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Glyde House, Glydegate, Bradford BD5 0BQ
01274 271114





chapmankeystyoneThursday 1st Sep 2016 at 8:30oo
Entry: £6 (£5 members)

Michael Chapman
Featured Support: Keystone

The guitar and voice of Michael Chapman first became known on the Cornish Folk Circuit in 1967. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. Signed to EMI's Harvest label he recorded a quartet of classic albums: LPs like Rainmaker and Wrecked Again defined the melancholic observer role Michael was to make his own, mixing intricate guitar instrumentals with a full band sound. The influential album Fully Qualified Survivor, featuring the guitar of Mick Ronson and Rick (Steeleye Span) Kemp's bass, was John Peel's favourite album of 1970. Survivor featured the Chapman hit "Postcards of Scarborough", a characteristically tenderly sour song recounting the feelings of nostalgia and regret.

This self-styled old white blues guy from Yorkshire is one of the most under-rated heroes of our time. With his uniquely English melancholic perspective and emotive guitar style he deserves wider recognition.

This is the sound of a real songwriter who’s lived a real life and all that entails – Q Magazine

For this, the opening event of our autumn season, we have a support act, Keystone, popular duo Pam and Peter Stone. Yorkshire musicians and songwriters with a mix of original and well-chosen covers, they last appeared here in 2014.

Plus a visit from the Deputy Mayor of Bradford, who, it is whispered, is a bit of a folkie, a song writer even, himself. Who knows, there may be a floorspot from a man in chains.

Another first for the Topic...

TOPIC 60 - November 1981!
35th Anniversary of the 25th Anniversary

The final Sunday afternoon Singers' and Musicians' session on 15th November, 1981, the end of a long weekend bash for the club's 25th anniversary.

The rest of the weekend, as you can see from our Gigs List entry on the year, comprised: Thur 12th - Workshop with BOB PEGG; Fri 13th Nov - THE OYSTER BAND; Sat 14th - LUNCHTIME SESSION IN THE BAR with the Oyster Band and all other musicians and singers who had recovered from Friday night, followed by the Grand Silver Jubilee Ceilidh with THE OYSTER BAND.

We're not sure who took the picture, but it is one of many collated by Trevor Charnock that will become a gallery of historical pics.


The Topic Folk Club is 60 years old in autumn this year and is looking for songs to help celebrate the event. No rules, no prizes (apart from praise). Try out your “Topic Song” at a Singers' and Musicians' night, or collaborate and make a group effort. November 3rd is the club night when everyone who has written something will be able to perform their finished efforts and receive all and any prasie due!

£5 a year from 1st January. That gives you £1 off concert tickets, and you can get more involved with running the club too if you are interested.

Plenty of Topic regulars play and listen at the Castle Hotel in Bradford on Fridays - why not join them? September: Sep 2 - Gerry McNeice (Ale Maries); Sep 9 - Dariush Kanani; Sep 16 - Rainey Street Band (Ian Crabtree, David Kennedy); Sep 23 - Nick Hall; Sep 30 - Halstead Clan

Clicks since 03-2-2004:

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Sep 08

Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar

Another welcome return for these two-time BBC Folk Award winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, as well as being nominated for Best Duo in 1915. Soon after the meeting and joining together musically in 2011, the duo were signed to Fellside Records and in July 2012 released their debut album, The Queen’s Lover. Numerous tours followed as the duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene. In January 2013, the pair picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award. Following the award win, Russell and Algar toured the country in April and, after completing school and University Exams in May, began touring again at the beginning of June - a schedule which saw them play venues and festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention as well as appearing live on Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Show.

After recording their second album in the November of 2013, again with Fellside, Russell and Algar received the Horizon Award for Best breakthrough act at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The second album, The Call, was then released in July ,receiving 5 Stars in fRoots, 4 Stars in both R2 Magazine and The Telegraph and a host of other brilliant reviews, Bright Young Folk describing it as an “outstanding show of maturity” with “enormous promise”.

The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces. Algar, originally a member of TRI became All Ireland Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Russell had begun a career as a solo musician supporting acts such as Karine Polwart and Lau, amongst others.

The press coverage and folk club reports have been glowing and rightly so - R2 Magazine.


Sep 15

Bob Fox

One of the leading champions of the North East’s great musical heritage, alongside the likes of Jez Lowe, Billy Mitchell and Benny Graham, Bob Fox has been a professional folk musician since 1975. He has a sublime voice and a highly individual guitar technique and has performed in many parts of the world, both solo and in different combinations. He completed an 18 month stint performing as "Songman" in the National Theatre’s West End production of Michael Morpurgo’s Warhorse to great acclaim. Bob has been nominated Best Folk Singer several times in the BBC Folk Awards and his version of the Chris Leslie song My Love is in America gained a nomination for Best Original Song: he has also been involved in recording 6 new Radio Ballads for the BBC produced by John Tams.

The sound we hear in live performance, that astonishing guitar technique coupled with one of England's finest voices - Ralph McTell


Sep 22

Dana & Susan Robinson

There are no finer exponents of Americana than these two superb singers/instrumentalists. Guitars, banjo, fiddle, mandolin and harmonica with subtle and exquisite harmonies are features of these most talented of performers with their mix of traditional and original songs and tunes. Their unique blend of contemporary songwriting and traditional Appalachian music bring to their performances a deep understanding of America’s musical heritage.

With a excellent new CD The Angel’s Share recently released, this tour promises to be their best yet.

The genius of a Dana and Susan Robinson performance lies in their ability to capture the imagination of their audience as they take them on a journey across America and convey the mystery and wonder of the places they visit.

Many songwriters have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthries or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and the soul of folk music – Dirty Linen


Sep 29

Joe Topping

Joe Topping is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has been described as a “cross between Ry Cooder, Woody Guthrie and Paul Brady”. From the traditional music heard in the folk clubs he grew up around to the Americana and blues influences from his adventures in the USA which have included living in a pickup truck and driving around America for the best part of a year and later walking 1400 miles with a guitar on his back from Chicago to New Orleans to raise awareness and funds for New Orleans musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Joe has developed his own unique bottleneck guitar style which he employs in many of his original songs and has a voice that can move from velvet soft to steely and powerful. He has played on stage and in the studio with many legends of the British folk scene including members of Fairport Convention, While and Matthews and Andy Irvine.

Joe toured with The John Wright Band after the late John Wright heard and covered one of his songs, The Flame Danced Flamenco. He has also been a member of the successful Elbow Jane, Ashley Hutchings’ Rainbow Chasers and more latterly The Vagrant Kings.

… heartfelt vocal backed by intricate, intensely accomplished guitar work - fRoot magazine

Has a gift to write songs that will last and that others will want to sing – the late John Wright


Oct 06

Singers and musicians

A chance for anyone to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen.







Oct 13

Dave Burland

Dave Burland is one of the most well-respected and long-established performers on the folk scene. His apparently effortless singing (a uniquely relaxed singing style - The Guardian) and guitar playing gained widespread acclaim 40 years ago when his first album, A Dalesman’s Litany, was voted Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year. Nic Jones summed up Dave Burland perfectly when he said: “He’s a uniquely calm, gentle and clever singer who makes you feel it’s all so amazingly simple.”

Dave has also recorded Songs Of Ewan MacColl with Tony Capstick and Dick Gaughan. As well as releasing several solo albums, he has played alongside many other performers and played on albums with such artists as Mike Harding, Nic Jones and Kate Rusby.

Tonight we have a support act: Wilson McGladdery (Gaynor Wilson and Paul McGladdery) an impressive singing/songwriting duo based in Saddleworth who are making a name for themselves around our area and beyond. Expect powerful vocals and tight harmonies , with guitar and fiddle accompaniment.







Oct 20

Tom McConville

Tom McConville, was born and brought up on Tyneside in the North East of England. He’s one of the leading fiddle players of our time, virtuoso musician and fantastic singer: his rich and warm voice makes his interpretation of traditional and contemporary songs greatly admired by singers throughout the world. He is in great demand as a performer, session musician and teacher; playing the fiddle is his lifelong passion and he has achieved every player’s dream of creating his own unique, instantly recognizable sound.

His live performances combine a rollercoaster of musical delights from fast, rhythmic dance tunes , through beautiful slow airs and of course, great singing. All presented with his inimitable sense of humour and Geordie wit.

He is not only a fantastic fiddle player but one hell of a singer - Phil Cunningham







Oct 27


Bric-a-Brac are a lively young folk band playing traditional and original music. Hailing from exotic corners of Yorkshire and the Midlands such as Bradford, Sherwood Forest and Moseley Bog, they play an eclectic mix of instruments: songs and tunes in their repertoire from fast reels to sensitive airs can be lead by anything from concertina to 5-string bass. With their on-stage energy, clever arrangements, thoughtful instrumentation, harmonies (they all sing) and an evident joy in playing that easily transmits to the audience, they tick every box going. Here, without doubt, is a band with a future.

Bric-a-Brac consists of Bradford’s own Bella Gaffney (vocals, guitars and concertina), Chris Elliott (vocals, fiddle, bouzouki and guitar), Caitlin Jones (vocals, whistles, flutes, folk recorder, Heather Sirrel (vocals, bass and guitar) and Dan Latham - drums (occasional).

Bella is of course well-known to Topic goers but this is the first appearance of the band at the club. Most Topic evenings are of course “not to be missed”, but this one is even more “not to be missed” than usual.







Nov 03

Singers and musicians

Normally a chance for anyone to come along and sing a song or play a tune or just listen; however, this month the main purpose of the Singers' and Musicians' Night is the performing of those songs that club members have written to celebrate the Topic's 60th anniversary.







Nov 10

Tom Lewis

Widely acknowledged as “North America's finest exponent of contemporary nautical songs” (Canadian Society for Traditional Music), Tom Lewis brings to the stage wry humour, button accordion, ukulele, a great voice and his unique experience of more than 40 years bridging the sea-going and folk-singing communities.

As winner of the inaugural "Trophée Stan Hugill", French fans dub Tom "The Springsteen of Sea Chanteys". Old Songs Festival (Altamont NY) declares "This man knows the sea ... from the bottom up!", whilst Living Tradition (UK) says "Although I always knew he was good, I was not quite prepared for HOW good." 24 years in the British Royal Navy, "provides him with that vitally authentic stance with which to tackle nautical song" Living Tradition.

Tom's repertoire - from traditional shanties to songs fashioned out of his own seafaring background - recruits his audience for a voyage by turns reflective, dramatic and humorous. Born in Northern Ireland, Tom's Celtic heritage is obvious in his clear, strong voice, evoking quiet sorrow for a fisherman lost to the sea just as honestly as it powers out a shanty "to be heard above the gales."

With songs that have become folk standards, known and sung wherever great choruses ring out, Tom accompanies himself on button accordion and ukulele - but it's that powerful vocal style and infectious humour - that quality of entertaining - which keeps audiences coming back again... and again.

Tom has carved a niche for himself in the annals of maritime music, his traditional idiom song writing is up there alongside Tawney and MacColl - Seán Laffey, Traditional & Folk Music Directory UK

Thoroughly entertaining ... brimming with robustly resonant harmonies and songs, by turns traditional and contemporary, thoughtful and whimsical - Mike Joyce, The Washington Post







Nov 17

Bob Pegg

Musician and bandleader Bob Pegg was one of the hotter talents in the British folk-rock boom of the late 1960's and early 1970's.

He had previously cut a pair of albums on Transatlantic Records with his wife Carole, who sang and played the fiddle. They organized Mr. Fox, a moderately successful folk-rock band of the turn of the decade, which lasted together for two years and a pair of albums. The Peggs' marriage split up in 1971 (after which she billed herself as Carolanne Pegg), around the same time that Mr. Fox ceased to exist, but they both continued to record for a time for Transatlantic. Since then, Pegg has remained active as a singer, songwriter, and recording artist. He cut one duet album with his former bandmate Nick Strutt, who also worked with Pegg on his second album, a solo Pegg effort, and has seen his material covered by other artists, including Tom Lewis. Bob Pegg's recordings in the 1990's and beyond appear on the Rhiannon Records label.

As a storyteller, musician and workshop leader, Bob has worked with people of all ages, from pre-school groups upwards, and he has performed in venues as varied as a Viking farmstead in the wilds of Iceland and the Royal Festival Hall in London.







Nov 24

Beggars Bridge

Beggar’s Bridge are a six-piece band from Hull who write tuneful and engaging song-stories in the best folk traditions, often based upon tales of people, places and events from their home county of East Yorkshire. Their sound has a timeless quality to it, feeling at once traditional, yet contemporary. It’s not just the music which makes a Beggar’s Bridge gig memorable, though; the song-stories are explained with a good helping of earthy humour, making for an experience which is not only musically satisfying, but amusing and informative too…

There should be more bands like Beggar's Bridge taking the lore and legend of their own backyard and turning up the volume on specifically local electric roots - fRoots Magazine

All in all, Beggar’s Bridge have given us an enthusiastic modern-day folk-rock album that’s strongly rooted in timeless storytelling and folk tradition, with writing the benchmark of whose craft is pitched well above the routine - The Living Tradition







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