Monday, 3 September 2012

Lancaster folk music master departs the City

Local ceilidh band Moorgate
Local musician Tony Cooke has been organising 'Thursday Folk' in Lancaster for 20 years, but, sadly, his time providing this invaluable service for music lovers will come to an end this month as he's moving away (although will be back to play folk here as often as he can).

The last dates he has organised at Lancaster's fine hostelry, the Robert Gillow, are listed below and include what is bound to be an emotional performance from Tony's own band, Moorgate, this Thursday and a show by Dave Emptage and Tony, performing as The Duo, on the 27th.

What happens to Thursday Folk after that is in the hands of the landlord of the Gillow.

While folk has always been his passion, Tony has been a key figure in promoting music in general in Lancaster for much longer than that: he was one of the first musicians to perform in the Brown Cow in the 1970s, a pub that went one to became one of the first to offer live music to its customers. Since then, many have followed and Tony and friends have performed in many of them.

He will be much missed, even though we know he will be back to perform. Best of luck, sir!

Thursday 6 September: Moorgate

Moorgate comprises Simon Booth playing melodeon and harmonica; Richard Robinson playing clarinet; and Tony Cooke on guitar.  All three have been playing folk dance music for years (with The Ran Tan Band, Free Reed Band, Shake A Leg, One Foot In The Gutter, Slur et al.) so this is one belting-good ceilidh band! 

The music comes from all over Great Britain and other parts of Europe and has strong melodies, subtle harmonies and traditional dance rhythms. More info:

Thursday 13 September: Hard Times

Hard Times comprises Geoff Wilkinson (bass), Gordon Johnston (banjo, mandolin, guitar) and Laurie Johnston (everything) – all superb musicians playing a mixture of traditional and modern tunes and songs from the UK, the USA and Europe.  They are some of the finest acoustic musicians around.  No further explanation is necessary, the band is simply brilliant.

Thursday 20 September: John Harper
Another welcome visit from this exceptionally talented guitarist and singer.  John Harper is a regular Lancaster entertainer who always dazzles everyone with his powerful renditions of British and American contemporary songs, his own compositions and traditional folksong.  Music to make you think, music to make you sing and reaffirm that the best live music is to be heard here! More info:

Thursday 27 September: The Duo – from folk to Floyd

The Duo comprises Dave Emptage and Tony Cooke.  Their guitars and voices are well known to Gillow regulars.  Offering what's been described as a "strange kind of magic" when they play, expect their usual brilliant mix of folk, pop and rock rich in vocal harmonies and excellent guitar accompaniment - tonight with a special 'Harvest Festival'.

• The Robert Gillow is at 64 Market Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HP. Tel: 01524 36092. Official web site:

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