TWICE WEEKLY NEWS LETTER KEEPS YOU RIGHT UP TO DATE
THE MASHER PLAYER
THE MASHERS ARE ALWAYS BEING ASKED, WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR BRAND OF FOLK MUSIC?
SO HERE’S THE ANSWER - WE’RE SURE THAT THE ARTISTS NAMED WOULD TURN IN THEIR GRAVES
OR HIDE IN A CORNER IF THEY WERE TO KNOW.
We’ve added links so you can enjoy many of these artists in their full glory
RED LINK = TRACK
YELLOW LINK = WEB PAGE
One of the most frequent questions asked of The Mashers is , what are the influences
that have shaped the Masher repertoire and performance style?
The answer to this, is, like most things to do with The Mashers simple, yet varied.
The Mashers is basically the brain child of Dickie Masher who having rediscovered
his guitar and voice set about trying to relive his youth, spent mainly in the Folk
Clubs of Portsmouth and Gosport.
In those days there was no such thing as the Internet, indeed the word digital was
only used by Maths teachers attempting to teach the complexities of binary notation.
Because of this the artists working the Folk circuit had to be all round entertainers,
and Dickie enjoyed those Kings of Folk entertainment.
Talking to people, it seems we were fortunate on the South Coast, with Folk Clubs
on very nearly every corner, each with the inviting glow of lit candles on the table
– oh for those days when an audience could be trusted not to set themselves on fire.
But my earliest memory of being drawn into folk music will forever be associated
with coal fires, egg and chip teas, and dare I say the tin bath of Grand Parent’s
house. Oh wonder of wonders, especially when once Sports Report was finished on
a Saturday evening, Wally Whytonwould take to the airways with Country Meets Folk
and later Folk On Two.
Or at home base my Dad Marching his four children to bed to the sound of the mass
pipes of The Black Watch. Stirring stuff.
Wetting the whistle was of course were the early TV programmes of The Spinners. Good
clean family fun, presented almost like Blue Peter, and around Britain they would
tour, calling what seemed like every six months at The Portsmouth Guildhall.
Another band to appear at regular intervals was of course The Dubliners always a
must for a five bob ticket.
And yes I still have my five bob Beatles ticket tucked away some where – but you
ain’t getting’ your hands on it.
Dickie was drawn into the Folk Clubs through his socialist roots, and the growing
period of protest that he was just lucky enough to experience in the sixties. Here
he was introduced to the songs of needless to say BobDylan. You wont find any Dylan
songs done by The Mashers though, as in our humble opinion with very few exceptions,
they do not work without the Dylan delivery.
One duo that stands out in Dickie’s mind were The Leesidersof which little is written.
They toured the Club doing a range of entertaining songs with different roots music
influences. One of the members was a very young Dave Pegg who went on to become
a legend in his own life time within the Folk Community. They produced two L.P.s
on the Ash Label, should you want to find this music.
AND THERE’S MORE..................
Another such duo, this time a boy and girl set up Dave Shannon and Fiona Simpson,
calling themselves Therapy. All we can ask is, whatever happened to them. But they
have left three or four great recordings for us to enjoy and you can find them on
Ebay from time to time.
But top of Dickie Masher’s list were the locally grown stars of the scene. Pat Nelson,
(for which there seems to be no reference to in my Internet searches) a young man
drifting around the South England Folk Clubs who later went on to host Folk On 2.
Diz Disley the great jazz guitarist who toured with Stephan Grappelli, (I notice
very little is said in his biog of his years on the South Coast, involving himself
in daffodil eating contests and falling back on his Skiffle roots, due ting with
the likes of Pat Nelson and of course the brilliant Jon Isherwood.)
And I suppose it was Jon Isherwoodthat caught Dickie’s imagination more than any
of the artists. Strange you might say given the names who travelled to the Coastal
Clubs. But true it is. Isherwood in full fly was a wonder to behold, extremely
funny completely off the wall, and an act very rarely seen in those days.
No one will be surprised to learn that the joking Isherwood was a good mate ofJasper
Carrot, and they would knock each other at every Folk Club they appeared.
Jasper Carrot himself was of course one of the most entertaining Folk Club performers,
using his Folk roots to develop his stand up comedy act that was to make him a house
Hence you will find a lot of Jon Isherwood songs amongst those listed in the Masher
A Johnny come lately who was to make a major mark on the South Coast scene was another
great entertaining singer,Shep Wooley. Shep is still out there doin’ it and fortunately
has not yet caught onto the fact that The Mashers are butchering his songs.
With cash tight Dickie bought very few records. However the very first folk record
he bought remains his favourite, because of it’s humour and an amazing warm production
not found on any other recording. The record was Naaaaaaaayh by Noel Murphy, who
banged out the Irish Classics with in our view a slightly different slant to the
A little to the right of Portsmouth lies Brighton, and the village Rottingdean where
a folk density was being built byBob Copper, who performed and recorded and wrote
down the songs his family had passed onto him. Dickie was lucky enough to catch
one live performance by Bob, an experience he will never forget.
And from the West came The Yetties. For some reason sadly rarely seen on the Festival
circuit in these Northern parts. They were true Western boys singing of Cider Apples,
and Sea Fairing songs all with a big full sound. They are still performing, but
not touring as much as they used to.
And also out of the West came the late great Fred Wedlock who plied his trade mark
spoof folk around the Clubs of Europe.
m the West came The Yetties. For some reason sadly rarely seen on the Festival circuit
in these Northern parts. They were true Western boys singing of Cider Apples, and
Sea Fairing songs all with a big full sound. They are still performing, but not
touring as much as they used to.
Also out of the West of came Fred Wedlock. On his night one of the funniest performers
I have ever seen, his spoof folk songs where absolutely no subject was sacred were
just brilliant. Fred’s still out there and working.
AND THERE’S EVENMORE..................
Around the same time a young South African chap who had been ploughing a path around
the Folk Clubs of the West of England hit the “big time” with his song “Jobs Worth”,
which featured time and again on Ester Ransom’s programme on the television. His
nameJeremy Taylor. He went on t work with many of the greats, but in particular
the mighty Spike Milligan with whom he toured for a few years.
So to the other end of the Country again and The Corrieswill always have a place
close to my heart. An amazing duo, who over their time together must have recorded
every Scottish Folk Song worth listening to, and others beside. Few people realise
that the late Bill Williamson was responsible for the Scottish National Anthem, often
attributed to trad by those not in the know, Flower of Scotland, and it was great
to see the surviving Corrie Ronnie Brown being wheeled out to lead the hoards in
the singing of the song before the Rugby and Football matches.
However, for pure entertainment value the great HamishImlachstands out as being
one of the all time greats greats. His easy style was a wonder to behold, with a
natural sense of humour.
Another Scotsman with a huge influence upon The Mashers was Matt McGinn. Dickie
actually went to the same college in Oxford as Matt, the Socialist influenced Ruskin
College. The range of songs written by Matt was amazing from those that clearly
came from his philosophy on life to songs full of humour and loads of children’s
songs. He left a huge discography which is well worth checking out.
Another of all time favourites is of course the great Eric Bogle, his songs always
have fantastic melodies, and lyrics either full of humour or meaning, and more often
than not both. “Bloody Rotten Audience” is song sung by Eric, yet apparently not
written by him.
And time moves on. The technology that brings us the internet has allowed for new
songs and musical ideas to move around the world like never before. And a Mashers
set includes songs collected from their Myspace friends and other Internet sources.
Writers like Darby O’Gill in America, Alan Moorhouse an Englishman now based in
Germany, Teddy Mikalski from Denmark have added an international flavour to the rep.,
not forgetting the wonderful Irish tunes created by Luke Crowley.
So there you have the influences that have gone into making up the ways of The Rawmarsh
We like to think that the songs we sing are accessible, and instantly easy to join
in with. There’s nothing flash in what we do, it’s simple and basic, but hopefully
the more enjoyable for that. And if you were to ask most of, if not all of the acts
above what they hope their legacy is or may be, I’m sure, and without wishing to
be presumptuous, that they would say the same.
We’ve linked all the artists and where there is no Official Web Site we have gone
to Wikipedia, just so that you can get a flavour of the people who made up these
great entertaining acts.
And don’t forget, many of them are still out there at Festivals or on the Folk Club
circuit, singing their songs and making people laugh at life. Be nice to them though
because just like The Mashers, they too may need to use a Zimmer frame to get on