Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sweet Reconciliation

Thank you John...
You've got some great songs...!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (Forth fit)....

Dear Bloggers,
Some folk seem to be having difficulty understanding the things that I say. Do you think it's easy for me being in cyber-space? No-one has ever understood me - sob. When that awful phrase "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" was first cast in my direction, it seemed so clever, so smug, that I hated it at once. "What point", my mind said, "what point in trying at anything if it is to be reduced down to such a level." It might ease your brain, alas not mine.
However, there is a way to counter it. Since everything is judged by the mind of the recipient, all I have to do is stimulate your grey cells a little bit and bingo-bongo, you will read into it just what you will. Your decision can all be glossed over by such platitudes as "artistic license" & "beauty is in ... "    
Therefore I know that you will know exactly what I have been saying, who it applies to, and what it really means, WITHOUT THE NEED FOR ME TO SPELL IT OUT. I like that sequence from Yes Prime Minister: - "You might like to think that but I couldn't possibly comment"
Musical Jokes
Guitarists spend half their time tuning their instrument and the other half playing out of tune.
The organ is the instrument of worship for in its sounding we sense the Majesty of God and in its ending we know the Grace of God.
What is the difference between a dead trombone player lying in the road, and a dead squirrel lying in the road?
The squirrel might have been on his way to a gig.
What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?
            A drummer
What do you call a groupie who hangs around and annoys musicians?
            A bodhran player
Non Musical Jokes
Ken is often unable to play these days even when he appears by arrangement with Maurice Winnock. Being intercontinent is only one part of the problem.
Non Joke Musical
"Rock & Roll Will Never Die" so sayeth Danny & the Juniors. Dylan's bitter song is no match for this one David.
Title to Songs or whose line is it anyway?
So Colin yer decided to tackle the old chestnut. Of course everything that you say about it makes smart sense. The real point is that we are talking art here and I need to remind you that in that arena most things just don't make sense. The degree of difficulty, the time spent, all overtaken by the magic of "beauty." 
"Popularity" is another word to consider. It has become natural to tie £ notes to popularity, rather than to beauty. It means that at some point, common opinion had it that this was a song worth spending their money on. Where should the credit go -  to the writer or to the performer? There's no single answer to that is there.
I too have sometimes been a bit miffed to see songs I have spent much time on, but don't own & didn't write, taken over at will. I can only but hope that it is, as you suggest, down to my immaturity. I'd settle for that!
It all depends how much you have invested in the song. Some will have rehearsed an instrument. Some will have learned the words. Some will have done both. There's a life example here. How much should one invest in any one thing?
However, if someone doesn't give way, it's like a traffic jam, no-one can get anywhere. Perhaps it's best to let each rendition speak for itself then to be judged on performance / delivery.

The Bonny Light Horseman....

Anne sings (with a voice like invisible butterflies...)

Being The 26th of September 2008

City Folk Club Mission Statement...

We live in challenging times that are subject to constant change and uncertainty.

We are having to get used to living in different ways, being more flexible and effective whilst maintaining the standards and behavior that society expects.

Here at the City Folk Club we have been working hard to provide a wide range of options to meet the demands of these difficult times.

We hope you will find something of use in the services we offer...

Today the City Folk Club is a very different organization from it's inception, over 107 years ago.

Originally the City Folk Club began life as a small U.K. based group with just a handful of employees and voluntary workers.

From modest beginnings we have grown to be the leading organization in our field, expanding to world wide proportions.

Now our client base have a wide choice of how they can implement the City Folk Club's methods and practices in everyday life.

We always welcome feedback on our ideas, and remain ever vigilant.

Now over to Marcel Marceau to introduce this weeks goings on....


Everything Is Fine: David
And I Love Her: Bill 1:2
Last Of The Great Whales: John
Next Time Around: Eddie
Joan Of Arc: Jane/Dave
My Darling/Gillian's Apple: Mick
I'm Tired Of Running Out Of Your Back Door When Your Old Man Comes Back Home: Peter
Rose: Jasmine
The Cock Linnet Song: Ray
Sheep Crook And Black Dog: Anne
I Will Be There: Olivia
Never Any Good: Mike
By The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree: Bill 1:1
There But For Fortune: Lynda/Paul
My Little Rovin' Sailor: Jenny/Bill 1:1
Help Me Make It Through The Night: Paul
Ritchie Graham: Colin
Stoking The Fire: David
Emerald Dew In The Morning: Bill 1:2
Sweet Reconciliation: John
My Lady Of Autumn: Eddie
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry: Jane/Dave
Julia Cliffin/Din Tarrants: Mick
What Colour Is The Wind?: Peter
I Wish I Was Back On The Farm: Ray
The Bonny Light-Horseman: Anne
Pattens: Mike
What Should I Write: Phine
Island Of Dreams: Lynda/Paul
?: Bill 1:1

Watch out for video evidence of this evenings performers which will be posted on this blog in a kind of ad-hoc way until then you can find them all here:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paul invokes Dampness (d'yah see what I did there...?)

Sadly the song makes no mention of what was done with all the waste matter produced by the passengers or why the unicorns missed the trip...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Your' Song...?

Occasionally people get upset when others perform what they perceive as ‘their’ song. In less mature years I have been guilty of such an inappropriate attitude. Since puberty is just around the corner, I repent!

We’re in the folk world here. Almost everything is in the public domain. Unless you have penned it yourself, there is no such thing as ‘your’ song. (OK, let’s agree that self-penned material belongs in the folk world.)

At another club one of our regular participants was strongly advised against singing a well-known Irish song because ‘someone else sings that.’ “Outrageous!” say I. It is a travesty that this valuable singer was seriously discouraged, for many months thereafter, from public performance.

A folk song belongs to us all. Any one song may be part of many people’s repertoires. Ownership thereof is ephemeral. Such possession exists exclusively for the duration of a performance. In a good rendition the performer temporarily makes it his/her own, shares it, and generously gives it away.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (third fit)....

We just have to admit it guys. Friday 19th Sept was a bit of a girls night. Yes it may hurt to admit their strengths but alas we must. Not for these ladies is a drudge life only of the washing, ironing, cooking & sewing Oh no! These girls sing as they go through the washing up too. The clanking of the dishes & the cutlery are a mere percussive prelude to what is to follow.

Their voices, attuned to the screeching of orders & nagging that normally sends fear through the hearts of strong men, are transformed into the sweetest sounding instruments of quality. Tiny, pretty, (& clean) fingers hover delicately over keys & strings. On Friday evenings at The Regnum Club all our differences are set aside as they go headlong into their measures. Those elevated tones cut through the musical accompaniment in a way that the men can never do. It is a veritable come-uppence for us to have to admit this arena suits them.

Then there is the choice of material. Where the men so often choose stuff that gives a clue to the depths of despair about what might have been, these wonderful creatures seem to be rejoicing & set to reminding us of all that can be so beautiful as they reminisce on past loves that have left for them, a lasting positive memory. This then raises the prospect of imaginary passion within the weak males. Is this guys, what we are missing just because we won't wash up!

But on Saturday morning they will have returned to normal as we settle down with a crate of beer to watch the big game on TV. Slap!

By the way, I may not be along for a week or two.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Being The 19th of September 2008

Ah, the seasons they are a changing yet things carry on in much the same way in the small, but perfectly formed, microcosm that is the City Folk Club...
Now let's hand over to the delightful Channel Five newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky to introduce this evenings listing...

Good 'eavens an all innit...?
So I turns round like an I says you wanna watch it you do cos you is a proper caution an no mistake an she's like turnin' round an goin' 'you wanna watch you mouth an' all less it get you in trouble wiv my fist and you is getting a slap for that innit...?

Bottom Of The Bottle: David
Butterflies: Yvonne/Mike
Lullaby: Mike
My Flower, My Companion & Me: Eddie
Hardtimes Come Again No More: John
Song To A Stranger: Jane/Dave
I Just Want To Dance: Jasmin
Landslide: Mike
Seashore: Mick
World Without Love: Brenda/Berry
D In Love: Berry
Dainty Davie: Lynda
Wild Mountain Thyme: Jane
While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping: Sue
Sweet Thyme: Colin
I'm A Loser: Paul
Look What They've Done To My Song: Maggie
Positively 4th Street: David
Halcyon Days: Yvonne/Mike
Grey Funnel Line: Eddie
As Tears Go By: Jane/Dave
Rag Picking: Mick
Rose Marie: Brenda/Berry
Lucky Lips: Berry
Annie's Song: Lynda
Geordie: Jane/Colin
Rout Of The Blues: Sue
Come Write Me Down: Colin/Jane
Boulder To Birmingham: Paul
Summertime: Maggie
Everynight I Play The Bohran: Mike
?: John
The Parting Glass: Sue

I think I speak for everyone present when I say that Jane and Dave's rendition of Song To A Stranger was the highlightyest highlight in an evening of highlightfulness in highlight land...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Did someone ask, "Who is Sandy Denny?"
Here she is:

Greatly missed.

She Moved Through The Fair...

The increasingly barking Sinead O'Connor (isn't she a Pope now...?) singing (and how...!) She Moved Through The Fair...


Beresford Greene Speaks (second fit)....

Der banded ist disbanden! So sorry 4U who work so hard. Been there done that!

Maggie is not a Turk after all, nor is she a Fronchie. The genuine immigrant is keeping a low profile, especially those from Central Europe. This is because these guys would show us all up when it come to plucking. (The strings I mean). Then there are those who would let us down by not playing when they appear and appearing not to play. This is dis-pick-able in a guitarist. In a singer it is unsung, and in a pianist it is piaNOla. These are new words to add to my existing dictionary of previous BLOG. Upon which glad to find Ken didn't understand it & Colin is ducking & diving under various disguises.

So where do we all go from here? Some of you will be going no-where at all. Others will be toying with a Winter break from our Summer weather. If they choose the right airline they won't actually have to go, even though they have paid to go. This inarticulation of the aeroplane is a new scientific phenomenon newly discovered in the early part of the 21st century. It goes along with a lack of gas & electricity that is the fault of CERN (LHC) - the thing in Switzerland that is set to discover where the smallest ever particle has gone. Were it to be brain particles that they were trying not to discover, I could help by directing them to - oh you've guessed ... ! I have heard that some folk, having only a fragment of the particle - have tried eating old guitar strings. It certainly hasn't harmed them - even if it hasn't worked.

QUIZ : Musical direction is under the control of Sidney who appears by arrangement with Maurice Winnock. Ken will explain, I can't possibly comment more than to say that it is musical.

HINT:- Sometimes when I want to play in the key of Eb I get help from a proper musician. If it Bb I tighten the strings a little bit & act it out more as a natural, and if C# I take Phillosan and do it in C anyway. There are better more musical keys such as Gb & F#m, but they often spoil the narrative. (New word). The squashed man who fell down a mine shaft {A flat minor}, is known to most musical buffs. What is not so easily acquired is the elusive key of Cb. Although difficult to find I can assure everyone that it does exist. It's rather like those quarks & other atomic fragments really.

Tip of the week & key to performance: - Be natural.

Regards, Berry

P.S. - As a person who has so much trouble learning words, I was particularly interested in what David had to say about his methods. What a pity such methods don't work for me! I can take it on the chin,... yes I am thick & handicapped. Even songs that I really love will not stick. A few that I learnt years & years ago, like God Save The King, are in there, but generally, I just can't do it. In fact I am so embarrassingly bad that I have to use a safety net crib-sheet at all times. Not the only snag to this is that you also LEARN to need that crib-sheet.
I also resort to being spiteful towards those who can retain oodles of songwords & seem to think they don't need a reminder. When they break down & founder I laugh at their embarrassment and wonder if perhaps, I do have it right after all. The point is often made that one cannot "EXPRESS" the song when reading. I say that you certainly won't be expressing anything if you lose the words completely. For those who think this in itself can be turned into entertainment I have a message: - It can't! To have any chance of doing that you will need a very good story or joke up your sleeve. This is what has turned me into a small time comedian!
As a matter of truth, it is also the case that most people can't do in live public performance all that they can do in the privacy of their own home. I have come to accept that this will be the case and would only say that it won't get significantly better until you get the song "out there" and start to believe that you CAN do it - live. Repetition in the chosen environment is the key. The kitchen is not a complete substitute. Nerves are born of uncertainty (in my view), and that will be the case until - well it isn't - anymore.
Whilst on this subject, I will just say that while our audiences are mercifully forgiving, it does begin to rankle if one perceives a throwaway attitude or an act that has had no rehearsal whatsoever. This is only because so many of us have spent hours & hours getting nowhere I suspect. BJG

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Being The 12th of September 2008

What went on exactly...?

The Big Ships Are Sailing: John
Sing With Me Now: Eddie
Sibella: Anthony
7 Days: Mike
Love Is Pleasing: Mave
If I Could Only Make You Care: Berry
Oh! Lord It's Hard To Be Humble: Ray
?: George
Katy And The Dream-time Land: Jasmin
Dublin In The Rare Old Times: Bill 1.2
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child: Maggie
The Plough Man: Bill 1.1
Some Rival: Jenny/Bill 1.1
Let The Sea Rage On: Paul
Streams Of Lovely Nancy: Colin
Keep Your Skillet Good And Greasy: Bill 1.1/David
Young Willie Oil Lad: John
The Night Is Young: Eddie
A Beatles Medley: Anthony
White Lily Water: Mike
My Flower, My Companion And Me: Mave
Nobodies Sweetheart Now: Berry
The Eyes Of A Child: Jasmin/George
Crystal Chandeliers: Ray
Theme For Young Lovers: Bill 1.2/Berry
Old Fashioned Millionaire: Maggie
The Deadly Wars: Bill 1.1
A Little Biddy Tear: Paul/Bill 1.1

More rubber chicken....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Being the 5th of September 2008...

The Five Stages of Drinking

It's 11:00 on a weeknight, you've had a few beers. You get up to leave because you have work the next day and one of your friends buys another round. One of your UNEMPLOYED friends. Here at level one you think to yourself, "Oh come on, this is silly, why as long as I get seven hours of sleep (snap fingers), I'm cool.".

It's midnight. You've had a few more beers. You've just spent 20 minutes arguing against artificial turf. You get up to leave again, but at level two, a little devil appears on your shoulder. And now you're thinking, "Hey! I'm out with my friends! What am I working for anyway? These are the good times! Besides, as long as I get five hours sleep (snaps fingers) I'm cool.".

One in the morning. You've abandoned beer for tequila. You've just spent 20 minutes arguing FOR artificial turf. And now you're thinking, "That barmaid is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen!" At level three, you love the world. On the way to the toilet you buy a drink for the stranger at the end of the bar just because you like his face. You get drinking fantasies. (like,"Hey lads, if we bought our own bar, we could live together forever. We could do it. Tommy, you could cook.") But at level three, that devil is a little bit bigger....and he's buying. And you're thinking "Oh, come on, come on now. As long as I get three hours sleep...and a complete change of blood (snaps fingers), I'm cool.".

Two in the morning. And the devil is bartending. For last call, you ordered a bottle of rum and a Coke. You ARE artificial turf! This time on your way to the toilets, you punch the stranger at the end of the bar. Just because you don't like his face! You and your friends decide to leave, right after you get thrown out, and one of you knows an ...after hours club. And here, at level four, you actually think to yourself, "Well....as long as I'm only going to get a few hours sleep anyway, I may as well.... STAY UP ALL NIGHT!!!! Yeah! That'd be good for me. I don't mind going to that board meeting looking like Keith Richards. Yeah, I'll turn that around, make it work for me. And besides, as long as I get 31 hours sleep tomorrow ...................cool.

Five in the morning. after unsuccessfully trying to get your money back at the tattoo parlor ("But I don't even know anybody named Kylie!!!"), you and your friends wind up in The City Folk Club with guys who have been in prison as recently as...that morning. It's the kind of place where even the devil isn't going, "Uh, I gotta turn in. I gotta be in Hell- at nine. I've got that brunch with Hitler, I can't miss that." At this point, you're all drinking some kind of thick blue liquor, like something from a Klingon wedding. A woman with fresh stitches comes over, and you think to yourself, "Someday I'm gonna marry that girl!!" One of your friends stands up and screams, "WE'RE DRIVIN' TO NORFOLK!!!!!"- and passes out. You crawl outside for air , and then you hit the worst part of level five- the sun. You weren't expecting that were you? You never do. You walk out of a bar in daylight, and you see people on their way to work, or jogging. And they look at you-and they know. And they say..."Who's Kylie?" Let's be honest, if you're 19 and you stay up all night, it's like a victory like you've beat the night, but if you're over 30, then that sun is like God's flashlight. We all say the same prayer then, "I swear, I will never do this again (how long?) as long as I live!" And some of us have that little addition, "and this time, I mean it!"

Lets look through the square window shall we...?

What Are They Doing In Heaven Today: David
All Among The Barley: Colin
A Patchwork: John
The Ups and Downs: Bill 1.1
Will You?: Mick
What Have They Done To The Rain?: Bill 1.2
A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square: George
Aged and Mellow: Jasmin
This Land Is Your Land: Ray
Well Well Well: Les
The Hour That Ship Comes In: Mike
Wave Over Wave: Mave
Silver Dagger, Turtle Dove: Ken
Teach Your Children Well: Lynda/Paul
Usgudar: Maggie
Raining In My Heart: Paul
Rhythm Of The Rain/Here Comes The Sun: David
The Blackbird: Colin
All The Lies You Told Me: John
The Merry Blacksmith/The Banshee: Mick
Castles In The Air: Bill 1.2
Hallelujah: Jasmin/George
Fields Of Athenry: Ray
Fort Worth Blues: Les
Farewell Farewell: Mike
Bear-hug Blues: Maggie
How's The World Treating You?: Lynda/Paul
Little Actress: Jasmin
Noah: Paul

Thank you to all of you who braved the appalling weather to attend this evening and...

Congratulations to Mave & Ken for achieving 38 years of married bliss...

Beresford Greene Speaks...

Rather uncharacteristically I got up late this Saturday morning. Let it be known that I am not in the best of temper having missed The Regnum City Folk Club last night. To fuel my angst, and more in hope than realistic expectation, I have called up the BLOG to see if what I missed is yet posted. I fully expected to be disappointed. However, the reason for my increased fervour isn't seeing the songs that I missed, nay, it is a discourse on the merits of the unaccompanied song. Oh - do I have things to say about all that!

First of all I must define the words that I will use in some form of glossary. I'm only interested here in getting my meaning over, not in redefining these words for the world to use. Before I do that, let me tell you some of my perceptions. Amongst our number there are all sorts of intellect. There are those who, whether actually so or not, would choose for themselves the great gift of being a smartarse! Then there are those who have never wondered about anything and seem happy as Larry just to be there, an accepted part of it - for once. They wouldn't normally be allowed in - anywhere, - but here, in the Folk Clubs, they seem as welcome as anyone. They are as roundly applauded as the seasoned performer.
When all is said & done I know that I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the local clubs that have given me & my hobby such a welcome. In relation to that I don't care deeply about anything. FACT!
I wish so that I could speak with my doctor, but I know so little about my body!

Glossary: -

Music - Derived from Greek said to be sound(s) organised in time, elements of which are Pitch, Rhythm, Dynamics, & texture. Allied to these are tempo, meter, articulation, melody, harmony, & timbre. {Not though, a noise created by any means whatsoever!}.

Song - Used to describe a composition for the human vocals.

Instrumental - a musical composition without vocals.

Tune, Composition, Melody - A musical piece that may be either with or without vocals

Prose - Writing that resembles everyday speech.

Poetry - Art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities

Rhyme - A repetition of identical or similar sounds in two or more different words and is most often used in poetry & songs.

Lyric - Composition in verse which is sung to a melody to constitute a song

Impress - To affect strongly, often favourably

Entertain - An activity designed to give people pleasure or relaxation.

Hobby - Hobbies are practiced for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward

So what is it that I wanted to say? I wanted to say something like this:-
There seems to be four or five ways to exploit the above. Music, Song, Tune, Rhyme & Poetry. This gets expanded when two are put together as happens in a Composition.

So what did I want to say then? - Although there can be a certain symbiosis when in composition, it often seems to happen that the one is spoiled by the other. A good musical piece would prefer to stand by itself, just as I suppose, would a piece of prose or poetry. Would it be that each segment is as easy to achieve as some would appear to believe. If one had to award merit in terms of difficulty, where would the music or instrumental stand in relation to the lyric? Don't compound this with general merit. Why not then?

Do we speak the more, or do we sing the more? Is singing the same thing as music? What value is an instrumental? Which is the more difficult? Singing, Talking or playing? Ask my cat. She knows! Why don't you then?

What of "Tradition"? Must we forever stay in the past? Yet dare we to let it all go? How far may we progress and, here it comes now, at what speed? Does money & innovation have any place inside a Folk Club? Come along now tell me now, don't hold back. How long is it since whence thee ate? Does it matter? Does it affect the artistic merit? If so, why so?

Get on wiv it!


P.S. Who was Frank Purslow? responsible for the huge amount of work on the George Gardiner (and Hammond Bros) Song collections. Oh great!
A.L Lloyd? - his father was an AA Patrolman and failed smallholder! Oh great!