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23rd September 2022 Merry Hell at the Corn Exchange

A write up of the gig from the Band's point of view!

After a quite marvellous breakfast, courtesy of The Pit Stop, a well-populated, hi-vis heaven on the outskirts of Chippenham, it was on to Blandford Forum – a town full of Bastards!

Arriving in good time for our gig at The Corn Exchange, we were able to explore the town (or at least the charity shops and the local monuments). It soon became apparent that Blandford celebrates its Bastards, with numerous memorials to an apparently philanthropic family – making us wonder how they came about their name.

A return to the venue revealed the most magnificent spread in the green room, a cornucopia of wonderfulness – including what must be a local delicacy – curried egg sandwiches – of which, more later and two cakes! Lemon Drizzle, and Coffee & Walnut! Big thanks to Roz Butcher.
Speaking of notable families, we even managed to effect a family reunion, with cousins Issy and Simon Swarbrick being brought together after a gap of around 40 years.
We have played in Blandford before for our friends at Wessex Acoustic Folk Club, but had been moved to a larger venue for the night – and a treat of a venue it was – lovely hall, big stage and a huge warren of backstage interestingness to get lost in – the green room even had an interesting coat, umbrella and hat stand – a selection of gallantry medals (including a Victoria Cross (replica), and several reminders of the town’s military links – apparently certain bands are allowed to march and play with bayonets drawn. As pacifists, we decided just to bring love and peace and to enable a jolly good time. Feedback after the gig suggested that we managed to do just that.
After happy chats at the merch stall and thanks all round to John and the team, and just time for Merch Mike to show off his big bollards, it was back to the delights of Chippenham, Leigh Delamere (Eastbound) Travelodge for a quick celebratory drink and a musical interlude from the assembled wind section, fuelled by the return of the curried egg sandwiches. Falling asleep was prompted quickly by the resting of heads upon the pillow!

27th September 2019 : Merry Hell supported by Mel Langton

Sue Bartlett: Absolutely brilliant - would love dancing space x

Fi Thom: Fab night..the numbers song day I'll get your numbers (to Mel Langton)

Dave Watkins: As I commented on another post.....first time seeing the band after being a fan for a few years, so was a special night. Fantastic songs....brilliant musicians...rather funny too but in a funny way....!...nice to be with an audience that actually stayed quiet when needed and joined in when needed [ too many gigs spoiled these days by people chatting ].
Very impressed with the sound and the organisation too. Took my folks down with me, they both enjoyed the night and my Mum even bought a CD! They also took a club leaflet with them, as they live in Blandford and I'm sure they will be back. I will try to as well, even though my work is usually always a late shift on a Friday :-(
Safe travels to the next goal is to see their full electric line up I think...and hope they will visit Sunny Blandford again some time!

Jill Noades: Fantastic night. First time I have seen them and it certainly won't be the last. I stayed awake the whole night and that isn't always the case! We want them back John.

Merry Hell: We had a fabulous time - thanks to all who helped make it so!



9th March 2012 : Wendy Arrowsmith supported by Roger Smith

Thank you for a absolutely brilliant night of music with Wendy Arrowsmith tonight. Terrific evening............... just excellent.

 Also what a wonderful Folk Club...such great and lovely people running it and the atmosphere of friendliness and great music makes for the perfect combination. Really good value for money. Long sets of excellent music. I would recommend it one hundred per cent.

Carol Wadsworth



6th May 2011 : Fairport Acoustic Convention

Thanks for the Fairport gig last Friday, we had a terrific time.

I first got to hear them when I was stationed at RAF Gan in the Maldive Islands back in 1975, when one of the guys I worked with constantly played their Greatest Hits cassette and I liked what I heard.

Many years later - like a couple of years ago, I finally got around to buying the album on CD and I've played it a lot.

I also heard a little story about the band which seems to be true. Do you remember the hit they had in the late 60's or early 70's with a cover of Manfred Mann's 'If you gotta go'? They covered it, but in French. While in the studio recording it the drummer ( I don't know who it was at the time) had built a stack of tables and chairs and was drumming on that for the recording. During one take, the whole stack collapsed at the end of the drum solo and that is the take that ended up being released. It can clearly be heard on the recording.

It was fantastic to hear the band playing some of the old songs, as well as more recent stuff, and the sound they produced, with the faultless musical timing, made it an evening to remember.

Thanks very much for organising the gig and if they are coming back next year we will certainly be in the market for some tickets

Kev & Sheils


15th October 2008 : Colum Sands

The mans reputation preceded him, and before he started, a fan brought a handful of CD's that he had in his collection for Colum to sign- which he did without hesitation. And then another member of the audience explained to Colum that he had started singing late in life and was covering one of Colums songs. Colum was duly impressed.
And so the evening began. Colum is one of the most gentle of performers, but he delivered a powerful performance and left us wanting the evening to go on and on. His anecdotes were cleverly constructed and his songs a magnet to the audience.
And he shares a hairdresser with Vin Garbutt! It's rumoured the hairdresser died 30 years ago!
All in all, Colum gave his audience a night to remember- stories, songs, a chance to sing.....what else is there?

Bob Kirkpatrick

23rd July 2008 : Vin Garbutt

"I'd travelled for five hours three trains, a bus, a taxi!  Something I might do for a festival, but haven't done for a folk club in many years! My purpose?  To meet up with a husband working in Dorset, but specifically timed to go and see Vin Garbutt at Wessex Accoustic Folk Club in the Farquharson Arms.  He works away often, but much as I love him I wouldn't spend time and money to join up for just any old reason!

This is a jewel of a club.  Beer good (cider good too for those of us that have a discerning appley palate!).  VG has the ability to make everything sound as if he's only just thought of it, but passionately wants to tell you (especially when it comes to taking the mickey out of old mate Bob Fox.....and the dirty purple working'll need to ask someone to elaborate if you don't already know!).

He can combine eye watering joyous humour in his audience interaction, with eye watering sadness in many of his songs.  He's also a thoroughgoing good chap!

 I can sum up this gig in two ways.  One from me, one from the husband.

 Me:  my quote of the evening is "I'd come all those hours down here again just for a gig, it's that much fun."

 Him: "I'm only half way through working down here this week, but this makes me feel like I'm on holiday".

 My quote was no fib.  I've checked out the Autumn guest list and I might just have to make that five hour trip again - 'just' to go to a pub to hear some music!

Jo Wake/Freeman


June 19th 2007 : Colvin Quarmby

Well, what a night. I detected a few friends of the band in the audience, but that should not detract from the way the whole evening worked out. From a soft start ( an experiment that I think worked very well ) to a full band getting quickly into top gear. Gerry's communication with his audience provided interest, humour and a commitment to listen.

Well worth the effort as the words are both clever and thought provoking.

How nice to see a good turnout.

For those that have not experienced "Gerry", do not hesitate. Take a risk, and like the whole audience from the Wessex, go home happy, having been totally entertained.

Bob Kirkpatrick

 October 22nd 2005 - Steve Knightley

"A solo outing by Steve Knightley is rare these days, but it provides a chance to see yet another side of this talented songwriter. His gig at the intimate Wessex Acoustic venue at The Mount in Corfe Mullen was a unique opportunity not to be missed, and so it proved.

The evening rapidly took on an air of anticipation and excitement as Steve interspersed several brand new songs with alternative arrangements of usually familiar items from the Show Of Hands repertoire. In an atmosphere that was almost tangible, well-known songs such as ‘Cousin Jack’ and ‘Country Life’ took on fresh significance, with ‘Widecombe Fair’ being particularly eerie. Steve’s performance ranged well beyond his own material to include a Beatles tune and the Dire Straits classic ‘Romeo & Juliet’, which held the audience spellbound.

He moved rapidly from style to style, taking the audience on excursions to many locations in his beloved West Country.  Given the opportunity to show off his skills on guitar and cello-mandolin, Steve’s playing was at times very subtle and at others impressively aggressive and confident. He revealed ‘hidden’ solos, which in a Show Of Hands context can become lost behind Phil Beer’s instrumental prowess.

But, as ever, it was Steve’s lyrics that really captivated the audience. It’s reassuring that he maintains his creativity and perception. ‘All I Ever Lost’, an impression of the artist’s attic collection, was being given its first public airing. Also particularly memorable was ‘The Bet’, a ghostly tale spoken against a strong rhythmic backing. Judging by the reaction of the knowledgeable audience these will be included in set lists for a long time to come. "

Alan Dudley


June 19th 2005 - Tanglefoot

"On June 18th Wimborne Acoustic welcomed the popular Canadian five-piece Tanglefoot on the hottest night of the year. The evening was kicked off in inimitable fashion by Bob Kirkpatrick followed by Rod Jenkins with a thoughtful choice of songs by American singer-songwriters which was well received.

The headline act started with a set of three songs on the bounce which demonstrated their effortless musicianship and fine singing voices. Highlights were the story of a Canadian feminine Paul Revere from the war of 1812, a song about the early days of the Canadian Pacific and the emotional story of three young Canadians at Vimy Ridge in World War 1.

The warmth of their reception was well deserved – a great night."

Neil Davies


April 25th 2005  Artisan

"....thanks for the very friendly welcome received  on Saturday night at The Mount. Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed  seeing Artisan but the hospitality offered was also greatly appreciated.

We have to comment on the sound during the concert as it's probably  not the best venue for a sound engineer and I thought that Andy did  a superb job under difficult circumstances - particularly as he was  performing as well!"

 Meg & Pete Privett




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