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THE MOST FEARED SOUND IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE
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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 Whyton would 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.


On the Telly we had The White Heather Club hosted by Andy Stewart and of course Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor would do a regular spot on the Tonight programme.


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 Bob Dylan.  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.


Also included in the protest period one would also include Tom Paxton, Joan Baez and Judy Collins.


But around the Clubs we had the likes of Ralph McTell, a nice young man learning his trade, Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger, a young touring Tom Paxton, Julie Felix and all those heroes of the Folk Revival years.


One duo that stands out in Dickie’s mind were  The Leesiders of 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 Isherwood that 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 of Jasper 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 hold name.


Hence you will find a lot of Jon Isherwood songs amongst those listed in the Masher Song Book.

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 normal.  


A little to the right of Portsmouth lies Brighton, and the village Rottingdean where a folk density was being built by Bob 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.   













And fro


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 EVEN MORE..................

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 name Jeremy 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 Corries will 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 Hamish Imlach stands 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.


There’s a bit of electric in a Mashers set, songs from Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, and The Strawbs might be picked out.  But we also include a couple of songs we have pinched from those classic pop comedians The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.


The North West of England also has a part to play.  The songs of The Fivepenny Piece, Oldham Tinkers, Bernard Wrigley, The Houghton Weavers and Watt Nicholl all had a part to play in forming the sort of music that the Mashers seek to emulate.  Melodic, yet with a sense of humour enjoyed and understood by most folks.  


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 Mashers.  


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 stage.

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