Tape 'n' Tab Club


History of the Tape 'n' Tab Club (T'n'T): 
 
Tape 'n' Tab Club - Mike Martin, Steve McWilliam & Kieran Fish - 1980sWay back, seems an eternity now, in 1977 Kieran Fish (a guitar playing buddy) and I paid a visit to "Clancy's" a small guitarist's club in the middle of Manchester. During the day it was a record shop run, in the basement of a multi-storey house, by Mike Brown. On Tuesday evenings the whole of the downstairs was given over to guitar players who executed their new (and old) tunes for each other, played together and drank their own beer (Mike didn't have a license so all drink had to be brought in by those attending). In a very short time we became regular visitors to the venue and then one night we got there and it was closed. Cutting the story short it seems Mike had left with a young lady who sang at the club - Virginia - an excellent blues singer - from Canada I think.

Original T'n'T Club Members - Mike MartinFollowing this I decided to make attempts to pull together a number of the guitarists in the North West (and eventually across the country) to share experiences, music, arrangements, compositions, styles, methods, tablature (tab), and recordings. This started out with Kieran Fish, myself and Mike Martin, who also used to play at Clancy's and who amazed me by arriving at that venue one night totally unable to stand and falling down the spiral staircase into the basement - a little the worse for drink. Despite the fact that he could hardly stay on the stool he played flawlessly and with 'fire and passion' for most of the night - unbelievable. The Tape'n' Tab Club (T'n'T - for short) officially launched itself in early 1981 with a number of other people from Clancy's joining the fray - Alan Hooper, Dick Wildman, Wally, and eventually for a few all too rare visits Mike and Virginia. As time went on more people joined - some from Yorkshire, some from Wales and even from as far afield as London. These people included Chris Cassidy, Ian Jesse, Patrick Garrigan, Joe Cainen, Andy Gibson, Steve Conway, Bill Dinsdale and many more - my apologies if you have been missed.

Original Members of T'n'T - Chris Cassidy The 'sessions' were set up for around four to five events per year with the people arriving anywhere between 5pm on Friday afternoon through to early evening on Saturday. Saturday evening was always given over to a form of party where the main items were playing guitar, occasional singing, and having a beer. Sunday arrived all too soon, usually after about 2 to 3 hours sleep having played into the early (or late) hours with most people not hitting the sack until 4 or more in the morning. Despite hangovers etc. Sunday was a serious day given over to recording the tunes which people had assiduously worked on during the weeks and months prior to the session. It is great now to play the reel-to-reel recordings back - someday I'll have to get round to putting them on CD and maybe streaming them on the Net for people to listen to. Sadly, Sunday evening would see everyone leaving to return to their own homes, however far away, and to their own lives of work and bedroom guitar practice ready for the next session. After about 5 years worth of this activity people moved, got married, had kids, went abroad, and did all the things which life dictates - have you ever noticed how much life gets in the way of guitar playing ?

Original Members of T'n'T - Kieran Fish The club wound down to a great extent and has never really climbed back up to the dizzy heights of those early 1980's years - they were good years and with the Kicking Mule Record label in operation at the same time they were good years for acoustic fingerstyle guitar (especially ragtime and country blues). Nonetheless, most of us have still kept in touch, and most of us are still playing guitar - albeit probably not as often as we would like. All I can say is that if you play acoustic fingerstyle guitar and would like to improve - set up your own Tape 'n' Tab Club and learn from each other - its great for tunes, playing, friendships and lots and lots of great memories. Good luck !!

M&O Blues and Canned Heat Duet - Mike Martin & Kieran Fish (1977)



Aims of the Tape 'n' Tab Club
  The aims of the Tape 'n' Tab Club were always very simple, they were:
 
  • To share and join in playing guitar;
  • To help other guitarists to play the things which you could play;
  • To share arrangements and compositions via the use of tablature;
  • To pass on playing techniques and tunes via tablature and taped recordings;
  • To make friends and create memories;
  • To enjoy the music and the moment.

    Don't forget - whether these are good times or bad times - "This too shall pass!" - Grab it while you can !!


  • The Future

    Here we now are in the early dawn of the New Millennium (as at January 2000) the role/mantle of the Tape'n'Tab Club has been taken over by a new generation of players who are but a few miles down the road. After teaching Fingerstyle guitar at an evening class at Halewood Comprehensive school in Liverpool for a few years a number of the students, lead by Phil Lawton, have set up a club in the upstairs of a pub in Gateacre, Liverpool. If you fancy going they meet in the Grange Manor at 9:00pm every Tuesday evening and you would be more than welcome. Phil can be contacted at: philiplawton@cableinet.co.uk


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