Thursday, 22 February 2018

Folk Singing Away The February Blahs!

There were no February blahs at the Free Times Cafe on Wednesday night. Instead, a whole bunch of fresh folk faces joined with regulars to inject the February edition of ‘Where Have All the Folk Songs Gone’ with the revival spirit in the truest sense of the word. The evening had so much to offer.

We celebrated Black History month with two civil rights era anthems, 'Back of the Bus' and 'We Shall Overcome', which continue to remind us how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. One our long time regulars Eric, was celebrating his birthday, which we feted with the Bonnie Dobson version of the beautiful 'Un Canadien Errant'. We also made a few people cry (including some band members) with 'Puff the Magic Dragon' and 'Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream'. 
The gang with the Birthday Boy and friends
What really stood out though were all the first timers. They were large in numbers being drawn to the show from our diverse ‘marketing machine’ of street posters, band member newsletters, online and magazine postings (Whole Note, What’s On TO) and our other performances like the recent Winterfolk festival and a Canada 150 show. And they were large in spirit. More than one audience member mentioned how emotional it was to hear the songs of their youth once again, which had them at times fighting back the tears, good tears! Of course, those didn’t get in the way of their robust sing along voices.

As if it couldn’t get any better, our friend Roly presented us with a cool vintage Kingston Trio songbook, which will be a cherished keepsake! 

Just a reminder that there's NO SHOW IN MARCH so mark Wednesday, April 18 in your calendar for the next edition of the folk revival.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Another Great Year Of Folk Singing Ahead!

2018 got off to a great start with a wonderful group of singalongers at the Free Times Café on Jan. 17th.

Can't believe 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' is now in our 6th year of monthly shows. It's true that ime sure flies when we're having fun!

There's more fun ahead...

Next show is Wed. Feb. 21st
(NOTE: there's no show in March)

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year!

It has taken a couple of days to recoup our energy after a fabulous New Year’s Eve at the Free Times Café. With two shows that included over 50 songs we were a pooped but happy band at the end of the night. There was a nice mix of first timers and regular attendees of our monthly shows.

One couple, who live in Detroit had found the show online and made the trip to Toronto by train especially for it!

Some first timers learned of the show via one of the many posters that we put up around the city and one attendee said it was the dove image that caught her attention. It evokes that message of Peace that I think attracts us to much of the music from the Folk Revival.

Oh, and another cool thing…after we sang MTA, an audience member held up her ‘Charlie Pass’. It’s a metropass issued in Boston in honour of the character in this legendary Kingston Trio song. I’m kicking myself for getting distracted during the break and forgetting to take a photo of it.

Going into the evening we were a tiny bit concerned that we'd have the stamina to get through the number of songs we’d be singing throughout the evening but it was no problem at all. In fact we happily played an unplanned-for Encore song at the very end of the night or rather early in the morning!

Thanks to Judy Perly, her staff, and everyone who came out and made it such a special night for us. Both audiences were warm and enthusiastic, and we can’t think of a better way to have ushered out 2017 and welcomed 2018!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Come Party Like It's 1965!

Last year our New Year's Eve show at the Free Times Café was so much fun, we have to do it again this year. However last year's show sold out so quickly we had to turn many folks away. This year we're planning two shows so no one will be disappointed! 

New Year's Eve 
with Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?  
Free Times Café, 320 College St, Toronto

Buffet Seatings: 6 & 6:30pm - $55
Music 8 to 9:30pm - $25
Buffet Seatings
(incl. midnight champagne & party favours): 8 & 8:30pm - $65
Music 10 pm thru midnight - $35

Reservations Required 416-967-1078
Book early - seating is limited!
Check out our video on You Tube:

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Full Coat Rack = Full House

Squeeze by the coat rack!
It was a lively crowd that filled the Free Times Cafe last night for our November edition of 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?'

Not only did they fill up the coat rack, they also filled the room with a great spirit and their folk full voices.

Musical highlights included...
  • A reprisal of our new Malvina Reynold’s "mini set" of ‘What Have They Done To The Rain’ and ‘Little Boxes’ and once again experienced what a great activist songwriter she was.
  • ‘Tzena, Tzena’ continues to be a crowd favourite and we are slowly learning the proper Hebrew pronunciation...that’s ‘tszayna’!
  • Sue and Michelle made us teary-eyed with their respective renditions of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’.
  • We debuted Pete Seeger and Les Rice’s ‘Banks of Marble’, the latest addition to our repertoire, which Michelle nailed. I learned from one of our audience members that it was covered by none other than Bernie Sanders back in 1987.
  • People sang along to every word of Phil Ochs’ ‘Changes’ even though it wasn’t in the songbook...our audience really knew their folk music!

Best of all is when we get to talk to folks at the break and after the show. One first timer told me “The show made me feel like I was 20 and back in high school!" Another gentleman visiting from BC, told Sue there was nothing like this show back home and that it felt like "a real gift". The 60’s folk revival spirit lives on!

Next show, actually 2 shows, are on New Year’s Eve. Check out the Upcoming Shows for details.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Last year's New Year's Eve show was sold out and many people who wanted to be there were turned away😢 this year there will be two shows😊!!

Here are the details:

Friday, 20 October 2017

Full House of Folksingers

(Photo by Hilde R.)
Another fun evening of folk songs on a gorgeous October evening in Toronto. The room was packed with an enthusiastic gang of singalongers...of all ages. A group of a dozen twenty-somethings gathered to celebrate a birthday. Nice to see young folks embracing this music. It was so sweet to see them join hands and sway together while singing 'Puff The Magic Dragon'.

Actually there were three birthdays in the house. 
This is how we celebrate birthdays 'folk style'...Judy delivers cake on her head while we sing "Happy Birthday To You" to the tune of 'Michael Row Your Boat Ashore'. (Photo by Hilde R.)
We debuted two new songs this month...
The poignant 'What Have They Done To The Rain?' by Malvena Reynolds and Gordon Lightfoot's 'Steel Rail Blues'. Two very different songs from one another and both very well received. They bring our repertoire up to 72 songs!

Next show is Wed.Nov. 15th at the Free Times Cafe. Reservations are always encouraged to ensure you get a seat. 416-967-1078

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Heading for the Hammer!

The Folk Revival returns to Hamilton’s wonderful Artword Artbar on Thursday, Oct 12!
Get your advance tickets here to ensure you get a seat. See you there!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Challah, Honey, and Folk!

Lots of fun at our 60's Folk Revival show at the Free Times Cafe last night. The evening began with a lovely Rosh Hashana blessing of challah, apples and honey that were passed around for all the audience to enjoy.
With the New Year, Labour Day, and the UN Int'l Day of Peace all happening in Sept. the set list was stacked with songs in celebration of all these important events.

The photographer from snapd College stopped in between sets so we should see some nice photos in the coming weeks. Made a couple of audience members cry with 'Puff The Magic Dragon'...all in a day's work 😉

Thanks to everyone who came out to sing with us and to Colin and Joanne for these photos! It's always wonderful to have visual memories of fun times like these.
Our next show is in Hamilton at the Artword Artbar on Thurs. Oct. 12th. The next one at the Free Times Cafe in Toronto is Wed. Oct. 18th. Details for both are on the Upcoming Shows page of this blogspot. See you soon!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Folk Fun On A Beautiful August Evening In Toronto

We had a great time at the August folk show. We introduced a fun new song. The club was packed and there were two birthdays being celebrated.
Photo by Kimberley Way
Judy (Free Times Cafe owner) served cake to the birthday girls in her signature fashion while us and the entire audience sang Happy Birthday to the tune of Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, which has become our tradition.
Next show at the Free Times Cafe is Wed. Sept. 20th. You can guarantee a seat if you plan to have dinner there on the evening of the show. For reservations call 416-967-1078

Friday, 21 July 2017

Hot Time At The Free Times

Lovely bunch of sing-alongers at the Free Times Cafe for our July Folk Revival on a hot and steamy Toronto evening.

We concur wholeheartedly with the fellow who enthusiastically said, at the end of the evening, "I enjoyed every second of the show!"

And thanks so much to Eric for snapping these photos for us...
Would you have been able to answer our trivia question to win the prize?
Thanks for joining us and we'll see you at our next show at the Free Times on August 16, 2017. It's not too early to make your dinner reservations and guarantee a table ~ 416-957-1078

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Taking The Show On The Road!

The 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' gang piled into a van and hit the road twice in July.

First, on July 6th, to the Artword Artbar in Hamilton and then on July 16th, to the Simcoe Park band shell as part of the Music Niagara Summer Festival in Niagara On The Lake. We had a great time at both shows.

The Artword Artbar was wonderful as always. Judith and Ron have created a warm and welcoming performance space for both artists and audiences. There were lots of folks who'd been at our previous Artbar shows but also lots of new faces as well. We've already booked another show there in the Fall.

On the morning of our Music Niagara Summer Festival performance, the weather forecast was pretty dismal. Just before leaving Toronto, I did one last check online and saw there was a 70% chance of precipitation and thunderstorms at the exact same time as our show (12-2pm). Noooooooo. Fast forward to noon...the sky clouded over as we took the stage, then suddenly the sun came out and it was back and forth like that throughout the performance. A few drops of rain fell here and there but not enough to discourage the audience, so that was great. One of the festival sponsors of the was handing out fun clapper thingys, so the audience of hundreds sounded like an audience of thousands!

Sean McCaughey Photography
 Next show is our regular monthly at the Free Times Cafe on Wed. July 19th. As always, reservations are a great idea to ensure a seat!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Artbar and Niagara Bound!

The 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' gang is hitting the road for a couple of shows this month. First up, on Thursday July 6th, is a return visit to the Artword Artbar in Hamilton. It is such a great venue to see this show. There's not a bad seat in the house. Advance Tickets will ensure your spot.
Here's a photo from our last visit to Artword Artbar! (Derek Shuurman)
Then, on Sunday July 16th we'll be performing as part of the Music Niagara series at Simcoe Park in Niagara On The Lake. It's a free show that starts at Noon and goes til 2pm.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Happy Birthday Canada!

The June edition of ‘Where Have All the Folks Songs Gone?' became a celebration of Canadian Folk Revival songs to a packed house at the Free Times Cafe on Wednesday night.
Sorry this is so blurry...I thought I was taking a panorama video of the room but all I actually took was this blurry still. Guess I was having too much fun!

When it was all over, songs by Wade Hemsworth, The Travellers, Ian & Sylvia, Buffy Sainte Marie, Gayle Garnett, Gordon Lightfoot, Bonnie Dobson and Joni Mitchell all had been celebrated by the very enthusiastic audience.

Canadian artists made an amazing contribution to the Revival to say the least. Hemsworth’s 'Black Fly' made it's debut on our set-list appropriately during black fly season and left everyone just a bit itchy. 'Both Sides Now', technically a bit late for the revival era, was included to recognize Joni Mitchell’s place in Canadian folk music.

Next monthly show at the Free Times Cafe is Wednesday July 19 as we’ll be playing through the summer once again this year. And, we are taking the show on the road to Hamilton and Niagara On The Lake in July. Details are in the Upcoming Shows tab.

Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan Birthday Month!

Both Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan were born in May so we did mini-set tributes to each of them into last night’s monthly singalong at the Free Times Cafe. That’s not hard to do as both were such prolific and huge contributors to the Folk Revival.

We had a great crowd...a nice mixture of new folks and regulars. It was multigenerational too! One young gal who came across a listing for the show online, brought her 1960’s folk fan parents to club.  And a son who brought his mom for the first time to last month’s show and they decided then and there they would become regulars!

We debuted four new songs last night...’Eve Of Destruction’, ‘John Henry’, ‘Girl From The North’ Country, and ‘There’s A Meetin Here Tonight’. 

We’ve decided to continue our monthly show at the Free Times Cafe throughout the Summer again this year. Rumour has it the June show with it’s Canada 150 theme will be a hot ticket so reserve early.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Folk Song Fundraiser

(Posted by Dwight)

Some musical experiences will stick with you for a long time. We had one just last night as we performed at the Temple Har Zion Sisterhood Fundraising evening up in Thornhill.
Over 220 people jammed the synagogue in anticipation of singing along to their favourite folk revival tunes. And sing they did. It's not unusual for audiences to take a few songs to get warmed up, but the Har Zion audience was in overdrive from the first lines of Green Green and didn’t let up until the final "let my people go" of our ‘Tell It on The Mountain’ reprise.
 The standing ovation left us breathless.
The fundraiser, organized by the Sisterhood, was in support of the URJ Camp George Health Centre and some of their other projects. The organizing team led by Ann, Fran, and Sharon worked tirelessly to produce a wonderfully successful night. The members of the Sisterhood baked up a delicious array of desserts and dainties and the tablecloths even matched the colours of our poster.
The Folk Songs’ band was in fine form with Michelle and Sue capturing some amazing musical moments and Tony keeping the bass line moving. We also had Dave Lang on board to help keep our sound crisp and clean in the boisterous room. As the crowd left the hall, we overheard one comment, “It was so nice and uplifting to be able to sing along with everyone else. We need more of that“. That will also stick with us a long time.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Folk Playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs happened to be playing their hearts out in the playoffs at the same time as our show last Wednesday, but that didn't stop the true folk fans from coming out to the Free Times Cafe. 

We had a great bunch of singalongers. The audience was a nice mix of regulars and first timers including a lovely couple visiting Toronto from Tazmania who'd seen a poster on the street, and a wonderful mother and son who said to consider them regulars from now on!

One audience member was celebrating a birthday and in a stroke of creative genius, Michelle came up with a new version of Happy Birthday that will be the standard at all 'Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone?' shows going forward.
Our next show at the Free Times Cafe is on Wed. May 17th. See you then!

Friday, 31 March 2017

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...

This classic Peanuts cartoon accurately describes yesterday evening as a late March storm hit the region on our return to Hamilton’s wonderful Artword Artbar. Luckily the snow, freezing rain and wind wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of a roomful of Folk Revival enthusiasts.

Thank you Derek Shuurman for this photo!
An energetic crowd showed up to sing along to their favorites songs of this wonderful musical era. Several tunes made their Hamilton debut including the love song 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ written by Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger, The Seekers’ ‘A World of Our Own’, Dave van Ronk’s 'Hang Me', and The Weavers’ ‘House of the Rising Sun’. A big thanks to all those who attended and of course to Judith and Ron who have created such a terrific venue. We are back at the Artword Artbar on Thursday, July 6th so make your reservations soon!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Hamilton Show!

The gang is heading to Hamilton's Artword Artbar on Thursday, March 30th, 8pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance online here: Artword Artbar Website

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Singin’ Away the Winter Snow

A late winter storm may have blanketed the Greater Toronto Area but it couldn’t prevent a flurry of folk singing from accumulating at the Free Times Cafe last night. A delightful crowd lifted their voices enthusiastically to sing away the final days of Winter in preparation for the March 20 start of Spring.

There were many musical highlights and with International Woman’s Day just passed, woman’s voices were well heard. Michelle left the room in awe with 'The Weavers' Ronny Gilbert’s slow and sultry version of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ while Sue’s rendition of Buffy St Marie’s ‘Universal Soldier’ had an extra punch. They then joined together to take the Baez sisters’ ‘Bread & Roses’ to new heights!

We also introduced a new song, the Limeliters ‘Gotta Travel On’, to the set in recognition of that great folk revival band and songwriter Paul Clayton.
Thanks Bryan Williston for this action shot!
Next up...
We take the show on the road to Hamilton’s Artword Artbar on Thurs., Mar. 30th; Click Here To Book Online

The gang returns to the Free Times Cafe in Toronto on Wed., April 19th. Call for dinner reservations 416-967-1078

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Whole Lotta Folk Lovin‘

The folk revival cupids were out in full song at a special Valentine’s Day’s edition of Where Have All the Folk Songs Gone last night at the Free Times. The evening was a welcome warm respite of calm, joy, and of course a lot of singing.

Wednesday’s program focused on all aspects of love. There were plenty of traditional loves songs including Sing in The Sunshine, Four Strong Winds, Both Sides Now and Cruel War and we entrenched a few newer additions to the show, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Until Its Time For You To Go. We also sang of love of country (Un Canadien Errant), wine (Stewball), organized labour (Union Maid) and Dragons (Puff!).

Thanks to everyone for the lovin’ and singin’.

Next show at the Free Times Cafe is Wednesday, March 15. Make your reservations early @ 416-967-1078.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Next Show ~ Wednesday Feb 15th

Join us for a special Valentine’s Day edition💟 

Lots of love songs from the era plus other Folk Revival favorites!

Dinner reservations recommended to guarantee a seat: 416-967-1078

Cover: $15 at door

Doors: 6:30pm  Music starts: 7:30pm

Venue: Free Times Cafe, 320 College St., Toronto