Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Cross Keys traditional

Here’s a video from October 2017 catching the informal traditional session in the Cross Keys main bar on a Thursday evening, with Andrew Smith – who organises the new annual Kelso Folk & Live Music Festival – playing the hammered dulcimer

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Club posts

Old articles and photographs from this site have, regrettably, been deleted during updates in 2018. Many reports and photo-sets can still be found by visiting the Wayback Machine archive at this URL, which shows most of the content as it was in September 2016. This is not active web content and may be lost. Our thanks to all those who contributed albums of photographs, commentary and content – the door is open for future contributions.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Burns’s quarter-millennium celebrations

Kelso Folk & Live Burns night 2009

The club held its second ever Burns Night at the Cobbles on Sunday January 25th 2009. The chair and organiser for this year was Ian Croall, following in the illustrious footsteps of Roger Platfoot who staged the first event in 2008.

Here is Ian, with the venerable Rabbie ahent him:

The cameo of Burns was borrowed for the night courtesy of an Edinburgh printer friend of Ian’s. Ian also introduced an exceptional and larger than life Burns night speaker, Eric John. But first, the haggis was piped in by Darren Scurfield and carried by oorn host, Gavin Meiklejohn, no exactly Poosie Nancy but he’ll do:

Aw, Gavin, ye could hae smiled fae the camera! The haggis aywise looks miserable, it kens whit’s coming!

Eric slashed with a single firm stroke from well on high and nearly sent the reekin’ whatsit all round the function room! Ian said he had been known to harle the ceiling of dining rooms with haggis, in a single stroke. Still, a Sabatier works wonders where a dirk would hardly suffice!

After the kill, Eric, Gavin and Darren toast the beastie with a dram denied to the body of the kirk:

And they still can’t raise a smile! Serious business, butchering an innocent haggis. Then it was servit:

That big stray bit o’ neep was never mashed. It was just as a sheep might have eaten it this winter. But it was fine all the same. Only one vegetarian haggis was requested. The rest were all living, breathing animals before they suffered this fate. Apparently they were tracked down and shot on the snowy slopes of the Cheviots. But NOT around the Lammas-tide…

This is just a table shot. Well, why not?

And this is what makes the Kelso Folk and Live Music Club Burns Night different – it is celebrated in song, with nary a whiff of poesy unless it’s fairly rude. Messrs Gillespie and Hastings give wee Dougie McLean an airing along with the Plooboy Bard (‘Gin I Were a Baron’s Heir’, exactly what any solicitor and estate agent must be thinking right now, Ron…)

The Burns Night bucked the recession by selling out in advance. Our thanks to Ian Croall for masterminding the exercise, to all those who got up and sang songs they had never sung before, and to Annika and Gavin for a fitting repast.

– DK

The Club has continued to hold regular Burns suppers or nights. In 2016, this short video was made – upstairs at the Cobbles.

Monday, January 5th, 2009

2008 Cobbles Inn refurb

The refitting of The Cobbles Inn is now complete (March 2008 – the pub has now passed to new management and Annika and Gavin moved on to create Tempest Brewery). The transformation is a masterpiece – a ‘Tardis’ job in more ways than one, jumping the Cobbles a couple of decades into the future and making the space inside double what it appeared to be before.

At the same time the traditional feel has been retained. A spacious dining lounge replaced the former public bar and office. With new window and wall seats the designers have increased the floor area.


The carpeting shown in these photographs has been replaced by hard flooring offering a livelier sound, with new tables and seating, since the 2008 refurb.


Our wide-angle shot does of course make it look even bigger than it is! The club has been able to install wired-in HK Systems PA, which provides an excellent lightly amplified sound for instruments and singes. The acoustics are good enough for unamplified solo singing as well, depending on how busy the pub is.

Cobbles Inn new dining room

The new upstairs decor of the Cobbles Inn organised for a large single table function.

The Cobbles is a venue which any party booking for dining or general celebration will find rewarding. Kelso Folk and Live Music Club is also able to provide or recommend musical entertainment (not all folk!) for any functions booked at the Cobbles.

Bar pumps at the Cobbles

Come on a Friday night, and from 10pm onwards you are guaranteed something musical… if unpredictable, varied and spontaneous! You are welcome to become a part of it. It’s not karaoke, but you can sing along, and you can make requests. You can bring your own instrument.

To call The Cobbles Inn to book dining or check on function room availability, call Kelso 01573 223548, or email Their new website is at

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

As we were then – 2008

Session in the bar

Before the Cobbles was remodelled in February 2008, James Shepherd shot some pictures of the typical weekly Friday night sessions. Most of these showed slack-jawed yokels drooling over their guitars with eyes closed, because that’s what happens when you shoot singers and musicians after a couple of pints and mid-song. However, a few of us managed to stay reasonably sober-looking and composed.

The old Cobbles Bar

The Cobbles has always been a warm and friendly pub and we hope the new bar looks as well stocked as this, and and as easy to get to.

Banjo graveyard

Heather plays moothie while Helen listens intently. Darren’s banjo resonates all on its own.


It isn’t all guitars and David is concentrating on trying to turn a bouzouki into a mandolin, which probably means Dave Mullen was singing a Waterboys song or Ron Hastings was doing a bit of R.E.M. David’s wearing an Acoustic Chumbawamba tour T-shirt celebrating English rebel songs of the last 400 years. Roger blasts away on the banjo ukelele.

Pied piper

Ian Croall used to be in insurance, which you probably need when your hands and mouth complete the circuit for a set of Deger electronic midi smallpipes. The controllable volume makes the electronic animal far more session-friendly than the cauld wind blown original.

Fry and friend

If anyone can compete with the sheer volume of a squeezebox at close range, it must be Mr Peter Fry on electric guitar and unamplified (rarely needed!) vocals. Pet Shop Pete reinforces the strings in the face of rampant free reed virtuosity.

Mullen and Glasheen

Dave Mullen and Kelly Glasheen in perfect harmony, or they would be, if Dave wasn’t playing a chord of G while Kelly rocks on in D… and we’ll never know who was right! Session tunes are wonderful for their lack of harmonic ambiguity, aren’t they? The combination just sounds like one very big guitar playing in DADGAD anyway…

Hastings in flight

Ron Hastings knows that any real performer will stand up to be seen and heard. He doesn’t realise that the rest us can’t find the frets with one hand and the strings with the other unless we are sitting down hunched up over a guitar.

DK shows off bald heid

Which is not the best way to get the music out there!

Helen and Darron

Helen and Darren prove that a gently handled banjo can be the perfect accompaniment to flute.

Mr Wong rides again!

And Roger proves that the songs of George Formby are timeless in their appeal, and always able to raise the roof.

Rabble for Rabbie

Scattered round the room, it’s not that easy to get a photo of more than two or three Kelso Friday night session regulars at a time, so for this shot everyone posed – and for once, there was a moment of peace and quiet in the Cobbles!

Photographs by James Shepherd.

Friday, February 22nd, 2008


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