Mrs. Raven has now retired, but mike raven’s music books and cds are still available and can be ordered by e-mail, eve raven

The year 1960 saw the folk revival, and in 1963/64 Michael (Mike) Raven and his brother Jon who were living in Wolverhampton at the time decided to research the folklore and songs of the Black Country and the Birmingham conurbation. They set off with tape recorders and microphones and visited every town in the black country, Dudley, Tipton, Brierley Hill, Upper and Lower Gornal, Wednesfield, (Wedgefield) Wednesbury (Wedgebury), , Walsall, Rugeley, Darlaston, Quarry Bank, Netherton, Hednesford and as far as Oldbury near Birmingham. They uncovered a plethora of folk song ranging from pastoral ballads, (Jolly Joe the Collier’s Son) to songs about pugilism, dog fighting, bull baiting, wife selling, cock fighting. To which Michael fitted many fine tunes – i.e. The Boxing Match, The Wedgefield (Wednesfield) Wake, Wedgebury Cocking, The Darlaston Dog Fight, to mention but a few. They put their collection into two volumes called the Folklore and Songs of the Black Country.
After which they decided to form a folk group, they were joined by very talented flautist Derek Craft, a Kneller Hall trained musician, and fluent in Swahili! The trio became known as The Black Country Three, surprisingly. Their popularity spread very quickly and TV appearances and radio broadcasts followed, also folk festivals and tours of Europe. They went on to open the Wolverhampton Folk Song club at the Queens hotel in Wolverhampton, which was a very popular venue, in fact there are copies of a vinyl EP still available published by Wolverhampton Folk Song club.

Sadly in 1985 Michael was diagnosed as being diabetic and by 2004 was told by the doctors he would need a kidney transplant. A friend of long standing stepped up offering to donate a kidney, and after various tests we were ‘told’ the skin and blood type matched and the transplant operation could go ahead. However, by 2007 the donation was still not forthcoming and out of desperation he signed over the deeds of a 19th century stone cottage with acreage in Shropshire to the would be donor which was in my name: “The donation” had come at a price! Michael breathed his last at 5.40 p.m. on the 15th April 2008 after having gone through a below knee amputation of his left leg.
I cannot say he died because he lives on in my heart and memories, and in his vast music legacy.

“Champagne for my true friends. Pain for my sham friends”
… Francis Bacon

Eve Raven
midnights2

An English Collection for Guitar

Price: £5.75