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.)