Wednesday, July 14, 2021


This blog is a part of the new Hobo - Coventry Music Archives focusing on the Coventry Folk Scene of the 1970's and beyond.

NOTE - This Post Stays on Top as an Introduction. Scroll down for the latest posts.

Hobo Coventry Music archives started out on Vox blogs in 2007, The site now closed is hosted on Typepad but provides an opportunity to reorganise the material on that site. Hobo was a Coventry Music and Arts Magazine c 1973 -75 run by Trev Teasdel and co-founded with John Bargent (Bo) and the Hobo Workshop at The Holyhead Youth Centre and later the Golden Cross was an important early music centre in the history of Two Tone and the Coventry music scene.

This is the Hub to all the Coventry music sites below
There is now -
An A to Z of Coventry Bands (on Google sites)
The rest of the material is on this suite of Blogspots -

Hobo Coventry Music Archives ( The main blog) (Hobo magazine archives, features, other alternative Coventry mags and more.

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club  The Umbrella was established 1955 and opened by the Goons. It produced an important Literary Journal which featured an essay by Phillip Larkin. Held lectures by writers like EM Foster. Held the first Coventry Folk club. Was home to Coventry musicians, including some who were later in Two Tone bands.

Coventry Gigs 1960 - present houses Peter Clemon's Rock of Ages columns for the Coventry Telegraph which charts gigs in Coventry (local bands and famous bands) from 1960 onwards. In addition I'm adding Disco DJ Venue Gig, Coventry Hits, Pete Waterman archives to this section and my 1971 diary of Coventry gigs as a resource.

Coventry Discos / Venues / Studios - Work in progress - includes music shops and more. - A comprehensive Who's Who of Coventry Musicians - still a work in progress. More to be added when the A to Z of  Coventry bands and artists has been completed.Mean while if you should be on the list of the info is wrong or incomplete and if your friends are not on here and should be - let use know at

Coventry Folk Club Scene
This blog with house copies of Pete Willow's Folks Magazine from c 1978 and articles from it. My archive of material from the Coventry Folk Scene in the 1970s and other relevant articles, You Tube and links.

This site is only just in development so be patient!
Trev Teasdel





Torqwood were a Coventry area folk outfit in 1970's with Ron Ablewhite (Guit / Vocals) - now an artist in the Lake district. I think percussionist Roy Brewster was in this group - both joined Ron joined Trilogy in 1973. An acoustic trio with Al Hatton also on guitar and vocals. Al was an early member of Indian Summer and for a short while in 1972, part of Al Docker's Coventry supergroup Runestaff with Roy Butterfield, Bill Jackson, Ron Lawrence.

Although I saw Torqwood several times and Roy Brewster played percussion on my floor spot set at a folk club in Coventry one time I can't say much about them. If anyone has any further information then get in touch.

Ron Ablewhite's biography is on his artist site "

Ron Ablewhite - Artist Biography

"Ron Ablewhite spent many years in commerce and advertising in the Coventry area,

painting on a part-time basis, before moving to Cumbria in 1993 when he became a professional artist. He created and developed the “Collectables Range”, a unique portfolio of over 60 limited edition prints of scenes in Cumbria and the Lake District. These images capture moments in time, which are reflected in the atmosphere, unique light conditions, buildings and livestock that make Cumbrian images so universally popular."

Known dates from my 1971 diary.

January 22nd 1971 Torqwood played the folk club at Coventry Tech college
April 4th 1971 Torqwood played at the City Arms folk club in Coventry

Sunday, July 4, 2021

City Arms Folk Club (Earlsdon)

City Arms Folk Club (Earlsdon)
by Pete Clemons

The City Arms, for the last 20 years a part of the Wetherspoons chain, has been a popular pub in Earlsdon for over 150 years. The current building has stood since 1930 but a 'City Arms' has been on the site since the mid 1800s.

 50 years ago the City Arms Folk Club, which attracted some of the country’s most talented musicians to Coventry as well as entertaining a generation of fans, staged its final event. The club first sprang up in 1966 and was initially hosted by Paddy Roberts.

By 1967 it was in the hands of popular musicians Rob Armstrong and Rod Felton who successfully ran this popular club for a good number of years. The pair had already become popular guests at the venue.

 The British folk scene of the 1960s and 1970s has a fascinating history. The highs including the discovery of some genuinely wonderful singer songwriters. The lows must have been the endless financial difficulties, that the clubs seemed to be in, required for keeping them going.

 The following quotes I collected while researching the Earlsdon club. My apologies for not remembering from where and who:

 'Been going to the folk clubs since 1963. First to Coventry - Barry Skinner, The Kerry's, Rod etc – and then Earlsdon. Since 1971 I went to Bedworth and other clubs before they all closed. These included Barwell, Brinklow and Nuneaton. I remember Roddy, Dave Bennett, Barry Skinner, The Gaels, Sneaks Noise, too many to remember'.

 'I remember when the Gaels had Owen on fiddle before Brian Patten, do you remember Geoff Smedley and Bennie Christie who were residents at the City Arms?.  Benita could down a pint in less than 3 seconds!. And Barry at the Binley Oak, that was the first club I went to, with Roger Bullen who I used to work with'.

 'Rod was always involved with the City Arms, his lovely Mum May used to actually 'run' the club, but she did it in Rods name. More or less, Rod and Rob Armstrong were both the residents before they formed the Grunt Band, as was Gentle Touch (Geoff and Benita) and June Tabor was a regular singer there too'.

'There were some top acts at the Earlsdon club. I don't know who actually booked them, but May, Rod's Mother, saw to the financial side of things'.

Finally a very brief history of some of those who appeared the City Arms Folk Club. These were in addition to the local artists who put in an appearance. Regarding the above quote, which mentions the booking of artists, I cant help but think that Rob Armstrong did a lot of the leg work in that department:

1966 – Initially it appeared to be a monthly club. But things soon stepped up and the club became a weekly event. Guests included: Dicken Reed, The Arden Folk, Rod Felton, The Embers, Sandy Denny

1967 – The Hibernian's Folk Group, The Kiandra Group, The Folklores, Mick Stuart

1968 – New Modern Idiot Grunt Band, Sneaks Noise, Mike Chapman, Alex Campbell, Martyn Wyndham Reed

1969 – Martin Windsor, Gilly Darbey, Jasper Carrot, Robin Dransfield, Hamish Imlach

1970 – Shelagh McDonald, Diz Disley, Don Partridge, Colin Scott

1971 - Gothic Horizon, Roger Williamson, Dave Turner, April,

The final club night appears to be when Dando Shaft appeared during September 1971.

Beverley Kutner (Martyn)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Song for Hazel Lester Film 1984

Thanks to Nigel ward, Pete Willow and CVfolk for uploading this treasure of a tribute Coventry folkie Hazel Lester from 1984. I had fled Coventry by then but it's great to see this footage of those I knew back then - Derek Brimstone, Pete Willow, Dave Ragtime Bennett, Margo Buchanan Smith, Martin and Ray Jenkins etc.  It's a great tribute to Hazel and a great time capsule of the Coventry folk scene and camaraderie therein.

Below is a video with all the musical audio from the above film featuring Derek Brimstone, Dave Bennett, Pete Willow, Mick Cullen, Dennis Clark, Mick Stuart.

Hazel Lester

Derek Brimstone

Dave Bennett

Mick Cullen with Dave Bennett

Hazel Lester at the Folk Club

Kev Dempsey of Dando Shaft

Pete Willow and Dennis Clark.

Folk Fights Back - Coventry's CVfolk Inaugural Live Event in bid for City of Culture Status.

Folk Fights Back - Coventry's CVfolk Inaugural Live Event in bid for City of Culture Status.
By Pete Clemons

This article is the blog for Pete Clemons articles - ie another of the Hobo Coventry Music Websites - HERE 

At a time when young Teesside folk acts like Megson, Cattle and Cane, The Younguns are reinventing what folk music can be, filling venues around the country, and getting write ups in the Guardian and Independent, the Coventry folkscene is fighting back and celebrating its own historic and dynamic folk culture that has attracted the likes of Joe O'Donnell, Dave Swarbrick and many others to the City and boasts a range of singer songwriters giggling around the country. With Selecter star Pauline Black as patron, Pete Willow is working hard to put Coventry folk on the map!

Pete Clemons reports from CVfolks inaugural Live event..


Go take a look and give the project some support.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018



"Whippersnapper was an English folk band formed in 1984, consisting of Dave Swarbrick (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Chris Leslie (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Kevin Dempsey (guitar, vocals) and Martin Jenkins (mando-cello, flute, vocals).

Swarbrick left the group in 1989, and the band continued as a trio until 1993, with the only album recorded that line-up being Stories. During that time, Dempsey and Leslie released an album called Always With You as a duo. The band split when Jenkins left the group in 1993.

Following Swarbrick's recovery from illness, Whippersnapper toured again as a full four piece in both 2008 and 2009. Martin Jenkins (born 17 July 1946, London, England) died on 17 May 2011, in Sofia, Bulgaria, from a heart attack."

This folk outfit consisted of two members of Coventry progressive folk band Dando Shaft - Martin Jenkins and Kevin Demsey and from the 80's, I think, Dave Swarbrick - formerly of Fairport Convention, has lived in Coventry.

"Whippersnapper were a four-piece acoustic band formed by Dave Swarbrick, Chris Leslie,
Kevin Dempsey, and Martin Jenkins in Northamptonshire during 1983. Although none of the others could quite compare with Swarbrick's long experience or near-legendary status, each of the others brought something substantial to the table at the outset of the group's history -- Chris Leslie was a musical instrument maker as well as an experienced violinist (who had Swarbrick's playing as a model); guitarist, singer, and percussionist Kevin Dempsey had played in Dando Shaft, and had experience with Latin music as well as Celtic and English folk repertory; and multi-instrumentalist Martin Jenkins had played with Matthews Southern Comfort and was also an ex-member of Dando Shaft, as well as a Bert Jansch alumnus. As a result, the group's work was highly anticipated by folk enthusiasts, as a unique all-acoustic supergroup. The group made its debut in January of 1984 at the Burnt Post in Coventry and subsequently played the Cambridge Folk Festival, a performance that was captured on video as well.

Their music was a deceptively complex brand of progressive folk, driven by the presence of four full-fledged virtuoso players. Whippersnapper spent most of their first year honing their sound and repertory, which started out fully formed, drawing on the songbags of all four members. As a result, their debut album, when it came time to do it -- recorded for their own Whippersnapper label -- came together very quickly. The Promises long-player was recorded in December of 1984 and in stores just about eight weeks later, and well received by fans and critics. A second LP, Tsubo, didn't appear until 1987, and it was similar in form and structure to the first. A third studio album was intended, but in the interim the quartet issued These Foolish Strings, a compilation of four years' worth of live recordings. The fourth album, Fortune, was released in early 1990, and also marked the end of Swarbrick's involvement with the group. The group continued as a trio of Leslie, Dempsey, and Jenkins, and Leslie and Dempsey recorded the LP Always with You, released in 1996. Dempsey eventually teamed up with Swarbrick anew, while Leslie joined one of the latter-day lineups of Fairport Convention."

View a recent Pete Clemons article on Dave Swarbrick for the Coventry Telegraph here Hobo - Coventry 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Geoff Smedley - Coventry folk singer

Geoff Smedley 

"Geoff Smedley, whose clear, gentle voice and warm humourous personality has brought pleasure to uncounted numbers of people. I hope this LP will help him achieve some acclaim, Geoff is not - does not pretend to be - a superstar - but he IS worth listening to." Rosemary Hardman from the back cover of his LP Love is Mine 1972

I don't know a lot about Geoff Smedley but he was a member of The Idiot Grunt Band (Coventry) in 1967. Becoming The New Modern Idiot Grunt Band (Dando Shaft, Rob Armstrong, Rod Felton) and breaking in 1972 (Armstrong forming "The Music Box").
Geoff was a contemporary of Rod Felton and Rob Armstrong on the Coventry Folk Scene in 1965, and when the Coventry Mummers visited Germany to perform, Rod Rob and Geoff went over too, playing solo or together as The Gentle Idea and it seems Geoff played sometimes with The New Modern Idiot Grunt Band.

In 1972 Geoff Smedley made a limit edition (200 pressings) folk album Love is Mine on the Westwood label.


A1 Baby you've been on my Mind
A2 Susan's Song
A3 Andrew
A4 The Water is Wide
A5 Have Faith in Me
B1 Alberta
B2 Willie Moore
B3 Bushes and Briars
B4 Lady for Today
B5 Hedgehog's Song

Rosemary Hardman plays guitar on "Lady for Today"