Black Country Ceilidh

          This is becoming an occasional blog. Sometimes things just
pile up and I can't find time - or energy - to write a blog too.
          This week I went to a Black Country Ceilidh. It was a spur of the moment thing. Somebody had said there was 'a folk club' at The Plough Inn, near Stourbridge. "Want to try it?" Davy asked.
          I was suspicious. "Is it real folk?"
          Davy said, "What do you mean, 'real folk'?"
          "Is it people putting a hand over one ear and singing about walking out one midsummer morning or leaving Liverpool?"
          "I can see how you'd want to avoid that stuff," he said.
          "No, that's the stuff I want. Will there be ballads about murder, and patricide, and infanticide and every other kind of -cide? And revenge. 'Cos that's my bag. I don't want country and western, or teenagers singing their own songs about how nobody loves 'em."
          "I was just told," he said with a sigh. "that there's live folk-music of a Tuesday night. Do you want to give it a try?"
          Cautiously, I agreed.  And, folkies, it was great. There must have been about fifteen musicians there, who had just turned up for the fun of playing and singing music they loved. Some had brought two or three instruments. There was a double-bass, guitars, accordians, melodians, harmonicas, fiddles, bodhrans, mandolins...
         I got talking to Pat - Hi, Pat! - who had brought her accordian along. She was still learning, she told me, but came along to join in and practice. Pat was modest about her ability but, to me, who can't play or sing a note, all playing seems like some kind of magic - and I admired her for having the nerve to get out of the house and join in.
          The leader of the group called on each member in turn, and asked if they wanted to play something. Nobody had to, but if they were willing, they named what they wanted to play, and led it, and the other musicians joined in. It was, in other words, a Black Country Ceilidh. Davy and I intend to tell another friend of ours, another Scot, who we are pretty sure will hurry over to The Plough with his guitar as soon as he can.
          I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a quick burst of early rock and roll, and another of Richard Thompson, but there was enough walking out on midsummer mornings to keep me happy. Though as I learned most of what I know about story-telling from the Border Ballads, I don't think there were enough battles or murders. Maybe next time. And the jigs, reels and shanties made up for it.
          So if any of you are in the neighbourhood of Stourbridge and Wollaston, I recommend Tuesday night at The Plough.

154 Bridgnorth Rd, Stourbridge, West Midlands DY8 3PD ‎ 01384 393414

Images: Wikipedia commons.