Before I look forward to next week, I think it is worth reprising an item from my last column that makes this Saturday (April 6) a special, and rather unique one, for the townsfolk of Wrexham who will remember one of their own in a day long festival and celebration of his life.

The event, on Saturday (April 6), is the Tom Jones Festival, the celebration of the life of a remarkable local man. Tom Jones, a miner from Rhos, who spent 14 years hewing the 'black gold' down the pits of Hafod, Vauxhall and Bersham. Tom walked out of his home one day in 1936 to, allegedly, go to Colwyn Bay but his 'day trip' turned out to be a bit longer than anybody thought! He travelled to France and then on to Spain to join the International Brigades fighting General Francisco Franco in the infamous Spanish Civil War. It was a brave but, ultimately, futile struggle and many volunteers from Britain (including over 200 from Wales) never returned to the Land of their Fathers. However, Tom did, despite being wounded, captured and sentenced to 30 years in prison, although the government of the day negotiated his release in 1940.Upon returning to this country he went on to become a full-time trade union official in the Shotton area, until he retired in 1973. He was also instrumental in forming the TUC in Wales and, true to his beliefs became a champion of the working people, continuing to fight injustices wherever and whenever he found them. This unassuming man from a working-class background of sweat and toil died in 1990, a proud Welshman but also a true Internationalist, after a long and selfless life devoted to his fellow working man. That trip to 'the seaside' was certainly no picnic but it was to change his life forever.

Now, after all these years, the town of his birth pays its own tribute starting with a march from Queen's Square around the town backed by the Cumbria Band, followed by an afternoon of music, talks and discussions at Ty Pawb before concluding with an evening of music from local and International artistes at the same venue. Tom would have also been pleased that this is a free event open to all regardless of class or creed.

On the same evening (April 6) anyone wishing to exercise their itching feet can go along to a Ceilidh hosted by the Time Bandits at Burton & Rosset Village Hall at 7.30pm. All money raised will be donated to the Village Hall restoration fund and tickets, at £12 each, include hot food. There is also a licensed bar and you can book by phoning 01244 571264.

Finally, this weekend, fans of the brilliant singer songwriter Steve Tilston, whose songs have been covered and recorded by many of his contemporaries, including Fairport Convention, should phone Nick or Chris now on 01244 677212/01244 343788 if they want to secure a ticket (£10) to see his performance at the Raven Folk Club, the Bear & Billet, Bridge Street, Chester on Sunday (April 7) at 8pm.

Moving into next week, one of my favourite singer songwriters, the charismatic, Irishman Anthony John Clarke, is at Runcorn Folk Club, Runcorn Golf Club, Clifton Road, Runcorn on Monday (April 8) at 8.30pm. Anthony has written some great songs, from his early experiences of the troubles in Northern Ireland to more tongue-in-cheek offerings, and performs his sets with a large dose of Irish charm and gentle humour. Admission, at £5, is payable on the night.

Now, to the excellent Mucky Duck Folk Club, Ewloe Social Club, Old Chester Road, Ewloe that also takes place on Monday (April 7) at 8pm. The guest duo of Norman Prince and Paul Williams are rare visitors to the area although, in the case of the former, he will be no stranger. Norman was, for years lead singer and resident funny man with the Houghton Weavers. He left several years ago to pursue a successful broadcasting career so, it is a treat indeed to see him treading the boards again. Tickets will, I believe be like gold dust for this one, so I recommend that you phone Paddy now on to book yours.

Strangely enough, the Houghton Weavers will be appearing in the area later in the week when they perform the guest spot at the Hungry Horse Acoustic, Whitby Club, Chester Road, Ellesmere Port at 8pm. Tickets for this one may already be sold out but if you phone John Owens now on 0151 678 9902, you may just be lucky.

In the Parish Notices this week, a heads up on some gigs next weekend that you might like to put in your diaries. On Friday (April 12) Soundbox continue their Chester music promotions with Gilmore & Roberts at The Lock Keeper, Canalside, Frodsham Street, Chester at 7.30pm. Phone 01244 342468 for tickets (£14) and more information. On the same evening (April 12), at Rhyl Folk Club, Tynewydd Community Centre, Coast Road, Rhyl, the Anglo-Irish band, Wet the Tea, fresh from their EP launch in Chester recently, are the club's guests at 8pm.

Finally, last, but by no means least, the legend that is Tom Paxton has a mini tour of the UK starting with two gigs next weekend. I know people who would, literally, travel anywhere to see hm, and I count myself among there number, so, I will not restrict myself to local areas on this occasion. Tom is in Glasgow at the New Auditorium Concert Hall on Saturday (April 13) at 7.30pm and at The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendall, Cumbria on Sunday (14) at 7. 30pm.He will be accompanied on this tour by The Donjuans (Don Henry and Jon Vezner) adding their own material as well as accompaniment to Tom's songs. I was lucky to catch Tom on his last solo tour of the UK a couple of years ago, in Shrewsbury, when he swore that he "was done touring". However, you can't keep a good man down and, believe me, he is still one of the best.

I will give you more information on his remaining concert dates in next week's column but. In the meantime, whatever you do and wherever you go, enjoy your music.

By D.C.M.