TWICE WEEKLY NEWS LETTER KEEPS YOU RIGHT UP TO DATE
THE MASHER PLAYER
Deep within the Peoples Republic of South Yorkshire one will find the Village of
Rawmarsh, marked by it’s Church Tower which rests at the top of the Hill looking
down upon the Town of Rotherham.
At the heart of the Village lies the picturesque square of concrete where the locals
will park their cars so as to visit essential local services consisting of five quaint
hostelries offering a fine range of mass brewed beer and lagers and the Fish and
The very inappropriately named Green Lane Tavern, sadly now closed, is where you
would once find many villagers partaking in Big Screen Sports, or betting on which
of the many varieties of weed will break through the paving stones first.
Disecting the Village one will find the major road that takes travellers quickly
on their way to the Cathedrals of materialism to be found at Retail World, Parkgate,
or Doncaster in the other direction and sometimes the villagers can be spotted cheerily
waving exotic hand signals to the drivers passers by, cheering them on their way.
BUT if you branch off the road, near to where once The Rawmarsh Swimming Pool once
proudly stood, you will seemingly be taken out into green hills and fields. The
grey carbon stained buildings giving way to open views across to the Hills of Sheffield,
and on a clear day, beyond, it is said.
And it’s down this track that the feckless traveller will find a Public House known
as The Monkwood, and it’s within these hallowed walls of this that The Rawmarsh Mashers
Two friends from the local music scene, Dickie and Keith would meet each Monday,
pulling themselves from their back bedrooms, to learn silly songs that they would
later play to a wider audience at Open Mics or Folk Clubs.
They were initially known as Salt and Pepper, which after an executive decision
by Dickie was changed to The Rawmarsh Mashers.
Two years passed with only a select few knowing exactly what lay in store for the
Folk Music lovers of South Yorkshire, which was why in the end a time restricted
Keith Masher had to go his own way, leaving Dickie to his own devices just as The
Mashers got their first Radio Play courtesy of RotherFM and their first Gig.
It was then that another hapless musician with a non Yorkshire heritage and a slightly
Southern accent was approached to become a Masher.
After a lengthy and healthy period of thought, all of two seconds, Myke agreed to
link up with Dickie and so Mashers mark Two was formed.
But only just in time for poor Myke to learn enough Masher songs to perform a live
at The George and Dragon, Wentworth for the Mashers public debut Gig.
And so a legend began to be written as Dickie and Myke travelled the Folk Clubs and
Open Mic Sessions of South Yorkshire, leaving boggle eyed disbelieving music lovers
in their wake.
The Mashers have gone on to make appearances at Festivals and Folk Clubs across the
Country, where their positive, energetic and entertaining style of delivery has made
them a popular act with audiences, if not with the organisers.
As one would expect the Masher Song Book and style has changed over the years, moving
from irreverent attempts at being a comic / also pretty folk duo to one best described
as thrash folk with a political edge. You’ll still find the odd folk standard in
a full Masher show but their reputation was eventually built on their left of centre
political songs, with a clear message from a range of writers.
It was following a trip to play at the Loftus Hiring Fair (now sadly defunct); and
yes The Mashers had to travel that far to showcase their talents, that the idea of
Acoustic Rotherham started to take root.
Having seen so many really brilliant locally based and talented acts being reduced
to only a couple of songs at a Folk Club or Open Mic Session, Dickie and Myke looked
to creating a vehicle whereby that talent could be given thirty minutes to show off
the full range of their skills. And so Acoustic Rotherham was born in 2008.
Acoustic Rotherham has grown to a point where Indie Acoustic Artists have range of
facilities now available to them through this very Web Site.
In early 2009 The Mashers experimented with a third member when Stan Masher added
his banjo to the sound mix. It was an experiment that didn’t quite work out but
it was fun to have him join us at Spratton and The 2009 Star Festival.
Up until October 2009 The Mashers continued to practice and hold the quarterly Acoustic
Rotherham events at The Monkwood but because of it’s association with the BNP, a
Political Party which they feel is not even worthy to be called a Political Party,
The Mashers had to end it’s association.
The Mashers have never been slow at coming forward with their “Political” position.
But in the May of 2010 Myke Masher sadly died suddenly in his sleep.
By following the link buttons on your left you can find all the Tributes to Myke
and everything that you could wish to know about The Myke Barritt Music Trust.
It has taken a lot of thought and consideration by Dickie as to what to do. Nothing
would or could be the same following the loss of his nearest friend. Yet the last
thing Myke would have wanted was for Dickie to hang up his guitar.
And so The Rawmarsh Mashers continue. To the South Dickie is accompanied by his
good friend Gary Emms, who provided sensational support at 2010 Worcester Music Festival
and in the North Dickie alls upon anyone who happens to be handy, or if available
for duty good friend Mr Phillip Hartley This is one of the major advantages to having
a repertoire that requires only four chords to play.
More often than not around the Folk Clubs The Mashers apply the Royal “we” to their
AND SO A LEGEND CONTINUES
A true “folkie” in his teenage years, Dickie could be found in any one of the numerous
folk Clubs around his home town of Gosport, and being a true sea faring man he would
often board the steam ferry to Portsmouth singing sea shanties, before hiding away
in his Folkie hiding places.
A loose collaboration amongst three friends saw a folk group formed as a mirror image
of The Kingston Trio, and Gigs were performed to little or no acclaim.
And then real life got in the way. Forced into accepting that even a budding star
of the folk world needed an education Dickie headed for Ruskin College, Oxford, having
won a Scholarship from his Trade Union USDAW. And while Gosport and Portsmouth gave
a collective sigh of relief that the strains of his nylon strings would not be heard
again, it was suggested that Oxford was not quite ready for a wannabe Kingston Trio
The guitar was put aside, and even after conning Durham University into accepting
his application the guitar, (except for low moments when the Leonard Cohen song book
would be pulled out) stayed secure in it’s Gig Bag.
And so time passed and the guitar toured the UK, back to Gosport, over to Isle of
Wight, Gosport again, Hereford, Worcester, Droitwich, Ledbury, Malvern, Pontefract,
Swinton, Ackworth, Wath Upon Dearne, before coming to it’s final resting place of
Never did the guitar see the light of day until one day an enquiring son asked for
And so it was that the dust was wiped away from Gig Bag the strings tightened into
tune, and the wood polished. It even played a tune, much to the delight of Dickie’s
sons who not knowing any different were most impressed.
Encouraged, Dickie dug out the song books of The Spinners and Tom Paxton that he
had stashed away on his book shelves, and the word “practice” was heard around the
At around the same time Dickie was diagnosed as having MS. Not wanting to give into
what for some people is a terrible disabling condition, Dickie decided that the discipline
of hand movement and brain thought required to even bash out the simplest song would
help him to combat the pain and might even be therapeutic.
Up to this point all singing and playing had been reserved for the back bedroom,
but bravely Dickie stepped out, taking his instrument to evening classes run by local
guru Mark Hearne, and surprisingly the guitar started to sound a lot better.
Then one fateful day Mrs Masher decided that it would be nice to have drop blinds
fitted to the windows of Masher Towers. This brought Ken The Hat into Dickie’s life.
First he convinced Mrs Masher that Dickie should visit a Monday night bash session,
and then with a minimum of arm twisting dragged him off to The Rotherham Singers
Club, held at the Rugby Club in the Town.
And from there it began. For eighteen months Dickie tortured audiences at Open Mic
sessions with his experiments with his favourite songs which he had found access
to via the wonders of the internet. And then when feeling a little braver he found
Keith Masher only too happy to join forces to see what they could do, with some notable
performances at local Folk Clubs up until their parting of the way.
By then Dickie’s confidence had grown, and so when Myke Masher joined the party he
was ready to take on the World...................... Well Rawmarsh at least.
Dickie plays a Taylor 810CE guitar - (just for all those trivia heads who like to
THE MOST FEARED VOICE OF SOUTH YORKSHIRE FOLK MUSIC
Phillip Hartley the New Rawmarsh Masher has been around the South Yorkshire Folk
scene for more years than he cares to remember.
Over recent years he has established himself as one of South Yorkshire’s finest contemporary
song writers - so Dickie considers himself especially lucky to have secured his services
for The Rawmarsh Mashers.
Phil has now headed off to further his solo singer song writer career.
And of course Mr Gary Emms - The Southern based Masher.
Gary was a good mate of Dickie in their youth when South Coast Folk Clubs were invaded
by three lads from Gosport.
He went on to play with a number of Bands in the Midlands, Reading, and professionally
as a duo with a young lady we don’t talk about.
He cannot believe that his main claim to fame is to be a Rawmarsh Masher...........
If only he fully appreciated what his musical apprenticeship was preparing him
for.then he would have hung up his guitar years ago.
The most recent Masher, he being Statter Masher.
John has been a Star of the local session and Folk Club scene for many years, forming
many alliances with artists including the fantastic Rob Slow, Leader of the Pack
at Nellie Folk.
John provided the three dimensional sound for the Mashers playing Guitar, Mandolin
and AND YES BANJO.
He sings too, well, does something with the microphone so we tend to keep this to
AND............. OF COURSE
THE THIRD MASHER
And yes a special mention for Muriel, the third and most important member of the
Frowned on by the “clever” or those who just think that Dickie Masher is bone idle
and does not practice enough, Muriel is essential.
Dickie has to take a range of drugs, which in their totality do have an adverse affect
upon his mid-range memory, which means that while The Mashers do script in several
Deliberate Mistakes into all their performances, just so that the purist folkies
have something to tittle tattle about, there would be a lot more without it and that
would spoil it all for everyone.
Dickie also uses the stand to hold his reading matter of the day, for when Myke goes
off on one of his solo’s.
So have a heart and don’t forget to give Muriel a big hand of applause