My Generation, memories of the 1960s Folk Club at the Red Rooster Café, Lisburn
By John Kelly
|Pictured at a Folk Club in the Red Rooster Café in 1967 is L to R: John Kelly (centre of picture) and Davy Davis, better known at TC (Top Cat). Behind them is Jackie Graham and his now wife Pauline. Unfortunately we do not know the name of the person on the left, but an email from Australia identifies the two people in the background as Gerry Hughes and Ronnie Williamson.|
Here in Northern Ireland, dance music of the 1960s was dominated by the Irish Showbands that played at places like the Top Hat in Lisburn, Tempo in Moira and the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge. I was always pleased when some of the big name groups and solo artists of the 60s came to play at the Castle Ballroom, these included The Kinks, Georgie Fame and the Blue Jeans, The Troggs, and also the more melodious tones of Marianne Faithful, probably best known as the sixties rock chick who made a cover hit out of Jagger and Richards 'As Tears Go By'; and also Judith Durham and The Seekers who recorded beautiful songs like Morningtown Ride, I'll Never Find another You and The Carnival is Over.
|Drew Rowan (left) and Noel McMaster of Bakerloo Junction pictured at the Ivanhoe Hotel in February 2006 with some of today's older generation of folk music enthusiasts.||Maisie Reid, Mary Robb, Joan Keating, Kathleen Shiels and Marie Lavery pictured at the Ivanhoe Hotel in February 2006.||Mervyn Dobson, Jim McLoughlin, Rosie McLoughlin, Angela Neville, Cathy Douglas and Vic Brown pictured at the Ivanhoe Hotel in February 2006. Vic Brown (right of picture) is the brother of the late Archie Brown, talented banjo player of the 1960s group Folk 3, who played at the Red Rooster Cafe.|
But how many people, probably now about their mid 50s early 60s, can remember the night The Who came to the Top Hat in Lisburn, singing their hit - My Generation. I have spoken to many young people about that concert and they look at me with total disbelief saying, 'The Who never played in Lisburn', but 'Yes, the Who did play in Lisburn' and many of us now old mums and dads were there to see Roger Daltry, Pete Townshend and Keith Moon giving their usual tremendous on stage performance.
For me however, my generation of music in the 1960s was also influenced by the music of Bob Dylan and more especially by Irish Folk Music from The Clancey Brothers, The Dubliners and Belfast's' own,'The McPeakes'.
As we look around the ever changing face of Lisburn City centre, with almost every other shop selling mobile phones, have you ever looked at these new shops and asked yourself, 'what shop was there before that one was opened?' A few weeks ago as I had lunch in a Chinese Restaurant in Bow Street, I looked out over the new building work at the corner of Bow Street and Market Place and asked myself that very question. As I dwelt on the answer, I recalled the late 1960s when I used to go to a Folk Club held in the Red Rooster Café in Bow Street, opposite the Chinese Restaurant (near where Iceland is today). The club featured up and coming local musicians of that time including The Folk 3, The Black Mountain Boys and Tech Folk a member of whom was Noel McMaster, later of Bakerloo Junction fame who wrote the words and music of 'My Lagan Softly Flowing' with the lovely chorus:
My Lagan she flows
softly from Slieve Croob down to the sea,
Through Dromore and Dromara, then close to Aghalee.
From Lisburn down to Hilden, Lambeg and then Shaw's Bridge,
To Belfast's salty waters where her lonesome journey ends.
The old photo above (taken in 1967) shows some of the young folk music enthusiasts that attended the club, ran by Noel McMaster and Billy Leathem. Today's equivalent of this 1960s Folk Club is now held on Friday evenings in a non-smoking area of The Ivanhoe Hotel, Carryduff, and is for anyone over 50, going grey or bald; and all the great old folk songs are still sung and played. I went to the Ivanhoe on Friday 17th February 2006 to hear Bakerloo Junction. They started the evening off with 'The Green Glens of Antrim' and after a great night of music and craic, they finished off with everyone joining in 'The Red Rose Café.' Perhaps Noel should pen a Lisburn version of this song called 'The Red Rooster Café.'
For more information about Bakerloo Junction, visit: https://bakerloojunction.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/