Roger Brooks – New CD 2020

I finished my set and made my way off stage taking my guitar with me, something I used to do in case I felt the need to just slip away when the Guest Singer was not to my tastes. Securing my guitar for a quick getaway, I parked it at the rear of the club and grabbed a pint from the bar before returning just in time to hear the M.C. announce “…our guest tonight – Roger Brooks!”

Under the soft glow of the stage lights stood a slight, slim figure with a guitar draped upon him, his dark stubble contrasting the light tan on his handsome face. In the shadowing light he could be mistaken for a young Rod Stewart. He was wearing his by then trade mark top hat, a stylish leather jacket and a woollen scarf, looking for all the world to me like the Artful Dodger of “Oliver” film  fame. The de rigueur tight legged and flared bottoms of the fashionable loons, that we all wore with our cheesecloth shirts, clung to his legs. He made his introductory greetings, his voice cultured and pleasant, smiling and friendly, articulate and witty, inducing the audience to like him and his presentations then started with a Tim Hardin classic: “Reason To Believe.”  This was a very well known song to many of us who had made our own arrangements of it but tonight, somehow, to me, the words took on a different, clearer meaning. I felt a different vibe, another way of interpreting the lyrics. As I listened to him perform I realised that he was living the song’s story and by immersing himself in it, had created this version. It simply was story-telling in song and it still is something I’ll never forget.

St. Ives Guildhall Concert Poster.

His next song, the self composed: “Street Riot” simply astonished me. Describing his experiences during civil unrest in Paris, where he’d been busking on and off for several years, the song brought that reality to us in vivid images. The song arrangement was complex, but absolutely captivating, his words drew pictures in the mind which took us all on a journey to witness where he’d been and what he seen. His guitar accompaniment was fascinating, full of wonderful and unexpected chord inversions, and sounds that seemed to be born right before you only to be instantly replaced– before you could identify what it was or might be – by something else – just as wonderful. He ended the song with an excerpt from the final movement of Beethoven’s 6th symphony which neatly contrasted the chaos and confusion of the rioting with the gentle peace of the aftermath. It was a magical experience, I felt him take me and the audience off with him on a thrilling adventure ride. His spell so well woven it touched everyone in the room; so impossible to refuse we succumbed willingly and were taken far from the somewhat drab reality of the blue cigarette smoke haze hovering above us. His feet encased in what we used to call Beatles boots, beat a percussive tattoo to his playing which the audience quickly picked up so the room reverberated to his captivating rhythm. In that moment I realised he was the embodiment of everything I wanted to be. A singer and songwriter with panache, charisma and with such a commanding stage presence, such a confident master of his craft, displaying such talent and uncanny ability with his songs and voice. This was my first experience of Roger Brooks in a West Country Folk Club late in 1972 or early in 1973 and I’ve been eternally glad I didn’t slip off into the bar that night.

We became pals, not in the sense of regularly meeting socially but as musical contemporaries, sinking  pints, laughing and chatting about music, influences and so forth whenever our paths collided. I was a traditional ballad singer and doing quite well in my career, but always harbouring a deep desire to become a respected contemporary song writer, in the same mould as my folk heroes like Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell, Steve Tilston, Clive Palmer, and here was a man in his early twenties doing just that very thing! How I envied him.

Sadly Roger died tragically young at just 52, never having achieved his true full potential but he has left us such a wonderful legacy that after finding a rare and fairly good quality audio recording of Roger performing in Pipers Folk Club at Penzance circa 1980 and being acutely aware that other live recordings are now of such poor audio quality due to age, simple wear & tear, suffering generational distortion from multiple copying, I felt compelled to create this Audio CD so that his music, lately somewhat neglected, might reach a wider audience, and to try and relate his life’s story as far as I could.

This, with amazing contributions from many others, is my offering. Copies are £10.00 each including U.K. P&P. Payment via Paypal, or BACS, Cash or Cheque.

Further details from:

Thanks for the CD received in the post when I got home yesterday evening. I’ve only managed to listen to a few tracks so far but – top job! I don’t know, but possibly exceptional work, beautiful full bodied sound and clarity and cleaning up from old tapes – amazing! Sounds like a modern sound engineered new recording made yesterday. Very well done.
Toni Carver (St. Ives Times & Echo)


I AM KNOCKED OUT BY IT! Such a great job – excellent quality considering the age and it really puts his other products out there to shame – Roger now has a quality product to be assessed by, you should be immensely proud. Some great writing and quotes in the biog too – Do keep up the great work – your mission must continue. I am spreading the word and hopefully you should have had one or two sales via me already. Do keep up the great work – your mission must continue….

Cheers, Phil.


Jethro. The Cornish Comedian

A Tribute.

The enveloping darkness of the cold wet Cornish night was offset by the splashes of yellow light from the windows of the old lichen bedecked granite building, sited just off to the side of the B3311 road that snaked up from St Ives down through Cripplesease to Nancledra then via Gulval to meet the A30 down into Penzance.  Rain had been falling steadily on and off through the day and was now, it seemed, settling in for the remainder of the night. Water streamed off the black glistening tarmac to be carried into the drainage runnels and away. The down pipe from the gutters on the roof emptied noisily into the same channels heading probably for a soak away somewhere far below. Rivulets of clay coloured water carrying small stones poured off the gravelled earth of the large car park across the road and joined the torrent pouring into the overburdened drains.

Bursts of blue cigarette smoke accompanied by happy laughter and excited conversation poured out each time the door was opened to admit yet another customer. A look through any of the ground floor windows would show a barroom full of people jostling for a space at the bar, chatting and bantering, faces red with sweat, eagerly anticipating the evening’s entertainment. This was to be the last night in this pub, The Engine Inn, at Cripplesease for popular landlord Les Rowe and tonight the main attraction would be an impromptu appearance by his comedian brother Geoff, stage name Jethro, to reflect the family name. It was also sometimes displayed as JeThRo – meaning I supposed “Geoff, The Rowe” – but don’t quote me!

In support there was me, Mic McCreadie, a pub singer with a side line in light comedy. To say I was pretty nervous would be to understate the case; Jethro was a well known and well loved, very successful comedian with TV and concert tours under his belt, someone I viewed as an established professional, confident in his trade. Although it might look it, it’s not that easy being a comedian, there’s a lot of skill and art in the creating of the content and a quick and lively wit is a basic requirement in that particular trade.                       

Jethro had them in abundance.

However buoyed by the genuine good will from the punters many of whom knew me from past appearances at The Engine, and perhaps a few pints, I started my show and appreciated the applause and encouragement I was getting. There being little space in the packed saloon bar, Jethro had found a bit of spare room with a chair to one side of what we were using as a stage. Which was the floor space in front of the open fireplace, happily not lit even on this cold wet night. Outside the rain pattered loudly on the window glass as it continued its steady but growing increasingly heavier, downpour and I’m sure we all felt glad to be inside and in such good company on such a night.

I think it was when I began to notice that the laughter for my jokes and comical remarks seemed a bit over hearty and even somewhat fulsome that I began to suspect that Jethro, who by now had made his way over behind me to an open window, was maybe gesticulating and play acting at my back for comedic effect. However when I turned I saw that he’d done nothing of the sort but was stood with his face stuck out the window presumably to inhale less of the smoke filled atmosphere and take in some fresher air. He noticed I’d stopped, turned back in towards me, smiled and said, “Go on, you’re doing well Mic” then stuck his chin back out the window. So, naturally I carried on but so too did the seemingly inappropriate laughter which, by now was being accompanied by elbow nudges, nods and sly grins, the main focus of which seemed to be somewhere down in front of me. I couldn’t fathom what it might be so decided to ignore it and just carry on regardless.

Behind me Jethro and the open window were still in deep and meaningful congress and I could hear the wind howling and flinging the rain all around the building. It was when a line of listeners began to loosely form in front of me and when the nudging and nodding and sly grinning had grown to such odd proportions that I knew for sure it wasn’t anything to do with interest in and approval of my offerings.

What I didn’t know was that the continual deluging rain run off had by now completely overwhelmed the drainage system and had found its way under the pub where inevitably it began gathering. It wasn’t until I glanced down at my feet in hopes to locate the source of the amusement that I saw I was now standing in the middle of a large puddle! The pooling rain under the pub had begun to well up through the joints to gather in a dip in the large slate flooring slabs and was forming a pool about a foot wide and an inch or more deep. Now I understood the reason for the audience’s rather avid interest. I realised that now, connected as I was to the inefficiently earthed 240 volt electricity supply by my mains powered P.A. system, which involved a steel microphone stand, and my by now fairly wet shoes, I was in real danger of being electrocuted! This was what had been causing the amusement and interest, not my singing, not my jokes or performance, not Jethro’s possible antics, but the likelihood of the spectacle of my potentially imminent demise!

Happily as you’ll have gathered by my surviving to compose this article the disaster was averted, I moved myself and the microphone stand out of the water and finished my set unscathed. Jethro went on to make a great night even better. As I watched his performance that night, I learned a great deal from him. I saw how skilfully he worked a joke up, how he drew the audience in, how he used his body language and casually elaborated here and there building the story and feeding the audience’s anticipation and their hunger for the punch line but how he managed to dangle it, like an angler, just out of reach until he judged it the right time and then how he landed it with such a breath taking ease it raised the hairs on my scalp. What I witnessed that night was a master at work and I saw it again and again on many other nights as our paths crossed every once in a while. He was a natural, born with the gift of the gab and the talent to put it across.  As we chatted that night much, much later over yet another pint he told me how he suffered from pre stage nerves while waiting to go on and that was why he was behind me during my set and breathing fresh air at the open window. He’d not noticed the water seeping in around me either. We were also able to reflect on the strange ways of the world and its peoples. He invited me to come up to perform in his club in Lewdown more than a few times but sadly that, for various reasons, never did come to pass.

Another meeting, some years later brought more reason for amusement.

We were performing in separate rooms on the same night in a place called The Ops Room at Portreath. Jethro and his brother Les came in to watch my set as Jethro wasn’t on stage in the ballroom until much later that night. He was booked for the Annual Cornish LGBT Christmas Party I think and I was doing my weekly Saturday night show in the public bar.

In my ‘half time’ break we sat and chatted a bit and we swapped business cards and copies of our individual merchandise cassette tapes. Off I went with one of Jethro’s “Live At Trebogus” and he had a copy of my, at that time, one and only pub show product: “Songs & Stories”.

Some time later I was watching Jethro on TV; he appeared quite a few times on the Des O’ Connor show, and also on The Jim Davidson Show more than a few times. During the chat interview with Des he did one of ‘my jokes’ from the tape I’d given him.  Next time I had occasion to ring him I jokingly made mention of him ‘stealing my material’ and he kindly replied, “Oh hey! Yes you’re right Mic! I did! Tell you what, when you get on, you do one of mine!”

The third event that comes to mind was when we shared a gig at St. Ives Rugby Club, held I seem to remember in the newer club house. I was on first again, naturally, and was doing fairly well but it was clear to me that though most were enjoying what I was doing, it was with a certain degree of toleration; it was Jethro they’d come to see and hear. It had previously been agreed that I’d work from up on the raised stage and then Jethro could get right on immediately with his show from the floor when I’d finished my set.

So, my bit done, I was behind the closed stage curtains and disassembling the stage gear as quietly as I could. I could hear Jethro being announced and then him making his opening remarks. Somehow or other, and I still don’t know to this day what really happened, I got a right belt of an electric shock when I touched the prongs of the three pin plug of the amplifier mains connecting cable I’d just removed from the wall socket. Now I hate getting electric shocks and I’ve had more than I want already but my reaction, perhaps predictably, is usually the same every time though some might be more vigorous than others depending on the severity and length of the shock. This time it was a real belter and it made me cry out, involuntarily, but unfortunately quite loudly too.

“Ow! Oh, you b*stard!” I yelled. Jethro, by now in full flow, and without breaking his stride, said, “Now Mic, you’ve had your go. ‘Tis my go now so – kindly – give over.” The room exploded into raucous laughter and he carried on as smooth as you like. We sat and had a drink after all was done and dusted and someone decided that my electric shock was because I’d ‘discharged a condenser’ –  I still don’t know what that meant either. Anyway we sat and chatted over a pint, swapping tales, yarns and new jokes and laughed about the things we have to bear.

I met his parents too quite by accident, when, during a lull in my musical career I was employed by a friend as a TV aerial systems engineer making house calls and had the good fortune to be sent to repair a fault in a house close to Nancledra if my memory is correct. I was given a cuppa once the job was completed satisfactory and TV signal had been restored then as we crunched on biscuits and supped our brews Mother brought out the photos of Jethro, beaming with pride and happiness at her son’s achievements and fame. Nice people.

A genuinely lovely chap and always without a trace of superiority, craving star status or being someone ‘special’ – he was real, down to earth, approachable and friendly every time I saw him in company. He’d sit and chat with his audiences before, during and after a show. He liked a pint and he liked live music too and would often be found in a pub mingling and chatting with the rest of the crowd where a session was going on. He was generous to a fault too.

When a distant cousin over in Belfast after hearing my stories about encounters with Jethro asked if I could get him a signed photo I rang Jethro and asked if he’d oblige. He said he’d be happy to and a short time after that Sam Sweeney and his wife Ella in Belfast had a package in the post from Jethro containing a signed photo or two and one of his cassette  recordings!

There were those who considered his material obscene and his delivery somewhat foul mouthed but the Jethro I knew back then was not blatantly profane, smutty or dirty; he knew very well the everyday language of conversations in the daily lives of the folk he was performing to; he’d been brought up in a small tight knit community and had experienced the same.

The members of his audiences weren’t that different from him and knowing they all spoke the same language he used the same descriptions, in the same vocabulary that they did – he just had the knack of pointing out the funnier side of our everyday lives. He spoke of things and situations they could easily identify with, he understood their daily grind, their hopes and fears, and the realities of their day to day lives. When they paid for their tickets they knew that what they’d be getting was a comic’s view of the idiosyncrasies of life, of work, of marriage, of wives, husbands and sex in all its ridiculous rigmaroles. He spoke of experiences in a language they themselves used and understood. He told it like it was and like they knew it to be. Let’s face it, if they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t have attended the concerts or bought the merchandise, the tapes and DVDs,  They’d have stayed away if they didn’t like it, or want it and appreciate it. They put their bums on the seats in an unequivocal demonstration of approval and approbation.

I don’t mean to claim in this article that Jethro and I were best buddies; we only really met up on the rare occasions when we both were booked on the same night at the same venue but I looked upon him as a good pal who was always pleased to see me and I will always treasure the many happy memories of those good days and nights ‘way back when.

Rest in peace my dear chap and – thank you.

Written by Mic McCreadie. 28th December 2021.

Geoff Rowe was born in St. Buryan, Cornwall on 08th March 1948. Before becoming the professional successful comedian we all knew and loved he sang in choirs, played rugby, trained as a carpenter and worked down a tin mine. As well as a nationally known and respected comedian he was also a very successful businessman and horse breeder winning many prizes at The Horse Of The Year Show. He died after contracting Covid-19 on December 14th 2021. He was 73 years of age.

Roger Brooks – A Biography.

The Early Years.

Roger Anthony Brookes (later changed to Brooks for professional reasons) was born, into the family home on Trent Boulevard, on September 10th 1950 in West Bridgford Nottingham which was considered at that time to be a well to do suburb, an upper middle class area. He was the middle of three children, brother Michael and younger sister Alison, born to his parents, both professional people. Mother, once a reporter for the Yorkshire Times then a teacher and Father an ex R.A.F. Air Gunner during W.W.2 then an executive with Sanderson’s Fabrics. Roger attended school nearby at Lady Bay Infants in Musters Road then Lady Bay Juniors before attending the Private Bluecoat Church of England school in 1961, aged 11. This is now an upmarket secondary academy. Sadly, though perhaps showing a confident flair for independent entrepreneurial commerce, he was expelled both for breaking windows and ‘selling condoms to other pupils’. He’d apparently purloined these from his Dad’s supply! He was  transferred to Radcliffe Trent Secondary school but was deemed too academic for that school, so the Head Master arranged for him to be transferred to West Bridgford Grammar School. During holidays and weekends he worked as a butcher’s boy, delivering orders for a local farmer and possibly also helped muck out pigs out on a friends farm, often coming back stinking but carrying goodies such as biscuits which his Mum surreptitiously consigned to the bin!

Developing Musical Influences & Interests.

Being a teenager through the early 1960s meant that Roger would have been exposed to the music of The Shadows, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Duane Eddy, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Kinks and many more. He would also have knowledge of the turbulent world events and the social changes of the so called ‘Swinging Sixties’. He would have heard of major events like, The Kennedy Assassination (Nov 1963), Pirate Radio broadcasts like Radio Caroline which eventually led to the  birth of Radio One. The Hippie Movement, Carnaby Street fashion, The  Summer of Love (1967), Woodstock, the CND Movement. He’d have heard Davey Graham’s “Anji” –  Ralph McTell’s “Streets Of London” and Bert Jansch’s “Needle Of Death” among many other songs. It’s also possible that he knew of and perhaps visited local folk clubs like The Workshop that ran from 1960 until about 1967. Around this time he met and became best friends with Colin Bacon who recalls that they met at the local youth club. Roger turned up on a scooter and was very well dressed though he tarnished this debonair image somewhat by his continual spitting which later earned him the sobriquet of “Spitter Brookes”! Colin and Roger’s friendship lasted for quite few years and having a mutual interest in music and guitar in particular they were most influenced by folk legends Bert Jansch and John Renbourn and they teamed up to learn together and from one another. They frequented the local clubs and places where they could both hear and perform their repertoire. Colin is adamant that Roger was an out and out extrovert then, having no difficulty with shyness in performing to people. Which is at odds with the recollections below from Chrissy Quayle and Julia Ciccone, though perhaps it was being in a duo, having the performance nerves burden shared, that bolstered Roger’s natural and nervous demeanour. Colin remembers that Roger was always outgoing and stylish. He wore a large leather coat he’d got somehow from a theatrical company. It was a full length garment and was created from multiple scalloped patches of different coloured leather, it might have come from a local production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Colin also recalls that Roger’s sense of humour could at times be inappropriate to the point of being cruel to some, in one case a boy with a speech impediment was mercilessly mocked and imitated much to Colin’s shame and embarrassment and of course to the victim’s.

In 1968, Roger and Colin were at College together and dabbling with guitars both having a keen interest in music and attending club nights and other local venues. Roger’s sister Alison thinks he joined the music scene in St. Ives a few years later. Chrissie Quayle who ran the Mermaid Folk Club at Gurnard’s Head recalls Roger playing there as early as 1968. Then around 1969 Roger qualified and was accepted to study Sociology and Maths at Leicester University while Colin went to Sunderland University but they still met up and played music as before, coming into Cornwall together on a visit circa 1969 I guess, as Chrissy Quayle recalls Roger being at The Mermaid and performing solo in the summer of 1968. It is possible that Roger introduced Colin to the Cornish Folk Scene. Roger also went down to London where he became a part of the busking set. Alison also recalls that by then he was getting rather avant-garde and that his Auntie Norine was very disparaging about him, largely about his clothing and top hat some of which, with his typically careless, casual and rebellious attitude, he deliberately wore to Alison’s wedding in August 1976.

Roger dropped out of University during the first year and began busking. Known as “The Wandering Troubadour” he was always popular with women. I suspect that it was during his time at University that he became exposed to many more musical genres. He became more focussed on folk music and was very keen on the guitar works of maestros Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, & John Renbourn, and songwriters like Roy Harper. Some of whom he and Colin saw perform at University Music events. His sister Alison recalls that he “knew lots of the folk artists who were on the scene at the time and even performed with them” and that fairly often her Mum had various musicians staying over night in the time honoured tradition associated with touring folk musicians. These artists included Roy Harper amongst many others, who were given breakfast before they went off on their way. During the early 1970s, while he lived partially at home, Roger travelled all over the country, largely to Warwick and down to St Ives in Cornwall. He had become an extremely talented musician, self taught for the most part but most likely also benefiting from a bit of private tuition in short sessions by touring folk artists he encountered in clubs and on his travels as this was the normal practice in those times. His talent was developing exponentially and he was being booked all over the country gaining a good reputation and winning fans at every performance.

St. Ives, Cornwall 1970 – 1980.

Chrissy Quayle:

Of course I remember Roger Brooks well….we were good friends and I loved his music…such a talent. Roger played a few times at the little folk club I ran in Gurnard’s Head….this is around 1967..The Mermaid Folk Club. He wowed the audience, was young in those days and always a bit nervous on stage…he hardly spoke….let his guitar do the speaking. His playing was sublime…a tapestry of strings/notes flying off his fingers.  He was very dedicated musician, played & sang all day…that’s how he got to be so good! He liked his red wine (didn’t particularly like smoking dope or anything else really…red wine was his thing!) Sometimes, when he’d had a few glasses, he could be quite acerbic in his comments on other people. It was just the way he was but I didn’t much like this side as people could get hurt. “Diamond Rain” is a masterpiece and his legacy song I think.

He lived for a while in West Kensington, this would probably be 1973-1975 I believe….in Motorhead‘s apartment. It was a huge Victorian edifice and the flat had about 5 or 6 bedrooms. Roger rented one and played often at The Troubadour, Les Cousins, & The Speakeasy Club in Margaret Street. Fast Eddie Clarke (Motorhead guitarist) & Philthy Phil (the drummer) both lived in the flat. Lemmy had his own place elsewhere but was round there everyday. I stayed there when I was in London. There was a band called Tir Na Nog whom Roger was good mates with…it’s possible he played with them or on the same bill at that time.

Julia Ciccone: nee Hewitt

Tells of how Roger came to her house when, in 1970, he arrived in St Ives to ask if he could play in her club and she and her husband ‘auditioned’ him in their front room only to be amazed at his skill so she readily accepted him as a resident performer. She too remembers how he was painfully shy to sing in public but how he was eventually coaxed into doing at least some singing. The club ran for two or three years in a large room in Porthmeor Road that opened out onto the beach and it’s probably here and around this time when he met up with Stephen “Sunshine” Val Baker. The club was later taken on by Martin Val Baker and Roger continued to be a part of it though by then he’d been in America for a short time and was also touring UK folk clubs as well as working in local venues to augment his income.

Bob Devereux:

Roger came down from Nottingham in the early 1970s where he had been playing guitar but also pursuing an interest in cricket. His first public performance in St Ives was playing his own tunes at a folk night in the Parish Hall where he harangued a member of the audience for not giving him their full attention. He was playing superbly but the outburst became the most memorable event of the night. In June of the same year he played guitar again at the St Ives Guildhall. His playing was reminiscent of Davey Graham and Bert Jansch but it was very much his own. He began song writing whilst visiting Paris. He also tried busking and as a result his attitude to audiences mellowed. In the early 70s he performed his songs in the summers at the Mermaid Folk Club in Zennor and at Pipers and at concerts in the Guildhall receiving numerous invitations to visit other clubs around Britain. In 1972 Martin Val Baker was the roadie for my group Mask and Roger rode with us to Manchester. I remember he had an impressive schedule of gigs lined up on the circuit. In 1975 (?) he travelled to New York to perform at colleges and on radio shows.

Steve Tilston:

I was in a shared house in Loughborough and we often had visiting musicians come to stay. Roger turned up one time out of the blue, in a blue PVC mac. He said he could play “Anji” (the Davey Graham instrumental folk classic) so we let him in. We became good friends, he bought my old Chamberlain guitar and they became inseparable. At this time he was not writing his own music, but he was becoming a very good player. When I moved to London he would come and stay often and spend most of the time playing the Chamberlain, but he had some funny stories and was a great mimic. One time a bunch of us took some acid and Roger spent practically the whole time hunched over the guitar with a maniacal grin on his face, fingers going non stop up and down the fingerboard. We lost contact for a while and then he turned up at a gig I was doing at the Trent Polytechnic complete with top hat and new guitar and what seemed like a new extrovert personality. Apparently he’d been to New York for a few months, written a whole bunch of great songs, one of them – “ In The Diamond Rain”- was particularly excellent and he was now playing very forcefully with plectrum and finger picks. It took me a while to adjust to the new Roger and mostly due to geographic considerations we didn’t see so much of each other though he organised my first concert in Cornwall at the St. Ives Guildhall and introduced me to a great bunch of people and so Cornwall became a regular destination for me. It took me a while to adjust to the new Roger and mostly due to geographic considerations we didn’t see so much of each other.

New York & Paris.

According to Gina (Palmer), Roger and Stephen “Sunshine” Val Baker were already there and known to each other when she arrived in Paris around 1973. It seems that Roger began visiting Paris in the later 1960s and had then been to and returned from New York, which he spoke about to Gina remarking on the cold and frozen radiators, so this could mean he was in New York during the winter of 1972 into 1973 though in chat during a club performance circa 1975 he speaks of going back in that October.

Nicki Hann was Roger’s steady girlfriend at this time and she is the “Nikki” in his song “In The Diamond Rain” though it seems there was a lot of promiscuity and ‘seeing/having’ multiple partners at the same time which might account for her remark to me during our ‘phone call that: “I was only one he ever really loved.” Nicki was about 3 years younger than Roger, she recalls that they met in Paris circa summer 1969. Nicki was living  in a ‘maid’s flat’ and Roger was living with a girlfriend in their own flat. The meeting took place at the airport when both were seeing their friends back off to England. On the bus back to the city they realised they had some sort of affinity as they got on ‘hysterically’ well. So their friendship, which quite soon blossomed into a “torrid” love affair, began.

They also knew Gina Brown, later to become Gina Val Baker, married to Stephen, ‘Sunshine’ Val Baker and later yet to Clive Palmer. Gina was a ballet dancer but was bottling for Stephen and Roger & Nicki when they were buskers. It seemed to be a mad time, typical perhaps of their youth and vitality, with parties, hardships, feasts and famines – lack of money – and food no doubt. There were frequent arrests and incarcerations in primitive caged cells as busking was illegal and there was a very low tolerance of foreign law breakers and after one such arrest Gina and Nicki took Roger a sandwich! In Paris Roger was also friends with Tom Hoy who was then a member of Magna Carta. Nicki remembers that there was a recording made, in a “proper studio with good musicians” after which they went to the cinema and when they later met with Tom at his apartment where Roger may have lived from time to time in a sort of sofa surfing way. As they told him about the recording they then realised they’d left the tape in the cinema and they could not remember which one they’d been too! Which speaks of the crazy, careless way they lives their lives at that time.

Nicki thinks it’s possible that she came to Cornwall with Roger in 1970 when he began to attend and perform at the Mask Folk Club in Porthmeor Road then managed by Julia Ciccone before it moved to Mr Peggoty’s under the management of Martin Val Baker. She contributed a ‘word here and there’ in his songs, notably “Street Riot” which she can be seen performing on YouTube. She mentioned a man called Mick Parsons who played guitar and sang with Roger, who was possibly a friend from the University or College days. They considered themselves the John Renbourn and Bert Jansch of their locale which again gives a clear indication of their influences and possible abilities. It’s not yet certain if Roger was at University; in some inter song chat with an audience on “The Golden Fleece” CD he mentions being at College and studying ‘sociology and mathematics.’

Demelza Val Baker was living in Kensington and it seems there was a visiting sort of friendship going on there too. Demelza was once a member of The Temple Creatures with John Bidwell, Tim Wellard  and Clive Palmer. Gina began a relationship with Stephen “Sunshine” Val Baker and when she became pregnant they eventually got  married. Roger also busked with I.S.B. legend Clive Palmer during this time and Gina remembers that Roger’s alcoholic drink of choice was Drambuie Liqueur and Merrydown Cider – a potent concoction.

In an article written in 1985 and published in “80 From The Eighties” Martin Val Baker wrote of his decline in popularity (I have slightly adapted parts of the original article to bring it up to date with more recent information and developments.)

Audio Recordings:

By the mid seventies Roger had become a valued and accomplished song writer, whose work was being covered by many of his contemporaries, and was getting regular bookings as a guest artist on the circuit. In 1978 a live recording of his performance at The Golden Fleece folk club in Tremadog, North Wales was taken on tape and this then languished un-played until it was digitised in 2007 and eventually released in 2012 as an Audio CD and titled “The Golden Fleece”. Sadly every copy of this I’ve ever heard has gradually deteriorated into severe distortion, the final tracks being more severely affected. Incredibly though, perhaps because there’s such a scarcity of Roger’s works in circulation, this is still being offered for sale online. Then during 1980 – 1982 a proper Studio Production recording of his own songs was made at Alive Studios, London, Fast Buck Studio, also in London and Steve Parr Studio at Putney using highly talented and skilled musicians. Titled (High Voltage) this was first released as an Audio Cassette, and is now available online as an Audio CD.

Regular appearances on Capital Radio with Richard Digance, and a growing following, indicated a promising future, but Britain’s folk boom was beginning to peter out. Then, since the collapse of the 1970s Folk Boom and the consequent closing down of the major part of the country’s folk club circuit over the ensuing years, many British performers had been forced to travel abroad in search of work. Indeed a number of fairly well known artists had been forced to give up completely and find a new career after twenty years as professional entertainers.

In 1980, contact with a Dutch agent opened up a new avenue, and a long series of one-nighters in Holland and Germany brought Roger much hard work and also enabled him to rent a flat in St. Ives to use as a permanent base. The same year a London agent arranged some bookings in Norway and he had returned to do a month long stint there twice annually. Besides his European ventures, Roger still toured the surviving English clubs and was particularly popular in the Midlands (where he had a fan group called the Leaking Whippets!) and the South Coast.

Media Links:

FaceBook:                               (1) Roger Brooks | Facebook


“High Voltage”:                      Roger Brooks (

Audio CD:                             Golden Fleece Concert by Roger Brooks on Prime Music (

Audio CD: Roger Brooks 2020

Roger Brooks – A Biography:

Bowing Out:

During the summer, Roger performed locally in St. Ives as a pub act, either solo or as a duo with guitarist and songwriter Don Fowler (Local Heroes) usually working six nights a week. At the pub and hotel gigs, Roger rarely performed his own songs as he had learned from experience that these kind of audiences wanted more familiar, more commercial numbers as a background to a social night out, and so that it was only when performing in venues like folk clubs or festivals where an admission fee had been paid, that he had a properly attentive audience. For a time, Roger had seemed destined for the ‘Big Time’; his songs were the equal of many, more ‘successful’ writers, but perhaps he was born just a few years too late. As more and more commercial work was necessitated and opportunities to perform his own works declined, the sharp edges got smoothed out. Ambitious as ever, in 1982 he intended to move to London to concentrate on the city venues and record another album: a true survivor who had lived entirely by his music for twelve years. Still busily gigging all over the country though living in London Roger along with Richard Digance broadcast on Capitol Radio and he had a ready outlet for his passionate interest in cricket and football. Richard recalls:  ‘I spent many’s a Sunday back in the day with Roger as, along with Ralph McTell and blues guitarist, Cliff Aungier. We both played for The Blue Moon All Stars, named after The Half Moon, Putney, in the BBC League. Roger and me played up front and between us we scored all the goals. We were always the worse for wear after a late night or driving home from a gig but me and Roger never missed a game. He would have scored more goals than me if he hadn’t played in that top-hat he always used to wear.

Roger eventually moved to live and work permanently in Norway, met with and, when their friendship had developed into a romance, married Stine (Steena – approximately!) on November 16th, 1987 and they had two daughters whom Roger naturally doted on. Like many creative artists Roger had his demons and disappointments. It was during his struggles with these that in 1994 Roger sadly came to accept the inevitable result of his behaviours was that he and Stine would have to part and he left the family home. Naturally he stayed in touch with his growing daughters and Stine and they’d often come to see him perform locally. As time went on Roger eventually set up home in an Oslo apartment but when he was given his terminal diagnosis of inoperable liver cancer in 2002 he accepted the extremely shocking news with inspirational courage and equanimity and began to prepare and make provision for family and friends. He visited friends, gifted some cherished items, and made his final goodbyes while he was still fit enough to travel. His strength and fortitude was were very much in evidence throughout the sickness, turmoil and emotional time as he also retained his intrinsic sense of justice, of doing the right and proper thing for his family.

It was my father’s 60th birthday in February 2003, and we had planned to go and see him in France. Roger was dying, and we wanted to cancel, but he insisted that we go. We did, and returned late on the 13th. Roger had a lawsuit going, against his former girlfriend, who wanted to throw him out of their shared apartment (which had been vacated by her some time before, because of a new lover). He was hospitalised on and off, but out on ‘leave’ to deal with the court thing. He won the lawsuit on the 13th, thus securing the girls’ financial interests too. He then went directly into hospital from court, I think. We had arranged to go in to see him on the 15th during the day, but the girls wanted to see him right away, so I called him. He said he was too tired, and wanted to keep to the initial appointment for the next day. I was listed as next of kin, so I called the hospital for their opinion. They botched it up, and put me back to him but Roger insisted on leaving it until next day. So then of course I could not go against his wishes. A couple of hours later, the hospital called, and said his organs were giving up. So we all rushed in, but with an hours’ drive ahead of us, we missed him by 20 minutes or so when he died aged just 52 on 15/02/2003. The girls were devastated, of course, especially the eldest one, but to my mind, he efficiently blocked us from coming, so they wouldn’t see him so terribly changed. The funeral was held in our village, his parents and both his siblings came, and we all got mercifully drunk the night before. Later the British part of the congregation found our local pub, to give him a proper English send off after the more sober Norwegian one.


Robert Kirkpatrick:

A lovely performer…

Richard Digance:

I have nothing but happy memories of a songwriter who had so much to offer to our friendly scene.’

Alan Whittle:

I was a huge fan of Roger Brooks though I had backed out of a deal where we were going to do gigs together.  However for my money he was simply the most naturally talented songwriter of our generation. I recorded Roger’s “Apartment Song” on my Audio CD.  Technically, it was probably one  of the few of his songs that I can play.  I don’t really think I can improve on what I wrote in the sleeve notes on that occasion.

‘Roger skipped into my life one night in the mid 1970’s at Nuneaton Folk Club, where he was doing a floor spot.  He was wearing a top hat, muffler and leather jacket….looking like some louche but devastatingly beautiful character from Dickens. He’d only recently returned from New York, and his talk that night was all of that city…but then he was always on his way to and from some exotic location. His guitar playing however was the business – bristling with bold inventive chord inversions; his fingers snapping, sliding and syncopating around the fingerboard. The guitarists in the audience stirred uneasily.  There were and are no instruction books telling you how to be original.  And the songs…. they spoke of a life not lived at a superficial level, but rather at an altitude of emotional and perceptive intensity, that few of us could commit to.  And yet Roger did.  Flamboyantly, willingly and joyously.  The titles say it all: “In The Diamond Rain” _ “Street Riot” – “Wild Bird Flying Through A Cold Black Night”.  They are like flowers gathered from the very top of the mountain.


Roger was a brilliant singer, songwriter & guitarist. It seemed so sad that his work was getting forgotten, so I decided to learn all of his songs and arrangements. I felt completely honoured when recently an old friend and fan of Roger Brooks heard my version of Roger’s pièce de resistance ‘Street Riot’, and told me that they thought I played the song as well as Roger himself!

Tim Bates

 I saw Roger play at a pub in Portswood, Southampton sometime between 1983 and 1985, and bought a cassette of High Voltage. I have seen many folk musicians and thought that he was truly first rate. I remembered some of the lyrics to “street riot” today (almost 30 years later) and put them into Google and found this page. I will be buying the 2 CD’s that are available at this website (see below), and will be having a few drinks to his memory. I only had the pleasure of hearing him once, but he made a lasting impression. I wish I had seen him more often. Thank you Roger for your music

Toni Carver – The St Ives Times & Echo – 20th March 1998

In the old days the musicians that brought the standard of the common folk up a bit were wandering troubadours. Every community could claim them as their own, but no one ever owned them. Such a modern equivalent is Mr Roger Brooks who breezed through town last week. Some people can live in St Ives and never belong, others always seem intrinsically part of the scene even though they may now rarely visit. Roger Brooks has always been a part of the St Ives scene, somewhere in the past he got looped into the golden tread and when he rotates back to our world he never fails to bring back a particular quality and joy we always associate with him. Last week he was the guest of Bob Devereux’s ‘Cafe Frug’ – the Wednesday night occupant of the Western’s Great Room. Even in quite recent times last Wednesday night could have been regarded as a disaster but in the current ‘mood’ it was something of a triumph. The Cafe gave a group of younger St Ives musicians an opportunity to perform as support to Brooks which meant there was a wild mix of music as well as the generations. The old P.A. couldn’t be mastered and was chronic and this greatly enhanced the club atmosphere of the evening which saw professionalism triumph when Brooks gave up with the electronic nonsense and did the second half up among his audience in his old acoustic style.

Roger Brooks has always had the knack of involving his audience. Back in the early ‘70s, for a season or two, Devereux’s Mask Folk Club was located for one evening a week at Mr. Peggotty’s. Here, Brooks would disguise his talent, and considerable professionalism, with an act that parodied the typical, nervous amateur folk club ‘performer’ of the day. Then just when he had everyone thinking ‘Oh God, he’s gonna be rubbish,’ out would come that wonderful, emotionally compelling voice backed with his deceptively simple guitar style, which properly accompanies and complements his singing. Brooks is primarily a singer and entertainer.

Another unusual aspect of those days was that on occasion a young lady (who I believe was Helen Feiler) would emerge from the audience to dance to one of Roger’s songs or to a tune. How spontaneous that was I guess we will never know but I recall Brooks did have to prompt and persuade on occasion so I guess the lady would not have danced if she didn’t feel like it.

This was certainly the case on Wednesday when he gently persuaded local songstress Becky Quick out to sing a number. It was the first time that these two had done a number together and it was one of those spell binding moments, spontaneous and compelling that made the whole evening a Roger Brooks special. The following evening he performed at the Arts Club, Penzance and took Miss Quick with him. On Friday, he wandered off once again, via a few folk clubs, back home to Norway where he now lives. Norway has been good to Brooks so he has remained content to entertain his loyal audiences by singing cover numbers which are often the work of lesser talents. This is a bit of a pity because he is an outstanding songwriter.

Steve Tilston:

Roger was at Leicester university and I met him at that time. He was very influenced by Bert Jansch, Roy Harper and dare I say, myself and in the early days would learn a lot of my pieces very soon after I’d written them. One piece in particular ‘Sleepy Time On Peel Street,’ he’d recorded with a view to releasing it as a single – some rich kid from university put the money together if my memory serves. Obviously nothing came of it and I’ve no knowledge of any recording in existence. I had a flat in Wood Green and R came to stay for what turned out to be months and he did overstay his welcome a tad. It really wasn’t until he went to the States that he started to find his own voice and as I said before, seemed to go through a personality change from an archetypical, introspective guitar picker, to an ‘in yer face’ singer songwriter. At first it was hard to take and I kept thinking “when’s he going to revert to his old self?” but it seems he irrevocably changed and the metamorphosis was permanent. He was always a very funny bloke, but if you told him anything in confidence it would be all around the stews and flesh pots of polite folk singing society.

The last time I saw him was in St. Ives, he burst into the dressing room to tell me that an old girlfriend had died and minutes later to let me know that he too was dying of liver cancer and not expected to live long. I was just about to go on stage. Despite that he was on fine form that night and at the end of it he handed me a guitar case, inside was the old chamberlain guitar which he wanted to return to me. I have since passed it on to my daughter Martha and she still plays it. Writing all this has made me realise I really miss seeing him. He was a real character and he was taken far too young.

My Grateful and sincere thanks to all the people who gave so willingly of their time and memories Bob Kirkpatrick,

Tim Bates,

Richard Digance,

Steve Tilston,

Allan Whittle,


Toni Carver,

Martin Val Baker,

Gina Brown,

Julia Ciccone,

Chrissy Quayle,

Nicki Hanns,

and in particular Roger’s family for their unstinting assistance, encouragement and support.

Mic McCreadie


Ella Knight: Her Life & Times.



Ella 1982 Trowbridge
Ella at Trowbridge Folk Festival 1983

Ella Laura Elizabeth Knight


by John Langford


Ella was born on 6th May 1932 to Edric Richard & Emily Adams, in Winchester. She had a younger sister Hazel, who is here with us today. Ella’s father was a stoker on the ill fated battle cruiser HMS Hood and, luckily, was transferred to another ship before the Hood was sunk. There were just 3 survivors  


They later moved to Swanick near Fareham. During the war years, with their mother working and a father in the navy Ella & Hazel lived with their paternal grandparents, Elizabeth & Richard where they were well looked after. Elizabeth made them dresses with matching knickers. Richard was a gardener at the local ‘big house’ & lived in the gardener’s cottage. He and Ella bonded and doted on each other. This was a very happy period in Ella’s life & certainly formed her love of gardening. When Richard died they both had to return home to their parents. That was not an easy time for them.


Ella remembers seeing propaganda leaflets being dropped by German  planes, watching the dog fights & the doodlebugs. Together with her mother & Hazel she would take shelter under the stairs which she hated. It was perhaps that that caused her life-long claustrophobia.


Ella enjoyed school. She really enjoyed the nature walks which formed her love of the countryside. She also enjoyed, & excelled at reading & poetry. She wrote an award winning essay that she had to read out to the school. She also took to acting in the school plays. The one subject she really hated was sport!


Ella developed TB when she was young & had a cloud on her lung. She was confined to bed for 6 months & so missed the end of her schooling. Chest infections dogged her for the rest of her life.


As teenagers Ella & Hazel were keen on speedway. Ella also took part in cycle speedway. They both rode motorbikes and Ella would drool over the old British classic bikes whenever she saw one.


Much to her parents’ dismay at 21 Ella gave birth to Linda. In keeping with the practice of the times she was disowned and despite her best efforts and much to her great distress, Linda had to go for adoption. The happy outcome was, when in 1985 Linda traced Ella, they were able to keep in touch and Ella became a grandmother over night to Wayne, Donna & Wesley


Living back in the Portsmouth area after Linda’s birth, Ella worked at Johnsons baby powder factory. She also worked with Shirley at a garage in Fareham – Ella on pumps, Shirley in the office. That was the start of a long friendship.


Ella married Harry in 1953, and was very happy. They lived at near Fareham, in a little wooden bungalow.


They decided to move to escape the development that was going on all around them and had seen a little cottage at St Allen when they were in Cornwall on holiday. They moved down in the 60’s & bought Ventontrissick. They acquired dogs, cats & a goose. The dogs were the first of a long line including Ben, Mutley, Little Ben, Holly & Polly. All rescue dogs or in need of a good home.


When Ella went into the Care home Holly went to Cheryl & Roger and settled happily much to Ella’s relief. Is Holly here today?


Ella & Harry both worked for Holywell Diary. Ella is still friends with people from her days on the milk round & many have memories of her delivering the milk, barefoot with her dog Ben. Bare feet, Ella’s  trademark, until more recent years when she became diabetic. It did cross our mind when we came to write the dress code. Dare we?


Tragically their cottage burned down & together with Shirley who was living with them they lost everything. Ella & Harry parted & Ella lived in a caravan on the site of the cottage before moving to The Field. She relished the seclusion, the wild life & bird life, the trees were always adorned with bird feeders. She was comfortable in solitude though she did go on to have 2 other long term relationships first with Paul, then Andy, and remained good friends with them. Both of whom are here today.


After losing the cottage at Ventontrissick Ella worked as a taxi driver & at the Wheel Inn Tresillian.


Being made redundant from the dairy was the spark that started her gardening career, being taken on at Comprigney gardens in Truro which supplied local shops with fruit & vegetables.


Ella was made redundant again when Comprigney was sold & got a job in the kitchen at Treliske hospital. She hated it. So it was back again to Comprigney, until the owner died. She then went to Killiow Gardens where she gained her knowledge & love of Camelias. Ella described these as the happiest days of her life. She loved the gardens & would talk about the bird life including a family of nuthatches that nested in the potting shed. Ella got on well with Penrose family & Mrs Penrose senior was always known as “mother” by Ella. Described big parties at the house to which everyone was invited. She would also house sit at Tretheague house at Stithians, another large house owned by the Penrose family. Eventually the nursery at Killiow was closed & Ella worked as a jobbing gardener before starting work at Trewithen nursery. When she finally finished work at aged 82. She had worked there for 22 years. The family threw a party to celebrate her 20th year.


As well as working in the nurseries Ella would attend Cornwall Garden Society flower shows at Falmouth & Boconnoc & enter her camellias, often winning awards. Lots of friendly rivalry between her & Oliver.   She built up a large collection of Camelias & luckily, a few months before she died she arranged for some to go to Kelnan Nursery at Gulval where they are being used for propagation & the rest to Enys gardens, Penryn.  More of that from Alan later). As a member of the Garden society & enjoyed trips to visit other gardens in Devon & Cornwall with friends.


In the mid 90s her caravan burnt down, Ella had a lucky escape. Friends clubbed together to buy a new one. She also had a narrow escape when her Morris 1000 was hit by a swinging crane on the back of a passing lorry. Luckily Ella was not in the car but one of her beloved dogs was killed & the car written off. Ella also virtually lost the sight in one eye when she was watching the Morris team performing a mummers play. The wooden sword wielded by St George or the Turkish night broke & hit Ella in the eye. In spite of this life changing injury Ella was most reluctant to claim compensation from the Morris dance group saying “they are my friends” She took a lot of persuading that she was claiming from their insurance co not them personally.


Folk music was a huge part of her life. She & Harry went first in the 60s when the Folk Cottage started. Ella was very keen but Harry not so & he didn’t appreciate late nights when there was the milk round to do in the early morning. After their separation, Ella started to go again & became a regular at the Folk Cottage, & was one of the select few who got to sit on top of the piano at the side of the stage. Shirley & Ella had a joint birthday party in 1966 at the folk cottage, an all-nighter. Lots of the artists were there. Ella also attended the Count House at Botallack where she became good friends with Brenda Wootton and her family, attending events & spending social times with them. The Folk Cottage moved to Rose and Ella took over the running of the club with Carrie & I then eventually organizing it on her own for many years. After several changes of venue the club settled into The Swan at Truro, finally closing in the 1980s.      


Ella would coordinate the bookings with other clubs at Penzance, Falmouth & Par so the performers worked on a circuit. Part of the deal of running the club was accommodating the performers & some were very dubious about the caravan & elsan facilities. For a while she ran a club at Juliets Well, Camelford. Many of the performers became life long friends & remained in touch with her to this day. Ella was also involved with the Falmouth Folk Festival in the late 1970s, which became the Cornwall Folk Festival & Ella was on the committee for a few years. She was a recipient of the coveted Charlie Bate Memorial Award


Ella drove up to both the iconic Cambridge & Norwich Folk Festivals. At the Village pump festival in Wiltshire she was very much part of the organization helping with the stewarding & working in the Artists box office. Even when she no longer drove she would get friends to take her up there & she would camp with friends Joy & Will. The last few years she was unable to get to the festival but in 2014 Richard & Kate took her up there for the day. She was treated like royalty, Festival organiser John Alderslade took her for a tour the site in a golf buggy. She met up again with many of the regulars & friends of the Festival & of course many of her favourite performers.


In later years & even when at the Care Home Ella loved to attend events & her many friends helped her to get to concerts & performances. She was bitterly disappointed in the last few weeks because she was not well enough to see Tom Paxton at the Hall for Cornwall, having seen him first time round when it was the old City Hall,  or Wizz & Ralph at the Tolmen Centre.


As well as the clubs & concerts Ella loved the annual events like Padstow May Day & Mazey Day at Penzance. She was a regular at these. It was a great sorrow to her when she could no longer go. She told Carrie she cried when she saw May Day on the TV because she could not be there.


Ella loved a good party, & had one for her 60th, 70th & 80th. She would announce a few months beforehand – “Carrie will organise me a party!” Great events, 80th attended by about 100 friends many had travelled from “up country”. Lots of music & dancing too at the earlier ones.


                              Another of Ella’s passions were her Morris 1000s but we will be hearing about this from Alan, of the Morris 1000 Club.


Ella was a regular church goer & made many good friends there. They were very supportive, visiting her & getting her to services when she could no longer drive. Many are with us today.


Ella adopted Cornwall as her home in a very wholehearted way. She loved the countryside, beaches & coast & long walks with her dogs & good friends like Roger. When she gave up driving she would travel to places by public transport. She dearly missed the countryside & coast when she could no longer get out & about. She continued to go to Truro once a week up until the time she went into Antron Care Home & enjoyed meeting up with friends. She relished chatting to people & soon got to know the staff in Tescos & Nick, the Big Issue seller, who took her under his wing.


As Ella’s health & mobility deteriorated her friends worried about her living in such seclusion & isolation. She had huge support from her excellent neighbours Richard & Kate who went beyond the call of duty to help. She was determined not to get any professional help & those of us who tried to suggest it were given short shrift & told to shut up on more than one occasion. Eventually things came to a head with hospital admissions & falls & she was persuaded to go to Antron Manor Care Home on a temporary basis. Her stay became prolonged but it took many months before she admitted she would not go back to the caravan.



She was very happy at Antron, the staff enjoyed her lively company & she was well looked after, enjoying wonderful food & regular visits from her many friends. She vehemently resisted going to Treliske until the doctor said I’m calling an ambulance. But she was made most comfortable there and well looked after. She had so many visitors and they ended up asking people not to ring up as they were blocking the switch-board. We are all so relieved that she ended her days in warmth & comfort.


Summing up of Ella; A very down-to-earth woman, she planned her own funeral several years ago & asked (or should that be told?) Carrie to organise it. She had signed a Do Not Resuscitate order & when her treatment for pneumonia was not successful decided that she had had enough & it be discontinued. Independent, enjoyed her own company & solitude but also loved being social & seeing people, made excellent & lasting friendships. Very determined, could be inflexible, knew her own mind & difficult to change it. (some have a phrase for it) She had a tough life but did not let it detract from her joy of living & finding pleasure in simple things. Some words have come up often in the many tributes that have been paid to Ella – legend, colourful, much loved. Young at heart, a dynamic force, someone who stuck to her own principals & lived life as she wanted & on her own terms.


An extract from Alan’s tribute;


Ella as everybody knew had a vast collection of camellias at her home of which she really treasured, with her approval these have been donated to Enys Gardens near Penryn where they are restoring the vast gardens that were abandoned for several years. They intend to display them as ‘Ella’s Camellia Collection’ with her story on view for all to see, an excellent and permanent tribute to her, available for all to visit. It is hoped in future to hold an annual ‘Ella’s Day’ at Eny’s in conjunction with the Morris Minor Club. This has yet to be rubber stamped but would be perfect I am sure you would all agree, we will keep Carrie up to date when we have more information.


The Funeral of Ella Knight.

Ella’s green cardboard coffin.



Funerals are by their very nature usually sad and sombre ceremonies and rightly so on most occasions as the grief and loss are such burdensome and depressing factors. Sometimes though, on rare occasions, it’s more appropriate to focus concentration on the happiness of the memories, the shared love and all the joys that occurred, during the life of the deceased.

 So it was at 2pm on Friday 10th March at The Trelawney Chapel of The Penmount Crematorium at Truro as the life and times of Ella Knight were marked at her beautifully fitting funeral service. Ella was a free spirited, wise, involved and opinionated, caring, kind and happy person who loved folk music as much as she loved Cornwall, Nature and Horticulture. Colin Hawke added an especially nice touch to the growing heap of garden flower bouquets by bringing a bunch of Camellias he’d grown from a cutting given to him by Ella many years previously!

As the mourners filed into the Chapel, easily filling it to beyond its original intended capacity, Mike Smith, Barrie Jarvis, Terry Broad and Alan Jewel – all time-served, long standing folk club musicians and members of “The Other Band” – were grouped together in a corner, playing happy ceilidh-type tunes for family and friends and this bright, cheerful music set the tone for the celebration of Ella’s long and varied, definitely eventful and mostly happy life. Ella’s green cardboard coffin, so typical of her commitment and support for needless wastage of natural resources and her natural inclination for recycling, was played in with TVs “The Last Of The Summer Wine” theme. ‘Great choice’, I thought; there was always something of the summer about Ella.

 After the opening prayers the Hymn: “All Things Bright & Beautiful” was sung by the congregation, its simple tune and lyric somehow in keeping with Ella’s simple uncomplicated outlook on and approach to life. Then a reading from the Bible before John Langford, aka John The Fish, a long term friend of Ella’s, took to the lectern to give his tribute in which he detailed Ella’s long and interesting life and career. Copies of this tribute can soon be found on a Facebook Page created especially in memory of Ella. Link: Ella Knight – A Memorial. After John there came his wife Carrie also a dear and long term friend of Ella’s who recited two poems: “The Glory Of The Garden.” by Rudyard Kipling and “When I Come To The End Of The Road.” (Anon.) both apt choices in reflecting Ella’s love of and work within horticulture. Richard Trethewey took centre stage next and played a delightful instrumental version of “Wild Mountain Thyme” and he was joined by the whole congregation as he then also sang a few rounds of the well known chorus. One of Ella’s favourite songs and it sounded so appropriate, so sweet and lovely in that setting.

 The Reverend Chris Parsons then said some prayers ending with “Our Father Who Art In Heaven” before Alan James of the Morris 1000 Club, that particular car being yet another of Ella’s passions, gave his tribute to Ella detailing her work and involvement with the club. Then Paula Rowe made her tribute as one more long term friend and companion, recalling happy times and anecdotes of events which had us all chuckling and nodding in agreement.

 Another hymn was sung by the thronged room before the Commendation and Committal prayers were made. This time: “The Day Thou Gavest Lord Is Ended.” Then “The Other Band” were joined by John The Fish, Richard Trethewey and myself to join in singing: “The Farewell Shanty”. Apparently Mervyn Vincent, who adapted the shanty, used to advise singers to “pick your own key”! Just as well too as I, not having properly sung the song before, and having no recollection of ever hearing Mervyn’s instructions, somehow accidentally sang my short solo; a one line part, in the bass harmony I was adding to the others’ verses and choruses, but, although I got a few odd looks, it didn’t seem to matter too much anyhow. It all just seemed right, somehow in keeping with everything else that afternoon, and I must say it was one of the brightest funerals I’ve ever attended even including some of the more boisterous and wild Irish funeral ceremonies I’ve been at in the distant past. Well done to Carrie & John, and everyone else who worked so hard to make this such a fitting farewell to a much loved lady who will be sadly missed but certainly fondly remembered for a very long time for all her efforts in supporting and nurturing Folk Music in and beyond the South West. 

Colin’s Camellias


Finally, if there’s anyone wanting free PDF files via email of:  (a) The Order of Service, (b) The Tribute Leaflet or  (c) The Full-colour Memorial Booklet, just send your email address to Sue Ellery-Hill at:

Please Note: The tribute leaflet has same literary content as the Memorial Booklet, but only 2 photos). If you want a hard copy of the full-colour jobbie it’ll cost you £3 (including postage, payable via PayPal – using Sue’s email address for PayPal is easiest, failing that, a cheque by post). It’s easiest too, if you opt for the Full Colour Memorial Booklet, to get your own folders – as they’re over £3 each, plus there’s the extra weight and postage and that, says Sue, would be “too much hassle.”


Mic McCreadie. 13.03.2017





Ralph McTell & Others at The Folk Cottage at Mitchell 2015 Reunion Concert.

Great News!  Great News!  Great News!  Great News!  Great News!  Great News!  Great News!

The Folk Cottage at Mitchell, Reunion 2015 Full Length DVD is now available for sale.

DVD Sleeve #03Featuring performances from luminaries such as: John The Fish, Ralph McTell, Wizz Jones, Pete Berryman, Mick Bennett, Jonathon Xavier Coudrille, John P. Wood, Dave Deighton, The 4/5ths Jug Band, Jake Walton, Joe and Diane Partridge, Thorn & Roses, Bisquitry, (Mic McCreadie, Adrian O’Reilly and Dick Reynolds) and Stephen Hunt.

The Reunion Concert came to fruition on the afternoon of Monday 31st August 2015 and it was, without a shadow of doubt, a huge success.

Around mid morning, inside a huge marquee erected in the garden, a comprehensive, professional Sound System, with a live recording facility, was installed. Film Camera Manager, Marty Fitzpatrick also set up for a multi camera shoot. The earlier rain had stopped, then, as though bestowing goodwill on the venture, the sky cleared and the sun came out to shine down upon the beautiful surroundings and things slowly gathered pace. Invited guests began arriving, some of whom had travelled great distances just to be there to witness this historical musical event and what a delight the whole thing was!

The atmosphere was one of convivial harmony and happiness, aided and abetted by our hosts Robert & Lucy Brightley setting up a huge refectory table absolutely crammed with home baked cakes and assorted goodies with an unambiguous sign reading: ‘Help Yourself!’ Two large bowls of apples hand picked from their orchard flanked the entry to the massive marquee.

We were off to a flying start with a short introduction and his own poem: *“Toshering” from John The Fish. This was followed by a simply wonderful set, crammed with superb musicianship and deft humour, from Jonathon Xavier Coudrille. Jonathon’s amazing impromptu performance astonished one and all, especially his own song *“Burgers & Fries” and created a wonderful atmosphere that permeated the entire area! Sylvia Fletcher, Rowena Metters and Jinks Jenkins a.k.a. Thorn & Roses gave us a beautifully harmonic set, as they invariably do, including Harry Glasson’s *“Cornwall My Home.” Then a set from Dave Deighton accompanied by his wife Josie, playing some fancy self penned blues *“My Ship Went Sailing By” and ending with a rendition of Bob Dylan’s Girl From The North Country”.  Next we heard from John Philip Woods who’d cut his musical teeth in the original cottage. John song a song co-written with a friend: *“Wait For The Sun”. Now living in Oslo it was sheer chance that he was in the country just as the event was happening. Then it was the turn of The Four Fifths Jug Band, (Terry Broad, Alan Jewell and Kippy), and they soon had feet tapping with: *“Tim McGuire” as they filled the tent with their infectious music. One of the regulars from the early Folk Cottage days was Jake Walton and he, with Joe Partridge playing guitar accompaniment, brought  us back to earth with a few familiar songs of a sweet and sensitive nature i.e. * “Celtic Benediction”. Joe stayed on stage to accompany his sister Diana Johnstone who performed Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” and her own *“Spinning” and after this there was a ten minute interval so folk could mingle and have a good old chinwag and chat without affecting any musical performances. Then, interval over, the stage was given over to ‘Bisquitry’ who started off the second half of the concert with an eclectic set of songs including *“Columbus Stockade”. Folk Festival Fan and aficionado, Stephen Hunt was on next and sang some Gospel flavoured songs encouraging the audience to join in with him in: *“Hard Times Come again No More” and its rousing choruses which they did with relish! A true legend of British folk history then took to the stage in the form of Pete Berryman who played two of his own compositions: an instrumental medley and *“Red Paper Rose” before inviting yet another legend of the Folk Cottage, Mick Bennett, to come and join him.

The next two songs were superlative and though I suppose the last one; *“Smack Mary Anne”  might be described as slightly scurrilous, it was nevertheless immensely funny and had the listeners laughing with its lyrical content and curiously creative rhymes!

This brought us neatly to the highlight of the event; an appearance by Ralph McTell who gave us two wonderful songs: *“Hesitation Blues” and “The Girl From The Hiring Fair” then he left the stage after inviting Wizz Jones to come up and take his rightful place before the by now ecstatic crowd. Wizz also did two songs in his own highly inimitable style: *“The Glory Of Love” and one about a pigeon fancier! Wizz then brought Ralph back on to join him in finishing the proceedings with two more brilliant songs: Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees” and the foot-stomping *Honey Baby Blues”The 14 Songs marked * are those featured on the DVD.

It was a stunning musical climax to such an amazing, wonderful and absolutely beautiful afternoon. I’m truly glad to report that the full length DVD is unequivocal proof of all I report – and – it’s really pleasing to think that it’s all happening again this year too!

Will we see you there? Get in touch using the info below for details.

Through Facebook via Mic McCreadie page or directly through me by email:

The DVD can be purchased at **£10.00 per copy (with an additional £2.00 P&P by 1st Class Post if mailing is required).  Please make your cheque payable to me: Mic McCreadie and send it to:

86 Trehane Road,



TR14 7NU.

Alternatively, for a quicker turnaround, you can simply bank transfer the money to me via:

Account Number: 10532269

Sort Code: 11.01.32

Account Name: M. McCreadie.

Please remember to let me know via email (details above) if you make a Inter Bank Money Transfer and also to include your postal address and post code too. You can include any other contact info you like (i.e. email address or mobile number). As soon as I receive your cheque or transfer I’ll send your DVD (s).

** Profits after costs are deducted will be re-invested in future musical projects and DVD releases.


Mic McCreadie.


Peaks and Troughs (of Love)

Mic McCreadieThrough last week there were a series of peaks and troughs and all relating to love. The peaks were events of happiness that were a privilege and honour to be invited to share. The troughs were the saddening effects of love and loss; of losing a love. It began with a trough when my darling wife Chrissie and I heard the devastating news that a dear friend, a kind, caring and considerate woman had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and might have only weeks left in this life. This devastating news was made all the more tragic because diagnosis had taken so long that the dear lady had now become much too weak to be considered safe for urgent and radical surgery. I was angered and appalled to think that cuts in the Health Care Budget had perhaps now forced G.P.s to carefully consider the costs involved when ordering tests such as X-Rays or M.R.I. Scans. Perhaps due to this financial consideration the illness had been allowed to develop into a much more malevolent form and the lady had become weaker and weaker due to her inability to take sufficient nourishment. Her husband with whom she has shared over 60 years of marriage was to lose his loving partner, to be left to cope without the one person he so clearly cherished and loved and there had not been nearly enough time to accept and prepare for this catastrophe even though the family were magnificent in their efforts to support them both. My wife, Chrissie, and I were of course determined to help in any way we could but how could we ever address the deep pain and suffering that was to be his and hers in the days ahead?

Then a few days later there came a peak when an dear old friend ‘way down St Just, announced she and her long term loving partner were getting married later in the year. Would I be the Entertainments Manager for this event, and sort musicians who could add their special magic to the proceedings? Yes indeed I could and I felt that this was a pleasure, a privilege and an honour to be selected as a chap who had the abilities not to say experience to manage such an event. Plus there was that life affirming declaration of love intrinsic and integral to the life-long commitment in the marriage ceremony. Nice, and it brought a warming rush of happiness to my work day. I began to ask around all the likely musical candidates while we waited for confirmation of the times and dates.

Later that same day this warming glow of happiness was quietly snuffed out when my dear wife Chrissie and I attended a funeral. The ceremony was for a beautiful, loving young woman, a mother of two young children and the soul mate of her husband, who had succumbed to another devastating illness. This all the more tragic because she’d suffered through the distressing effects of treatments and gained two remissions in her illness only for the tumours to return and take her away from her family and friends. It was harrowing to witness the tears and pain of the young children, to hear the hurt and grief in the eulogies spoken with such sincerity, from friends and her deeply grieving husband. His courage to stand before the congregation and to do right by his dearly beloved wife was heart warming, uplifting even but it was also so very, very tragic and sad. The service itself was uncomplicated and easy and the atmosphere of love and the loss so evident in gathered mourners was almost palpable. The young wife was interred in a wicker coffin, in the dunes behind the church in a graveyard overlooking the sea and beach she loved so well and the town she’d loved and lived in. A beautiful spot certainly, enhanced too with the copious family flowers, but occupied much too early . . .

Next day a contrasting peak at the wedding reception for my friends Chris Symons (nee Harden) and Alan Symons, or Al as he’s usually known.

Two fine people, both musicians, who found love at the most unlikeliest times of their lives. Alan perhaps resigned to a solitary life and Chris scanning new horizons and opportunities. They met at rehearsals with the musical group Poachers Moon up in Dorset where ChrisDSC_0154 was living with her two daughters Heather and Briony, and with a mutual, and passionate, interest in music they found these common factors brought them ever closer. Work led to laughter, laughter led to love and things just clicked as they sometimes do, into a fairy tale romance and a bunch of dreams came true.

They were married on Saturday 02nd April in the church at Paul and held a wedding reception in the Station House pub at Marazion in the company of friends and family and where Heather and Briony made such beautiful bridesmaids too! It was a privilege and an honour to be invited to take part in their celebrations and my wife Chrissie and I give thanks to all from our glad hearts.

We wished them both the very best of everything for their mutual futures, that they’d share a fantastic, long and luxurious honeymoon away up in the mountain glens and lochs of the majestic Scottish Highlands but also urged them to: “Hurry back – won’t you?  There’s a lot of music to make and fun to be had in this developing year!“

From this happy occasion we made our way home via the hill top cemetery in the dunes to lay our flowers along with all the rest which were now carpeting the grave, beautiful, poignant and still. A sad and sobering reality . . .

Then . . .

The second occasion in which I felt privileged and honoured this week end was last night at the musical celebrations for my old friend Tony Franklin’s birthday. DSC_0157

This was held at The Punchbowl & Ladle, in Feock near Truro and I was truly surprised, but delighted, to be invited to host or M.C. the evening by Tony and Angela. Can’t think why they picked me but I suspect it was to divert any criticism or complaint away from themselves in case anything went awry, I was their (willing) sacrificial lamb or scapegoat I think. It didn’t matter anyway because the mood of the attendees was cheery, beery, happy and leery as is the case at most folk music events and I was not made aware of any complaints during the whole of the evening. There was a plethora of talents on display too. All the time served musicians, singers, poets, jig doll dancers were there in their numbers and all eager to honour the occasion with a performance. First up was Tony & Angela with Tony’s son David providing guitar accompaniment to Tony’s ukulele and Angela’s shakers. They soon had the room singing along with their rendition of “3 Little Birds” and that set the tenor of the night pretty well. John Langford aka The Fish, described as the King Folker, of the West Country scene (which description was rather hastily amended to Folker King) was on next and recited his latest poem before singing his own composition “Please Mr. St. Christopher” aided and abetted by myself and Adrian O’Reilly on guitars and harmony. Fish #01We managed this in the key of ‘E’ but some time later John informed me he’d now remembered it was supposed to be sung in ‘G’ ! Thorn & Roses followed on and as usual gave a beautiful flavour to the evening’s festivities with their distinctive style and harmonies. I can’t remember the running order precisely because there was very little precision about it as some people arrived later than others and I had to juggle things to keep the light and shade, the flavours and the contrasts flowing smoothly (so I thought anyway!) I can tell you that, in no particular order, Kay Tanner sang “Can’t Help Loving That Man Of Mine” with style and panache. Tony Shaw overcame his recent hand surgery’s debilitation and sang as well as he ever did, even if he did feel his guitar playing wasn’t up to his own benchmark, no one else uttered complaint. I can state without exaggeration that Keith Marshall’s percussive skills awed the assembled audience and absolutely astonished me as he partnered the guitar genius of Pete Berryman. Di, stalwart of Dreamers Folk at Fourlanes (never say Di – she told me) sang us a fine song, Mike Smith brought us all into a rousing chorus with his version “Follow The Plough”. There was a break for a pasty supper and a chance for folk to catch up on news (and gossip no doubt) then an assembly of dancing dolls, all hand made by Tony Franklin were lined up to dance with music from Mike Smith and Mike O’Connor. This was to have been a photo opportunity too; it was hoped we could get one photo that would include all the dancing dolls and their owners but space prevented this and for this failure I do offer sincere apologies to both Tony and Angela: it was just impossible on this occasion. The second half was opened with a song from Robbie and Maureen Tatlow then Adrian O’Reilly and I were well received as we performed my own composition “Over There”. Nigel Morson gave us an hilarious Les Barker monologue and performed this with beautifully impeccable timing too. Mike Kessell brought us back to that well known and loved traditional resource with an old Scottish song, his son Toby had the place open mouthed in sheer admiration and maybe sheer disbelief as he skilfully manoeuvred his fingers around his accordion keys and had the place in an uproar of accord and appreciation (accordion to my mind anyway!) Pete Hunt sang a lovely Tony Deane song in memory of his late friend, Pete Reynolds reminded us how we all “Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside”, Jon Heslop had us all in voice, Mike O’Connor with his concertina sang two beautiful songs, David Franklin played some of his own compositions accompanied by none other than Keith Marshall and I reckon there might be a future meet for those two somehow. Then the lads from Rum and Shrub lined the bar so the folk who’d been stuck in the middle of the room could hear some music up close and they did their own inimitable thing in beautiful harmonic close order singing before Tony Franklin took the stage for the final phase to sing his own “Walking Round Cornwall” with the whole pub, even some of the bar staff, joining in with the chorus and Mike O’Connor adding to the proceedings with fiddle accompaniment. After this Roger Bryant – song-smith extraordinaire – led off with his own “Cornish Lads” and then, after Tony had thanked all and sundry, the evening then slowly descended into a general sing-a-round. It was a beautiful night, a rare event, a hark back to the days when pubs were the hubs for communities, news, assistance fun and socialising and I feel I can confidently state without fear of contradiction that it was thoroughly enjoyed by all who came and also all those who just happened to be using their local on that particular night (like my old bass playing band mate from “Big Dick & The Deviants”, David George.)

All that in the course of one week!


The Market Inn Incident.

(As remembered some 40 odd years later)

I got to know Mick Bennett through my friendship with Clive Palmer and John Bidwell of C.O.B. of which he was also a member and also through his various visits to the Folk Cottage in Truro and Pipers Folk Club in Penzance both of which I was Resident Singer at.


Somewhere, somehow, I loaned him some money, we’re not sure now how much, either a pound or a fiver, but most likely a fiver. This was 1972/3 so not an insignificant sum given also that I was unemployed at the time. I can’t remember how long the debt lasted but one cold winter’s night we both had met up and were drinking in The Market Inn, Truro.

Mick Bennett

We’d had a few and were chatting, getting along quite nicely until when it  came to Mick’s turn to buy another round I noticed he had a bulging wallet and was obviously ‘in funds’. As I was relatively brassic as usual I suggested this might be a good time for him to settle his debt to me. In my recollection some detailed discussion followed about how I was in desperate need of money and Mick was of the opinion that he might not have enough to settle the debt and pay his way until a further lot of funds came to him. I was quite insistent that debts, and in particular this one, ought to be settled expediently. Mick pondered on this a moment or two then came to some decision. He pulled out and held up a bank note.

“See this,” he said “this is the debt that lies between us.” He then took out a match from the pile in the frog of the brick ashtray on the bar and scraped it along the brick until it lit. Staring straight into my eyes he touched the flame to the bank note. It lit up quickly creating quite a bit of smoke as it burned and turned into ash which Mick then tossed onto the floor.  A stray fragment settled onto the piled matches and these too went up in a sudden and sustained burst of flame and smoke. This additional conflagration seemed somehow significant to Mick, a sort of positive sign that the burned note and the matches all combined to create a harmonic whole.

“There,” he said, “the debt is gone. It is no more.”


I was astonished at this action. I was certainly not in agreement with Mick that the debt had been eliminated. In my firm opinion the banknote had gone, but not the debt. I told Mick this and he seemed quite unimpressed. I elaborated on my theme, Mick offered his thoughts on my statements but clung to the position that in being burned out of existence his debt to me was now fully discharged.

So, inevitably, our voices got louder, there must have been some cursing from me too, and maybe it was this element that caught the attention of the landlady who then also became aware of the large cloud of smoke still hanging in the air where Mick and I still stood in heated disagreement.

She was one of the no nonsense type of landladies and she marched up to us.

“Now then,” she asked sternly, “what’s all the noise about?” Then she sniffed as she eyed the burnt matches and the blue cloud hovering over the bar. “And who’s been burning things up here?” Mick owned up immediately and we were ordered to finish our drinks and get out of the pub. We did this and lurched unsteadily along the pavement behind the City Hall in the direction of the next available pub still in heated debate about the money owed. My temper got the better of me in the end and I grabbed Mick by the lapels of his coat and banged him up against the big wooden rear doors several times physically emphasising that I wanted my money repaid in coin of the realm with each thrust into them. In retrospect I suppose it might also have been the fact that the decision had been taken for me by Mick and his unwavering implacable refusal to shift his point of view that got my blood up. Things certainly were not helped by Mick guffawing his very distinct and loud laugh as we swayed back and forth and he met the wooden doors each time with a thump. During a lull in the proceedings Mick looked at me and said.

“Look if you’re going to hit me, then hit me.”

I knew I couldn’t hit him; I liked him too much so I let go. Mick straightened his clothes, pulled out some notes from his pocket and gave me my money. It was past closing time by now which was probably fortunate.

“What are you going to do now?” I asked him.

“Don’t know,” he replied, “I’ve nowhere to stay tonight.”

“Don’t be daft,” I told him, “you can come back to my place.” I was renting a cottage near Trispen with my then girlfriend Joy. Mick stayed with us more than a few days and on one of those we drove out to visit Ralph McTell at London Apprentice but didn’t quite make it having first detoured to Barney Potter’s place –

but that’s another story.


Clive Palmer – New CD Release 2015

Clive - Live Front0002

A brand new CD release is now available.

Clive - Live Billy C.jpg


Some Reviews:

Grahame Hood. Author of, Empty Pocket Blues: The Life and Music of Clive Palmer. Produced by Mic McCreadie with material taken from recordings made informally at Pipers Folk Club by Denis Clixby, a regular attendee, who recorded pretty well every performance in all its different locations over the years. I am listening to the CD as I type this, and it is very enjoyable. It consists of 20 tracks which date from between 1975 and 1985. The CD has sleeve notes from Billy Connolly, Mike Heron, Ralph McTell, John Bidwell and Mick Bennett. I have never heard any of the recordings before but have heard some of the tracks in other versions. The CD is very good indeed.

Billy Connolly. Comedian, Musician & Composer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. These songs and tunes have become the background music to my life, I feel sure they will become as important, and comfortable, to you.

Malcolm Pinch. Musician & Composer. Thanks for a fantastic concert last night! Enjoying the  “Clive – Live” CD this morning.

Colin Smith. Musician & Composer.  I really enjoyed the CD too – well done Mic for all the research and skill in getting a good sound from Denis’s old reel to reel tapes.

Stephen Hunt. Writer, Musician & Composer. Listening to the “Clive – Live” CD this morning. Absolutely wonderful. Thank you.

Tony Corden. Musician & Composer.  Absolutely love the CD. Been playing it non stop. A truly fascinating document.

Ben Kingsbury. Former Radio presenter who broadcast a Clive Palmer ‘special’ on BBC Radio Cambridge in 2014. I am pleased to say that the CD was waiting for me when I got in! It looks fantastic and I look forward to listening to it later today. What a fantastic thing, I am so glad that it exists. You have done such a fantastic job.

  Colin Bodiam. Brilliant, atmospheric – and energetic – recordings given the circumstances, a nice listen!

John Bidwell. (Ex-Stockroom Five, C.O.B.)  Clive’s version of “The Cuckoo” is really interesting. I had an LP of Kodaly’s “Hary Janos Suite” and “Dances of Galanta”, which was so hauntingly beautiful, that between us we played it almost to extinction, through one summer at the Sawmills. I remember him having the idea of singing “Cuckoo” to the tune of a melody in the “Peacock Variations” from that record. It works beautifully doesn’t it? I’ve never been able to find a copy of the specific record, which was vastly superior to any others I have heard. If anyone knows of a copy of Kodaly’s “Hary Janos Suite” and “Dances of Galanta”, played by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Georg Solti, I’m interested! But, once again, what a sublime fusion Clive dreamed up there!



A Brief History Of The “Clive – Live” CD.

Denis Clixby, a St. Ives hotelier and avid Folk Music enthusiast, was a regular attendee at Pipers Folk Club from its glory days with Brenda Wootton and John the Fish in Penzance through its many and varied locations until its dying days. Denis recorded each and every club session he attended, and in doing so documented all the performances that took place, including visiting Guest Artistes, (the lists of ‘names’ is staggering!) itinerant singers, and the Club’s Resident Singers. Thus it was that a comprehensive recordings archive was brought into being. Sadly Denis died in 1999 and I, eventually, took on the stewardship of the Denis Clixby Recordings Archive. I quickly realised that it was a veritable treasure trove! When I discovered the amount of material Denis had collected featuring Incredible String Band founder member Clive Palmer, with whom I’d shared a friendship since 1972, I at once began a salvage on this aspect of the Archive and took the salvaged material to Clive who was delighted to hear it, remarking how ‘strong’ his performances were and that he’d love to have it made into an album release. Sadly Clive passed away before this could become a reality but, with the unstinting and invaluable assistance of Ralph McTell, I’m very pleased to say that Clive’s wishes have been brought to life in the production of this audio CD.

Clive had sent his old pal Ralph a copy of the rough master disc I’d produced and Ralph had me provide him with a copy for his pal Billy Connolly. Billy was also very impressed and so the plan was for Ralph to get the CD into production but, with his professional commitments and work load, it was soon clear the CD would never be ready to be launched at the Clive Palmer Memorial Concert I was to stage on November 29th 2015 so I took on the whole project, seeing to all aspects of its publication i.e. re-mastering, financing, art work, etc. Billy Connolly, Ralph McTell, Mike Heron, John Bidwell, and Mick Bennett all contributed sleeve notes. It’s a professionally replicated and packaged, numbered, limited release (500 copies only) Copies of the CD can be purchased by post from me here for £12.00 G.B.P. each inclusive of P&P by 1st class mail.

To Order:

Email enquiries to:

Please make cheques payable to:

Mic McCreadie at

86 Trehane Road,



TR14 7NU.

Alternatively money can be transferred by online banking via:

Sort Code: 11.01.32.

Account Number: 10532269.

Account Name: M. McCreadie.

Thank you,

Mic McCreadie.

December 21st 2015.


The Clive Palmer Memorial Concert

Clive from Tim W

I first met with Clive Palmer in the late summer of 1972 at The Cambridge Folk Festival, through my new friendship with John Bidwell. John was then a member of C.O.B. with Clive and Mick Bennett. Although I was very acutely aware of Clive’s legendary musical pedigree, as a founder member of the Incredible String Band, it seemed the only one affected by it was me; Clive certainly wasn’t bothered by it. His natural charm and unaffected friendliness very soon dispelled my gawky awkwardness at being in the company of such an important musician.

Our friendship developed over the years and though there were times when we’d not see each other for several years it made no real difference; when we met up again we just picked up from where we’d left off.

Mic & Clive 1977
Mic & Clive 1977

When he finally settled in Cornwall we spent several happy years frequenting each others houses and attending folk clubs especially Pipers Folk Club in Penzance. When Clive and Shirley moved to Camborne it was me who drove the van that carried their belongings to the new house.

When Clive returned to Cornwall from his long exile in France with his new partner Gina it wasn’t long before we were back in touch. I’d taken on the stewardship of the Denis Clixby Recordings Archive in 2012 and while working my way

Denis Clixby
Denis Clixby

through the various tapes and cassettes I’d found quite a lot of material featuring Clive both solo and with others.

I cleaned and digitised this very old audio, recorded between 1975 and 1985 as far as I could ascertain, and brought it to Clive who was delighted to hear it, remarked on how ‘strong’ his performances were and that he’d love to have it made into an album release. This began a series of re-mastering and cleaning sessions and all three of us, Clive Gina and myself deciding which songs would make up the solo album. Sadly Clive passed away before this could become a reality but, with the unstinting and invaluable assistance of Ralph McTell, I continued the project. It seemed a natural extension of this to also organise a Memorial Concert for Clive so this too was put in train.

Lowenac BestThe dual projects came to fruition on Sunday 29th November 2015 in the large Functions Room of the Lowenac Hotel in Camborne. This was not the original venue selected for the Concert, but a mutual misunderstanding between myself and the management of Bramwell’s Mill in Penzance meant I urgently needed to find a new location. Hotel Manager Martin, his lovely wife Mirella and the catering staff gave us every assistance and support. So it was that an amazing array of talented musicians gathered to pay respect and make tribute to Clive Palmer and his music. Every musician I approached without hesitation agreed to perform and in no time at all I had a full stable of willing performers. I was also greatly assisted by what became known as: “The S-Team” consisting of my dear wife Chrissie, my beautiful daughter Emma and her husband Wayne, my niece Debbie and her partner Marty, and my old pal Keith Gauntlett. At 16.00 on the day we assembled and began to set up the Functions Room for the Concert. While I set up a Sound Stage and Marty set up a four camera video shoot, Keith arranged the tables and chairs and Emma took up station at the entrance to collect the voluntary donations. Meanwhile Chrissie in charge of the raffle armed with her book of tickets set out the prizes on a table and Debbie, in charge of the Merchandise table, laid out the advertising and the newly arrived copies of the “Clive – Live” CD.

Biq #02

Our M.C. for the night was the venerable John The Fish, whose history in the folk community of the South West stems from its very inception, so there could be no one better to host our Concert. The evening began with Clive’s personal bagpipe tutor, Bill Buchanan, in the foyer playing a some slow airs that he and Clive had worked on, as the guests began to arrive. The Functions Room was soon filling up with eager folk all keen to be a part of this tribute to Clive and his many achievements. The Concert itself began at 19.00 sharp with my two friends, Adrian O’Reilly, Dick Reynolds and I as Bisquitry though our set and the some of the following one were somewhat marred by a sound stage problem. This occurred because, just as I was getting set up for Bisquitry I had a very heated call from a very irate gentleman whom I’d arranged transport for, to and from Penzance, to say he was stranded and what was I going to do about it? The signal was intermittent and eventually we got cut off. Then, as I was being called for, I had to dash onto the stage to begin our set of songs. Sadly in the confusion, I’d neglected to turn up the mixer channels for Adrian and Dick with the result that their contributions could not be heard clearly, though I was fine of course! We started with Allan Taylor’s ‘It’s Good To See You’ but our song was interrupted and our sound problem was not helped by my ‘phone going off again as someone else tried to get in touch with me! I frantically switched the ‘phone off and concentrated on performing with the lads. I got our sound problem sorted with some assistance and we finished our set with a song we’d all performed with Clive at one time or another: ‘Jordan Is A Hard Road’.

Fish #01
John The Fish

Then John The Fish, introduced Tony Corden and Friends. Tony took the stage with Grahame Hood and the second round of sound problems began. I must thank the visiting sound engineer who came over to help me track and remove the low bass howl-round or feedback we were having on one particular microphone.


Grahame Hood: We played two of Clive’s songs; ‘In The Deepness Of A Summer Night’ , ruined by bad sound, though at least the feedback was in the right key, and ‘Evening Air’, with which I personally was delighted. Tony then swapped guitar for whistle to back Bob Devereux on a lovely ‘Suns & Moons’. Stonebreath’s Prydwn, now living in Wales, brought his harp to the party and played C.O.Bs ‘Sweet Slavery’ apologising in advance to Mick Bennett for any liberties taken. None were; he was excellent. 

Tony C & G H
Tony Corden & Grahame Hood

Tony C & Bob D
Tony Corden & Bob Devereaux

Sylvan aka Prydwn.













Once the sound problem was sorted however the rest of the night was relatively trouble free – sound wise.

Pete Berryman, legendary guitarist and former collaborator with Clive in the Famous Jug Band was next and his clever fingers wove a melodic line through many of Clive’s compositions in his own inimitable way before John The Fish introduced Noel & Pam Betowski aka D’jazz Celtica. Playing guitar/bouzouki and fiddle they elected to play without the benefit(?) of the sound system (and its equipment limitations) and set themselves up on the floor.

Pete B #01
Pete Berryman.

They were absolutely stunning and to the audience’s surprise and evident delight gave us a heady mixture of Hot Jazz and Traditional Irish, the melodies flavoured with choice sprinkling of modern pop classics which earned them the evening’s first encore.

Then we came to my ‘surprise’ guest. Clive’s long time friend and producer of both C.O.B. L.P.s – Ralph McTell. Ralph played a three song set of mostly newer material, some of it dealing with stories of his early days in music, busking around Europe and hearing Robert Johnson’s music for the first time. He would have come off after the third song but as he attempted to do so this sparked another encore such was the rapturous response of the mesmerised and appreciative audience. Grahame Hood: I have to say you could not help but admire his musicianship and complete command of the audience. So we had four from Ralph who, with his charming and  lovely wife Nanna, sadly had to leave before the end as they’d long distance travelling to do early next day.

Ralph #03
Ralph McTell.

We had a ten minute interval so folk could mingle and chat during which Ralph generously donated a signed 4 CD Box Set of ‘The Journey’ for the raffle. Not to be left out Jonathon Coudrille then also kindly donated a book of his poems. Thus our three prize raffle draw soon became a five prize raffle draw! The first prize being one of Clive’s own walking sticks; an antique item with a carved lion as a handle, donated by his widow, Gina, who unfortunately did not feel able to attend in person. With Ralph’s Box CD Set, Jonathon Coudrille’s poetry book, two copies of cartoon type drawings Clive had made to illustrate a book of poems written by Mick Bennett, signed and donated by Mick, and an Incredible String Band CD of their first album kindly donated by Mike Heron and Corrina who had also wished to attend but sadly could not, it was a rather grand affair.

Mike S & Jo P #01
L: Jo Partridge. R: Mike Silver.


First up in the second half was Mike Silver, an exceptional singer/songwriter now residing in Cornwall and freshly returned from a tour in Europe. Backed by on lead guitar by Jo Partridge (and if you don’t know who he is, Google him, you’ll be amazed!), Mike is an accomplished and very good entertainer who also quickly displayed his command of an audience gained over a lifetime of performing and touring. There was even a song about mike’s wife’s gardening abilities and their set was received with rapturous applause from a highly pleased audience.

Next were The Pyschamores; Mick Bennett and Pete Berryman with newly added member Steve Hunt, late of the highly rated Cornish duo Corncrow.

Psychamores #01
The Psychamores.

The trio’s name, was coined by Mick because both Mick and Pete now live in flats in the same block; The Sycamores. They did three original songs and many in the room were knocked out by Mick’s remarkable voice, he also performed a poem in honour of Clive’s famous (and obviously much envied) blue corduroy trousers and a haiku sent all the way from Thailand by John Bidwell, complete with explicit instructions on how to perform it! Praising Clive’s organic take on music it ran:

 Heady summer skies

Clive’s songs growing from the ground

Cornwall somehow changed

JXCJonathon Coudrille was as sensational as ever! A gentleman and artist who has been very involved in the early days of the Cornish folk scene, he once greatly impressed Shirley Collins by picking her up from Penzance Rail Station in his Rolls-Royce and driving her to her gig at The St. Ives Festival. With an air of eccentricity about him, dressing like a successful Wild West gambler and wearing a monocle, he sang a song in Russian, read two poems, and reverted to his true Cornish voice with ‘Let’s Go Down Lizard Town’ played on a 7-string banjo and accompanied by mandolin player Ashley, whose 70s style attire was making a statement of its own. In my humble opinion there is no doubt whatsoever that Mr Coudrille is a star.

Last, but certainly not least, was Tim Wellard,

Tim W #01
Tim Wellard.

a man whose role in the life and music of Clive Palmer is often under-rated. Joined by John Bickersteth whose own musical history is legend in the far South West (Zambula, Charlie Cool,) on melodica and Bob Morley the bassist from Clive’s last band, they played a four song set, two of Tim’s own songs with him on guitar and vocals and then, moving to banjo and doing an excellent take of the classic Palmer style, Clive’s ‘Big City Blues’ and the Stockroom Five’s ‘When The Train Comes Along’.

All in all it was a great evening, and more than one person has asked me if the Concert might become an annual event.

I suppose it just might at that.


Mic McCreadie.