as I now have to do a bit of catching up on the latter following a week's hold up. This means my adventures out into the big wide World are very limited.

I have to add that I'm still working through this really down period when I'm simply not enjoying the performing. I think that there is a lot going on there – so we won't dig down to deeply into that hole here.

I can report that Craig Bookers book signing at Waterson's on Saturday was a great success. He sold out!! so thank you all those readers who went along.

You can still buy his book on the Acoustic Rotherham Amazon Shop HERE And if you want it signed I'm sure we can work out a way of getting that done for you. The perfect Christmas present for the Crime lover.

Talking of crimes. Last Sunday found me, along with Mrs Masher in our local Club where an “entertainer” attempted the classic Elvis Impersonation – all dressed up, a couple of weak attempts at “the moves” shocking backing tracks but an interesting light show and did he sound like Elvis? Well no, actually.

You have to admire these guys though, it takes a lot of guts to get up there and perform that sort of show, so while this one fell a bit short for me I take my cap off for the attempt.

And Ken the Hat has nothing to fear on the costume front.

And of Christmas Presents............ don't forget the Myke Barritt Music Trust event on the 14th December has a Bring and Buy element, plus one or two odds from the Myke Collection, so who knows, you find a bargain or two and contribute to The Trust Funds at the same time, while also enjoying some excellent music.

There was also a Trust get together at The Red Deer on Sunday, in fact folks will be washing down and heading out as I type this Blog. Full details of what you have missed – and the Xmas Bash can be found HERE

A message from the Leader of The Black Bull Gang, Martin, to say that the all between Festive hangovers All Dayer at the Black Bull will be taking place on Wednesday 29th December. Food, booze and some fantastic music all starting at around 1:00pm. And of course and very importantly we should also remind folks that there is a very important meeting of Nellie Folk that evening, starting at the usual time of 8:45pm. You can keep a check on all the Festive stuff by going to our December Diary HERE

I'm sure I've left something out, but my brain and time allow for no more. You lucky people. I know I promised you some new stuff but I'm sorry it's going to take time to put together so bare with me and it will eventually pop up.

So until next time – whatever you are doing this week have fun and keep it live.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Technical Problems but The News Will Out

Let's start with a bit of immediate Masher News this week.

It must be near on two years since Myke and myself headed up the A1 to Bishop Auckland to do a bit of radio stuff with Terry for Bishop FM

Besides appearing on the The Folk Programme where we played a few live tracks, we also recorded one of Terry's Folk Up Front programmes. This programme gave us a chance to talk about our music roots and the songs and artists that influenced us.

It would be fair to say that Myke and I came from completely different roots, and this was no more highlighted than by our selections of music for this programme.

You also get an insight into what and the music that made Myke tick, even within a Mashers type performance.

Terry is replaying the programme this Sunday 14th November at 5:00pm You can listen in HERE on line.

The programme is available on the Mashers Web Site HERE for download. It's a bit of a heavy download but well worth the wait in my view, but I would say that wouldn't I, find out for yourself. I'VE JUST DISCOVERED THAT THE PAGE WAS ONE OF THOSE THAT FAILED ON LOADING - SO YOU'LL HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE ALL CLEAR FOR THE DOWNLOAD.

The promised new Masher recordings have had to be shelved until the New Year. Poor old Phillip Hartley is having to work longer hours for the foreseeable future and may also be called for an op. At short notice.

So you will have to make do with the Moggy Song that we recorded in October until the other stuff is ready – and of course Shirley, which I found in the bowls of my Computer, recorded with the first Masher Keith Nicklin.

Incidentally I've recently been in touch with Keith. He's recently moved home and to be honest is not very well. He will shortly be having some heart surgery and I'm sure everyone will want to send their best wishes to him for a speedy return to the stage.

The good news is that Keith has promised to dig out his recording of “Market Days” his own song about the history of Sheffield Market, and we'll be putting it on the Acoustic Rotherham Player. Be patient though, he has to find it amongst the boxes of stuff that he still unpacking following his move.

The search for a permanent new partner for Dickie Masher continues. It's just a little frustrating not to find someone to join forces with. In the meantime I've been very quiet for a Masher and I suppose it's time to try to find the motivation to get back out there – to be honest I'm not finding it easy at the moment. I'm just so thankful that my old mate Phill Hartley has been able to stand in for a few sets to remind of the fun.

The Myke Masher Music Trust event on the 14th December is beginning to take shape. A list of acts should be available shortly.

There is also an Open planning meeting due to be held this coming week – final details are not yet to hand. Keep an eye on your Inbox.

Those watching their Facebook pages will know that it's been a bit of a disaster week again. Car breakdowns / punctures at the wrong time / and computer failures!!! just another week in what has been simply a dreadful year.

It all means that the Web Site will not be updated until later next week so apologies.

Steps have been taken to minimise future inconvenience.

It's also come to my attention that a few people are having real problem receiving direct Emails from Acoustic Rotherham / Mashers / Richard @ addresses. It only happens in a very few cases, and the strange thing is that the General Mailings sent via Reverbnation get through OK. It seems to happen with those using certain Web Based Email clients – if you are waiting for Email then please check the filters and Spam settings of your Email Clients.

Talking of Web Sites I'm currently building a site for a local Gym. If anyone out there has any Gym type songs I could use on the site then please feel free to let me have them – funny, sad or anything.

The battle between Facebook and Myspace seems to be all over bar the shouting.

In my experience both have their strengths and weaknesses, with Facebook winning out for social interaction while Myspace wins on Band / Music profiling. In fact recently Facebook has made it even more difficult for Bands by taking away the “My Band” Tab from personal profile pages and opening Band Pages. It all makes for added complications and from what I've seen to date much repetition.

Myspace has been making changes to. And not for the best. The site has become so slow and interaction between friends has become very difficult. And of course it's not been helped by trying to make the changes on the live site.

It seems that people are leaving Myspace in their droves though and it remains to be seen just how long Mr Murock will be prepared to allow it to loose huge sums of money.

By the way, the quickest way to set up a Band Page on Facebook is to se the Reverbnation App.

While on computer matters here's a little extra. With Microsoft Office being so expensive and MS Works being so cumbersome to use you might be interested in a FREE full Office Suite I've found made available by Sun the folks who provide the Java platforms man of us use to upload pictures to Facebook etc. The Suite is fully compatible with the Microsoft Programmes (not Office 2010 yet) and I think is based on the old Lotus programme which was one of the first integrated Word Processing programmes on the market. But you can't go too far wrong with FREE so check it out HERE

Well I did promise that I would have a few things for you this week – they are all unfortunately locked on the hard disc of my main Computer, so you'll all just have to wait until next week.

It's a busy old week out there again. Steve Ashley is playing Barnsley on Monday evening and Welsh Geoff is at the Crookes Club on Thursday.

There's also a rumour that Ray Hearne will be playing The Handsworth Club at The Cross Keys on Tuesday 16th November. Confirmation of this as soon as I can get it.

You can check out the full details and listings of all the local Clubs and Open Mics of the week on the Diary Page HERE

Dave Smith who drags acts kicking and screaming to his various open air events over in Wirksworth is looking for people to perform in the run up to Christmas at some of The Farmer Markets ad other events. Email him HERE to get full details of dates and venues

Acoustic Rotherham 10. The full list of acts appearing at Acoustic Rotherham 10 can be found HERE more details later in December.

Many thanks to those who have taken time to send me your ideas about how the Acoustic Rotherham afternoons might be improved – and how we might get Acoustic Rotherham “out there” and more attractive to an audience.


And that's it for this week. Let's hope that we'll be fully operational again by next week.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Short but sweet. + MBMT News

After last weeks marathon it's a short News Blog this week.

I'm sorry to say that I can't say that I'm currently at my best. Acoustic Rotherham 9 and the time adjustment taking it's toll on the body.

I can remember when the extra hour of turning the clock back meant just that, an extra hour in bed. Unfortunately for this old bugger it means I'm getting up an hour earlier, so no gain for me folks. For some the events of last weekend just passed them by completely unnoticed, hence the call I got Monday morning from a pupil wondering why I had not arrived for their driving lesson – their was a rather embarrassed silence when I pointed out the correct time.

So musically a non week for The Mashers.

Fall out from Acoustic Rotherham 9. Some folks like to leave the odd present for me – this time I have a rather posh looking cable which I think belongs to Folk On Fire if they would like to check and no less than two guitar stands, the telescopic type. If the owners would like to contact me we'll try to return said bits to the rightful owners.

I like to see how long it takes for acts to realise that they have bits of kit missing, on this occasion records have been broken.

The list for Acoustic Rotherham 10 grows, and by the end of the week the Web Site page will have been updated.

Plenty of great Gigs and sessions coming up this week so check out the November Diary page for all the details.

The Myke Barritt Music Trust Fund Raiser still needs your help find all the details HERE

Onto the review of the week. Well as promised, I headed out on Saturday night to check out View From S62 at The Queens in Rawmarsh.

For those not familiar with Post Codes, S62 covers most of Rawmarsh, so you now know where the main guys in the band hail from.

You might recall that I was a little critical of the band when it made an appearance at my Club a few weeks ago, but that was a Club environment, at The Queens they were on home ground and boy did it show. In the raucous pub atmosphere VF62 came to life cheered on by their supporters who joined in on virtually every number.

For a local Band they can pack a pub out............. indeed it took me ten minutes to get from door to bar and another ten to get served and then had to stand out of view of the band for most of the set I saw.

These guys clearly love nothing better than playing LIVE MUSIC to an intimate audience and the close proximity in the Queens meant that they could perform at their best, and once again with various guest musicians which in this environment added to the energy of a great night out.

Well done lads. Sorry I couldn't hang around to talk to you but we'll touch base soon I hope.

Head off HERE to find out more about band.

So that's just about it for this week.

Keep a check on the status bars for any activity from The Mashers this week - just in case the body and brain set me free.

Next week we'll be more together and I've got some new Web Sites you may like to visit and ideas for acts wanting to broadcast their music to new audiences. In the meantime keep checking out the Acoustic Rotherham News Page as updates etc. get added daily.