Well I guess anyone who was around the folk club scene in the 1960's will
remember the Pendlefolk, who were the resident artists at Burnley and Accrington
Folk Clubs. In those days the Burnley Folk Club was hosted upstairs at the Burnley Cricket Club
on a Thursday night and was always full to the brim. The folk clubs were run by Ralph Smith whose day job was in the office at Huncoat Power Station.
Group members were: Roger Westbrook, Chris Edwards, Peter Ashworth (Nash),
Jean Douglas and Diane Whitford. Recently I found the LP which
they recorded in 1970, taking pride of place in the window of Electron
Records on Hall Street, Burnley. As one of the songwriters I was at
the recording session which was set up in the Stordy Swiss Roll factory
on the Nelson road out of Burnley. I apologise in advance if I am
infringing anyone's copyright, however the LP is virtually impossible
to obtain now and it's a shame if people cannot listen and recollect
just how good this group were, so on the Folk Corner page are all the tracks for you
to play and enjoy, and also Roger's solo albums. They bring back many happy memories, (if not slightly inebriated
ones) for me. So below is a little bit of history.
Back in 1965, Chris Edwards and Jean Douglas were teaching colleagues, fresh out of college and practicing singing together. Jean knew Roger Westbrook and they met up together at the newly formed Burnley Folk Club. At the time the Blackpool Taverners were resident artists there but did not want to take it on full time. Chris, Jean and Roger did a couple of songs together in the guest spot and were subsequently booked as the resident group. Also doing a solo spot was Peter Ashworth who joined the group and so the Pendlefolk were formed.
They were the resident group at Burnley, Accrington, and Colne folk clubs. The group played predominantly around the East Lancashire area and released the LP in 1970. The recording took place at the Stordy Swiss Roll factory in Nelson where Peter Ashworth’s father was the manager. The run of 300 copies of the LP sold out very quickly and, although there were plans for further releases, it never came about. The group also had a regular slot on local radio. The group split up in 1972.
Roger Westbrook went on to record several other solo albums whilst Chris sang with the John Bull Band. Peter continued as a solo artist. They regrouped for a 50th Anniversary concert in 2015 at the Ighten Leigh Club in Burnley which, as the former Mullards Social Club, was the first venue for the Burnley Folk Club before it moved to the Burnley Cricket Club. They were supported on the evening by Brillig. The club was also the venue for the first public performance of Roger Westbrook. Unsurprisingly the Anniversary concert was a sell out.
It can’t be underestimated how much of an important role the Pendlefolk played as a pioneering group in the folk revival of the 1960’s and 1970’s in Lancashire. Long may their legacy survive.
Of course the leader of the group, Roger Westbrook,
went on to record a number of other albums as a solo artist - 'Still
He Sings' which was a studio album, 'Second Twelve Incher' which was
recorded live at the 110 Club in Burnley, and finally 'Int E a Grand
Lad' which was recorded live at the Carlton Hotel on Standish Street
in Burnley. Chris still lives in the area and went on to join The
John Bull Band, playing at pubs and venues across the UK. She has
also achieved fame as a winner of Norwich Unions Quirkiest Collector
competition for her extensive collection of cruet sets!
Tracks from the LP 's of the Pendlefolk and Roger Westbrook HERE