Friday, 18 October 2019

Fall Folk Fun and Exciting News!

We had a wonderful group of singalongers join us at the Free Times Cafe for our monthly Folk Revival show this past Wednesday evening. A nice mix of ages too. There were a few tables of twenty-something ‘youngsters’, which is so great because it shows how music can bring generations together. We introduced some brand new old songs to the setlist and that’s always fun. Here's the setlist for the evening...

We have some exciting news to share. Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone? will be ringing in the New Year once again at the Free Times Cafe. We're in the planning process so mark your calendars and stay tuned for details coming soon!

In the meantime, the next monthly show is Wed. Nov. 20th 7:30pm at the Free Times Cafe. Call and make a dinner reservation to guarantee a seat for the show 416-967-1078. As always, if you are joining us and want to hear a certain song from our SONGLIST, please let us know and we will be happy to include it for you.

Heads up for a special Legendary Ladies of Folk - The Music of Joan, Joni, and Buffy show coming up on Thu. Oct. 24th at the 120Diner. We first presented it last month at the Miles Nadel JCC, to kick off their arts program for the coming year. The show was sold out a month in advance and many people have told us they were disappointed they couldn't get to see it. If that's you...now's your chance! Again, reservations are always recommended to guarantee seating. CALL 416-792-7725 / TEXT 416-706-4237.


Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

A Busy September of Folk Singing!

How did it get to be October already? I guess it's true that time flies when you're having fun. 

September was definitely a fun and busy month, beginning with our regular monthly 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' show at the Free Times Café on September 18th. The audience were great listeners, great singers, all-round lovely people. One gentleman, visiting Toronto from Germany, told us the evening was "the highlight" of his three week stay here and he's enjoyed every day in the city. Thanks to Phyllis for this photo...

















And here's the setlist for the evening... 
The following day, we premiered a new show 'The Legendary Ladies of Folk' featuring the music of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Buffy Sainte Marie at the Miles Nadal JCC on Bloor St. W. The show had been sold out weeks in advance and we played to a very enthusiastic 100 member audience. We plan to present the show again soon. 























A few days later, the band went on a road trip to Brampton to perform at Grace United Church as part of their  'Musical Happy Hour' Series. It was a beautiful setting for a concert and the audience was wonderful. Thanks to L. Davis for this photo... 


















This month at our monthly 120 Diner show, we presented 'The Greatest Hits of Peter, Paul and Mary' show. Audience members included PPM fans from Toronto, Burlington, Calgary, and Sweden. Proving once again that music is universal and brings people together!

Our next 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' show is Wed. October 16th at the Free Times Café. Dinner reservations are always a good idea to guarantee a seat 416-967-1078. 

Friday, 6 September 2019

Next Show Wed. Sept. 18th at Free Times Cafe

Mark your calendars...our next Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone? show is just around the corner. See you there!

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

A Magical Night!

Wow! What a magical night...full house plus a couple in the overflow room (or the "VIP Lounge" as Dwight calls it) for the August 21st show. The audience were such good singalongers, I have suspicions they all got together and rehearsed before the show!😉

The evening included a prize draw for a Kingston Trio Greatest Hits CD that was won by a young gal out to the show for the first time. She correctly answered the following True or False question:
  • The song, MTA, was composed in 1949 as part of the election campaign of Walter A. O'Brien, a left wing political party candidate for mayor of Boston. One of his major campaign plans was to lower the price of riding the subway by removing the complicated fare structure involving exit fares - so complicated that at one point it required a nine-page explanatory booklet. O'Brien was unable to afford radio advertisements, so he enlisted local folk singers to write and sing songs from a touring truck with a loudspeaker (he was later fined $10 for "disturbing the peace")
Do you know the answer?

Over the years our Song List for this show has grown thanks to audience requests of their favourites from the era. Until now we've been pretty strict about limiting the selection to include only songs done between 1955 to 1965, the actual 'Folk Revival' years. However, we have decided, going forward, to extend the years for "eligible songs" by a few so we can include more music from artists that are so frequently requested but who came up at the tail end or just after the period.

Speaking of songs, here's the set list for the evening... 
FREE TIMES CAFE – WED. 21ST 2019
SET ONE
SET TWO
THERE’S A MEETIN HERE TONIGHT
GREEN GREEN
WALK RIGHT IN
CRUEL WAR
EARLY MORNIN RAIN
DON’T THINK TWICE
MICHAEL ROW YOUR BOAT
DON’T LET THE RAIN COME DOWN
MTA
OPEN UP THEM PEARLY GATES
THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE
DONNA DONNA
GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY
CODEINE
BOTH SIDES NOW
DRAFT DODGER RAG
PACK UP YOUR SORROWS
IF I HAD A HAMMER
GUANTANAMARA
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
UNION MAID
MORNINGTOWN RIDE
PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON



And a selfie of the happy but pooped band after the show...


Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Sweet Summer Night of Folk Songs

I meant to post this the day after our July 17th show at the Free Times Café, while still basking in the glow of a roomful of lovely people singing together, but the time slipped away from me. Luckily the glow is still there.

It was a hot sticky night in Toronto, a glimpse of the coming heatwave, but the air conditioning in the music room kept things nice and comfortable. There were a fair number of first-timers in the audience, which is always fun. Some were accompanied by folk show veterans and some ventured in on their own. One enthusiastically commented "I didn't know what to expect, but I loved every minute of it." Another said "Thank you for making me feel young again." It was a great group of people.

Just a reminder that if you are planning to come to a specific show and you want to hear a certain song form our repertoire, please let us know in advance so we can include it in the setlist. Here's a link to the WHERE HAVE ALL THE FOLK SONGS GONE? SONG LIST

And here's the setlist form the July show...

See you in August!

Thursday, 20 June 2019

(2 Day Before) First Day of Summer Show!

Although two days before the official start of Summer, it sure felt like Summer in the city. In honour of the season, we dusted off the Wade Hemsworth classic 'Black Fly', his itch inspiring account of being tormented by the pests "up in the woods in north Ontar-i-o". That song was a hit for The Travellers during the 60's Folk Revival.

We also dove deep into our songlist and played some songs that don't make it into the setlists as often as we'd like. With so many, it's difficult choosing which ones to leave out. This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that if you know you are coming to a show and want to hear a certain song from our SONG LIST, please let us know a little in advance and we will do our best to include it for you. Here's what we played last night.


There were some great voices in the audience, some of them diving into beautiful harmonies throughout the evening. It was a treat for us on stage to hear them.

It was wonderful to welcome several first-timers, including some from our hometown of Winnipeg and from Pennsylvania who stumbled upon the club after touring in Kensington Market.

Thanks to Dan at the Free Times Cafe for capturing this post show photo of the band.
Dwight, Sue, and Tony

Have a look at our Upcoming Shows. We have some fun stuff ahead.
Hope to see you soon!

Monday, 3 June 2019

May Dayze!


After our Hootenanny in April at the Eton House turned out so well, it was hard to imagine that anything could top it for awhile. And then came May!

31 days and 13 shows later...including two double headers...May will go down as a musical chapter all of it’s own. That 11 of the shows happened in the first 13 days made it seem like a bit of a blur, or a tour.

It was such a rewarding month musically. We got to play in almost all our musical identities; ‘Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?’, ‘The Greatest Hits of Peter Paul and Mary’, ‘Sue & Dwight’, and somewhat everything in between. We played as a duo, trio, and quartet with Michelle, Tony and or Henry depending on the gig. And if we add the last week of April to the mix we can include our ‘Music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen’ show with Shelley Coopersmith.

The month took us across southern Ontario to Hamilton, Mississauga, Brampton, and as far as Guelph. We even managed to sneak in a few Toronto shows and an impromptu gig later in the month in Winnipeg where we supposed to be on vacation.

The variety of venues was also invigorating. We played at intimate dinner and birthday parties, our regular clubs, and annual big hall events right up to the Women’s College Hospital Nurses Alumni’s 100th anniversary celebration at the Chelsea. We even witnessed a conga line, not so often seen on the folk scene although surprisingly our second in ‘Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?’ history!

Overall, we performed for about 1200 people, with audience sizes ranging from 10 to 325. And thanks to each and every one of them for sharing the experiences with us! 

May was one of those special months, the kind you wish would go on and on. Next time, we’ll make sure to take along a roadie or two to help carry the speakers, though.

Here are some fun photo memories...

WHATFSG FULL BAND ON THE ROAD








ALL SET UP FOR A WHATFSG DUO SHOW IN MISSISSAUGA
SWANKY DINNER PARTY

LOTS OF GEAR TO LOAD AND UNLOAD
FUN TIMES



OOH THE DESSERT TABLE!

THE GUYS BACKING UP THE NURSES CHOIR
ON SOME SPECIAL SONGS THEY WROTE FOR
THE OCCASION.




WITH JIM MARINO ON CFMU'S FREEWHEELIN' FOLK 
IN HAMILTON


TIRED BUT HAPPY WHATFSG GANG AFTER TWO SHOWS 
IN ONE DAY AT THE HAMILTON ARTWORD ARTBAR

WHATFSG TRIO POST SHOW AT OLD MILL IN TORONTO
VIDEO: MUSIC OF BOB DYLAN AND LEONARD COHEN AT 120 DINER - AMEN
VIDEO: GREATEST HITS OF PPM AT 120 DINER - DON'T THINK TWICE

Our next Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone? show is coming up on Wednesday, June 19th. See you there!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Folk Songs vs Leafs!

We're always happy when the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, just not so much when a game coincides with one of our shows, because that means people who love both folk music and hockey have a difficult choice to make. Any attendance worries were unfounded and we were thrilled so many chose to join us last Wednesday night. It was nice to see a few tables of frequent show attendees back with us, after spending much of this tough Winter down south.

We are always interested in how people find out about the show. I was chatting with one first-timer couple who showed me this very cool confluence of old and new technology...


The setlist was stacked with more Pete Seeger songs than usual in honour of his upcoming birthday. May 3rd marks what would have been his 100th birthday. Definitely a hero worth celebrating. Here's the setlist...
Check out the UPCOMING SHOWS TAB to see what's up next!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Putting The Hoot In Hootenanny!

It’s been awhile since Toronto has had a real Hootenanny. The response to the 60's Folk Revival Hootenanny at the Eton House on Saturday night suggests it’s been long overdue. It was a great night of music with so many highlights. Here are just a few!

A few days before the show, Henry, Sue and Dwight dropped down to Zoomer Radio for a fun interview with Eva D and Norm Edwards.  We talked about the era and the music, and did a live performance of a portion of Peter, Paul and Mary’s ‘If I Had My Way’. Here’s a link to the interview if you missed it: ZoomerRadio Interview. The Hootenanny was off to a great start thanks to Eva and Norm.

We knew from advance ticket sales that we were going to have a good sized crowd, but ended up with one much bigger than expected...170 strong! People were enthusiastically arriving as early as 6pm for the 7:30 show, which created a lot of energy along with temporary log jam at the front door. It was literally a rush. Once we got everyone comfortably in, we couldn’t have asked for a better audience. They listened intently through the first 2 sets and then let loose during the singalong part of the night. We were thrilled to meet so many people who shared our love of the Folk Revival music.
Linda Goldman MC’d the event and helped us keep things moving. The first set was The Greatest Hits of Peter, Paul and Mary. Sue’s ‘There Is A Ship’ was a showstopper, and Henry brought the crowd alive with ‘Day is Done’. The mention of the song ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ elicited it’s usual “Awwwww" from the audience upon it’s mention. 


Next up, the audience was treated to a rare performance by Beverlie Robertson & Klaas VanGraft, formerly of The Chanteclairs folk trio. Their set was quite literally a trip back to a Yorkville coffeehouse, where they first gained fame.  Their intimate approach to songs like ‘Whistling Gypsy’ and ‘Guantanamera’ entranced the audience. This was the real thing!  
The Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone? gang kicked off their set with the lively ‘Walk Right In’ to get the singalong started. As is often the case, the audience began singing the song from the first notes of the musical intro. Their set also featured a rousing rendition of ‘MTA’ led by Dwight, and Michelle’s, always amazing version of Phil Ochs ‘Heat Of The Summer’.

The evening culminated with all the performers on stage together trading off on classics like ‘This Land’ and ‘If I Had A Hammer’. The wonderful audience was with us every step of the way!
Here's the setlist for the evening...
It was such a great night and the audience response has already inspired plans for the next Hootenanny. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

What A Great Way To Welcome Spring!

We had such a fun time, as always at our 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' show at the Free Times Café last week.
The audience was a great mix of regulars and newbies. We are always intrigued at the many different ways people find out about the show. Sometimes it's by word of mouth, social media posts, street posters, online and magazine listings, and sometimes it's just about being in the right place at the right time...One gentleman was passing by the club on Wednesday when he saw the words "60's Folk Revival" on the sandwich board by the front door and decided to come in and see what it was all about. I noticed he was on his phone, alternatively filming and typing from almost the moment he got there. While chatting with him at the break, I learned that he was texting back and forth to his Dad, who he said loves this music, and he was sharing video clips of his fave songs with him. He said he can't wait to bring him out to see the show live!

In honour of International Women's Day, which takes place in March, we stacked the deck with song versions written by and/or done by women during the 60's Folk Revival. Here's the setlist for the evening.
Our next big folk show is the 60's Folk Revival Hootenanny coming up on Saturday, April 6th at the Eton House on Danforth Ave. Advance tickets are selling quickly. Here's a direct link to purchase yours: HOOTENANNY TICKETS


Thursday, 7 March 2019

The Greatest Hits Of Peter, Paul and Mary At The 120 Diner

Tony Laviola, Sue and Dwight, and Henry Lees      Photo by Ori Dagan
One day after yet another storm that shut down much of Toronto, the skies cleared and people made their way downtown to the 120 Diner to enjoy the music of the iconic folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary.
It was the first PPM show of 2019 and only our third presentation of it. As one longtime fan of the group, there that evening said, "I am so excited to hear a whole evening of their music!"

And what a lovely setting to hear it in. The 120 Diner has a beautiful stage that provides a wonderful backdrop and we were thrilled to be introduced on stage by award-winning jazz singer and recording artist Ori Dagan.

We had such fun with songs we don't get to perform often, like 'I Dig Rock and Roll Music', 'If I Had My Way', and 'Day Is Done?'.  And it was nice to see the audience joining in. Can't wait to do it again!

Our next PPM show will be as part of the line up for a big Hootenanny in April. Advance tickets are already selling...order yours today so you don't miss out on the fun! Hootenanny - Advance Tickets
  




Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Freezin' Rain Folk

Thanks to Phyllis Chan for this action photo!
In spite of the weather's best efforts to thwart our fun last Wed. night with forecasts of freezing rain, our show went ahead with a room full of enthusiastic singalongers and we had a great time. There were lots of regulars and familiar faces in the crowd, and some new people who just learned about our show thanks to our Facebook presence.

With over 80 songs to choose from, creating the set list for the show each month is not an easy task. The problem isn't deciding which songs to include but agonizing over which ones to leave out. One of the songs that is always included is 'Puff The Magic Dragon', which never fails to draw a collective "Awwwwwww" response when we announce it. It also rarely fails to draw at least a few tears from audience and band members alike. This show was no exception.

Here's the set list of all the songs we covered...

Our next monthly show at the Free Times Café on Wed. March 20th. In the meantime, come check out our Peter, Paul and Mary show at the 120 Diner on Thu. February 28th.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

First Show of 2019 Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

What a wonderful first show of the new year on January 16th. It was a chilly night in Toronto, but that didn't deter a great group of singalongers who joined us at the Free Times Café.
Thanks to Phyllis Chan 
for capturing this action shot!

We celebrated Martin Luther King Day with an emphasis on songs from the Civil Rights Movement, which made for some poignant moments.

Two new songs made their debut. The much requested tribute to the Freedom Riders 'Thirsty Boots' by Eric Anderson and Phil Ochs' wonderful song about the African-American journalist and civil rights activist, 'The Ballad Of William Worthy'.

Our group performs at private events and, a gal whose birthday party we will be singing at in the Spring was in the audience. We'd told her that she can choose whatever songs she wants to hear on her special day from our Song List. It was fun watching her excitement as she jotted down song names. I suspect she will run into the same frustration we do each month when putting together the set list for the show...too many great songs to choose from and not nearly enough time in one show!

By the way, we are always happy to play the songs you want to hear when you attend the show. Just let us know the week before and we will schedule it in. Here's a direct link to the list you can select from WHATFSG SONG LIST.

Here is the Jan. 16th set list...


Our next show is coming up quickly...WED. FEB. 20th, 7:30PM at the Free Times Cafe. It's never to early to call and make a dinner reservation to ensure you have a seat for the show. Call Judy at 416-967-1078. See you soon!

Monday, 7 January 2019

Happy 2019!

We rang in 2019 in style, folk style that is, with a great evening of music and food at The Free Times Cafe on New Year’s Eve.

We started doing New Years Eve shows three years ago when we noticed that there weren’t many options for folks of that era to get out to and celebrate the evening.  Since then, each year has been its own wonderful experience. This year was no different.

A nice full room was there to enjoy Judy’s deluxe buffet (amazing brisket!) and were more than ready to join in singing when the show began.  Folk fans came literally from far and wide including Detroit and Brampton.  We also had some three-peats (perfect attendance of all our NYE shows) which was nice to see. Thanks Aldo, Gord and Joanne!

We started the evening with a set of some of the most popular tunes of the Revival and the crowd was enthusiastically joining in right off the top. To make help the show extra special, we designed the middle set so that we could tip toe outside the era a bit. The set included a couple of original tunes, Michelle’s ‘Nolament’ from her new CD, and Sue and Dwight’s ‘One Song’, and closed it with Michelle’s spectacular version of ‘Both Sides Now’ followed by a group ‘Hallelujah’.

The final set kept things humming as the clock struck midnight. A dance broke out to ‘If I Had a Hammer’ and the wonderful crowd gave us a standing ovation before we all called it a night. What a night!

A big thanks to Judy, Phil, Charlie and wonderful cooks at the Free Times for all their hard work, to our amazing band...Tony, Michelle, Sue & Dwight... and to all those who attended to make it such a great night.

Next show is Wednesday, January 16th which marks the start of our 7th great year! Book your reservation early to guarantee your seat. Details  in the 'Shows' tab above.

Here's a fun little video from NYE!

Monday, 17 December 2018

Celebrating Phil Ochs!

It's been a busy few weeks since our last show so I'm bit late posting about our December 5th show.

Because he was born in December, we decided to stack the setlist with a few extra Phil Ochs tunes in honour of what would have been his 78th birthday. It's always a treat singing his songs, which are so intelligent and insightful.

Speaking of birthdays, a couple of audience members were also celebrating  theirs that night. Here's a photo of us feting them as we headed into the break. Didn't get my camera out quick enough to catch a photo of Judy carrying the cake in on her head while everyone in the room sang our special folk version of 'Happy Birthday To You'. It's sung to the tune of 'Michael Row Your Boat Ashore'

Our set list for the evening...
Thanks to everyone who joined us. It was fun night!

Our next show is our big New Years Eve celebration. Seating is limited so don't wat too long to make your reservations...