The Harvest Moon

The full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox is known as the Harvest Moon and this year’s one is unusual as it’s normally the September one, not October.   The name Harvest Moon not surprisingly comes on account of it being the full moon at harvest time.  As full moons rise just after sunset, assuming fair weather the moon’s light would allow farm workers to work later bringing in the crops.

It’s shining beautifully right now and it also lends it’s name to one of our favourite pieces of Americana by Neil Young. Enjoy them both!

Session: The Romany Inn, 14th October 2017

An audience of two (utterly lovely Australians) on Sunday just past and now we’re into the big scary world of an actual, real session in an actual, real pub with actual, real customers who we know will be utterly delightful, forgive the odd slip of the fingers and verse in the wrong order…

We are delighted to be playing our first session in The Romany Inn on Saturday 14th October 2017.  Come along, listen, sing, dance even!

Let us know you’re coming on our facebook page.

The Audience…

For the past eight weeks we’ve played and practised and sung and enjoyed the craic. Just us and the odd glass of something hedgerow-based.

Something happened on Sunday. Something fundamentally wonderful. Something unexpected. Something that took us all by surprise.

We got an audience!

A delightful couple came in, extraordinarily respectfully having waited until we were “between tunes”, a little while into the session and asked if they could sit and listen! Well clearly that’s the point of a folk club session, it’s not just about us practising and playing, folk music is for just enjoying too! So we played another hour and a half of our ususal tunes and a few new ones and found out that our guests were in Bampton researching the gentleman’s ancestors and “definitely not” being Downton Abbey tourists! They had travelled all the way from Perth in Western Australia to visit West Oxfordshire and conduct their genalogical research.

We don’t know how they knew we were playing, whether they just heard the session while walking by or were tipped off by a local person or business but we were delighted to have our first guests and someone other than ourselves to play to. Bampton Folk Club will welcome everyone who wants to listen to some tunes, have a sing, or just see what we’re all about – because what we’re all about is Folk Music, playing it, singing it and hopefully bringing the fun of often simple and earthy songs to new ears; maybe giving someone the confidence to pick up that instrument they’ve been thinking about; perhaps rekindling the playing embers of a long-rusty musician.

Interested in some easy going music? Just want to see whether we can keep a tune together or not? Be our (next) guest at the Village Hall any Sunday between 6:00pm and 9:00pm.

And so it was that we followed the “proper” folk tradition of manipulating songs to suit and sang our guests a fare-thee-well in the shanty-shape of an a’cappella “WEST Australia”!! We’re pretty sure they won’t be heaving or hauling sheets or indeed walloping round Cape Horn on their way home but we wish them a safe and pleasant journey when the time comes.

P.S. Watch this space for some more formal sessions we’re trying to arrange before the end of the year!

What’s better than a session?

Well, a longer session of course!  We now have access to the hall from 6:00pm on Sundays so we can practice more, play more, sing more and chat more.


A couple of new tunes to add to the mix from this Sunday are Drunken Sailor, probably one of the oldest shanties ever recorded, Harvest Moon which has been threatening to make it into the mix from day one, and Sally MacLennan which is quite simply one of the best Irish songs on the go, especially the version arranged by The Pogues.


Freddie and Rachel’s Foxhunter’s Jig are another worthy addition to the list, if you’re unfamiliar Fairport Convention recorded a medley of that, Lark in the Morning, Rakish Paddy and Toss the Feathers on the outstanding Liege and Lief album.  Listen here on spotify.

Folk. Music and Tradition

It’s a question we often ask, “What actually constitutes Folk Music?”  Does it come down to the credentials of the composer or artist?  The reason for song or the message behind it?  It’s age?  A particular playing or composition style?  What’s left after the exclusion of particular better defined styles?

I’ve been toying with writing a piece on the question but then the BBCs interview with author Michael Morpurgo has some really nice discussions on the subject.  The rest of the episode is also, as usual, well worth a listen.

BBC Folk Show – Michael Morpurgo Interview from 19:20ish.


Now the Hard Work Begins!

After another cracking session playing, singing, learning and being delighted by this week’s new instrument, the dulcimer, there’s a growing feeling that stretching beyond just “playing along” will bring another dimension to our playing and enjoyment of music. A small selection of our favourite songs will now form the focus of a session within our sessions to learn parts of a greater whole and arrange them into a proper performable piece. With these songs our less experienced players will have the opportunity to stretch themselves under the guidance of the seasoned veterans and we can all bring something, hopefully really special, together.

Aside from this monumental pledge to learn more deeply, this week’s session, fuelled by hand crafted raspberry gin, was another roll through the favourite’s list and some renditions of possible additions, of particular note being Neil Young’s Harvest Moon played on the dulcimer.

Two Weeks In

Bampton Folk Club is all of two sessions old and already the songs are coming together, ideas are flowing and we’re growing! Over those first two sessions we’ve played English and Irish traditional songs, we’ve had English Country Dance tunes, shanties and jigs, as well as some more contemporary numbers from around the world.

The array of instruments has been impressive too with mandolin, bouzouki, melododeon, flute, guitars, bass, ukulele and a whole raft of percussion making appearances.

If that wasn’t enough, a few of us even branched out and performed at an open mic night in Oxford on Thursday!

As we’re super excited about everything at the start of this journey, the website, google group and facebook page have all taken shape this week too.

Come and join us on Sunday evenings in the Village Hall!