Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Last Thing on my Mind

How about this for a kicking-off song. ("When in doubt, do Paxton," my mentors used to say!) We've all done it over the years, it's a good song, and only three chords.

The Last Thing on my Mind
(Tom Paxton)

It's a lesson too late for the learning,
Made of sand, made of sand.
In the wink of an eye my soul is turning,
In your hand, in your hand.
Are you going away with no word of farewell?
Will there be not a trace left behind?
Well, I could have loved you better,
Didn't mean to be unkind.
You know that was the last thing on my mind.

You've got reasons a-plenty for going,
This I know, this I know.
For the weeds have been steadily growing,
Please don't go, please don't go.

As we walk, all my thoughts are a-tumbling,
Round and round, round and round.
Underneath our feet the subways rumbling,
Underground, underground.

As I lie in my bed in the morning,
Without you, without you,
Every song in my breast dies a borning,
Without you, without you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Being the 19th of December 2008...

That's it for another year...
It went quite well really...
and nobody had to die...

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen: David & Full Cast
Dinah, Villikins and the Glass of Cold Poison: Bill 1:1
The Lambskin Carol: Jenny
Oikan Anis Bethlehem: Colin
Walking in a Winter Wonderland: Berry
Santa Baby: Maggie
Wasselling: Anne/John
The Little Drummer Boy: Lynda
Mary's Boy Child: Anne/Alan
Gather Round the Family: Ken
White Christmas: Margaret/Eddie
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Jane/Dave
The Coventry Carol: Mave
A Gay Cowboy: Bill 1:2
3 Steps to Heaven: Paul
Silent Night: Lucy
Mary's Boy Child (take 2): Phine
Cabaret: Brenda/Berry
A German Poem: Allis
Sweet Little Mystery: David
When Shall We Get Married?: Jenny/Bill 1:1
A Whaling Song: John
Good King Wenceslas: Margaret/Eddie
In the Bleak Midwinter: Anne/Alan
A Hebrew Song: Allis
A City Called Heaven: Jane/David
The King of Rome: Lucy
A Song Form Singapore: Phine
Heart of My Heart: Berry
A Fine Romance: Brenda/Berry
I Don't Know Why I Love You (But I do): Bill 1:2
Blue Christmas: Ken/Berry/Paul
His Eye is on The Sparrow: Paul
The King: Colin & Full Cast.

Best wishes to all from Linda, tiny Tim (who will be reduced to eating his boots this Yuletide...) and myself...

Your Genial Host,
(Now where did I put my Hardcore Gangsta Rap Xmas In The Hood Karaoke Party C.D. ?)

Friday, December 19, 2008

You know what I think of parody


Monday, December 15, 2008

The King

The 'Souper Singers' will remember this from last year:

Joy, health, love and peace
Be all here in this place.
By your leave we will sing
Concerning our King.

Our King is well-dressed
In silks of the best,
In ribbons so rare:
No King can compare.

We have travelled may miles
Over hedges and stiles
In search of our King,
Unto you we bring.

We have powder and shot
To conquer the lot;
We have cannon and ball
To conquer them all.

O, Christmas is past;
Twelfth tide is the last.
We bid you adieu.
Great joy to the new.

I recognise that the final verse is a little premature for the season, but, hey-ho, so what?

Dolittle Sporadical... (01)

Gremlin Done Got Ma Song - Nartmean?

The following scenario might ring bells with you. (They're making me deaf, you know..)
You fall for a song. If it's simple and good enough to require no fancy dancing, you think just maybe you could D.I.Y. You have a stab at it and - yes! O frabjous day! Callooh, Callay!
So - you deconstruct it, absorb it and rebuild it as a little part of you. Rather like turning streaky bacon into acne, only a bit nicer. Perhaps more like watching Gene Kelly dance, and turning the memory into a wisp more elegance in your own walk.
You play it 'til it dances too. Then you think your pals down the club might enjoy it as well. Just to be sure, you dance with it a few more times until you're both Wonderfully Tired, and soon you take it out to play.
Club night. Your turn. My new friend and I will dance for you.
Then comes that scratchy, sniggering, mean little sound from under the table. It's the Gremlin. Gremlin doesn't like you dancing. He enjoys seeing you fall flat on your face. Out with Gene Kelly, in with John Sergeant.
No, sod you, Gremlin. I can do this.
Gremlin says no. Gremlin has ways of making it no.
There's the lost chord trick. Perhaps there's a slightly unusual sequence of chords in the song. At home, you persuaded them to tumble 'neath your touch like a stoned nurse in a distant summer meadow. (Oh do stop it, Dolittle - why must you torture yourself so?..) He plucks the middle clean out of your train, and the rest of the sequence falls like a house of cards. Plop plop ploppity plop. The vicious little sod's way ahead of you. You very hate him.
Perhaps you can hastily nail together enough cards to carry on. Don't worry - he has more in his bum-bag..
There's the Evaporating Word Game. He generally likes to let you get a little way into the song, then he'll take a zap at a few. And they're gone. Like rounding a corner to revisit an old home, and wallop. Some bugger's demolished it. There's just a gaping hole, a wisp of dust and the muttered (exasperated expletive, four letters, rhymes with "luck". Which is running out.) I'm getting cross now, Gremlin.
One more trick. (He has plenty, but you're probably getting the gist now..) It's Frighten the Fingers. Your head doesn't seem to be panicking (though the room is getting a little woolly..) but suddenly your fingers clearly are. Your head still knows which chord you want them to play, and how to make it, but your poor wretched finger are now locked grotesquely in a rabbit-in-the-headlights impression. And now you just want to cry.
Why, Gremlin, oh bloody why? Is it Karma? Have i been that bad? Well alright, yes, obviously - but I thought I'd been punished already. (See the scar tissue, Janet. Bloody hell, John..) Besides, it's not just me, is it? He creeps right round the table, doesn't he? And you never know quite when he's going to get you, do you? It's Hallowe'en all year...
(Mummy, I've scared myself again. Save your whimpering breath, Dolittle. Mummy's ashes just don't seem to care..)
So what can we do about it? How might we play Splat the Gremlin? Smear the door and window frames with turmeric in old lard or some such? Ritually sacrifice a bailiff? (There come from the same place, you know..) Dance naked upon the table, smearing each other with holy baby oil? ("K.Y. Jelly - for the woman who married for money..")
Oh, for pity's sake, Dolittle. I'm not telling you again. Your eyesight's bad enough already. Besides, on second thoughts...
Thus and so and that - in conclusion: I dunno, innit. Hey-ho and on we go..


Still awake, Dolittle? - O.K. then..

Re, the Greene King's post, Nov 24th:
Notwithstanding the appalling image which I risk conjuring by speaking of "Berry" and "The Rhythm Method" in the same sentence, I am sufficiently pernicketily inclined to opine that it is not the actual pulse of the piece of music, nor even subtle variations in its frequency, which gives the music its groove, danceability or general boinginess. This is surely achieved by cross-rhythms and syncopations weaving themselves through and around the basic pulse. (This mayor may not involve the whacking of a Hi-Hat. It doesn't really matter. No really.)
Unmitigated Pulsing is generally a Bad Thing (as every Nun no..) When urgent and rapid - as may be winced at when thudding from (a) night-clubs or (b) Young Person's Twatmobiles - it merely engenders (a) youthy mating rituals, or (b) James Dean memorial driving. Both are to be avoided like the Poison Toad (-no names, no pack-drill...). When more ponderous (and even very slightly varied in frequency..), it leads to that Marching business, which is even more sinister. Only syncopation can set the toes a twinklin' and the ass a-shakin'. (Do you read me, Founding Father?..)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Being the 12th of December 2008...

Songs from the City Folk Club Cryogenic Suspension Laboratory...

Banks of the Ohio: Paul+Full Cast
Pleasant and Delightful: Colin
Just a Closer Walk With Thee: Berry
Combing the Main: John
I Want To Marry a Lighthouse Keeper: Yvonne
On Christmas Day: Mike
Dancing With You: Eddie
Song To The Siren: Jane/Dave
The Happy Wanderer: Ray
Wall of Death: Mike
What Have They Done to the Rain? : Bill 1:2
Dela and the Dealer: Paul
George Fox: Ken
Hazy Jane Pt 1: David
Cold Winter is Come: Colin
I'll See You In My Dreams: Berry
Lakes of Coolfinn: John
Do You Remember? : Yvonne/Mike
Drift From the Land: Eddie
Wildwood Flower: Jane/Dave
Fields of Athenry: Ray
You and Me: David
Froggy Went A-Courting: Mike
Running Scared: Bill 1:2
Your Mother and I: Paul
The Hard-Times of Old England: Ken

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Banks of the Ohio....

(Note gender substitution...)

I asked my love to take a walk, 

To take a walk, just a little walk,
Down beside where the waters flow,
Down by the banks of the Ohio.

And only say that you'll be mine,

In no other arms entwine, 

Down beside where the waters flow,

Down by the banks of the Ohio.

I held a knife against his breast,

As into my arms he pressed.

He cried, "My love, don't you murder me; 

I’m not prepared for eternity!”

And only say that you'll be mine,

In no other arms entwine,

Down beside where the waters flow, 

Down by the banks of the Ohio.

I started home 'twixt twelve and one.

I cried, "My God! What have I done?

Killed the only man I loved, 

He would not take me for his bride.”

And only say that you'll be mine, 

In no other arms entwine,
Down beside where the waters flow, 

Down by the banks of the Ohio.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Boar's Head Carol

Forget the unauthentic introductory and concluding "Nowell-s". This is how it might sound, but we'll do it better!

Didn't you get Dizzy following that fool around the hall?
Perhaps Berry will crawl around under the table again!
Here are the lyrics as published by Queen's College, Oxford in 1521:

The boar's head in hand bear I,
Bedecked with bays and rosemary.
I pray you, my masters, be merry,
Quot estis in convivio.
(so many as are in the feast)

Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino.

Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino.

(the boar's head I bring, giving praises to God)

The boar's head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all this land,
Which, thus bedecked with a gay garland,
Let us servire cantico.
(let us serve with a song)

Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino.

Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino.

Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of bliss,
Which, on this day to be serv-ed is
In Reginensi atrio.
(in the Queen's hall)

Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino.

Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes domino.

For our purposes the boar's head will be represented by sausage rolls and ham sandwiches. Several fools may be present.

Being the 5th of December 2008...

A record of our evening of hypnotic entrancement and whirling ecstasies:

She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain: Eddie & Full Cast
Who's the Fool Now?: Colin & Full Cast
My Flower, My Companion & Me: Eddie
Prab So Nol: John
Little Donkey: Yvonne/Mike
Townes Blues: Jane/Dave
Diago's Bold Shore: Anne
Memories Are Made of This: Berry
All of Me: Brenda/Berry
I'm Gonna Have it All Someday: Mike
My El Dorado: Mave
After Me: Maggie
Meet Me On the Corner: Lynda/Paul
Anything That's Part of You: Paul
Scarboro' Fayre: Colin
Freight Train: David & Full Cast
Dancing With You: Eddie
Hug Her Close: John
Halcyon Days: Yvonne/Mike
Sea of Love: Jane/Dave
Lord Gregory: Anne
So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad): Berry
Any Time: Brenda/Berry
Galway Girl: Mike
The Seasons of the Year: Mave
The Wife of Usher's Well: David
Here, There and Everywhere: Lynda
Take These Chains From My Heart: Paul
Parting Song: Colin

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bill 1:1 writes...

A lot of people think I don't look at the blog. Generally they're right. I expect they think I should be working on a Friday afternoon, and they're right about that too. So that's what I'm going to do.

Bill (Fiddling Bill, that is).

Beresford Green Speaks (Eleventh Fit)....

Hello everybody!

What a week that was! Fortunately, we were to have another super fun night on the Friday which I hope sets the end to all unpleasantness within our club. That said, some of you will wonder why I would choose to write the stuff that follows. To those who don't know why I say: - "ask questions."

I would like to place it on record that I will not countenance deep criticisms of ANY {not just The Regnum}, club organisers, and I'll tell you why. Over the years I have come to respect the people whose unstinting weekly support is the glue which binds together any club. They may not always be the most exhilarating performers, yet it is their tenacity that makes sure there's a club there to go to. It's very easy to just pop in with the odd perfect offering, then to disappear again for weeks until another gem has been perfected. Any club needs a hard core of regular support.

There have always been "difficulties" of one sort & another. Performers tend to have enormous egos, which fact steers them around any need to feel nervous when they perform. Once the "look at me" opportunity is presented, it is somewhat important to try & deliver something worthwhile. Most folk recognise genuine endeavour intuitively. Things can, & do, go wrong of course. Once in a while is acceptable & normal. It happens to nearly everyone. Unfortunately, there are some souls who labour under a good deal of delusion, thinking that their audience just can't get enough of them, whatever they do. Since we applaud everything there is little measure of feedback for them to draw on. Just subtle nuances like "Get Orf!" - if Ken is there of course.

These same souls are always at the front of any issue offering their wisdom as a sort of indisputable guidance. They are the same people that would invite themselves to any party and then start to dictate how that party is to be run. Confident is an understatement! And neither is this condition just for the foolish or the ignorant. Unfortunately, our society has spent a lot of its time & money upon lateral thinking schemes that don't work! As a result several words have assumed new definitions, giving rise to confusion.

As far as I'm concerned, and I hope at least some others would agree, I'd like to see us, as a nation if not species, draw back & reconsider what intelligence really is. One thing to question is whether education has any more than a tenuous connection. It's what you do with it that counts. Knowledge & learning by itself, and for its own sake, has little value. For that reason alone, some thought ought to be given to the time & expense spent in acquiring such learning. It works in the same way as the artist who must decide what to do with his various paints. A monkey (sorry to use you mate because that just isn't fair), a monkey or small child can ride a bike over the grease and by chance produce a worthwhile piece of work, - by chance! That is not intelligence at work now is it-eh? So why value it as that? Chance plays a part in informing us, but surely it's our intellect that must recognise it and decide on its value. I have just met too many who seem to think that their education gives them the right to pronounce over everything. It doesn't. One must be prepared to read between the lines as well as the lines themselves. There could be another agenda.

For the sake of peace we sometimes elect to skirt around difficult issues. "I'm sorry that I didn't turn up, the clock stopped." This is what happens in the folk clubs. It may become obvious that there is insufficient time to give everyone a (second) turn. The tendency then is to use "Buggins turn" precisely until the clock runs out. That least offends those that were missed, because the clock can be blamed. There's another popular method that is often used. Everyone gets offered a spot in the first round, but on the second pass, the MC dots around, trying to produce the best available evening of entertainment. This can, & as we have recently seen, put him/her in a very difficult position, if it is one of the very egotistical that is missed out. The backlash can be staggering.

A better, but much more complex idea is to use the nomination scheme. The MC may kick this off. Before he starts his song he nominates who will follow on. In their turn each one does the same thing. Some MC's will say that no-one can be nominated more than once in a round, - until that is, everyone has had another go. The result is that the most popular acts get selected. There's more! A subliminal message is sent to those whose contributions find less favour. There is natural selection at work. Darwin would surely approve. Perhaps you can dream up some alternative schemes. Electronics & computers spring immediately to mind. So too does nausea!

A couple of little whispers in my ear are saying that my light fluffy writing style is difficult to read. It wouldn't be hard to do a better job than me and I'm sure David would welcome any new inputs. If you don't - I may be forced to this more serious style AGAIN next time. So get writing!

For the moment, let Brenda & me wish all the folk a very happy Xmas & New Year. I have some spare tablets if you need them!


It is the 5th of December and this means that Krampus will be about...
So lock up any tiny children you may have before venturing out to the club this evening...
(As ever, I'd suggest putting your stray children in a cupboard...)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Freight Train...

In C, David at the engine...
(The astute among you may notice that the version I've got is somewhat different to Elizabeth Cotten's version...)

[C]Freight train, Freight train, [G7]goin' so fast,
Freight train, Freight train, [C]goin' so fast,
[E7]Please don't tell what [F]train I'm on
So they [C]won't know [G7]where I'm [C]gone.

Freight train, Freight train, goin' round the bend,
Freight train, Freight train, comin' back again,
One of these days turn that train around
And go back to my home town.

One more place I'd like to be,
One more place I'd lie to see,
To watch them old Blue Ridge Mountains climb,
When I ride old number nine.

When I die Lord, Bury me deep,
Down at the end of Chestnut street,
Where I can hear old number nine
As she comes down the line.

Freight train, Freight train, goin' so fast,
Freight train, Freight train, goin' so fast,
Please don't tell what train I'm on
So they won't know where I'm gone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wha's Fu the Noo?

(That's how it would be if Robert Burns had written it.)

Here's another one for the CFC Song Book. (Published by Thomas Ravenscroft in 1609)

Who's the Fool Now?

Martin said to his man
Fie, man, fie
Martin said to his man
Who’s the fool now?
Martin said to his man
Fill thou the cup and I the can
Thou hast well drunken man
Who’s the fool now?

I saw the Man in the Moon ....
Cloutin’ of Saint Peter’s shoon ....

I saw a goose ring a hog ....
And a snail bite the dog ....

I saw the hare chase the hound ....
Forty miles above the ground ....

I saw the mouse chase the cat ....
And the cheese eat the rat ....

I saw a maid milk a bull ....
Every pull a bucket full ....

Martin said to his man
Fie, man, fie
Martin said to his man
Who’s the fool now?
Martin said to his man
Fill thou the cup and I the can
Thou hast well drunken man
Who’s the fool now?

(I give no guarantee that the verses will be sung in the printed order. I propose it be performed a-cappella. Generally I'm in the key of D and, for percussionists, it's in 3/4 time. Other participants may know additional nonsense verses. If so, kindly indicate that you intend to interject same by throwing an undergarment in the middle of the table.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Being the 28th of November 2008...

I tried to write something that would encapsulate my feelings about the City Folk Club and all the humans who populate that state of mind...
I gave up and fell back on the bard...

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

-- William Shakespeare

Thanks to all who have proved such true friends to me during the recent storms...

And now, live from the City Folk Club Chichester...!

You Are My Sunshine/Bill Bailey: Brenda/Berry and Full Cast
John Ball: Colin and Full Cast
Caledonia: Carol
Somewhere Along the Road: Eddie
The Changing Years: Yvonne/Mike
Donegal Danny: Ken
Jack-o the Shunter: Mave
The Very Thought of You: Brenda/Berry
Tzena Tzena Tzena: Berry/Starship Enterprise
Young and Single Sailor: Anne/Alan
Best of Autumn: Anne/Alan
Country Roads: Lynda/Paul
Big Yellow Taxi: Paul
Waltzing's For Dreamers: Mike
Now and Then: David
?: Lucy
Parcel of Rogues: Colin
40 Shades of Green: Eddie
Lullaby: Yvonne/Mike
A Sad Dream: Phine
Biding My Time: Ken
Anderson's Coast: Mave
La Vie En Rose: Brenda/Berry
Sobre Las Olas/Merry-Go-Round Waltz: Berry/Starship Enterprise
Fair Thee Well My Dearest Dear: Anne/Alan
Songbird: Anita
Moonshadow: Paul
No Telling What a Love Song Will Do: Mike
Black Coffee: Lucy
Crazy Man Michael: Carol
A Quick Two Step: Anne/Alan

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (supplemental)....

Our resident mystic, Beresford Greene, has been moved to verse...
Over to you Berry...

Well folks, what a super night it was. {Fri 28thNov}. Brenda & I woke up still laughing. A true tonic and so cheap too. After his awful week, I am moved to this advice for the MC: -

Beware thou of the selfish - it's their turn now
Beware the turn that turns - because they don't know how
Beware be of the singer who - became person in the song
Beware your silly arses then - which get the meter wrong
Beware those big performers - whose love is not quite true
Even though you wouldn't - they will, and they do

Beware of honed perfection - when nowt is ever right
Beware ye those who take to floor - there want to stay all night
Beware that guitar tuner - an act that feeds all wrath
Beware thee they who couldn't - see themselves & laugh
Beware all souls who cannot bear - their turn be never due
Even though you wouldn't - they will, and they do


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

John Ball...

Another 'starter for ten' (or how ever many are in the room)
Here's how it goes...

Lead (unaccompanied) by Colin:
John Ball

Who’ll be the lady, who will be the lord, 

When we are ruled by the love of another? 

Tell me,who’ll be the lady, who will be the lord, 

In the light that is coming in the morning?

Sing John Ball and tell it to them all - 

Long live the day that is dawning! 

And I'll crow like a cock,
I'll carol like a lark, 

For the light that is coming in the morning.

Eve is the lady, Adam is the lord, 

When we are ruled by the love of another. 

Eve is the lady, Adam is the lord, 

In the light that is coming in the morning.

Sing John Ball and tell it to them all…

All shall be ruled by fellowship, I say, 

All shall be ruled by the love of one another. 

All shall be ruled by fellowship I say, 

In the light that is coming in the morning.

Sing John Ball and tell it to them all…

Labour and spin for fellowship I say, 

Labour and spin for the love of one another. 

Labour and spin for fellowship I say, 

And the light that is coming in the morning.

Sing John Ball and tell it to them all…

You Are My Sunshine....

Here's a merry tune to start next Friday's gathering...
Take it away Berry...!
YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE (Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell - 1911)

The other night dear, when I lay dreaming

I dreamt that you were by my side

Come disil - lusion when I a - woke dear

You were gone and then - I - - cried

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine a - way

You told me once dear, there'd be no other
And no-one else could come between
But now you've left me to love another
You have broken all my dreams

I'll always love you, and make you happy
If you will only do the same
But if you leave me, how it will grieve me
Nevermore I'll breathe your name

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (Tenth Fit)....

Don't speak to me with your mouth!

This is what I am suffering from as a result of losing my next two (draft) BLOGs including this one. Where did they go then? I have deliberately over-written them FOR NO REASON AT ALL. They are gone forever, - cannot be recovered! My pride is hurt too, which since I am a man, is all that really matters to me. Bare in mind I didn't have to tell you that, or that my cat calls me "Daddy."
Nevermind, I will just have to find some alternative narrative for you. All those beautiful words ... gone! I am recovering my swear word from Colin. It begins with a B and has two "L's" in it.

After that can it surprise you to learn that I have been listening to Women's Hour" on the radio. I didn't mean to do it. I was captivated by their discussion on how women use their voices. The discussion was prompted by the recent death of Peruvian singer Yma Sumac who had a range of 5 octaves.The girls accused themselves of settling for 3 or 4 notes in ordinary speech, and of being equally lazy in matters of singing. You'd do better, especially when you sing, to relax your shoulders, and extend the upper chest. {That is either or both}. Do you see where I might be positioned? {Re-written phrase}.
Girls, you should imagine that your vocal chords are low down in your stomach. Don't get stuck up in a high register like Sarah Palin, because you lose respect & authority if you do that. To speak or sing with passion & authority you must increase your range, if possible beyond the range of a Mezzo-soprano. Did you know that most voices lose the attention of their listeners after just 90 secs? Just practice, not training, is required. Making up "funny" voices, & reading to children is all recommended. {I can help with the children but not the reading part!}.Try to avoid that awful screeching sound that I find so frightening! Varied speaking leads to a better singing ability. All on Woman's Hour.

A recent series of conversations has had me thinking. It concerns the timing of a song or piece of music. The pulse. With just a few exceptions this is the "beat" that is regularly spaced and causes us to expect events to occur at certain points in time. In order to be "moved" by music to say, get up & dance, it helps to have a predictable beat. When we speak about a great "groove" we mean that quality that moves the song forward. Like a book that you can't put down. A sonic world that we don't want to leave. Neither is this written on paper. This refers to a performance, or maybe a particular performer. It can come & go from day to day even with the same group of musicians. There can be disagreement about whether something has a good groove or not. One element that stands out is the use by the drummer of their Hi-hat cymbal. Here it is that every beat has its own individual accent, taps & rests.
Most musicians would agree that the groove works best when it is not strictly metronomic, that is, not machine like. The gold standard of groove is usually a drummer who changes the tempo very slightly according to the aesthetic & emotional nuances of the music. We might say that the rhythm "breathes." Therefore there is no overall change of pace or tempo. In fact, it is rather like speaking, real conversation. It needs to swell & contract, to express anger, forgiveness, courtship, urgency, even sincerity. That'll be quite enough of that!

Have you seen those new fangled electronic gadgets that are clipped to the guitar/mandolin headstock? I suppose that no-one would argue that the strings of any instrument should be is some form of recognisable pitch. Yet some of you will have noticed my general reluctance to tune up. That wouldn't be the case if I was more certain of getting my fingers to the correct frets. Unless you can do that what matter is it if the string itself is a little sharp or flat. In fact, if you think it through, it has a chance then to be an advantage. Anyway I have invented a more practical version of that sort of tuning aid. It fits on the headstock just as they do. It is mounted on a swivel, glows in a strange radio-active way, and can be switched On & Off. It is cheap too. It's a torch! Ken says that I should just issue ear plugs.

Keeping to musical things, I feel compelled to add this element of our craft right here. There seems to be a degree of misunderstanding or even disagreement about the use of this word "HARMONY" in the musical context. First of all it is fair to say that it is when two or more instruments are playing in time together. This would be equally true of human voices. Perhaps we are saying two or more notes sounding at the same time. {Polyphony}. Not necessarily then, more than one instrument. The piano is polyphonic. So too is the guitar, the mandolin, even the violin can sound two notes - can't it? The trumpet can't. Neither can a clarinet. Can a human voice? Interesting question since there are, I think, two vocal chords.
Now we come to the really difficult part. Is the harmony sweet? Some harmonies are tied together in exact time. Others are not - as in a Trad jazz band for example, - where there is counterpoint or descant. In Western music, harmonies in time but at a different pitch might be regarded as "sweet" if they are separated by major THIRD intervals in the scale. These are the same notes of which a major chord is constructed. Someone is bound to argue that two musicians, singing or playing in different sound booths, but linked somehow to an auditorium, will be making harmony. Except by default I don't think so! We need a few words & a few rules in order to assess it. In my next BLOG I plan to make a start on all this. If I were you, I'd leave the country!

Still I say "Do not speak to me with your mouth!"


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Why did you give Colin such a odd title...?

The answer to the above question can be found here:
Mr. Bewg's Reference
"Mr Bewg's Reference" is one of my favourite scribblings of my favourite author...
I speak (in hushed tones) of non other than Mr. Frank Key. Chronicler of Hooting Yard and it's many completely sensible inhabitants...
Mr. Key's work is a must for anyone who understands Mr. Beresford Greens' outpourings...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Being the 21st of November 2008...

So, the first try out of our new early evening sing-song went as well as could be expected and will now become a feature of the City Folk Club experience...
We have one proposed song for next week from Eddie, 'She'll be Coming Round the Mountain" but we need a couple more so let's have some ideas please...

In a packed evening of knock-about hilarity we managed to squeeze in the following:

Hard Times of Old England: Full cast lead by Ken
Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy: Full cast lead by Colin
Oh, Susanna: Full cast lead by David
Molly Malone: Eddie
Underneath the Stars: John
Johnny Reb: Bill 1:2
The Road to Bepton Park: Yvonne/Mike
Wrecking Ball: Jane/Dave
Follow the Heron Home: Anne
Black Muddy River: Peter/Anne
For No One: Mick
All My Trials: Maggie
A Fine Romance: Brenda/Berry
The Glory of Love: Berry
All Froze Out: Mave
?: Brenda (Lynda's Mum)
One Fine Day: Lynda/Paul
Pilot of the Airwaves: Paul
When I Was on Horseback: Bill 1:1
You & Me: David
The Lincolnshire Poacher: Eddie
Lady Elenor: Bill 1:2
The Wind That Shakes the Barley: Colin
Here is My Home: John
Flying High: Mike
Hallelujah: Jane/Dave
The Bells of Norwich: Anne/Peter
Lady of Pleasure: Peter
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face: Maggie
Sunny Side of the Street: Brenda/Berry
Hey, Baby: Ken/Berry
Easy To Forget: Lynda/Paul
Princess Royal: Bill 1:1
?: Anne/Peter

and only five people had to die....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy

Following David's recent post, have you been doing your homework and learned the words?

Here's the tune (in D) for Adieu SLN.

Now you've heard it, that's no excuse for late arrival.
(But it may be some justification.)

PS. For the sake of uniformity, that D/Bm in the guitar chords in line 4 has to be one or the other. Ken, the very-blessed MWP, pointed this out. Let's go for B minor and make it an A-Level piece. (If you can't find Bm, just shut up till we get to A7!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh! Susanna...

Oh! Susanna...
David to lead
I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee;
I'm goin' to Lou'siana my true love for to see.

It rained all night the day I left,

The weather it was dry;

The sun so hot I froze to death,

Susanna don't you cry.

Oh! Susanna, don't you cry for me;

I come from Alabama,

with my banjo on my knee.

I had a dream the other night,

When everything was still;

I thought I saw Susanna dear,
A-coming down the hill.

The buckwheat cake was in her mouth,

The tear was in her eye,

Said I, I'm coming from the south,

Susanna don't you cry.

Oh! Susanna, don't you cry for me;
I come from Alabama,
with my banjo on my knee.

I soon will be in New Orleans,
And then I'll look all 'round,

And when I find Susanna,

I'll fall upon the ground.

But if I do not find her,

Then I will surely die,

And when I'm dead and buried,

Susanna don't you cry.

Oh! Susanna,
don't you cry for me;

I come from Alabama,

with my banjo on my knee.

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy....

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
(D, 4/4)
Colin to lead:

Adieu, sweet lovely Nancy, ten thousand times adieu.

I am going across the ocean, love, to seek for something new.

Come change your ring with me, dear girl,

Come change your ring with me.

That it might be a token of true love when I am on the sea.

And when I’m far upon the sea you’ll know not where I am.
Kind letters I will write to you from every foreign land.
The secrets of my heart, dear girl,
And the best of my good will.
So let your body be where it might, my heart will be with you still.

There’s a heavy storm arising: see how it gathers round.
While we poor souls on the ocean wide are fighting for the Crown.
There’s nothing to protect us, love,
Or keep us from the cold,
On the ocean wide where we must bide like jolly sailors bold.

There’s tinkers, tailors, shoemakers lie snoring fast asleep,
While we poor souls on the ocean wide are ploughing through the deep.
Our officers commanded us
And then we must obey,
Expecting every moment we may be cast away.

And when the wars are over there’ll be peace on every shore.
We’ll return to our wives and our families and the girls that we adore.
We’ll drink our liquor merrily
And spend our money free,
And when our money it is all gone we’ll boldly go to sea.

Hard Times of Old England...

Ken to lead...

Come all brother tradesmen that travel along;
Oh, pray come and tell me where the trade is all gone.
Long time I have travelled and cannot find none,
And it's,
Cho: Oh, the hard times of Old England,
In Old England very hard times.

Provisions you buy at the shop, it is true,
But, if you've no money, there's none there for you.
So, what's a poor man and his family to do?
And it's,

If you go to a shop and you ask for a job,
They will answer you there with a shake and a nod;
So, that's enough to make a man turn out and rob.
And it's,

You will see the poor tradesman a-walking the street
From morning till night, for employment to seek,
And scarcely they've got any shoes to their feet.
And it's,

Our soldiers and sailors have just come from war;
Been fighting for their Queen and their country, 'tis sure
Come home to be starved, better stayed where they were.
And it's,

And now to conclude and to finish my song,
Let us hope that these hard times they will not last long;
I hope soon to have occasion to alter my song.
And it's,
Oh, the good times of Old England,
In Old En-ge-land jolly good times.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How Much...?!!!! (update)

Dear CFC-Children-in-Need supporters,

One correction: a 1p coin turned-out to be 2 (Euro)cents.

Anita gave me a donation this morning, and Colin and I between us have rounded the total up to £200.00.

I paid it in on-line today. The 'receipt' is attached. I'll try and remember to bring the printed copy along to display next Friday.

Well done and THANKS again for supporting a cause which, as Mave and I know from first hand, really does make a difference.

(If you know anyone who'd like to donate, it's not too late: donate, by post, at any bank or building society, by digital satellite tv (red button), by phone (credit/debit card) or online (card or Paypal).
Details at: donate here ).

Love and best wishes,
Ken Hobbs

Being The 14th of November 2008...

Another 'classic' night...
Relaxed, funny, happy, happy, happy...
'Children in Need' efforts raised (as Ken informed us in the previous post) £187.10...
Let me say that again...
Let me try that another way...
One hundred and eighty seven pounds and ten pence...
In italics...
One hundred and eighty seven pounds and ten pence...
In bold italics...
One hundred and eighty seven pounds and ten pence...
The City Folk Club happy to help make a difference...
Oh yeah...
We sang some songs as well...

Sea of Heartbreak: David
Babes in the Wood: Jane/Colin
Grace: John
Whiskey Pudsey: Yvonne/Mike
Down by the Dockyard Wall: Eddie
I Wish I Was Back In Liverpool: Bill 1:2
Universal Soldier/Blowin' in the Wind: Mike
The Rose: Lynda
Children In Need Tonight: Ken
If I Were a Carpenter: Paul
Reason To Believe: David
Lay Me Low: Colin
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: John
Just a Simple Love Song: Yvonne/Mike
The Lincolnshire Poacher: Eddie
The Dutchman: Bill 1:2
Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound: Mike
Annie's Song: Lynda
English Channel No 5: Ken
Careless Love: Paul
The Drowned Lovers: David

Rosy glows all round...
Thanks to everyone for their support...

How Much...?!!!! (The CFC Childern in Need Total Raised)

Over to you Ken...

Are you sitting comfortably?

One hundred and eighty-seven pounds and 5 pence (and 6 Euro-cents).

I'll buy the cents - for, say, 5p, so: £187.10.

I think 'magnificent' is not an unsuitable term. Many, many thanks to all those who contributed so handsomely.

Well done, David - for great mc-ing; to Colin for the club donation suggestion.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deep and Meaningful...

Ken alerts us to the following piece of exciting San Francisconion graffiti...

He also supplies a handy guide to the myopic of it's contents...

"When the shadow of the grasshopper
falls across the the trail of the field mouse
on green and slimey grass as a red sun rises
above the western horizon silhouetting
a gaunt and tautly muscled indian warrior
perched with a bow and arrow cocked and aimed
straight at you it's time for another martini"

- or possibly, time to scatter your beads, trinkets, and pieces of mirror, and run like b*ggery.

The more astute among you may notice that the last line does not appear in the original picture...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (Ninth fit)....


Aren't you glad to have a nice hobby that costs you so little? When the hard times bite there will be a revival in blues songs and you'll be well placed & in vogue again (at last) with your material. Isn't it nice when you amuse or otherwise entertain the other folk? So gratifying to know that your life is not completely wasted on Corrie & Eastenders?
There doesn't seem to be any contentious club issues on which I can feed this week. So maybe I could raise one or two. Would you like the club to start on time? What about the heating? Or the issue of bringing ones own drinks. The "Title" to songs & material. Then the business of gender-pronoun substitution and the singing of material intended for that other gender. Then there's always Ken Hobbs of course. Not only that but where is he?

As I write it isn't yet clear where this BBC saga will end, but my sub-title is also my best guess. I have some rough notes that I had intended to try & weave into our own club situation. Here they are: - What price entertainment? - fashion & development - tradition - pushing the envelope - going that little bit further like explorers, mountaineers, car racers, - the rewards & penalties of risk - whatever you can get away with - proportion & scale - attention seeking show offs - timing - instant gratification of urges.
I feel reluctantly aware that Ross & Brand had some right to expect strong editorial cover that they didn't get. I wonder if any of that was due to internal jealousy at the BBC. That they can be brash, tasteless, immature, lewd, rude as well as truly witty is a part of what they are and what you get if you choose to consume their product. They are apt to be loose cannons, a generation on, but not dissimilar to Spike Milligan in his own time.
In some small way we have similar decisions to make even within our Folk Club. {Berry take a special note}. A little bit of Rock & Roll maybe, but not at every turn. Some banter, but in good taste & never misdirected. It isn't everyone that wants it, deserves it, or can take it. One needs to be very sober, very controlled, very sensitive to the moment, and such comedy is never easy. I suspect one could say, rather more musically, that it's all a question of scale, meter & tempo. Never a laugh at any price. Don't mention the money!
{Dwoss & Bwanned type joke. I may yet be doing a live version of this joke sometime soon}.

A musician friend recently told me about something that I expect you already know. You didn't! Nevermind, I will reiterate. Apparently, in order for one to get proficient in any activity involving cognitive or perceptual-motor skills, such as cooking, sewing, driving, or more pertinently, playing a musical instrument, it will take you 10,000 hours. More explicitly, at the rate of nearly 3 hrs / day over 10 years. I was left wondering if this applies to walking & talking, running & jumping, but I don't think so. It has to be reasonably complex. OK so you think bad language should be included - eh!
Did you see the recent Jeff Beck concert, (and other guitarist extracts), on TV recently? For my money he needn't have bothered! If that was all guitar playing amounted to I would never have been attracted to it. There that's honest. No definable structure, much all in one key, it seemed to be a collection of "noises." What else is music then if not a collection of "noises" - eh? How long have you got? !0,000 hours?

Now ye who are "inteeligent" help me out here. Well not necessarily "intelligent", just know a lot. Is it not the case that the IQ index is weighted in accord with ones age? Aren't we really trying to measure the absorption factor of the human brain? I have dismal aquisitional abilities. I just never seem to learn song-words for example. My internal filofax has some recall but it takes forever to get it in there, and just as long to retrieve it. For many years I accepted that I was just a bit thick.
However, this bland acceptance of such a mantle merely serves the purposes of those who invented it in the first place, so I didn't like it. My reprieve came when I stumbled across the long named weird disability that the French call the "IDIOT SAVANT." {Also Williams syndrome}. This is a person who, just like Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man, has advanced ability in certain areas of the brain, at the same time as being very impaired in other parts. {Remind you of anybody?}.
They seem to have come to prominence towards the end of the nineteenth century for their use, in travelling fairs, as musicians or demonstrators of rapid mental arithmetic. This has given way now to other weird abilities, most notably, calendar feats & complex art of the drawing kind. To be able to jump the queue as it were, in a musical ability sense, it would be an advantage to be autistic - yeah? Let me not hear then, anymore smartarses deride me for reading my words, or otherwise messing up. Is that clear? Do try to remember that! As an aside, I can't help but wonder as it were, (bear with me), if there is any connection here that would explain why words once learnt, are sometimes rendered with so little feeling.

I was reading the BLOG of St Anley the incandescent when I encountered the following phrase: - "Let's face it, who uses magnetic tape these days?" Whilst we all divert to the latest in technology, there might be a few pitfalls. No-one knows much about the longevity of the CD/DVD. In fact some say that they are unlikely to survive for many years, being so sensitive to light & temperature. Often intolerant of even the slightest scratch, these discs (note the "c" in there denotes NON -magnetic), have absolutely huge amounts of laser inscribed dots & dashes. These are so tiny that they scarcely exist and are definitely not robust. In the case of music & video, our systems can withstand the odd missing bits, but data files are not tolerant at all. It could yet prove to be that magnetic media is actually the best bet. Perhaps tape is second best to any kind of disk/disc, since it is impossible to search for an item quickly. This is the advantage of a disk/disc. (Note the 'k' in there means magnetic).
St Anley then goes on about his admiration for someone who can play a Grand Piano & a keyboard at the same time. I honestly didn't know that when I attempted to play a harmonica & a keyboard together at the club on Friday (24thOct). I made the elementary mistake of playing two different tunes. Now if you really wanted to do that I'll bet you couldn't!
There are so many ways that information can be imparted to a CD/DVD. Just consider the segmented concentric rings (tracks) that are used by a PC to store & retrieve data. Then there is the spiral track used for the players, be they audio or video. It starts in the middle & winds outwards. I've got an old 78 record that is just like that. I have! Then we have to decide which way up to put the "1's" & "0's" (-R & +R). It's a nightmare of different software packages and that's why so many CD/DVD's won't transfer between different players or PC's.
In a final fury of BLOG exasperation, St Anly resorts to uncharacteristic swearing. He uses one of my own favourites. He claims title to it during the period of its use. I find nearly all swear-words well worth retaining; indeed I will do so now despite the temptation.

Brenda & I have colds. We didn't feel very musical and sat around shivering a bit as we watched boring TV. I started to scan the free digital channels and managed to catch a little programme on the History channel about Dr Beeching and the railways. A bit "blokey" I suppose but there were bits of old cine showing the steam trains, and then the subject diverted to what had become of the old railway stations and country routes. Many are lost forever, demolished to make way for "progress" in the shape of industrial units and houses. There are, however, some remarkable renovations. Some have been fully restored then to be used by the enthusiasts who run such novelties as the IOW & Bluebell railways. What took our eye were those stations which have been converted to domestic residences. There they live with a mock locomotive outside the Stationmaster's door, situated on just 50 foot of rail with flowers growing out of its funnel.
The programme finished up in a bridleway that was once a single track railway, and as the camera drew back and the closing credits began to roll, a dilapidated old signal came into view. I began to think how long it must have been since whence it last operated, even allowing myself to dream of how effective it would be as an ending shot should it do so. Rather like a piece of music in suspension, awaiting a resolve. I had given it up when, would you believe, it moved! Was that done just for me? My smile turned into a spontaneous tear.

I'm old enough to recall the immediate aftermath of WW2. I had a grandma who could recollect so much more from that & other wars. A woman that had given uncles, brothers and a son to the various campaigns, she was rather baffled by it in my humble opinion. It left her with no space for trivial argument. She would remain quiet, and if possible move on or away from conflict. She was a wise & kindly woman. How lucky my age-group have been. I feel guilty enough without the realisation that I have wasted, (& still do waste), much of that legacy on trivia.
Let us give thanks to those who died so needlessly on the battlefields, in the air and at sea. Let us also remember who it was that sent them there. The politicians. I just won't vote for that lot at Westminster. I will try to learn the Shaker hymn "Lay Me Low" proposed by Colin for our club meet on the 14thNov. Please join me.



P.S. Whatever happened to all the money

Ken Speaks...

Many City Folk Club regulars will be aware of the special place that Children in Need has for Mave and me. If anyone needs convincing that Children in Need is a worthwhile cause - and I won't go into details here - just ask me or Mave. We know it does make a very real difference, because it did to us. Last year, even though it came hot on the heels of the incredible sum raised in October's OXJAM events, the City Folk Club's lovely people raised £50 for Children in Need, which was wonderful. Their generosity is not in doubt, but it would be terrific if we could top that on the 14th, wouldn't it? It would mark the Fourth anniversary of moving to the Regnum in fine style. Come loaded with change! Or even folding stuff!

Ken Hobbs

Being The 7th of November 2008...

First, a timely warning...
"The Lottery, with its weekly pay-out of enormous prizes, was the one public event to which the proles paid serious attention.... It was their delight, their folly, their anodyne, their intellectual stimulant... the prizes were largely imaginary. Only small sums were actually paid out, the winners of the big prizes being non-existent persons."
George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) pt.2, ch. 5
So remember...
Don't 'do' the lottery. Save your money for next weeks exciting Children In Need night at the City Folk Club...

This evening in detail:

3 Jolly Boys: David/Paul/Colin
Wave Over Wave: Mave
Blackwaterside: Bill 1:1
Claudy Banks: Anne
No Man's Land: John
The 40 Shades of Green: Eddie
Bitter Boy: Jane/Dave
Hole In The Ground: Gerry
Thomas Dudley: Jenny
Snorkel: Mick
The Welsh Song: Allice
Under The Bridges of Paris: Maggie
Look What They've Done to My Song Ma: Lynda/Paul
A Picture of You: Paul
Unicorns: Colin
Kathy's Song: Lucy
You and Me: David
The Auld Triangle: Ken
Come By The Hills: Mave
The Wounded Solider/Captain O'Neil: Bill 1:1
It Ain't Me Babe: Maggie
Grey Funnel Line: Eddie
Dublin In The Rare Old Times: Lynda
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda: John
The Death Bed: Allice
I Don't Care Where They Bury My Body: Paul
Maid Behind The Board/Coolies: Mick
Bay of Biscay: Anne
The Bargain Store: Jane/Dave
Fairfield Crane: Gerry
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me: Lucy

Why am I a Soldier?

The eleventh hour approaches.

These are words by Les Barker, arranged and performed by Coope, Boyes and Simpson.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Joke...

An Englishman is being shown around a Scottish hospital.

At the end of his visit, he is shown into a ward with a number of patients who show no obvious signs of injury. He goes to examine the first man he sees, and the man proclaims:

Fair fa' yer honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain e' the puddin' race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
painch tripe or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
as lang's my arm.

The Englishman, somewhat taken aback, goes to the next patient, and immediately the patient launches into:

Some hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

This continues with the next patient:

Wee sleekit cow'rin tim'rous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
wi' bickering brattle.
I wad be laith to run and chase thee,
wi' murdering prattle!"

"Well," the Englishman mutters to his Scottish colleague, "I see you saved the psychiatric ward for the last."

"Nay, nay," the Scottish doctor corrected him, "this is the Burns unit."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Being The 31st of October 2008...

Welcome to The City Folk Club Cookery Course...
For our first dish...

Kangaroo Tail Fricassee.

Time: About 3 hours.
Ingredients: 1 tail, 2oz. of dripping, 1oz. of flour, 1 onion sliced, 1 carrot sliced, half a small turnip sliced, 2 or 3 sprigs of parsley, 1 bay-leaf, 2 cloves, 1 blade of mace, 1 dessertspoonful of lemon-juice, salt and pepper, stock or water.

Method: Divide the tail at each joint, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then drain and dry well. Fry the joints lightly in hot dripping, then take them up and stir in the flour. Fry until well browned, add the stock and stir until it boils, then put back the tail and add the vegetables, herbs and spices. Season to taste, cover closely, and simmer gently until tender. Arrange the tail on a hot dish and strain the sauce over.

Right, that's dinner sorted out...
Now the cabaret....

We Gotta' Get Out Of This Place: David
Lyke Wake Dirge: Colin
She Moved Through The Fair: Paul
Soldiers Three: Bill 1:1
Steal Away: Phil
Ghosts and Skeletons: Mike
Mr. Man In The Moon: Les
Somewhere Over The Rainbow: Berry
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: Brenda/Berry
Bang On The Year: Mike
Bound For The Mountains And The Sea: Lynda
North Country Fair: Paul
The Miller And The Lass: Colin
Tin Box: David
Tunkles: Bill 1:1
Carrickfergus: Phil
How It's Meant To Be: Mike
Baby's In Black: Les
Cabaret: Brenda/Berry
You Can Close Your Eyes: Mike
Raglan Road: Lynda
Dreaming: Paul
Teddy Bear's Picnic: Berry
Johnny Be Fine: Colin
Far Away: Les
Silk Pyjamas: Mike
Early Morning Rain: Liz/Phil
?: Bill 1:1

Now what's for dessert...?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Is Sex Important?

In spite of the enticing heading and stereotypical images, I now propose to bore you with some thoughts about gender-specific pronoun substitution.

This questionable activity has come up a few times within this club’s 'tween-performance banter.

Purists, regarding traditional song, would regard gender-pronoun substitution as unforgivable. These people would opine that the performance demonstrates the song and, only secondarily, the performer. To some extent I agree with that stance. There is ample evidence in the standard folksong collections that a man would commonly sing a song that patently has the supposed raconteur as a woman (and vice-versa.) I take as one example ‘All Things are Quite Silent’. Essentially, this is a woman’s lament. It was collected by RVW in 1904 from one Mr. Ted Baines. In reverse, Mrs. Russell of Upwey sang ‘One Night as I Lay on my Bed’ to Mr. Hammond in 1907. That song has to do with dreaming about a pretty maid. Neither of these songs would tolerate gender reorientation without becoming nonsensical. Both occupy my repertoire and, as a male (that's the body on the left without the bumps,) I have no embarrassment about singing what might be perceived as a ‘girlie’ song.

There are a few songs where pronoun substitution might work. Recently I played around with ‘I Live Not Where I Love’. Fine, substituting ‘her’ or ‘you’ for ‘him’ suffices until you reach the final verse. Then, damn it, it becomes clear that we have a woman addressing a man called Thomas. Actually, it can be done, but poor Thomas has to undergo extensive surgery to become Molly. Before being totally satisfied with the new scansion, you consult your dictionary and find that ‘swain’ is defined as ‘a young MALE lover’. Sort that out if you can! Finally, you go back to your source (Marrowbones, EFDS, 1965) and discover that Mr. Hammond collected the song from one Robert Barratt of Piddletown, Dorset in 1905. Then you wonder why you bothered in the first place. If it was OK for Mr. Barratt then, it has to be fine for me now.

Fortunately, there are those many folksongs that begin ‘As I walked out …' That’s brilliant! It is a device that places the gender-indeterminate singer in the position of observer. He/she can then continue reportage irrespective of any gender orientation of the context. It means that I CAN get away with singing Geordie. I often wonder whether this so-called floating verse really belonged to the song at inception, or was it later introduced by a politically-correct, gender-sensitive performer?

Most recently, we experienced this conundrum when one of our lady participants sang a Beatles’ song containing the repeated phrase ‘And I love her'. ‘Her’ became ‘him’. It was a charming performance. When it works (and, without any other manipulation, this did) pronoun-substitution complements the notion of ephemeral ownership by the singer for the duration of that performance. (You’ve heard me on that subject before.) Well done, Lynda and Paul.

Conclusion? If it works for the singer, and the song retains its original flavour and makes sense, well, OK. BUT – beware! Are we verging on parody here? My vitriolic opinion on parody has been hidden in a blog comment in an earlier post.

"But what about 'God Save the Reigning Monarch'?" you may well ask.

So, is sex important? What's your answer?
How was it for you, darling?!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Banks of the Nile....

Whack up the volume and close your eyes...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (eighth fit)....

Hello Folks!

The number of times that I've had conversations about this beggars belief. As though I would have any answers! The fact is though, that I have sought, and listened to, advice for so long that I do have some things to say on the subject. First of all the quotes from others:-
A) Remember, no-body dies. {Meaning there's no real penalty if you do mess up}.
B) Use your imagination. See yourself in place, making a huge success of it.
C) We become fit at what we do. Practise Practise Practise!
D) Practice is only so good. It can make you seem stale by the time you achieve autonomy.
E) We don't just have to do. One can practise in the mind. See the instrument, the lyrics, your fingers. Hear your voice even
though you aren't actually singing.
F) Imagine yourself to be loved & adored by everyone
G) Don't use drugs. They will mask yourself from yourself but not the others.

My answers go something like this:-
a) I will die. Of shame and embarrassment, of bitter smallness & envy of those who don't. (Mess up).
b) I see only failure in my minds eye. I cannot twist my fate, not even in my mind.
c) Practise is boring me - so I will be boring everyone when I perform.
d) I will have to take the whole kitchen with me, to retain that familiar ambience. {OK so you practice in the bathroom}.
e) In my minds eye I see my future failure in advance. I will be standing there miming!
f) If everyone were to love me at once I'd get ripped to bits. Why I haven't always managed that even on a one to one basis!
g) I might as well be drunk. That way at least I won't remember it.

Practice in the kitchen will make you fit to perform - in the kitchen! Over practise will mean a loss of spontaneity. Nerves can rob you of your mind. If there just isn't an answer I will just have to find another hobby.
There now aren't you glad you asked me? You didn't! Someone did.

A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done. The monsignor replied, 'When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip.'
So next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm. Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:

1) Sip the vodka, don't gulp.
2) There are 10 commandments, not 12.
3) There are 12 disciples, not 10.
4) Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
5) Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
6) We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.
7) The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the spook.
8) David slew Goliath, he did not kick the ---- out of him.
9) When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned out of his head.
10)We do not refer to the cross as the 'Big T.'
11) When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, 'Take this and eat it for it is my body.' He did not say 'Eat me'.
12) The Virgin Mary is not called 'Mary with the Cherry'.
13) The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.
14) Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a Peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

I hate to get too heavy, especially in print. {It is print isn't it? Maybe cyber-print-eh}. A word in my ear from Steve, the Regnum Club manager, even had me asking Brenda if she was guilty. Perhaps he thinks I have some influence. That's a first. It seems that there are those who have seen fit to bring their own drinks with them. We must consider the low costs to us of the room that we use. Yes I know it's easy to find fault. However set against the backdrop of past experiences, this venue is a peach! {More accurately a mushroom}. Only the (now defunct) Gribble Inn was better. The fact is that the Pubs & Clubs (♣ ♣ ♣) want to make a profit, & since they do this by the sale of drinks means that they are expecting us to buy! The Regnum Club isn't very different in that regard although the drinks cost a lot less than even the most spit & sawdust hostelry. It might be better not to bring your own refreshment, or at least don't wave it in his face.
Please, therefore, I beseech thee all, don't ask Steve for more than he really wants to give us.

I'd like to think that you would all want to join me in an overdue word of praise for our resident MC, David Crackers. Some will think that I'm being a bit of a creep, but he won't ever know what I have said. You see David is a writer who cannot read ordinary text. FACT! He is gifted on the one hand, while it is so that he does have another hand, it is also so that he can't spell with it. So sayeth Ken, (who says he knows about these things). For what David does so well & so prolifically, spelling is not an issue. This is because Crackers is a writer of songs. When his eyes alight on any kind of glyph he sees only the crotchets & quavers.
A word of appreciation for such an artiste is not out of place. Every week David brings his very own brand of enthusiasm to bear on the proceedings, thus extracting some of the most positive performances ever seen at a Folk Club anywhere. Neither does this emotional drain come cheaply for him. Sometimes this poor man is so exhausted after such a session that he is moved to crying. Sadly this is so. For a big man with an enlarged heart, he's real "♦" fella. A round of applause please!

What may come as a surprise to most of you is that I was once lined up to become a professional cricketer. With due respect to those North of Watford, or worse, this should be pronounced "CREEKEET." This is because the only County that really knows how to play it proper is Yorkshire. The fact that none of them will find this at all funny is evidence of the majesty with which they revere the game. I was telling Paul's sister about this just the other day when she was here on a visit. I also told her about the golden kerbstones that one finds down here. In fact I gave her a "♠" {To dig one up!}. I digress. The fact is that it turned out that I wasn't too good with the Willow, and was advised to get a job singing. Now I'm not one to boast but well really .....!

Did I FORGET to tell you? My mnemonic system {from last week}, fell apart when I diverted from Sainsbury's into Lidl. I managed to get Peas, Humous, Beetroot, Nuts, Hamburgers, & Flour. I never did manage to get the stuff home because the car broke down. It ran out of P for PETROL! ♫ ♪♪♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪♪♪ ♫ ♪♪♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪♪♪ ©

How many of you have seen the recent series of BBC programmes by Alan Yentob on the subject? I suppose you might expect me to know quite a bit about it. If you're not a guitarist perhaps you don't care. Even if you are, the "popular" nature might alienate you. I don't think that I want to be associated with all of it . No I would not. In truth, even though it was initially attractive when I was a lad, I do not favour the electric guitar as such. It's a beast that needs much taming. Without much doubt though, it offers one real gain: - Amplification without feedback.
A second advantage is that the signals can then be processed so that they no longer even sound like a guitar. I find very few of these "voices" truly attractive to my ear. However, the first hour of the programme contained at least one gem for me: - Cine footage of the great gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt. There is said to be only four minutes of black & white movie in existence. I had never seen so much as an inch of it. So it was fantastic for me to see Django in action after waiting all these years, Whoever said that "a picture is worth a thousand words" got it wrong. A movie picture of any guitarist is priceless and cannot be equalled by any number of words. I ♥ my guitar!
{I have some video of the Les Paul story & if anyone is interested I'll make you a DVD copy of it}.

Speaking of love, I have a new girlfriend. You'd think I'd have learned wouldn't you. But I've done it again. Fallen hook line & sinker for her. She is constantly in my thoughts. I cry with passionate admiration every time I see her. I call her "Mew." A younger woman too. A blonde yeah, but she ain't dumb. Nope! I am besotted, obsessed. Holly my cat, is furious, but only has herself to blame. "MEW" she mewed, "why MEW?" From being my most, {don't say only}, endearing & dedicated fan, she has taken another male escort. His name is Tennessee. He comes round to call more like a faithful old lapdog. He sings to her just as I used to. She sometimes sings with him, then they do "The Tennessee Waltz" together. She never did that for me. Then she abuses him wickedly. It is shameful at times. I did feel sorry for him; that is until he attacked my guitar picking fingers. The injuries threaten my whole career, let alone my relationship with Mew. I - L♥O♥V♥E Muriel Anderson!

"From a JACK to a KING"
"That's all Folks!"


1770 words

Being The 24th of October 2008....

A cardigan was originally a long-sleeved military jacket of knitted worsted , trimmed with fur or braid and buttoned down the front. They were worn by British Army officers during the Crimean War , and were named after James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who led the Charge of The Light Brigade. During the 20th century the style was adapted for sportswear, losing the collar, and became a popular item for home knitter.

You now know more about cardigans than you did prior to reading this posting...
Now, what did we get up to...?

Roslin Castle/The Hen's Larks Through The Midden/The Four Poster Bed: Bill 1:1
Moreton Bay: Colin
The Great Pretender: David
She Was Poor But She Was Honest: Joyce
Fever: Maggie
Mountains of Morne: John
My Flower, My Companion and Me: Eddie
Waltzing Matilda: Bill 1:2
Juila Clifford's Polka/Din Tarrents: Mick
Who's Sorry Now: Berry
The House of MacDonald: Ray
The End of The World: Lynda/Paul
I Recall A Gypsy Woman: Paul/Berry
The Nutting Maid: Bill 1:1
All Tomorrow's Parties: David
The Riddle: Joyce
Steal Away: Maggie/Colin
I'll Lay You Down Low: Eddie
The D-Day Dodgers: Bill 1:2
Blues Tune: Mick
What About Me: Berry
Your My Best Friend: Ray

Monday, October 20, 2008


We are approaching the 'eleventh hour on the eleventh day … ' you know the rest. Generally I find myself somewhat ambivalent about annual remembrance celebrations, but see this, listen and weep with me:

This is a performance of Coope, Boyes and Simpson, with a montage produced by someone called Ollie. (Appropriate permission for this post has been obtained.)
The lyrics are from a Shaker hymn adapted/augmented by John Tams. They are as follows:

Lay me low, lay me low, lay me low
Where no-one can see me
Where no-one can find me
Where no-one can hurt me

Show me the way, help me to say
All that I need to
All that I needed you gave me
All that I wanted you made me
When I stumbled you saved me

Lay me low...

Throw me a line, help me to find
Something to cling to
When the loneliness haunts me
When the bitterness taunts me
When the emptiness eats me.

Lay me low…

Now, here’s your homework:

I give notice that you are required to learn the words and familiarise yourself with the melody so that you may join me in singing this piece in anthemic glory when we meet on 14th. November.

The emotionally incontinent among you must provide supply own tissues.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (Seventh fit)....

Hello Songlovers,

Try to remember these prompts: - P - B - H - H - N - F. When I go to get petrol (that what the P is for), from Sainsbury's, there's a few items to remember. Brenda will be scathing if I forget anything, and equally awful if I buy other things! I'm supposed to be en-route NOW, not here BLOG writing "nonsense."

Just the other day we bought fruit at the local nursery. In particular, Plums & Apples I recall. I also recall Blackberries because we gathered these from the countryside and I got torn to bits. Brenda made a lovely crumble with some of it. After we had tucked in she said, "wasn't that nice?" I concurred because it was. Then she said "was the custard OK?" After some consideration I told her that I didn't have any custard on mine. A low level argument began. It seemed bizarre because I could not recall any custard. Finally I just had to get up and check. I found the custard in the fridge. Neither of us had had any custard!

Colin has sent me an advance of his latest BLOG posting that deals with this subject. As he acknowledges, I did issue a "paper" on this a while ago. (Mar 2005!). I did so for and on behalf of Mr Andrew Perry; for it was he that didn't like to be "interfered with" as one might say. For my own part I'd relish the prospect in most cases!

To be honest and absolutely up-front, I get a fair amount of joining in with my preferences for well known pop material. These days I don't get in the least bit phased by it, and rather look upon it as a compliment that the audience have at least recognised my interpretation! My first thought is to "entertain" if I can. Having said that, I wonder how one could reasonably object to people joining in with my fun. After all this is not a playing card suit, nay nor a big stick thing, THIS is a CLUB!

However, I can still remember when I was so new & raw to performing, that any kind of interference would throw me into a nervous rage. So the reverse used to be true. Some of the songs I do are subject to my own very different interpretation, and in those cases it might not be so easy just to join in. The fact that musical things are hard for me to get together means that I have to swallow hard when other folk can do it without so much spent time. I do admit though, it can be wearisome if one had a very serious delivery in mind, when the additions are not truly embellishing. In the reverse situation, I am disinclined to add any instrumentation unless I am very sure that my input will enhance the original performance. That takes a more supreme confidence than I would normally possess. These decisions come from within the personality of each individual and is surely the reason why I sometimes quote Irish folksinger & builder, Paddy Brown (RIP), who used to say "Well yer takes yerself with yer wherever yer goes!"

A word to the wise:- While it is good to make a serious endeavour, it is not so good to take oneself too seriously in public. If one feels strongly that there should be no interference, perhaps we ought to borrow the phrase that I have heard Andrew Perry use: -"Please observe the performer's right to silence." I'd recommend a set of considered words such as "Please let me mess this up all by myself."

I wouldn't want people to think that our lives revolve entirely around our musical hobby. Oh no! We have also taken up dancing. Would it be that we're any good at it, but let us leave that aside. Last week we had a dancing date in Worthing. Before anyone else makes any cracks about never getting out of Worthing alive, {or as one "friend" reminded me, "Portsmouth for the Continent; Worthing for the Incontinent !!!!!!!"}, let me remind you right now that we did; and didn't. {Get out alive, and ... Stay awake there!}.
However, we were very late in setting off. In a bid to help our dire situation which needed us get togged up and to eat, I made some sandwiches. Brenda asked that I cut said sandwiches into quarters, which I duly did. Imagine how I felt when she said these were the wrong shape! It seems that Brenda has a triangular mouth! Square sandwiches are just no good to her. I just had to laugh at this pathetic emulation of Mrs Bucket.

Have you noticed just how many musicians, down through history, were apt to "do drugs?" I think I know one reason why this might be. The notes of the scale(s) are spread about the various instruments in a rather haphazard way. Well in a way that's hard to get a handle on. Drugs help out in many ways. If, as is likely, one plays a bad note, ("bum note" in musical parlance), whilst under the influence, it is so much less noticeable. That's my reason anyway. Do you know, or even want to know why it is that the said scales are so dispositioned? I could tell you, but it takes a while. Better to have some more drugs.

Not really musical but funny. I have just seen a report on TV where a "refuse disposal vehicle" caught fire en route to the council incinerator. The fire brigade were called and went to endless lengths the put out the blaze. First of all they moved the smouldering cart to open ground and emptied it. There they encouraged the contents to catch fire, very nearly ruining the £250,000 vehicle. At last they turned on the hose leaving the sodden pile to be collected by the council. Where did the council take it? Onwards & upwards to the local incinerator!

Q: - What is the difference between a banker & a pigeon?
A: - A pigeon can still put a deposit on a Porsche

I'm one of those poor unfortunates that knows what a DECIBEL is. Yeah I do. I know where it was born & why. Yeah I do. It's a measure of audio power dreamed up by the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell. {A Scot by the way}. He wanted a way to express the volume measurement that would hide the truth from his customers. FACT! It does that really well. For an increase of 3dBs one needs to raise the actual power in Watts by ten times. Yeah that's right X 10. That also means that a tenfold reduction in volume will result in a fall of only 3dB. "Madam, it must be you. Perhaps you are deaf. Why your sound levels are only down 3dB. ". What a scheme. Could we apply it to money - I wonder? I think the banks are doing just that as we speak!

Now for the prompts:- P = Petrol, B = Bread, H = Honey, N = Newspaper, F = Fish, H = Ham. There I got it.

Have a good week and don't forget to go on Friday. I'm considering the many requests that I have received - NOT to go!


P.S. Photo taken at Itchenor, suggests there are at least three others! Have you seen them?

1266 words

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eddie and his Lady of Autumn...

Being The 17th of October 2008...

 STICK WIGGLING! Are you a Water Witch? Do you have the gift of stick wiggling? It’s simple to find out. Leave your hat out in a field overnight. In the morning if you find it full of snakes you have what it takes to become a douser. Cut yourself a green fork of peach tree or witch hazel. Take one prong firmly in each hand. Walk slowly back and forth with the fork held out in front of you, parallel to the ground. When you cross an underground stream, forgotten well, or pocket of primordial ice the stick will twist violently downward. Commence digging!

THE POWER OF THE PENDULUM! Can’t find peach trees or witch hazel in your local enchanted forest? Make a pendulum! T.C. Lethbridge found that by hanging a weight on the end of a string many things could be found below-ground just by walking paces about his garden and observing the pendulum’s motion. Different string lengths find different things. Shorter lengths find metals: brass, copper, lead. Slightly longer may uncover truffles, sweet potatoes, rare purple carrots. At forty inches Lethbridge’s pendulum located death. He further reported that strings over forty inches in length began to pick up the shapes of unseen dimensions.

GOLD DOODLEBUG! To turn your water dousing stick into a gold hunter simply hang a gold ring from the end of the stick. To find buried treasure split the end of the stick and insert coins of various metals. Try swinging a pendulum over a map of your hometown to find out who’s thinking about you and who’s thinking about lighting fires.
DIAMOND PENDULUMS! On the internet one find diamond pendulums for sale (only £27.18!) that supposedly can connect you to ‘Universal Intelligence”. These pendulums have been “reviewed by the leading trade journal as ‘THE MOST RESPONSIVE PENDULUM’”. 

So, that's several entertaining pastimes one could indulge one's self in before next Friday night...
(I'd try to avoid the forty inch string if I were you...)

In the mean-time let's examine this weeks remains....

People Get Ready: David
Ruby Tuesday: Lynda
The Last Minstrel Show: John
Who Do You Think Your Fooling?: Yvonne/Mike
The Night Is Young: Eddie
Summertime: Brenda/Berry
Smile: Berry
Once I Had a Sweetheart: Jane/Dave
When You and I Were Young, Maggie: Paul/Berry
A Place In The Country: Bill 1:1
Twa Corrbies: Colin
Brave Wolfe: Roger
Love Hurts: Lucy/Paul
Reason To Believe: David
Sealed With A Kiss: Lynda/Paul
Working In The Mill: John (new)
Peggy Gordon: John
Till The Stars Fall From The Sky: Yvonne/Mike
The Grey Funnel Line: Eddie
Solitude: Lucy
All of Me: Brenda/Berry
I Like The Way You Look: Berry
Sweet Jane: Jane/Dave
Every Time We Say Good-bye: Paul/Roger
Peggy and the Soldier: Bill 1:1
Good Ale: Colin
Love Letters: Lucy/Roger

Now let's hear it for collaborations...!