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September 2005 - Newsletter 80

It's the 17th of August and I have just come back from Yeovil where I saw a big board outside one hotel advertising their Christmas Menu. Has the world gone mad? I asked myself. The kids aren't back to school and the summer sales are on. Then I did a double take and realised it must be time for me to write the Newsletter that covers our Christmas activities. So forget the sunshine, the raspberries that need picking, the hedge that is in dire need of a trim and the bottle of wine that needs opening and kick start the computer and the brain. Tis a hard life

The new CD 'Rambleaway' and the DVD/Video of the second part of the River Frome have both come in for some praise from our customers, which is very rewarding. I've had numerous comments from those who have visited the sites that we have filmed along the Stour and the Frome. The Videos have inspired them to go and have a closer look for themselves and I think this is great. That's what it's all about.

There is no doubt that this is the way to go. When CDs took over from cassettes it was a long, drawn out process. This is certainly not going to be the case with DVDs and Videos. DVDs are so much easier to use, compact to store and are far less prone to damage unless you hit them with a hammer. I've never tried this mind you, they might even survive that. Phil and Jenny Biggs at Classic Media are endeavouring to get all Yetties Videos onto the new format. They have already succeeded with 'Journey Thro' The Purbecks' and 'All Over Dorset' and soon I hope to have 'Yetminster Fair' and 'It's A Fine Thing To Sing' in stock as well.

The Traditional Songs of Dorset
It's 100 years since The Hammond Brothers, from Clevedon in Somerset, set about touring Dorset on their bicycles with the object of collecting the old songs before they disappeared. It was an arduous task to undertake. Most of their time down here was in the winter when the lanes would be well rutted and the weather foul. They were very successful, finding over 90 singers and gathering well over 600 songs. It's only right that we should celebrate not only their achievements but the songs and the singers themselves who were mostly well over 70 years old.

On Sunday the 9th of October Eddie Upton, of Folk South West, is organising a mini-festival in Sherborne to do precisely this. It starts with a talk by Bonny on The Hammonds and their collecting, includes a music workshop by Pete and Mac, a singaround, a tuition session for complete beginners on the English Concertina by John Dipper (Instruments provided) and finishes with a concert in the evening when we are joined by The Stanchester Quire singing songs from Dorset.

For more details, venues etc. contact Folk South West, The Stables, Montacute House, Montacute, Somerset, TA15 6XP. Tel. 01935 822911.

Old Yetties LPs
Thanks to all of you who give me your Yetties LPs to sell for Halsway Manor. I reckon we must have raised at least 800 in this way. Keep them coming, we are putting the cash to good use. Cynthia and I have been able to put most of the 1,300 books and pamphlets about folk music and customs, which are in the library there, onto the computer so we thought we were close to a result although there are plenty of LPs and cassettes etc. to enter as well. However, we have now been promised a collection of some 3,000 books to sort, catalogue and key word etc. Halsway is looking to spend an awful lot of money on a new library to house all this and I don't know whether to go Aaaaaaggghhhhh or WOW.

LPs in stock at the moment are: Our Friends The Yetties, Dorset Is Beautiful, The World of The Yetties, The Yetties of Yetminster, Up In Arms, The Village Band, Up Market, Dorset Style, A Little Bit of Dorset, A Proper Job and The Yetties. If you would like any of these to add to your collection please ring 01935 814611.

Memory Lane (O'Dalaigh's Ceili Band)
Back in 1971 we recorded a live album (Our Friends The Yetties) at Decca Studios in London. This all went swimmingly and we finished with hours to spare. The audience went off home and we were about to depart ourselves when Kevin Daly, the producer, came up with an alternative plan. He had the studio booked and he was determined to make the most of it. At that time Decca were producing their 99p 'World Of' series of LPs. They had the 'The World of Scottish Music', The World of Welsh Song' etc. etc. etc. but amongst the huge catalogue there was no 'World of Irish Dancing'. Kevin knew that Pete and the other friends on the recording, Dave Kettlewell on flute and Oscar Burridge on fiddle, were well into Irish music and he suggested they knock together an LP. The caretaker at the studio also played the piano and in five minutes flat a band was formed, a variety of jigs, reels, waltzes were decided upon and the tape was running. Now, this LP was going to be aimed at the Irish market so it was no good calling the band The Yetties therefore, In honour of Kevin and his whizzo idea, it was named 'O'Dalaigh's Ceili Band. Mac took a photo of The Bristol Irish Dancers at Sidmouth Folk Festival and that was the sleeve sorted. I'm delighted to say that the LP sold by the thousand and our good friend Sylvia Rodbourne, of Barrow in Suffolk recently found one of them for sale on e bay. She bought it, although it meant importing it from America, and gave it to me to raffle at Yetminster Fair which I duly did. I sold 68 tickets at 1 a go and the chap who won it didn't want it so he sold it on to someone else for a fiver. This meant a total of 73 for Halsway Manor. With friends like that how can we go wrong.

Sherborne Christmas Concerts and New Year Ceilidh
This year as our main guest, for the concerts we have a brilliant 14 year old singer/guitarist called John Blackmore. We also hope to prevail upon Richard Helson to play a slightly larger part in proceedings. The dates are the 16th and 17th of December for the concerts and, naturally enough, the 31st for the New Year Knees Up. All three events start at 8p.m. and are at The Digby Hall, Sherborne. If you need directions to the hall please let us know we can provide you with a map.

Tickets for the concerts are 6.50 for adults and 5.50 for children and senior citizens and those for the New Year cost 12. They are available from the PO Box or from The Abbey Pharmacy, Cheap Street, Sherborne. Alternatively you can ring 01935 814611 and Cynthia, Ben or myself will see you right. If this line is jammed try 01935 814667 or 01935 813890. Cheques payable to The Yetties please. If you have the tackle you can also order on line from our web shop.