Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 Oct

Spank The Planks are an Appalachian Dance troupe,

Broken String Band @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 Octaccompanied by The Broken String Band. The Bournemouth Folk Club have given them an entire evening to curate, so we are promised a variety of acts to take us on a journey around the Appalachian region and beyond…

Broken String Band @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctThe band start with their rendition of Turkey In the Straw (or Turkey In The Oven, as they dub it) before an introductory dance from the troupe, followed by a special dance gifted to Spank The planks by a visiting troupe over for Sidmouth Folk festival a few years back. John - Melodion @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctJohn (guitar in the band, though playing melodion here) takes us into the Appalachian valleys, then South America with a couple of tunes before regaling us with a comical rhyming story recital rooted in the North of England.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctNext up are the dancers with Mississippi Sawyer. This is a dance originally to the tune of the same name, however the band (nicely contrary) prefer to play the tune Cold And Frosty Morning for this dance. David Lambert - Dulcimer @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctDavid Lambert then regales us with some tunes: Going Over Jordan on dulcimer with melodion accompaniment from John, banjo solo of Kitchen Garden, then Woody Guthrie’s Ain’t Nobody as re-arranged by Billy Bragg.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctMore dancing with Old Joe Clark, then North to Ohio with the band playing Big Sciota before a blues journey to the Southern deltas with guitar and harmonica thanks to David and Dick.

Dick & David @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 Oct

The dancers are back for Cotton Eyed Joe, again with a unique musical interpretation. What is most apparent with the dancing is how combinations of simple sets and moves can build into complicated dances

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctPigs Foot is a tune from Birmingham Alabama, the industrial centre of the Appalachian region, all about putting the pig iron in the furnace to make steel, followed by Copperhead Road, the Steve Earle song about moonshining and drug cultivation. Finally the first half is closed off with a dance to Shortening Bread

The band open the second set with June Apple, and an introduction – we have John on guitar, Steph on octave mandola, Ethan on fiddle, David on mandolin and Dick on acoustic bass. Then a dance, Yellow Rose, the tune of which has been recomposed by fiddler Bob who is sitting out of the band at the moment (arm trouble), yet is here in the audience. David & Dick @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctDick and David then play Red Rooster Blues, this time on slide guitar and harmonica, before Keith Solo - Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctKeith solos a scottish clog dance originating from Fife around the 1900’s.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctThe dancers return for Ducks On The Pond, one starts, then each joins in turn before we have all four stepping in time to the tune. Next the band play Shady Grove. Most of these tunes feature the fiddle heavily as the lead melody instrument, mainly with guitar or mandolin being the backup rhythm. Ethan & Steph @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctMore dancing with Arkansas Traveller then some Irish tunes with Ethan and Steph, the reason being Appalachian music is influenced by Irish, Scots Irish, Northern European and native American folk music. The next dance is Cluck Ole Hen; with five dancers this shouldn’t work (normally dances are arranged in pairs) yet it does for this choreography.

Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctThe band then play The Eighth Of January, all about how the Appalachians stuffed it to the British in the 1776 War For Independence. Next is an extra dance that demonstrates the interworking between the dancers themselves, and the band. Three dancers each take it turns to pass a rhythm around, two together and one, then the band come in, all in perfect time with each other. Whiskey Before Breakfast next with the whole troupe as a finale. The encore is the band with a Scottish song, Sleep Soundly ‘Til The Morning. Spank The Planks @ Bournemouth Folk Club 7 OctA great varied night along a good theme.