Ely’s ‘Johnny Cashback’ Play Highpoint Prison

Ely-based Ca$hBack play the music of Johnny Cash and recently commemorated the 40th anniversary of the legendary Folsom Prison concert which took place on January 13th 1968 by playing a concert inside Highpoint Prison, Suffolk on January 13th 2008 – 40 years to the day after the original concert. The gig was a big success.


The Radio Interviews

There was tremendous media interest in the Highpoint concert. Here is a selection of the radio interviews.


Further band and booking information can be found on CA$HBACK’s website: johnnycashback.com

Folkin’ Hell 2.0 – It’s Festival Time

Fellow Folkster’s, the 22nd Ely Folk Festival begins this evening and once again Ely Online brings you a folk flavoured podcast in the spirit of the festival. This year we have added a lot of new folk spanning several folk genres such as Freak Folk, Weird America, Folk Rock, Folk Progressive, Psych-Folk. There are also some older songs though it is pretty hard to tell which is old and which new.

Now if only we could get Devendra Banhart, Adele or Lupen Crook at the 2008 Ely Folk Festival…


  1. Mud – Ivor Cutler
  2. A Silver Boot For Sam – Lupen Crook
  3. Son – Michaelangelo
  4. Little Emma’s Smile – Viking Moses!
  5. In Vain – Oliver
  6. All I Ever Wanted – Meg Baird
  7. Mama Wolf – Devendra Banhart
  8. Daydreamer – Adele
  9. Hard Times – Gob Iron
  10. Snakes In A Hole – Accolade 2
  11. Mouse Song – Faun Fables
  12. Boulders On My Grave – Mellow Candle
  13. Losing The Will To Survive – Findlay Brown
  14. You Never Wanted Me – Sandy Denny
  15. No Other Name – Peter, Paul & Mary
  16. Same Old Man – Holy Modal Rounders
  17. Tale From Black – Tunng
  18. Our Pasts, Like Lighthouses – Rock Plaza Central
  19. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream – Pete Seeger
  20. End Of A Holiday – Fairport Convention

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Sample 2007’s Folk Festival

If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for this year’s Ely Folk Festival then great news for you, the festival is going to be amazing this year, The Battlefield Band, Tin Tin Lady, Eddy Morton, Shooglenifty and much, much more.

Image: Ely Folk Podcast

Each year the festival just gets better than the last, with an impressive guest list and programme of workshops, concerts, displays, ceilidhs and children’s entertainment. The musicians appearing at the Ely Folk Festival reflect the rich diversity of the modern music scene, with a mixture of established favourites and newer talent.

The organisers are especially proud that the festival remains a small and friendly festival where you can meet the artists ‘unplugged’. You can take part in workshops, dances, sessions or perform in the Club Tent.

With less than a month before the festivities begin, Ely Online has created a special podcast to highlight the diversity of artists that represent this year’s Ely Folk Festival (July 2007).

Many thanks for all the artists that kindly allowed permission to use their tracks in this podcast.
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Crossland: No Place Like Home

Crossland and the Ely music scene 1989-1992
By Chris Williams

Ian Brown of the Stone Roses once remarked, “It’s not where you’re from (that matters) it’s where you at.” Well, I think he was half right. With Crossland it may have been more a case of, “You can take the band out of Ely. But you can’t take Ely out of the band”. We got close. But close to what?

Pump it up!

Image: Ely Band Crossland

Crossland were already established in Ely by the time I arrived from Cambridge in early 1989. Their formative EP releases, ‘In Your Hands’ and ‘In Shame’, had received a good local response so they were heading in the right direction even though they found themselves without a singer in the Spring of that year. They asked me to join and I thought, “Yeah, why not?”

In early 1989 there were a number of guitar bands (REM, the Pixies, House of Love, Wonderstuff) kicking out against a mainstream of advancing rave culture, depressing Stock Aitken Waterman pop pap and a quagmire of unmentionable bland brand names doing the stadium circuits. Plus ça change… So, on joining Crossland I thought, “Great, I’ve found a bona fide guitar band!” At last there was hope for the local music scene!
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Folkin’ Hell, It’s Festival Time

With the Ely Folk Festival 5 days away Ely Online decided to wet the appetite of our fellow folksters with ‘Folkin’ Hell’, a little mini-mix of some songs the guy’s at Ely Online really dig. All in an accoustic vein, some old, some new and some just so downright ocscure you never have heard of them!

Enjoy and get ready for Ely’s biggest festival of 2006! For full details you can read our Ely Folk Festival event listing or go to the official Ely Folk Festival website.

See you next weekend. John will have a Dragon Slayer and I a diet coke! **cough**, sorry I mean’t a ‘kilt lifter’!!

You can listen to the mix streamed online by pressing the play button below, broadband is your friend for this. If you don’t see the player below then you don’t have the Flash Player installed, that can be remedied by going here.



  1. Intro by Carol Batton
  2. Young Hearts Run Free – Nancy Wallace
  3. My Aunt Edna – Bonnie Koloc
  4. Bones For Doctor Swah – Wooden Wand
  5. Don’t Be Upset – Jeffrey & Jack Lewis
  6. Help Me Find Myself – Tudor Lodge
  7. Graveyard – Forrest
  8. Diamond Day – Vashti Bunyan

If you enjoyed the mix some feedback would be welcome. Thanks.

Another Late Night Mix #2

Image: Late Night Tales: Karl Bedingfield

Ely Online’s editor likes to mix and a few months ago completed yet another mix mix tape. He was was quite happy with the finished product and decided to make it available to the masses.

Karl had planned to release the mix last Christmas but just didn’t have the time, so once again presents you with my ‘Another Late Night Mix (Second Helpings) another mix that fits in nicely with the current staying-in-is-the-new-going-out trend in music. A trend that fits perfectly with Karl’s life as he seldom never goes clubbing these days and is more than happy to create a mix from the comfort of his home.

The mix has all Karl’s usual suspects; downtempo remixes, romantic pop, TV tunes, Motown, 60s gems and a little newness thrown in for good measure.
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Ely’s Forgotten Bands: Higher Breed

This feature was originally scheduled for inclusion in the 1st edition of a local magazine called Rhythm Town that John Glover and myself were to publish in 1991. Sadly the magazine progressed no further than a few interviews and some layouts. Recently I came across John’s interview with Ely band, Higher Breed. So published for the first time is that interview from August 1991. Karl Bedingfield

Image: Higher Breed

If you like gutsy vocals, graveyard guitar licks and hard, railroad drumming in your music, then you’d better listen to HIGHER BREED’S new demo, the unusually titled ‘Chunk, Moth And The Fat Controller’. It’s spilling over with all three. Rhythm Town meets the band and digs the new breed!

Of Ely’s new breed of guitar grinding rock bands, Higher Breed appear to be among the leading contenders. Raw and gutsy, they have been winning new fans from all over the Cathedral City. Formed in February 1990 by brothers Christian and Lindsey Blicken and bass player “Squadge”. At this stage none of the band could play their instruments, an attitude harking back to the “I can do that” stance of punk. The spirit of ’76, indeed!

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Raffle Shenanigans At Ely Charity Disco

Image: Lee Gillett

With no real news of any importance (parking debate & Mereham on hold here for a while) and January being the depressing post Christmas month it is; Ely Online decided to bring a little cheer to January 2006 by delving into the audio archives of Karl Bedingfield.

Ely Online came across the mixtapes of a charity disco Lee Gillett and myself (Karl Bedingfield) done on May 15th 1999 at Ely Rugby Club (an old haunt of ours from the early 80s). I was the Selector & Lee the MC, the disco was to help raise funds for a friend’s child who had autism.

The night was an absolute sell-out, Selector & MC were unstoppable, the dance floor was packed, the alcohol flowed freely and to raise additional funds raffle tickets were sold and the raffle draw was held at 10pm. Bad move. ‘F**k the raffle, we want to dance!’ – cue heckling and a very funny raffle draw courtesy of Lee Gillett.


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Ely’s Forgotten Bands: This Property Is Condemned

Ely Online has had a long association with many Ely bands over the last twenty years, some we were in, some were just good friends with, others we just dug! We thought it would be good to highlight some of these long forgotton bands by digging into our own press clippings and Ely Standard’s microfiche at Ely Library. So this is the first of an infrequent feature called ‘Ely’s Forgotten Bands’.

Image: This Property Is Condemned

To start off I decided to highlight my own little foray into 80s elctronica with a project called ‘This Property Is Condemned’. The project stems from the mid-80s and was a collaboration with John Glover.

I still recall the day I re-discovered early 80s electronic music, sure I had been aware of it since ’79 but being so heavily involved in the Mod revival from 1979-1984 I dismissed any other music that didn’t conform to my version of mod and that included just about everything! Personally I blame Paul Haig for my departure from the mod way of life – one Friday evening while watching a long forgotten Channel 4 show called ‘The Switch’ I saw Paul Haig performing ‘Blue For You’, this guy had the most amazing haircut, he looked cool and the music was amazing! Soon after this life changing encounter I brought a Roland SH101 and a Boss DR-110 Dr. Rhythm Graphic drum machine (buying the drum machine and synth actually led me to joining another Ely band called Fearful Wedding but thats another story) and borrowed a Fostex X-15 multitrack recorder. I convinced John to put down a couple of vocals and what resulted was a few tracks that bacame a tape demo called ‘The Guff’ which got the attention of Ely Standard’s Lee Smith who wrote the following feature…

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The Ely Online Christmas 2005 Mini-Mix

Image: Happy Xmas

The Xmas spirit hasn’t really grabbed Ely Online this year, something to do with the major chains ramming Christmas down our throats in late October (Tesco, Woolworths, Waitrose are you listening?). Ely Online decided to inflict further misery on you in the form of a hastily arranged 12 minute mini-mix conveniently titled ‘The Ely Online Christmas 2005 Mini-Mix’.

You can listen to the mix streamed online by pressing the play button below, broadband is your friend for this. If you don’t see the player below then you don’t have the Flash Player installed, that can be remedied by going here.


You can also download the complete mix at 192kbps (16mb).
This download is now offline, you can still stream above.


  1. Intro by Bruce Willis
  2. Hark The Herald Angels Sing – Sufjan Stevens
  3. Silent Night – Nathan Fake
  4. Winter Wonderland (Bent Remix) – Bing Crosby
  5. Snow Story (KB Moonlighting Remix) – Opiate
  6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland
  7. Outro by Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd

If you enjoyed the mix some feedback would be welcome. Thanks.

As one newspaper put it recentely, ‘Christmas; a hateful faux-Christian festival primarily used to generate sales in the High Street’. Anyway, to all a very merry Christmas!

In January 2006 there will be a new ‘Back To Mine’ mixtape featuring some of my favourite tunes – new and old classics. Stay tuned

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The Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

Image: Hurricane Katrina

Technology and wealth are no match for the forces of nature. I had originally decided against writing anything about the Katrina hurricane disaster that hammered the US Gulf coast. I tend to write and put a satirical or humorous twist on things, but I find nothing at all humorous about the disaster or the events as they have played out during the past few weeks.

And even if this is devoid of things mirth worthy, there is plenty of irony and “funny hows.”? Funny as in sad, tragic.

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Ely Folk Weekend Review 2005

Image: Folk Boy Three

Once again the Ely Online Folk Boy Three (plus new recruit, Holly), got our yearly dose of Folk Music at the 20th Ely Folk Weekend. I was there to provide the words, Karl the pictures, Holly the spangly hats and Lee the musician’s eye view of the proceedings.

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Ely’s Forgotten Bands: The Approachable Pigeons

Image: John Glover and Lee Gillett

In 1982 Lee Gillett and John Glover formed a band – The Approachable Pigeons. Multi instrumentalist Lee had previously played in Herod’s Race, Wild Party Productions and other bands on the local scene. John had shouted for another local band, The Sokkets, and continued to write dodgy lyrics in his bedroom whilst listening to Elvis Costello and The Jam. John takes up the story:

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Karl’s ‘Another Late Night’ Mix Tape

Image: Late Night Tales: Karl Bedingfield

Ely Online’s editor (that’s me) likes to mix and a few weeks ago did a mix tape for a friend. He was was quite happy with the finished product and decided to make it available to the masses.

You can listen to the mix streamed online by pressing the play button below, broadband is your friend for this. If you don’t see the player below then you don’t have the Flash Player installed, that can be remedied by going here.


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The Radio One Experience With Crossland

Image: Crossland 1989

In 1990, Crossland, were one of Ely’s most popular bands with a loyal local following and they were starting to attract attention nationally.

March 31st, 1991 sees the band in the final of the Radio One sponsored national band competition, ‘Hit The Write Note’, as a result of that Crossland were invited to join Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw on the Radio One Roadshow for one week in July.

One year later the band split and their final album remains unreleased, but thats another story.

Published for the first time is former vocalist, Chris Williams experiences of that exceptional week in July.

The Crossland Radio One Roadshow Diaries

It was Liz Kershaw’s idea. She suggested it and who were we to argue? And by the end of July, we needed a holiday anyway – the English south coast seemed as good as… well good enough for us and imagine playing to all those people we thought, in the sun, by the sea – everyday?! We didn’t think of the effect fried breakfasts and dinners everyday for a week would have on us, though. Or the stretched nylon bedsheets which doubled up as curtains in some of the B&B;s. Nor did we think of the unrelenting tide of day-glow leisurewear that relentlessly battered the subtle colours of the sea into submission almost everywhere you looked. But that’s all part and parcel of life at the English seaside resort, isn’t it? What we came down for was to see how this roadshow worked. We learnt a few things along the way too…

Image: Crossland

Sunday 28th July 1991

Setting: The inside of a transit.

After a five-hour journey in the back of a van loaded with equipment, spar underwear, and eight sweaty bodies, we arrived on the Isle Of White and booked into a place called ‘Marine Villa’ (well it was either that or ‘Sunny Meadows’ – take your pick)

Later on we spent a couple of hours searching for the hotel where all the Radio One bigwigs were staying, to find out where they wanted us to do it the following day. We bumped into Malcolm Brown, the show’s producer in the hotel bar, and filled us in on the details as we sat around just nodding politely in agreement with almost everything he muttered in his thick Mersey accent: ‘Mmmm… now you’ve got your reel-to-reel tapes, lads?’ (Nods all around) ‘So it’s just yer vocal that is going out live?’ (Vigorous nods!) Mmmm… Now you’re to be there by, mmm, approximately Nine O’ clock etc etc’. More nodding, more handshakes and out we went into the Sandown nightlife, which were a few beers and an Indian!

Lesson No. 1: Don’t go to Sandown for entertainment unless you’re there to see Rolf Harris.

Monday 29th July 1991

Setting: A grass common by the seafront, Sandown, Isle Of White.

Perched on top of a Roadshow mobile, with the wind rushing up your shorts, the experience of miming to our songs was rather isolating at 10:30 the following morning. Looking down and around us were a sea of babies, children, mums, dads, uncles and auntie’s, gazing up at us squinting in the sun. What the hell must they be thinking? I mean we’re not exactly the usual ‘top pop celebs’ this sort of audience would expect to see. Mild paranoia set in as I looked around to see the rest of the band miming hopelessly out of time as the wind took what could hear of ourselves straight across the English Channel.

What the hell must they be thinking? I mean we’re not exactly the usual ‘top pop celebs’

My fears were unfounded when we climbed down off the trucks with the aid of an electrically motorised elevator, there were comments from an enthused young budding muso journalist: ‘Yeah, well I’ve seen Chapterhouse and you’re better than them’ And a girl said: ‘Yeah me and me friend really liked you in Weymouth and… I’d love to ‘ave one of your T-shirts but I haven’t got any money on me!?’ This was encouraging, obviously we hadn’t totally blown it. And it’s not everyone who gets to share a mob of unruly autograph hunters with Level 42, now is it?!

Lesson No. 2: Everyone at a Roadshow loves a freebie.

Tuesday 30th July 1991

Setting: The inside of the van again with a view of traffic chaos in Bournemouth.

Tempers begin to fray, but in the capable hands of Andy, our driver, we move swiftly out ‘through the corners and the hills’ into… Weymouth. Something called ‘festival week’ brings the world, his wife and children into this part of the world at this time of the year. Why? We never found found out, but luckily for us we had already booked our B&B’s, giving us plenty of time to visit Weymouth’s very own Mrs Miggin’s pie shop. Twice we visited their delightful premises and twice we were defeated by the awesome volume of thick crusts, stodgy fillings and mouth sticking milkshakes. Make no mistake, Weymouth and it’s peculiar brand of ‘pie shops’ are big business.

Lesson 3: Book early! And never bite off more than you can chew.

Wednesday 31st July 1991

Setting: On the beach, on the ‘mainstage’ of the Roadshow, and ‘on air’ in more ways than one.

Looking at more people in one place than I ever would have believed possible. Wow! By now we’d done the Roadshow apprenticeship and found ourselves using all the old ropes that were predictable but nonetheless extremely effective on stage. If Smiley Miley could use the same tricks everyday, and Bruno Brookes could repeat his terrible jokes from town to town, then why couldn’t we get the crowd to singalong to our songs, scream when we jumped off the stage towards them, and even let them win one of our T-shirts?! Well, we did.

Later on we made the routine the routine rounds of the nightlife but we were rejected from one night-club because of our unsuitable attire. ‘Even if we’re with the Radio One Roadshow?’ bassman Psyche enquired. They let him in.

Lesson No. 4: If someone’s got a good idea use it.
Lesson No. 4b: If someone doesn’t like the way you look, tell them you’re with the Roadshow!

Thursday 1st August 1991

Setting: Torquay, the ‘English Riviera’

After hours of running up and down garden paths looking for a place to stay, we found a landlady called Maureen who befriended Sean (our road crew!) and told us it was very exciting to have a ‘rock band’ staying with her, adding that we could do anything we wanted to as long as we closed our doors. So we gave our underwear a good airing and smoked some cigarettes we’d brought with us. Planned to go swimming but there was too much seaweed about. We played football on the beach but didn’t header the ball as it was a bit too sandy.

Lesson 5: Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Friday 2nd August 1991

Setting: On a park near the beach in Torquay, where thousands of people were busy congregating, again.

Earlier on in the week Malcolm Brown had told us that this week should be just good fun and that everything should run just as smoothly as possible. Well he was right on both counts. The organisation was slick and the Roadshow roadcrew were always willing to help anyone: whether it was swapping the order of our songs around on the reel-to-reel or carrying somebody’s lost baby for half an hour, they did it.

Even the infernal pre-recorded intro – ‘and nowww, live froomm Torquay, Bruno aaandd Lizzz!’ – which they played five times every morning as a warm up – became totally acceptable because it worked so well. And it was Smiley Miley who turned out to be the real winner of the Roadshow, because thousands of people would queue to buy his damn Radio One T-shirts. Even Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw’s theatre world worked because they were acting like a 20th century Punch and Judy, a well rehearsed comical formula.

Lesson No. 6 Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.

Saturday 3rd August 1991

Setting: The interior of a van which we knew pretty well y now, followed by a ‘homecoming’ gig at the blessed Alma Brewery in Cambridge.

Where were all the screaming girls? The prams? And the celebrities? Not here at any rate.

As Level 42’s Mark King said when he took one look inside our van ‘Ah, those were the days!’

And whilst that mean mother of a Roadshow went onward, sucking up every young person it came across along the length and breadth of Britain we felt like we were – a small cog in a well-oiled and thoroughly successful bit of business machinery, and if they used us then we certainly used them for all we could. But in the midst of it all, everybody really did have a ‘goodtime’, because as Level 42’s Mark King said when he took one look inside our van ‘Ah, those were the days!’

Lesson No. 7: Have a good time while you can. We did!


Ely Online has found an old audio tape of Crossland performing on the Radio One roadshow. It was taken from the mix desk and gives a little insight to the pre-show before going live on air.