THE MASHER ZONE

THE MUSIC PLAYERS

ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM 
ZONE THE MASHER ZONE


 

 

 

 

Deep within the Peoples Republic of South Yorkshire one will find the Village of Rawmarsh, marked by it’s Church Tower which rests at the top of the Hill looking down upon the Town of Rotherham.

At the heart of the Village lies the picturesque square of concrete where the locals will park their cars so as to visit essential local services consisting of five quaint hostelries offering a fine range of mass brewed beer and lagers and the Fish and Chip Shop.

The very inappropriately named Green Lane Tavern, sadly now closed, is where you would once find many villagers partaking in Big Screen Sports, or betting on which of the many varieties of weed will break through the paving stones first.

Disecting the Village one will find the major road that takes travellers quickly on their way to the Cathedrals of materialism to be found at Retail World, Parkgate, or Doncaster in the other direction and sometimes the villagers can be spotted cheerily waving exotic hand signals to the drivers passers by, cheering them on their way.

BUT if you branch off the road, near to where once The Rawmarsh Swimming Pool once proudly stood, you will seemingly be taken out into green hills and fields.  The grey carbon stained buildings giving way to open views across to the Hills of Sheffield, and on a clear day, beyond, it is said.

And it’s down this track that the feckless traveller will find a Public House known as The Monkwood, and it’s within these hallowed walls of this that The Rawmarsh Mashers were born.   

Two friends from the local music scene, Dickie and Keith would meet each Monday, pulling themselves from their back bedrooms, to learn silly songs that they would later play to a wider audience at Open Mics or Folk Clubs.

They were initially known as Salt and Pepper, which  after an executive decision by Dickie was changed to The Rawmarsh Mashers.

Two years passed with only a select few knowing exactly what lay in store for the Folk Music lovers of South Yorkshire, which was why in the end a time restricted Keith Masher had to go his own way, leaving Dickie to his own devices just as The Mashers got their first Radio Play courtesy of RotherFM and their first Gig.  

It was then that another hapless musician with a non Yorkshire heritage and a slightly Southern accent was approached to become a Masher.  

After a lengthy and healthy period of thought, all of two seconds, Myke  agreed to link up with Dickie  and  so Mashers mark  Two was formed.

But only just in time for poor Myke to learn enough Masher songs to perform a live at The George and Dragon, Wentworth for the Mashers public debut Gig.   

And so a legend began to be written as Dickie and Myke travelled the Folk Clubs and Open Mic Sessions of South Yorkshire, leaving boggle eyed disbelieving music lovers in their wake.  

The Mashers have gone on to make appearances at Festivals and Folk Clubs across the Country, where their positive, energetic and entertaining style of delivery has made them a popular act with audiences, if not with the organisers.

As one would expect the Masher Song Book and style has changed over the years, moving from irreverent attempts at being a comic / also pretty folk duo to one best described as thrash folk with a political edge.  You’ll still find the odd folk standard in a full Masher show but their reputation was eventually built on their left of centre political songs, with a clear message from a range of writers.

It was following a trip to play at the Loftus Hiring Fair (now sadly defunct); and yes The Mashers had to travel that far to showcase their talents, that the idea of Acoustic Rotherham started to take root.  

Having seen so many really brilliant locally based and talented acts being reduced to only a couple of songs at a Folk Club or Open Mic Session, Dickie and Myke looked to creating a vehicle whereby that talent could be given thirty minutes to show off the full range of their skills.  And so Acoustic Rotherham was born in 2008.  

Acoustic Rotherham has grown to a point where Indie Acoustic Artists have range of facilities now available to them through this very Web Site.

In early 2009 The Mashers experimented with a third member when Stan Masher added his banjo to the sound mix.  It was an experiment that didn’t quite work out but it was fun to have him join us at Spratton and The 2009 Star Festival.

Up until October 2009 The Mashers continued to practice and hold the quarterly Acoustic Rotherham events at The Monkwood but because of it’s association with the BNP, a Political Party which they feel is not even worthy to be called a Political Party, The Mashers had to end it’s association.  This required changes with The Queens, on Kilnhurst Road Rawmarsh, becoming the home of Acoustic Rotherham and The Bridge, Rotherham the regular Masher practice venue.

The Mashers have never been slow at coming forward with their “Political” position.

But in the May of 2010 Myke Masher sadly died suddenly in his sleep.

Tributes to Myke and everything that you could wish to know about The Myke Barritt Music Trust, can be found HERE

It has taken a lot of thought and consideration by Dickie as to what to do.   Nothing would or could be the same following the loss of his nearest friend.   Yet the last thing Myke would have wanted was for Dickie to hang up his guitar.   

And so The Rawmarsh Mashers continue.  To the South Dickie is accompanied by his good friend Gary Emms, who provided sensational support at 2010 Worcester Music Festival and in the North Dickie alls upon anyone who happens to be handy, or if available for duty good friend Mr Phillip Hartley  This is one of the major advantages to having a repertoire that requires only four chords to play.

Recently Dickie renewed his collaboration with Keith for The Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival 2011.  Given that he had only one practice session to get up to speed Keith did fine job as a step in Masher and may make the occasional appearance in the future.  One might say a full circle has been turned.

More often than not around the Folk Clubs The Mashers apply the Royal “we” to their appearances.

AND SO A LEGEND CONTINUES

 

HOW - WHEN - AND WHY   LAST UPDATED - MARCH 2011

THE RAWMARSH MASHERS

 

 

 

A true “folkie” in his teenage years, Dickie could be found in any one of the numerous folk Clubs around his home town of Gosport, and being a true sea faring man he would often board the steam ferry to Portsmouth singing sea shanties, before hiding away in his Folkie hiding places.

A loose collaboration amongst three friends saw a folk group formed as a mirror image of The Kingston Trio, and Gigs were performed to little or no acclaim.  

And then real life got in the way.  Forced into accepting that even a budding star of the folk world needed an education Dickie headed for Ruskin College, Oxford, having won a Scholarship from his Trade Union USDAW.  And while Gosport and Portsmouth gave a collective sigh of relief that the strains of his nylon strings would not be heard again, it was suggested that Oxford was not quite ready for a wannabe Kingston Trio member.

The guitar was put aside, and even after conning Durham University into accepting his application the guitar, (except for low moments when the Leonard Cohen song book would be pulled out) stayed secure in it’s Gig Bag.

And so time passed and the guitar toured the UK, back to Gosport, over to Isle of Wight, Gosport again, Hereford, Worcester, Droitwich, Ledbury, Malvern, Pontefract, Swinton, Ackworth, Wath Upon Dearne, before coming to it’s final resting place of Rawmarsh.  

Never did the guitar see the light of day until one day an enquiring son asked for a demonstration.

And so it was that the dust was wiped away from Gig Bag the strings tightened into tune, and the wood polished.  It even played a tune, much to the delight of Dickie’s sons who not knowing any different were most impressed.

Encouraged, Dickie dug out the song books of The Spinners and Tom Paxton that he had stashed away on his book shelves, and the word “practice” was heard around the Masher residence.  

At around the same time Dickie was diagnosed as having MS.  Not wanting to give into what for some people is a terrible disabling condition, Dickie decided that the discipline of hand movement and brain thought required to even bash out the simplest song would help him to combat the pain and might even be therapeutic.

Up to this point all singing and playing had been reserved for the back bedroom, but bravely Dickie stepped out, taking his instrument to evening classes run by local guru Mark Hearne, and surprisingly the guitar started to sound a lot better.

Then one fateful day Mrs Masher decided that it would be nice to have drop blinds fitted to the windows of Masher Towers.  This brought Ken The Hat into Dickie’s life. First he convinced Mrs Masher that Dickie should visit a Monday night bash session, and then with a minimum of arm twisting dragged him off to The Rotherham Singers Club, held at the Rugby Club in the Town.

And from there it began.  For eighteen months Dickie tortured audiences at Open Mic sessions with his experiments with his favourite songs which he had found access to via the wonders of the internet. And then when feeling a little braver he found Keith Masher only too happy to join forces to see what they could do, with some notable performances at local Folk Clubs up until their parting of the way.

By then Dickie’s confidence had grown, and so when Myke Masher joined the party he was ready to take on the World......................   Well Rawmarsh at least.

Dickie plays a Taylor 810CE guitar - (just for all those trivia heads who like to know)

 

 

 

DICKIE MASHER.............  THE MOST FEARED VOICE IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE

 

 

 

Phillip Hartley has been the Northern Rawmarsh Masher and has been around the South Yorkshire Folk scene for more years than he cares to remember.  

Over recent years he has established himself as one of South Yorkshire’s finest contemporary song writers - so Dickie considers himself especially lucky to have secured his services for The Rawmarsh Mashers, as the stand in Mandola player  

You can read all about Phillip on his own page HERE   

MR PHILIP (MASHER) HARTLEY

 

 

And of course Mr Gary Emms - The Southern based Masher.

Gary was a good mate of Dickie in their youth when South Coast Folk Clubs were invaded by three lads from Gosport.

He went on to play with a number of Bands in the Midlands, Reading, and professionally as a duo with a young lady we don’t talk about.

He cannot believe that his main claim to fame is to be a Rawmarsh Masher...........   If only he fully appreciated what his musical apprenticeship was preparing him for.

MR GARY (MASHER) EMMS

 

 

Our Keith!! The very first Rawmarsh Masher wing man, although we never got to play together at a formal Gig until 2011, when he stood in at late notice to play The Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival.

Keith is not a well chap, but I hope we’ll share a few more stages over the months ahead.

MR KEITH (MASHER) NICKLIN

 

 

And yes a special mention for Muriel, the third and most important member of the duo.

Frowned on by the “clever” or those who just think that Dickie Masher is bone idle and does not practice enough, Muriel is essential.

As Dickie often says, “it’s bad enough singing these, let alone have to learn the!”

But the truth is:

Dickie has to take a range of drugs, which in their totality do have an adverse affect upon his mid-range memory, which means that while The Mashers do script in several Deliberate Mistakes into all their performances, just so that the purist folkies have something to tittle tattle about, there would be a lot more without it and that would spoil it all for everyone.  

Dickie also uses the stand to hold his reading matter of the day, for when the “Wing Man” goes off on one of his solo’s.  

So have a heart and don’t forget to give Muriel a big hand of applause.

MURIEL MASHER

AND MAC MASHER.......OHHHH

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Yes!!, on this page you’ll find out all about The Rawmarsh Mashers.  How they came to exist, a short potted history of their development and the musicians who have come to wear the Flat Cap of a Masher.

THE RAWMARSH MASHER PLAYS  HENRY BOONS WAKEFIELD  JANUARY 2011

 

CO-FOUNDER MYKE (MASHER) BARRITT

FIND OUT ABOUT THE MYKE BARRITT MUSIC TRUST HERE

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