In The Spotlight

The Minor Bird Folk-Song Club

The Minor Bird Folk-Song Club

AS A LOVER of folk music it blows my mind to think that back in the 1960s, 70s & 80s legendary names such as Paul Simon, The Fureys, Ewan MacColl, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Nic Jones and others all performed in my hometown of Warrington.

Their appearances in Lancashire’s most Southerly town were largely down to the efforts of Norman & Jack Froggatt, co-founders of the Minor Bird Folk-Song Club that met in Warrington from 1962 onwards, originally at the Golden Lion in Knutsford Road, then upstairs at the Lion on Bridge Street until moving to the more intimate setting of the Blue Bell in Horsemarket Street.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Norman and Jack on several occasions and their stories of the UK folk scene back in the 1960s and beyond never fail to entertain, especially as many of the musicians who played at the club often stayed in their homes.

I could wax lyrical about Norman and Jack’s stories but no one tells the tale of the Minor Bird Folk-Song Club (named after their own group The Minor Birds who were the ‘house band’ at the club) like the twins themselves.

So here, for your listening pleasure, available to listen to on demand, are links to Norman and Jack Froggatt’s Radio Warrington interviews…

IN THEIR FIRST interview, Noman and Jack discuss their musical inspirations, the origins of their band The Minor Birds and the early days of the Folk-Song Club. Learn how they may have been the first people outside of America to have heard of Bob Dylan and listen as they recall their encounters with musical legends such as Paul Simon, Luke Kelly, Hedy West, Barbara Dickson and others.

IN THEIR SECOND interview, Norman and Jack discuss some of the legendary figures who played at the club in more detail before turning their attention to some of the talented ‘floor singers’ (local performers and/or ex-members of the Minor Birds) who cut their teeth at the club and have kept on performing such as Colin Wilson, Geoff Bibby, Dave Speight, Billy Pook, Graham Sowerby, Dave Clare and Warren ‘Lonnie’ James.

MY THIRD INTERVIEW with Norman and Jack was part of a series of interviews I run on Radio Warrington called ‘Fascinating Folk’ during which I interview legends of the UK and Irish folk music scene in their homes about the songs they have sung, the places they have performed and the people they have worked with. During it Norman and Jack discuss, among others, Barry & Robin Dransfield, Finbar & Eddie Furey, Belle Stewart, Jimmy McBeath, Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger, The Oldham Tinkers, The Liverpool Ceilidh Band, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, The Taverners, Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty and others.

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