The Armistice Pals

armistice pals header non internetEveryone remembers the charity version of ‘Perfect Day’ with its myriad of voices from the pop and rock world.

Let’s hope everyone will also remember the upcoming answer from the Folk World – ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ – with a plethora of voices from across the acoustic folk and roots spectrum representing the great and the good, young and the old, seasoned and emerging, all on the same single. The group is called The Armistice Pals and is releasing a fitting tribute to Pete Seeger, who sadly passed away this year as well as marking the 100 years anniversary of the breakout of the First World War. All profits will be distributed between four peacekeeping charities.

However, perhaps it’s not a perfect world after all and the late Pete Seeger’s classic anti war song, ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’, points a finger at the carnage, supposedly ‘ the war to end all wars’ which tragically mislead us to believe it was worth the sacrifice.  The sacrifice, not only of the lives of those who died, but the resultant desolation and struggle of the loved ones who were left behind. Whole swathes of communities were left bereft of their young men-folk who trustingly signed up into ‘Pals Battalions’, many of whom were never to return, with those who did too often spending lives blighted by the experience.

Armistice Pals is the name of the folk community ‘super band’ who are all performing on this single, which is due out on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November 2014. It was the brain child of Damian Liptrot (manager of folk-rock band Merry Hell), who, as the project expanded, has invited Folkstock’s Helen Meissner on board as co-organiser. The project has attracted over 30 names including Chris and Kellie While, Julie Matthews, Judy Dyble, Christine Collister, Dave Swarbrick, Ray Cooper, Sally Barker, Peter Knight, Boo Hewerdine, Gavin Davenport, Blair Dunlop, Lucy Ward, Ken Nicol, Merry Hell, Luke Jackson and Kelly Oliver. A line up so good that, were it to be a festival, it would undoubtedly be the event of the summer.

The single will be released via the usual digital outlets as well as a physical CD and as a nod to the historical element, a limited edition vinyl 45, on new community label, Folkstock Records.

As this is intended to be a community project, we are inviting Folk Clubs across the country to contribute by organising an ‘Armistice Pals Night’ during the week of the release of the single. This can take any form but should include a collective version of ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ at some point during the evening, followed by a passing round of the hat to support the Armistice Pals charities.

If you would like to know more about the project, all the artists, the charities and the inspiration can be found at or contact us direct via

We hope that you will feel able to enlist and offer your support.

Helen and Damian
for The Armistice Pals


Attila The Stockbroker (poet/musician and sheer force of nature, whose father survived the Somme).

Billy Mitchell (one time Jack the Lad, ex-Lindisfarne and much else besides).

Blair Dunlop (One of our brightest, youngest singer-songwriters, currently telling tales from the ‘House Of Jacks’, he also found time for a stint in The Albion Band..).

Bob Pegg (Storyteller, singer-songwriter and member of the legendary Mr Fox).

Boo Hewerdine (one time Bible basher, all time songwriting phenomenon).

Chris While and Julie Matthews (singers, songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, award winners in their own right and members of more prestige bands and projects than you can shake a stick at).

Christine Collister (one time She Devil, ex-Daphne’s Flight, much sought collaborator and loved by Q magazine).

Dave Mather & Peter Robinson (singer/songwriters (one of them has written an opera you know), ex-Houghton Weavers, stand up comedy and currently presenters of Salford City radio’s first folk show).

Dave Swarbrick (simply a living legend. As it says on the flyers, ‘needs no introduction’).

Edwina Hayes (multi-million You Tubed singer-songwriter with the ‘sweetest voice in England’).

Eric Bazilian: (Hooter, hitmaking songwriter worldwide for self and others, now he’s One Of Us!).

Flossie Malavialle (multinational singer et chanteuse aussi, gig travelling traffic reporter).

Gavin Davenport (much vaunted solo singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, award winning, ex-Albion band member).

Gren Bartley (the spine tinglingly beautiful guitarist, banjo playing poet).

Helen Watson (Singer/Songwriter, multi genre artist, producer and erstwhile member of Daphne’s Flight, Carmel and Sons of Arqa, as well as taking a great photo).

Johnny Coppin (broadcasting singer-songwriter, ex-Decameron and now sufficiently multi-faceted to be considered a true diamond).

Judy Dyble (singer/songwriter, ex-Fairport, nearly King Crimson and Facebook dog blogger).

Kellie While (singer-songwriter considered to have one of the outstanding voices of her generation, ex-member of The Albion Band and so much else, her arrival makes The Pals a family affair as her mother and sometime singing partner Chris is also involved).

Kelly Oliver (singer/songwriter, guitarist and harmonicist who has taken Boots Of Spanish Leather to places most of us can only dream of).

Ken Nicol: (globetrotting, guitar endorsing, ex-Albion Band and Steeleye Span virtuoso).

Kevin Brennan MP (an accomplished musician, fan of folk music and passionate supporter of live music).

Lavinia Blackwall (the vocalist who is both a Trembling Bell and a Crying Lion).

Linda Simpson (singer/songwriter, ex-Prog/Folk/Rock legends Magna Carta and supplier of some ideas that are so good that I’d like to present them as my own).

Lucy Ward (singer/song writer and possibly the current heart of British Folk Music as she gets played on virtually every folk show I listen to regardless of the other tastes of the presenters!).

Luke Jackson (bright young purveyer of Fumes and Faith).

Merry Hell (8 piece folk-rocking explosion of melody and joy).

Ninebarrow (award-winning, Dorsetshire folk duo).

Patsy Matheson (singer/songwriter, spent time Waking The Witch, now The Domino Girl).

Peter Knight (singer/fiddle player, Gigspanner, Feast of Fiddles, Steeleye and holder of the world record for continuously playing the violin whilst travelling up and down the lift in the Empire State Building).

Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers (30 Year veteran of punk-folk luminaries, The Men They Couldn’t Hang).

Ray Cooper (singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, ex-Oysterband and now a pearl in his own right).

Richard Ryall (singer/songwriter, member of the band Litmuss and he comes from a land Down Under).

Robb Johnson (Irregular singer/songwriter and social conscience).

Said The Maiden (3 rising doyennes with harmonies the envy of angels).

Sally Barker (folk singer and by popular acclaim, the true winner of The Voice).

Sian James (Singer, writer, harpist, composer, conductor and actress from Wales, a big Armistice pals ‘Creoso’ to her).

In addition, there is also The Pals Chorus, made up of friends and members of several folk clubs who will be recorded together to help swell the voices and to represent the fact that this is a true community project.

Meet on the Ledge Release Long Shadows

MOTLCoverIt’s been a 10-year gap between recordings but fans of the folk veterans Meet on the Ledge will rejoice when they listen to the just-released “Long Shadows”.

Of course the folk harmonies and masterful instrumentation upon which MOTL built it’s well deserved legacy and following, are beautifully showcased and presented on its latest release. There’s no arguing that.

But if forced to choose one song that showcases the band’s musical chops and expertise it would have to be its cover of “Smoke on the Water.”

What the band did when it rethought and rewired the classic heavy metal anthem is a task at which only a master could excel. Clearly MOTL founder Ron Holmes, who has his own independent musical pedigree, and his band mates were more than up to the task.

They created a version of “Smoke on the Water” that has just enough electric guitar and pulsating drums to make it familiar. Yet the slower tempo and acoustic accents give it a whole new personality, showcasing an elegance that is often lost amid the clanging and banging of the heavy metal versions.

As fans know, Meet on the Ledge rarely make missteps and that’s certainly true on this 12-track gem. Just listen to “Who Told the Butcher,” the Peter Knight tune, which marries contemporary instrumentation to world-weary lyrics and binds them together with glorious harmonies. The same came be said of “Travelin’ Soldier,” a tune the band found in America, which gives a slightly different perspective to the lass who longs for a connection to a certain soldier.

Other don’t miss tracks include the upbeat (yes, really) “The Murdering of Edwin Jones,” – presented in a bit less grisly way than the much-loved “Matty Groves” — and the hearty, traditional “Last Boat from Bolton” written by long-time friend of the band, Kevin Day.

The album is as satisfying as a bowl of hot soup on a cold, winter’s day and just as tasty.

Welcome back, MOTL!

Reviewed by: Nancy Dunham

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PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER – Doors At Eight (Own Label GSCD002)

I must admit that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this gem of a recording from Steeleye Span’s virtuosic violin player Peter Knight and his henchmen Roger Flack (guitar) and Vincent Salzfas (percussion). Now, and without the merest hint of partiality…I used to play with Roger in The Tabs…I can let you know that this is one of those albums that once you put it on, you can’t stop playing. Considering he hardly reads a note of music Flack’s dextrous and decorative chord work within the band adds so much colour that you’d think he’d been sponsored by Dulux whilst Knight and Salzfas feel-good factor with their perfectly balanced sound means you’d be forgiven for thinking that the audience appreciation at the end of each track was possibly an overdub. The answer to that one is a resounding “No”.

With the addition of Joe Cauldwell’s didgeridoo on “Sharpe Goes Walkabout” or Hugh Crabtree’s Gauloises saturated melodeon on “Dave Robert’s French Waltz” complete with “La Vie En Rose” as a cheeky appendage this album pleases not only their spectators but also the listener with the merest hint of unabashed cliché. Finally, did you know that “The Water Is Wide” is one of the most covered songs in the traditional canon? I’ve personally got 35 versions…and still counting but to carry the tune off as a purely 7:05 minute instrumental shows you the quality of musicianship on display here and we in the ‘folk’ world should be justifiably proud to count this artful cartel as one of our own. PETE FYFE

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PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER – The Electric Theatre, Guildford – 15 September 2011

Gigspanner are a band for whom improvisation is as important as composition. In theory, no two performances will be the same even with the same set list. I’d love to hear them on two successive nights in different venues but I’ve had to content myself with hearing them twice this year. It’s fascinating to hear how the music has evolved over a few months – or is it just that this is how it was on this night in this theatre with this audience?

There are certainly more backing vocals from Roger Flack and Vincent Salzfaas which boost the refrains and the ending of ‘Mrs McGrath’ has been reworked to take that into account but the rest is mere conjecture. ‘Picnic’ seemed tighter and ‘Bonny Birdie’ more aggressive but Peter had just spoken movingly about Ray Fisher with whom he first played the song and perhaps it was that emotion coming out. Roger extended his solo on ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ and Vincent got three turns in the spotlight which was different and Peter probably played more pizzicato than bowing, creating some very non-violin sounds on ‘Too Late For Shadows’ for example, but that is pretty much standard.

The time sped past too quickly as it often does when the music is so engrossing. The band has had a couple of months off after a long tour and the chaps seem to have come back from their summer re-energised. You could never accuse them of head-banging but there was some serious leaning forward and nodding at times. 

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

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