Friday, December 25, 2009


Many, many thanks to Bill and Jenny for hearing my plea...!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What we did to celebrate Yuletide...

Soon after opening the doors, as promised, at 7.00 pm on 18th December, we witnessed the arrival of the spectre of 'Christmas-soon-to-be'; Berry wobbled in. He didn't look too well and he shied away from any attempts at close physical proximity.
In spite of his obvious infirmity, he bore consumable offerings - sandwiches, separately containing salmon, cheese and ham, all beautifully presented.

He explained, on the grounds of ill-health, that he considered it unwise to stay and share his germs (already shared with Brenda.) We few, present at the time, acknowledged that this was a noble, considerate and generous gesture, far beyond the call of duty.

Thank you, and well done, Berry and Brenda. Get well soon!

Two near-disasters occurred. I realised that I had lost the paper plates, plastic cutlery and napkins that had been ordered on line for the event. Fortunately, some extra ones had been discovered in Jane's domestic 'war cupboard'. At the same time we found that a string of festive lights failed to function. David drove Jane's credit card, accompanied by Jane, to Tesco, at great speed. Two sets of coloured lights were procured at half-price before they were gone. Our customary ambience was thereby restored.

Participants (eventually totalling 30 people) began pouring in, and exchanged greetings, cuddles, occasional kisses (no tongues), and generally shared the goodwill of the season. Ken came dressed as (brought) a Christmas tree.

Entertainment commenced with a rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, led by a cleanly-shaven David, very soon after 8.00 pm, which is the best we've ever done for a 'prompt start'. Doubtless, our MC will near-accurately chronicle all the musical offerings in our singaround format in due course.

We were honoured by the presence of two distinguished guests, one of whom represents the operators of our venue. (I have to respect her stated desire for anonymity in this blog, and avoidance of unnecessary references to the host organization and the venue. Hence this guarded wording, but you'll know who/what I mean.)

Just before half time, David delivered a short and sensitive speech of gratitude to this person, and to the organization. A charitable donation from club funds was made, along with presentation of a magnificent bouquet of flowers. The aforementioned anonymous person graciously received these and went on to make some very nice comments about our Friday gathering, saying, “We are pleased to have you.” WOW!

Then we proceeded to partake of a diversity of food which many had brought along to share. For some, that was the best part of the evening. We pulled crackers and begrudgingly donned our silly paper hats. Consumption of intoxicating liquor was barely concealed!

Little time was left for music, but David’s cunning plans (and a slight over-run) meant that almost everyone was offered another opportunity to perform. Our guests simply said, “Pass,” but politely stayed until the end to enjoy Ray's delightful closing performance of The Happy Wanderer.

It was a splendid evening. The milk of human kindness (Shakespeare, W., 1623, Macbeth), but no real body fluids, were shared. Our appetites for food and music were satiated.

Many thanks to all who attended and contributed in whatever way, even if that simply means 'being'!
In particular, thank you, to David for your expert MC-ing, to Lynda for coordinating food, to Ken for being unusually well-behaved, and again to Berry and Brenda for not sharing their bugs, but whose sandwiches were well received. Finally, but not least, to all those good souls who stayed to help with clearing up.

God bless us, everyone! (Dickens, C.,1843, A Christmas Carol.)

Please note...
We will not be meeting at the Guide Hall on 25th December.
However, we anticipate that their will be a 'critical mass' to enable us to meet on 1st January.
('Critical mass' does NOT imply a religious ceremony, nor impending nuclear meltdown!)

Any similarity to real characters, living or dead, in this post is entirely coincidental.
Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily shared by anyone at all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Being the Eighteenth of December 2009...

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen: David+Full Cast
I Wish I Was 18 Again: Paul
Gabriel's Message: Mave
Fagan the Cobbler: Bill 1:1
Santa Baby: Maggie
The Story of Christmas Dinner/Silent Night: Mick
Scarlet Ribbons: Margaret
The Good Old Way: Colin/Jane
? : Jane
A Christmas Carol: Ken
Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Pollker Dot Bikini: Lynda/Paul
The Blacksmith: Anne
? : Mike P.
Walking In the Air: George
When A Child Is Born: Jasmin
Good King Wenseslas: Lorna
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas: Ray
Troica: Mick
Lambskin Carol: Jenny/Bill 1:1
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas: David
Will the Circle Be Unbroken/Jingle Bells: Mick
? : Paul/George
Steal Away: Maggie/Colin
Sleigh Bells: Mave
Jenny: Mike P.
? : Margaret
A Very Berry Christmas: Ken
Famous Blue Raincoat: Jane
Shepherds Arise: Colin/Bill 1:1
The Brash Lad: Lynda
The Little Drummer Boy: Mick
Flemish Carol: Lorna
When the Snows of Winter Fall: Anne

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Being the Eleventh of December 2009...

Come All Ye: David
The Lark in the Clear Air: Colin
Bury My Body: Paul
The Wally and the Ivy: Ken
Now I Has to Call Him Father: Mave
I'll Lay You Down: Eddie
Butterflies: Mike/Yvonne
Love Will Tear Us Apart: Mike P.
I'm Bound for the Mountains and the Sea: Lynda
It's Only Love: Jane
? : Ray
4 Drunken Nights: Bill 1:1
Connemara Boat Song: Jenny
I Want to Go Home: Berry
Staggerlee: David
Betsy the Serving Maid: Colin
Father and Son: Paul
The Hole in the Elephant's Bottom: Ken
All Froze Out: Mave
Next Time Around: Eddie
A Winter's Afternoon: Mike
The Mermaid: Mike P.
The Waters of Life: Lynda
? : Jane
Abilene: Berry
The Cucumber Song: Ray
Rink To Me Dink: Bill 1:1/Jenny
When I Fall in Love: Jenny

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Avoid 'Gift Getting Day' Blues...

Have you ever considered guitar playing as an outlet for your creativity..?
Have you ever considered giving a teenager something constructive to do with its hands...
This could be the answer...!
It's a Stagg Acoustic Guitar. It comes complete with a fabric case, tutor and electronic tuning device...
Phine no longer has room for it and is offering it for sale.
Offer prices should start around the £70 mark (see David for further details....)
Good little starter kit for those with time and determination on their hands...

Being the Fourth of December 2009...

In the Smoke: David
From Bolder to Birmingham: Paul
Cruising Down the River: Berry
The Waller: Mave
Chatterton Doris: Ken
My True Love: Mike
The Lincolnshire Poacher: Eddie
Barbary Ellen: Jane
World Without Love: Brenda/Berry
Raglan Road: Lynda
? My Time: Les
Amazing Grace: Margaret
Zeppelin: Mick
Jack Orion: Bill 1:1/Mick
The Wind That Shakes the Barley: Colin
You & Me: David
Noah: Paul
Delila: Berry
A Roving: Mave
Lord Franklin (Parody version): Ken
(nearly) Butterflies: Mike/Yvonne
All I Want: Eddie
Fare Thee Well Dearest Nancy: Jane/David
All of Me: Brenda/Berry
The Galway Shawl: Lynda
Summertime: Brenda
Leaving on a Jetplane: Les
In the Mood: Mick
The Knight on the Road: Bill 1:1
Thousands or More: Colin

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Being the Twentieth of November 2009...

T'was a Lover and his Lass: David
Union Miners: Eddie
How it's Meant to be: Margaret/Yvonne/Mike
Sisters of Mercy: Paul
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You: Margaret
Swing Low Sweet Chariot: Maggie
Westlin' Winds: Anne/Alan
Halcyon Days: Yvonne/Mike
Rattlin' Bog: Eva/Bill 1:1/Jenny
Here Comes the Sun: Les
Joan of Arc: Jane/David
You Are the New Day: Lynda/Paul
Sad Ending: Mick
True Love Ways: Bill 1:2
The Boxer: Jane/Dave
Rose of Allendale: Ray
Mother of Mine: Phine
The Sheep are 'neath Snow : Colin
My Mother Said: Mave
Children In Need Tonight: Ken/Mave
Poor Old Horse: Bill 1:1
Positively Fourth Street: David
Dancing With You: Eddie
Mary Skeffington: Paul
3 Ravens: Margaret
Last Trip Home: Anne/Alan
All Over the World: Les
Joleen: Jane/David/Bill 1:1
Meet Me on the Corner: Lynda/Paul
O'Carolan's Draft: Mick
Half Way to Paradise: Bill 1:2
Hotel California: Jane/Dave
Grandfather's Clock: Ray
Morningtown Ride: Phine
Banks o' Doone: Jane/Colin
The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze: Mave
The Russian Vodka Song: Ken
I Bid You Goodnight: Bill 1:1

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That much!!!

Ken pretends that he doesn't know how to post stuff on the blog.

He has aked me to post this message from him to everyone...

You magnificent people have confounded our expectations once again. Your generous support in buying raffle tickets and Guess-the-Pudsey entries, donating raffle prizes, sponsoring requests, and cheerfully being fined, means that I have been able to pay in £370 to help disadvantaged children in the UK. And we all had fun doing it! Congratulations on being the bestest, loveliest bunch ever - it's a privilege to know you. Thanks go to Colin and Jane for organising the raffle, the Pudsey thing and the requests, and to David for MC-ing, and, of course, to everyone who contributed fiscally and musically, both on the night and beforehand. On behalf of Children in Need, thank you - your money will make a difference.

I add my own thanks for all the support, enthusiasm and generosity that this project attracted. The outcome was truly remarkable and unprecedented in the history of the City Folk Club.
Very well done, all of you.
Thanks, too, to Ken for counting all that small change into the early hours.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Being the Thirteenth of November 2009...

David: The Stars In Your Eyes
Paul: If I Were A Carpenter
Eddie: The Grey Funnel Line
Yvonne: I Only Want to be With You
Mike: One True Love
Les: Lyin' Eyes
Jane: The Bay of Biscay
Berry: I Love You Because
Dave: Horse With No Name
Jane: Jack Frost
Lorna: Eye Level
Ray: The Old Rustic Bridge by the Mill
Phine: Could I Have This Dance?
Mick: Waltz in E, Am & B
Lynda: After the Gold Rush
Ken: Paddy's Lament
Margaret: We'll Sing in the Sunshine
Colin: Scarecrow
Mave: Roads
David: The Race Is On
Les: Devoted To You
Paul: Father and Son
Eddie: I'll Lay You Down
Mike: All These Things and More
Jane/David: Friday I'm In Love
Berry: Storms Never Last/In Dreams
Dave: Barges
Lorna: Jamaica
Ray: Dark Eyed Beauty
Phine: I'll Do My Crying in the Rain
Mick: Kerfunken Jig
Lynda: How's the World Treating You
Margaret: Sunshine on my Shoulder
Colin: A Night Visit Song
Mave: I'll Do My Frying in the Rain

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Being the Sixth of November 2009...

Fair Thee Well Dearest Nancy: David
Clouds: Paul
Get Up Jimmy Newman: Ken
Galloping: Chris
? : Mave
Lay Me Low: Lynda
Lady of Beauty: Eddie
? : Jane
Love Will Tear Us Apart: Mike P.
The Tower: Dave
Something: Les
Obama/Osama: Mike
Pentland Hills/Mayday: Bill 1:1
Tom Bowling: Colin
Zeppelin: Mick
Handbags and Gladrags: David
My Three Brothers: Mave
Crying, Waiting, Hoping: Paul
What Ever Happened to Saturday Night? : Lynda
Out of the Blue: Mick
Wrecking Ball: Jane/David
Roses of No Man's Land: Eddie
Year of the Cat: Dave
A Most Peculiar Man: Mike P.
Imagine: Les
November Sixth: Ken
Farewell Angelina: Mike/Janet
Creeping Jane: Bill 1:1
Sportsmen Arouse: Colin
Swedish Tune: Mike

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Being the Thirtieth of October 2009...

Every Grain of Sand: David
John Barleycorn/Bring Us In Good Ale/Westron Wynde: Colin
In My Life: Paul
As Strong As Corn: Yvonne
Please Don't Call Me Louise: Mike
Country Fair: Mick
Matty Groves: Dave
What Have They Done To The Rain? : Bill 1:2
Danny Boy: Josie
Hold On Tight To Your Dream: Berry
Isle of Hope: Anne
All Gone Away: Ray
Let Her Go Down: Mave
Music and Movement: Ken
Shepherd's Hey/Jocky To The Fair: Bill 1:1
Memories of East Texas: Mike P.
You and Me: David
Lyke Wake Dirge: Colin
A Little Bitty Tear: Paul
Wiskery Bob: Mike
Neil Gow's Lament for His Brother/Rory of the Hills: Mick
Spanish Train: Dave
True Love Ways: Bill 1:2
Your My Best Friend: Josie
I'll Never Find Another You: Berry
The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood: Anne
It's Hard To Be Humble: Ray
Old Tyme Dancing (Stately as a Galleon): Mave
So Sad To Watch Good Fruit Go Bad: Ken
Sam Hall: Bill 1:1
Take Good Care of My Baby: Mike P.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Being the Twentythird of October 2009....

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds: David
Two Plaintive Tunes (Lyke Wake Dirge/Am I Born to Die): Colin
Fortune My Foe: Jane
The Night is Young: Eddie
One Man Band: Mike P.
If I Could Only Do One Thing: Phine
If You Loved Me: Paul
Bottom of the Bottle: David
You Are the New Day: Colin
When I Was On Horseback: Jane
Drift From the Land: Eddie
In My Liverpool Home: Mike P.
A Thousand Years: Paul
The Fallen Moon: David
Sally Free and Easy: Colin
The Bonny Earl of Murray: Duncan
She Cut Off Her Long Silken Hair: Jane/David
Sing With Me Now: Eddie
No Telling What a Love Song Will Do: Mike P.
Killing Me Softly: Claire
When Will The Good Apples Fall? : Phine
Bird on the Wire: Paul
The Drowned Lovers: David
Jesus Savior Pilot Me: Jane
My Flower, My Companion and Me: Eddie
Waltzing For Dreamers: Mike P.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Being the Sixteenth of October 2009...

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy: David
Della and the Dealer: Paul
Leaves That Are Green: Mike P.
Kathy's Song: Lynda
The Last Spike: Jane
Where Are the Roses? : Eddie
When the Snows of Winter Fall: Anne
Sad Ending: Mick
Masochism Tango: Ken
North Country Girl: Mave
Shebeg and Shemore/Carolan's Concerto: Bill 1:1
Rush Bearing: Mike
Earl Richard: Colin
When the Spring Has Come: David
Never Again: Lynda
Steal Away: Paul
Barbry Allen: Jane
Deeper Well: Mike P.
Miner's Life: Eddie
The Night Poor Larry was Stretched: Mick/Mike P.
The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood: Anne
Timothy Mckay: Ken
Waiting at the Church: Mave
Travellin' Shoes: Bill 1:1
It's Spring Time, Wartime: Mike
Shepherd of the Downs: Colin
When All Men Sing: Mike

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Being The Ninth of October 2009...

One More Dollar: David
A Picture of You: Paul
Strange Rain: Les
Silver Dagger: Maggie
Vince Volvo and the Scrapyard Angels: Mike
The Waters of Tyne: Lynda
Caledonia: Mike P.
Grey Cock: Anne
The Road to Dundee: Ray
These Foolish Things: George
The Man In Green: Anthony
One Night As I Lay On My Bed: Colin
Smile While You Are Able: David
Another Girl: Paul
I Have a Dream: Les
Swing Low Sweet Chariot: Maggie
Till the Stars Fall From the Sky: Mike/Yvonne
Blackwaterside: Lynda
Withered and Died: Mike P.
She Moved Through the Fair: Anne/George
Love is Pleasing: Ray
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square: Paul/George
The Prickly Bush: Anthony
Sair Fyeld Hinny: Colin
Sweet Little Mystery: David
My Lord What a Morning: Les
After Me: Maggie
Do You Remember: Mike
Leaving London: Lynda
A Most Peculiar Man: Mike P.
I Must Love Him Still: Anne
Banks of the Ohio: Ray
Corrina Corrina: Anthony

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No apology required ...

I once heard Martin Carthy, MBE, declare in interview something like, “The worst thing you can do to a folksong is NOT to sing it.”

Now, Martin, does this mean that it’s OK to sing a folksong badly? We’ve all heard that done. I willingly include some of my own humble offerings in that observation, and some of those waxed-cylinder recordings of source-singers can prove a considerable assault to the ear.

Songs, of course, are made for singing. Therein lies their vitality. Otherwise they remain on paper - nothing more than written pieces of poetry/prose, or mystifying dots and squiggles on a stave. Their status as folksongs attests to their historical popularity and gives them dynamism. Different performers adapt them to their own style and add their own instrumentation and idiosyncrasies. Others, perhaps more sensitively, adapt their style to suit the song. By being performed songs are shared, and that is one essence of folksong. Folksong is a living, dynamic and evolving tradition. It is hard to define, but you know it when you hear it.
If it's sung in a 'folk club', it's 'folk'!

We are all familiar with that first-time-out-syndrome. That involves hyperventilation, wobbly knees, trembling voice, stumbling over the second line, and an irresistible need to apologise when, sweating in relief, you reach the end.
You will always receive applause because your audience comprises polite and courteous people.
But – did you sing it badly?
Probably not. You did the best you could. Who can ask for more?
You go home, revisit the song, rehearse, re-work the phrasing, find the right pitch, vibrate the walls, disturb the neighbours, and commit the lyrics and melody to a more retentive memory bank.

Then, with luck, we hear a second outing.
Now you’re cruising!
Your confidence has increased. Your breathing is under control. You are determined not to apologise.
Your mesmerised listeners close their eyes. Their respiration and heart-rates slow as they imbibe the music through the very pores of their souls.
When you finish there is a pregnant silence in the room, because your captivated audience is waiting for more.
"... Aaaarh ...," you hear.
Then - you receive prolonged and rapturous acclaim!
You don’t need to shrug your shoulders apologetically. You smile joyously!

Here I express an opinion: That is how it should be!
We have seen it happen time and again in our gathering.

Of course, we can all sing less-than-our-best at times. The performer is always his/her own worst critic. However, maybe a worse thing is not to improve the performance next time. Remember always, it is the song you are showcasing, not your virtuosity. Performance skills and instrumentation are important, but remain secondary to that. Be grateful that this is so. Take encouragement from your attentive reception.

At the same time, show respect for the song. Do the best you can. Credit your source. Work on the piece. Rehearse it. Make love with it. Engage it as your 'familiar' ...

Permit the 'folkie' incubus/succubus to have his/her will with you. (Enjoy!)
Foster the product of this supernatural conjugation. (Don't smoke!)
Lovingly nurture its gestation. (Folic acid is recommended.)
Eventually a star will appear as a celestial host proclaims, "Be not afraid ..."
Then - oh my - we witness a triumphant delivery. (Your pains are temporary.)
Tenders of livestock will worship you, and, although your virginity remains questionable, oriental sages bearing precious gifts will come forth. (Oh, no, not that myrrh stuff!)
Finally, in presentation at the temple (CFC), transiently, you will own this miraculous creation, and generously share it. ("Here you are, Joe, his nappy needs changing!")
What more could you desire?!

Do NOT apologise!

As my Granny used to say, “Practice makes perfect.”

"St. Anley is such a naughty boy." said his blessed mother, "He's such a long way to go!"


In this post, with the exception of Mr. Carthy's image, all characters are entirely fictional.
Any perceived resemblance to actual persons, living, dead, immaculately-conceived, blessed mothers thereof, individuals existing in self-generated ostracism, or in cryogenic suspended-animation, is entirely the product of the reader's vivid imagination.
The writer, (who does not exist in reality), denies any imagination whatsoever!

The blog-administrator has further declared, understandably, that the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily shared by him - or anyone else in our gathering.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Being the Second of October 2009...

Legend in My Time: David
The Gallant Frigate Amphitrite: Colin
Your Mother and I: Paul
The Bonny Lass of Fyvie: Bill 1:1
I Wish I Were a Maid Again: Jenny
June Apple: Barry
Serious Tom: Mike/Marion
Barbary Allen: Jane
Sailing to Philadelphia: Lynda
Wildwood Flower: Margaret
Seminole Wind: Les
Abroad As I Was Walking: Anne
I Live In Trafalgar Square: Mave
Belly Boys : Ken
Bottom of the Bottle: David
Both Sides the Tweed: Colin/Ken
The False Bride: Lynda
Bill Bailey: Paul
Farewell: Anne
For Ireland I'd Not Speak Your Name/When Sick It's Tea You Want: Bill 1:1
? : Margaret
Old Timer: Barry/Mike/Marion
Still I Love Him: Jenny
Waiting For the Times To Get Better: Mike/Marion
My Beautiful Bride: Jane/David
Messing About on the River: Les
Wave Over Wave: Mave
The Zoological Gardens: Ken
Get Up Jack Jones Sit Down: Barry

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Being The Twentyfifth of September 2009...

Talking Lion Blues: David
The Lakes of Shilin: Colin
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain: Paul/Berry
The Sunny Side of the Street: Brenda/Berry
Peg And All: Mike/Marion
Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye: Jane/David
The Harvester: Mike/Yvonne
See That Rainbow Shine: Eddie
Castles In The Air: Bill 1:2
I Don't Work For A Living: Ray
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow: Phine
This Time: Berry
Amazing Grace: Margaret
Rambling Boy/Snorkle: Mick
Lucy: Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Pretend: David
The Blackbird: Colin
Girl: Paul
A Fine Romance: Brenda/Berry
Golden Arrow: Mike/Marion
John Barbary: Jane
Lady of Autumn: Eddie
The Dutch Man: Bill 1:1
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face: Lynda
The Happy Wanderer: Ray
Silver Threads & Golden Needles: Phine
Over The Waves: Berry
Donna Donna: Margaret
O'Carolan's Draft: Mick
The Thrill Is Gone: Lucy
Love Hurts: Lucy/Paul
Everyone Works for Father: Mike/Marion

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Being the Eighteenth of September 2009...

The Hammer Song: David
Mr. Rock & Roll: Paul
My Grandfather's Clock: Ray
The Flesh Wounds of Your Love: Anne/Alan
She Cut Off Her Long Silken Hair: Jane/David
Gypsy: Mike P.
In The Early Morning Rain: Lynda/Paul
Torn Between Two Lovers: Phine
Go Tell It On The Mountain: Les
Just Out Of Reach: George
Song Sung Blue: Berry
The Last Thing On My Mind: Josie/Gerry/Heather
Rose Of No Man's Land: Eddie
The Star of The County Down: Anne/Alan
Willie Oil Lad: Colin
The Fallen Moon: David
Bird On The Wire: Paul
Can't Find My Way Home: Ray
Puff The Magic Dragon: Alan
My Mother The Mountain: Jane/David
Underneath The Stars: Mike P.
The Rose: Lynda
Kumbaya: Les
A Burn Up With My Bird: Berry
The Cherry Tree Carole: Josie
All Around My Hat: Gerry
Dancing With You: Eddie
When All Men Sing: Colin

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Being the Eleventh of September 2009...

Late October: David
For No One: Paul
What Have They Done To The Rain: Les
Wayfaring Stranger: Jane/David
The Brash Lad: Lynda
It's To Late Baby: Phine
This Boy: Bill 1:2
Leaving Nancy: Ray
Ain't It Good to be Back Home Again: Mike
Step Up Mary: Peter
Galloways: Colin
I'm Throwing Rice: David
I'll Be There: Paul
Row the Boat Ashore: Les
Joleen: Jane/David
She Moved Through the Fair: Lynda
Walk With Me: Phine
Johnny Reb: Bill 1:2
No Use For Him: Ray
The Sun is Coming Over the Hill: Mike
Seashore: Mick
Jobsworth: Peter
Betsy the Serving Maid: Colin
The Wild Rover: Bill 1:2
Farewell Farewell: Lynda

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Being the Fourth of September 2009...

I Used To Be: David/Bill 1:1
Amanda: Paul/Bill 1:1
The Joy of Love: Margaret
Moonlight Serenade: Brenda/Berry
Lullaby: Yvonne
? : Mike
Peggy Gordon: Lynda
Yours: Ken/Berry
Adieu To Old England: Mave
He Was Under My Window: Anne
Josie: Mike
Blues: Mick
Life's a Bugger Sometimes: Ken
Conamara Cradle Song: Jenny
Summertime: Bill 1:1
All Among the Barley: Colin
Next: David
Multiplication: Paul
Silver Dagger: Margaret
A Whiter Shade of Pale: Brenda/Berry
Oh So Naturally: Yvonne/Mike
Difficult Kind: Lynda
Let's Keep It That Way: Phine
Blue Bayou: Berry/Ken
Dirty Old Town: Mave
The Last House On Our Street: Anne
April Come She Will/Cathy's Song: Mike
The Chicago Jig/? : Mick/Mike
Old Daddy Fox: Bill 1:1

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now is come September ...

Here's a seasonal song ...

All Among the Barley.

Now is come September, the hunter’s moon begun,
And through the wheaten stubble is heard the frequent gun.
The leaves are paling yellow, and kindling into red,
And the ripe and bearded barley is hanging down its head.

All among the barley, who would not be blithe,
While the ripe and bearded barley is smiling on the scythe?

The spring is like a young maid who does not know her mind.
The summer is a tyrant of most ungracious kind.
The autumn is an old friend, she gives one all she can,
And she brings the bearded barley to glad the heart of man.

All among the barley, who would not be blithe,
While the ripe and bearded barley is smiling on the scythe?

The wheat is like a rich man; it’s sleek and well to do.
The oats are like a pack of girls, laughing and dancing too.
The rye is like the miser; it’s sulky, lean and small,
But the ripe and bearded barley is monarch of them all.

All among the barley, who would not be blithe,
While the ripe and bearded barley is smiling on the scythe?

(Repeat v.1, then, all sing, chorus ad inf ... )

There are a few renditions on youtube.
Don't bother; we'll do it better!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Being the Twentyeighth of August 2009...

Talking Lion Blues: David
Bruton Town: Colin
The Bank O'Doone: Jane/Colin
I'll Take You Dancing Again: Mave
Grandpa's Grave: Ken
About a Quarter to Nine: Berry
Lovesong To a Stranger: Jane
Love Letters Straight Form Your Heart: David/George
The Best Days of Your Life: Jasmin
Any Dream Will Do: Ray
Girl: Les/Pam
Will You: Mick
Mrs. Merry's Ball: Bill 1:1
Day Has Come: Anthony
Between the Lines: David
Scarecrow: Colin
Babes in the Wood: Jane/Colin
My Mother Said: Mave
(She Did the) Fandango: Ken
Help Me Make It Through The Night: Berry
St. John The Gambler: Jane/David
Ain't Misbehaving: George
Samuel Plimsol: Jasmin
The Yodelling Blacksmith: Ray
Things We Said Today: Les
Handbags and Gladrags: Mick
The Deadly Wars: Bill 1:1/Mick

Being the Twentyfirst of August 2009...

David: D'you Ken John Peel?
Colin: Moorlough Shore
Chalky: San Francisco Bay Blues
Eddie: See That Rainbow Shine
Yvonne: Oh So Naturally
Mike: Just a Simple Love Song
Maggie: Magic Flute (excepts)
Jane/David: Joan of Arc
Josie/Gerry/Heather: Travelin' Light
Mike: This Old Guitar
Steve: Galway Shawl
Janet: The Gallant Frigate Amphitrite
Mave: The Manchester Rambler
Ken: English Channel No.5
Lynda: On Raglan Road
Paul: Yesterday
Bill 1:1: The Sandy Boar
John: High Holiday
Margaret: The Last Thing on My Mind
David: The Ballad of the Lost Prophet
Colin: The Miller and the Lass
Margaret: 4 Marys
Chalky: Cocaine Habit Blues
John: Tunes of Glory
Eddie: Dancing With You
Yvonne/Mike: Whiskery Bob
Maggie: Uncertain Love
Jane: Ohio River Boat Song
Josie/Gerry/Heather: 500 Miles
Mike: Puff the Magic Dragon
Steve: Keeping the Old Songs Alive
Janet: Storing Sugar In the Hole
Mave: Now I Has To Call Him Father
Lynda: The Patriot Game
Paul: Sisters of Mercy
Chalky: Jelly Roll
Steve: The Boxer

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Greetings from Vermont ...

Various YouTube postings of CFC activities have attracted an audience from the colonies. My friend wants to share with us this folk song from Texas.
It seems to be about animal abuse ...

The traffic noise brings a certain 'je ne sais quoi', but I worry that, in her enthusiasm for singing, she seems to be driving on the WRONG side of the road!
Then again, so is everyone else.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Being the Fourteenth of August 2009...

David: Staggerlee
Wild in the Country: Paul
Throw Another Log on the Fire: Margaret
Ring's End Rose: John
I Don't Know Why I Love You: Berry
It Ain't Me Babe: Maggie
Leaving on a Jet Plane: Lynda/Paul
My Mother the Mountain: Jane
Black Velvet Band: Bill 1:2
Eyes of Willow Green: Sandra
Fiddler's Green: Ray
Calico Printers Clerk: Mave
You've Really Got a Hold On Me: Ken/Berry
Glenamadie: Lorna
Out of the Blue: Mick
Scarecrow: Colin
All Along the Watchtower: David
I'm Only Sleeping: Paul
Those Were the Days: Margaret
The Presence: John
Heartbeat: Berry
A Woman is a Sometime Thing: Maggie
Anywhere I Lay My Hat: Lynda
This Street, That Man, This Life: Jane
Waterloo Sunset: Bill 1:2
Poitín and Potatoes: Sandra
Down By the Dockyard Wall: Ray
The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze: Mave
A Poem About Waterloo: David
The Russian Vodka Song: Ken
Quiet Weekend: Lorna
Harvest Home/Jacky Tarr: Mick/Lorna
Old Peculiar: Colin

Beresford Greene Speaks (Seventeenth Fit..)

From The City Folk Club

I am following up on the contributions to Ken's discourse on Folk Music and seek now to expand the discussion into an adjacent area. That is namely that of copyright, intellectual property, and maybe patent rights. Now I am not strong on the details of these issues even though I do have some powerful and mutually conflicting views on the subject.

This is my understanding of the current position: - Performers in the UK receive royalties from record sales and radio airplay for 50 years after a song is released. The person who composed that song, however, is entitled to the exclusive rights to their music and appropriate royalty payments for their entire life and a further 70 years after their death, a total of perhaps 120 years.

Those performers whose careers lasted for only a few years in the 1950s, - and whose contracts specified that they would continue to receive royalties long afterwards - may have already or will soon, stop collecting any income from their hits. There are many musicians that are in a similar position, who rely on their copyright payments as a pension.

The British Phonographic Industry, which represents record companies, says it is unfair to have different rules for performers and composers. It is demanding parity with the US system, where material is protected for 95 years after it is published.

We musically interested souls will know something of the war now being raged about the internet by the big musical industries such as EMI, Sony, and RCA. They object to the loss of royalties arising from free down-loads and so called "file-sharing." They seek to prevent it. They have not been very successful so far. Indeed they have even offered a reward to anyone that can come up with any method that would totally resist any copying. It ain't easy or I would have done it!

The Treasury has appointed Andrew Gowers, the former editor of the Financial Times newspaper, to conduct a review of copyright and intellectual property policies in Britain .

{Nice work if you can get it!}.

There is no doubt that the large & powerful music institutions have done much to promote sometimes little known artistes for several generations. Big stars have emerged that we may otherwise have never got to see & hear. However there is a nasty downside. Much of the performing industry has been riddled with a drugs culture, whilst mediocrity has been used to metamorphose them into famously rich celebrities. Indeed we now have a culture of celebrity wherein the vehicle, (music in this case), plays second place to the stardom. "Look at me - look at me" is really a sign of a weak psyche isn't it?

After working as an engineer for a lifetime I feel driven to ask if George Martin, and others of his ilk, receives any royalties for his part in The Beatles success. It is very unlikely on at least two counts. Firstly he would have probably signed a waiver in the favour of his company (EMI) of any ideas, inventions etc. that he was party to. Secondly, his name doesn't appear on the song writing credits. Yet we now know that he made plenty of input. Indeed that has been recognised with a knighthood and unofficial title of "Fifth Beatle." Secondly, many ideas such as "Phasing" & "Chorusing" - "Slap back" & multiple echo effects are claimed by nearly every studio that ever used them. Then there was the "Aural Exciter." {Don't ask!}.

Ought it to be any wonder then, that Norman Petty, Buddy Holly's recording engineer who supplied all the studio equipment, accommodation, expertise, and even marketing know-how, insisted on having his name as a joint composer of many Buddy songs?

Is it right that anyone can claim a royalty for a new layout of the same old things? How would it be if every designer could do that? Let me give you an example: - Kris Kristofferson came up with some pretty original lines of prose in his lyrics: - "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." - "Nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free." Do you spy any unusual or new words in there? Is it so that you know anyone that would expect to pay for nothing? And having nothing left to lose might set you free of having to care but, how long will you last out with nothing? Is it right that we have to go on paying Kris for this and for the fairly ordinary tune that goes along with it for so very long? {Even longer in America }. Yes and this example came from one of the better popular writers.

Just think what might happen if we were to start applying the same principles to recipes! Here's one of mine: - "Sausage & lemon pie on a bed of choux pastry" Or I could do a Bob Dylan and claim "Steak & kidney pie with worms" or "Cornflakes and onion drizzled with raw egg" as my own! Can't you see why I get so upset with life? There's so little true creativity required. "Weetabix & ginger rolls." "Figs with sawdust"

Let us move on to football. I am the inventor of the "sidestep", the "feint" and the "dummy." I would have had the "backheel" but I sold it for a fixed sum. I get paid every time these moves are used. I am working on a claim that will give me intellectual property rights over the expression "I mean" and "do you know what I mean?" I love "that's what it's all about" too and spend a fortune in royalties by saying it as often as I can. How unfortunate that it isn't mine. "Get the ball in the back of the net" is nice too. Some fans try to link these phrases together but that isn't wise if you suffer from lip-stall or tongue buffet.

If you examine these arguments and many similar avenues, it will very difficult to avoid the issue of class. One might better say quality. Yes I am sticking my neck out here but I'm anxious to learn! Let's grab the jugular and ask the question. Does singing or playing badly have any quality? What about singing down one's nose in what I understand is a Folk tradition. Does it have any class? Should loud raucous Rock & Blues music occupy a high place? When The Rolling Stones sold Black American Rhythm & Blues back to White America, ought they to get any Royalties at all, let alone for so long? Most of us do a job and get paid for it. Or we may sell an idea for what we can get to someone who thinks they can make a profit from it. I think I'll re-design the brick!

There are many other similar questions to ask. Do altered tunings, drone notes, unsyncopated rhythms, and rudimentary Elizabethan harmonies have any quality? After generations of "refinement" it might be interesting to look back at the route we have travelled, but should we be struggling to keep it "alive" - as though its loss would be an affront to human endeavour?

Wealthy Cliff Richard thinks the period of Royalties should be extended. This from a man with an undeniable God given gift for singing who, as far as I know, never ever wrote a note or a line!! When a company with its contracted artistes makes a "record," - that's what it is, - "A RECORD." Job done! There should be no question of ongoing "Royalties." I say "Get a proper job!"

Are we to allow ourselves to be coerced into a corruption of the truth when we sign up to the wailings of the unsophisticated (** yeah it might be the wrong word - back in a minute), as though it had real merit? "I woke up this morning and found I was in bed. I woke up this morning and found I was in bed. I woke up this morning ….. to find I wasn't dead. That's fine that's mine, pass the wine…."

To return to my theme, if the musical industries are unable to control the internet situation, will music be returned to the Folk from whence, in very large measure, it came? Will there be a loss or a gain? Will it be balanced?

The only exception that I can see to my arguments would come if I wrote any kind of successful song or made any kind of record that sold well! Then I would see it so very differently. Since that ain't likely to happen --- I will retain my view of it.

Come along now I am trying to be provocative! That's because someone somewhere took a swipe at the misspelling of that very word - yet I can't find the origin of that. Where's the text? As one of the only three readers of these columns I've just got to know! Hurry now - once the medication kicks in I won't care anymore.

** A better word is "ignorant"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Being the Seventh of August 2009...

David: The Drowned Lovers
Paul: Girl From the North Country
Berry: Hey, Hey.
Mave: Let No Man Steal Your Tyme
Ken: Layabouts Lament
Antony: Sibella
Brenda/Berry: All of Me
Mick: 12 String Tune
Mike: The Mermaid
Lynda: Amazing Grace
Anne: The Sin of Mary Prout
Ray: Empty Echos
John: Eurydice
Barry: Lizzie Loved a Highwayman
Jenny: Sally Gardens
Bill 1:1: I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
Colin: William Stone
David: See Me Run
Paul: Moon Shadow
Berry: Over the Waves
Mave: The Callico Printer's Clerk
Ken: Down in the Basement
Antony: At the Dark End of the Street
Brenda/Berry: Summertime
Mick: A Slightly Longer Tune Than The First One
Mike: Fire and Rain
Lynda: When Morning Breaks
Anne: Catch Me If You Can
Ray: Dorset is Beautiful
John: I Don't Know Any Love Songs
Barry: Driving In The Middle Lane
Jenny/Bill 1:1: Keys To My Heart
Bill 1:1: Poor Old Horse
Colin: Row On

Monday, August 3, 2009

And Ken reponds ...

"Colin's lengthy discourse, and Berry's, have both almost completely missed the point, although Colin ended up supporting me, I think.

For the purposes of debate, I defined folk music as: 'music made by people for their own amusement'. That music will live on, acquiring, retaining, shedding various influences, wholly or partly, is not in dispute. What is in dispute is whether 'folk music' - as per my definition - will survive.

Will someone actually dispute the tenet which is the subject of the debate i.e "Folk music* has no future"?
*as defined in my proposition (otherwise we could be here until the cows come home).

Perhaps I should have written 'Folk CLUBS have no future', instead."

Dogsbody has his say ...

Pursuant upon my earlier comment, Ken has generously invited me to make a properly-argued response regarding the future of folk music.

I wonder - when, in Victorian times, the fictional Joseph Poorgrass sang in the local hostelry, or Bathsheba Everdene charmed her harvest-supper guests with ‘Bushes and Briars’ accompanied by Gabriel Oak’s flute, did they call it ‘folk music'?

Did they even know the term?
Does it matter?
The ideas of ‘folk’ and ‘tradition’ have been much debated by our elders and betters for over a century and even I have been permitted a humble contribution in an earlier posting. That, of course, is irrelevant to Ken’s proposition, but we do need to know where we are coming from.

Let me begin with the comment I made as a knee-jerk reaction to Ken’s outrageous motion: I wrote, "Folk music will continue to live so long as people like you/me/we contrive to get together, in a non-commercial scenario, on a regular basis and share music and songs that appeal to us." I here describe The City Folk Club as well as a significant number of similar congregations.

I recall that such clubs became popular and thrived in the nineteen-sixties, if not earlier. Every town and village had a folk club. Whether the musical material was ‘folk’ or ‘traditional’ was of only academic importance. It was the scenario that defined the music. These gatherings were, of course, contemporary contrivances and probably bore little similarity to the rustic gatherings of earlier times. Despite that, music and songs were performed, heard and shared. A style that we recognise as ‘folk’ germinated in the communal consciousness, even if you’d written the song only yesterday.

I acknowledge with regret Ken’s final point wherein he states the obvious – we’re all getting older and I guess the average age of CFC’s participants is in excess of 50. Youngsters are rare visitors. Even the young 'up-and-comings' who are gaining national popular acclaim are in it for commercial reasons and distribute their material of questionable copyright through recordings and large concerts. Informal gatherings have been put at risk by regulations surrounding public performance. If the laws were to be strictly applied, maybe the folk club would die.

On the other hand, does that mean the terminal demise of folk music? The melodies and lyrics have been recorded and transcribed. Certainly, in modern times, the notion of oral transmission is an anachronism. People like RVW and Gustav Holst have brought traditional melodies into the classical canon. The first time I heard the delightful tune ‘Lovely Joan’ was in a recording of RVW’s ‘Fantasia on a theme of Greensleeves’, years before Martin Carthy gave it an 'authentic' setting. To argue that any form of music is dying is to deny the creativity of the human spirit, and ignores the fact that music (and indeed any art-form) has the ability to outlive its creator for many generations. After all, is Beethoven really dead? Is John Lennon?

Let’s take the example of a traditional, probably Irish melody, ‘Dives and Lazarus'. As far as I know, this is anonymous and very old. In addition to the song that Roger G. so ably performs, this tune occurs in various guises regularly throughout the folk canon in songs such as ‘The Maid of County Down’, ‘Moorlough Shore’, ‘The Foggy Dew’ (F. P. O'Neil) and even ‘John Barleycorn' to name but a few. This melody has a life of its own and is the main theme for RVW’s 'Variations of …', in addition to which, he used it as a hymn tune. Here we see/hear Berry’s ‘enduring popularity’.

So, here is my argument. Folk Clubs may well outlive their usefulness and, as Ken suggests, become unsustainable. The same cannot be said of folk music. The past century and more has seen folk song revivals in various forms, albeit sometimes unapologetically commercially-based. I have faith that such cyclical re-examination of our musical heritage will continue. Future generations may receive it in scenarios as yet unbeknown to us. Perhaps the very idea of ‘folk’ will be redefined, but so what?

The music lives!

God Save the Queen!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Being the Thirtyfirst of July 2009...

This evening has been officially declared 'Vintage' and will live in the memories of participants when all else has faded...
(but it's probably a good job I wrote everything down just in case...)

Freight Train: David
Down Where The Drunkards Roll: Lynda
Another Train: Andy
Famous Blue Raincoat: Jane
Star of the County Down: Anne/Alan
Just a Simple Love Song: Yvonne/Mike
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da: Gerry
Lovely Nancy: Diane/Steve
Where Are You Tonight: Anne
Empty Echos: Ray
Master Gunner Jack/Humpty Dumpty: Steve
Windsor Gallop: Lorna
Dancing at Whitsun: Anne/Alan
Poor Jenny: Ken
Jessica: Mick
In The Smoke: David
Outward Bound: Lynda
Waltzing's For Dreamers: Andy
Fare Thee Well Dearest Nancy: Jane/David
Fine Young Men: Anne/Alan
Till the Stars Fall From the Sky: Yvonne/Mike
Song For a Winter's Night: Gerry
Among the Green Hay: Diane/Steve
Claudy Banks: Anne
Cornish Lads: Ray
On The White Horse/Laughing Samba: Lorna
3 Tunes: Anne/Alan
The Devil and the Ploughman's Wife: Steve
Hard Cheese of Old England: Ken
In The Mood: Mick
Galway Shawl: Andy
Yesterday's Men: Anne/Alan
Digging Dusty Diamonds: Diane/Steve
Rolling Home: Ray

Beresford Greene Speaks (Sixteenth Fit...)

I feel that a more extensive reply is in order. However I must not debate as I am not of that ilk and have no experience of all that is implied in such.
Folk Music is like any other fashion, that is at the will of the many if not the majority. One thing that it is difficult to argue with, (though no doubt Ken will find a way), is "POPULARITY." More exactly: ENDURING POPULARITY.
I like to think that when the other issues such as fashion & nostalgia have subsided, a worthy piece of art endures for the best of reasons. A "popular" song may be in favour for a very short while or become an "evergreen" that sees it maintained as a work of worth perhaps for ever & a day.
Folk Music is surely no different from any other art form in this respect. Of course there are those who simply like "the style" of something. That gravel voiced singing down the nose may be pure bliss to some. What we need to ask here is whether such is appealing to the many. The answer to that comes with that "enduring popularity" that I mentioned.
Of course publicity has an effect. If we try to keep certain items from falling out of mind, we may hope that they will endure the more. The one thing that cannot be done is to change for very long the conception of appreciation that lies within we homo sapiens. The truth will out.... one would hope!
There are some songs that have an almost indescribable X-factor that gives them legs that may last forever. Rather than give an example one that has it - I would rather give an example of one that most certainly does not! And I quote our National Anthem. Yet I suppose that it is "popular" -eh? Yet I would say that the hymn "Jerusalem" has it in spades - especially if you also happen to be British.
Now you would want to move me on to consider words & music as separate issues, but I will not be driven there. At its best there will be a marriage of both that seems to have been made if not in heaven, then not of this world.
We have in our club, those who can deliver a song in such a way that it takes the very breath from ones body. We also have one or two that... well can't. And that my dears is where I come in!
So have I spoken about motions for long enough? Have I been instrumental in tuning you in?
Do try to keep regular and turn up and out every Friday evening.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ken Debates A Motion...

The blog's been lately a little um, what's the opposite of 'lively'? It's about time for a Discussion Topic.
This house believes that: folk music has no future.
Aah! Gasp! Shock! Horror!!
I speak for the motion.
The question: 'what is folk music?' is an old, much-debated one, and the answer a thorny one. However, if we assume that folk music is 'music made by people for their own amusement', then the evidence for folk music's decline is compelling. It has its origins, dear reader, before you were born.
Regardless of whether the music is transmitted orally, or via some notation, (and it has been by both for 400 years or more), the decline in folk music started with the Industrial Revolution and the drift to the towns from the country. Folk music's resilience was considerable, but could not withstand the near-mortal blow of the Great War, and the loss of virtually a generation of young men. Some claim that the music was carried-on by the womenfolk. Some certainly was, but the gap between the young of the new generation and their grandparents' ways was a considerable one, and thus much folk culture, in song, tune and dance or ritual, was lost. That device which helped to preserve the traditional music of the British Isles (at least), i.e. the phonograph, was the harbinger of the technology which was to turn the majority from practitioners (in the home and workplace) to consumers through the audio and video media. The family sing-song round the piano gave way rapidly to the passive 'couch potato' culture of today. Even that bastion of folk music, the Gypsy traveler culture, is in its death-throes. Singaround clubs such as the City Folk Club (and there are many similar) are the last outpost of a dying culture. The youth of today see music as a way of escaping their apparent destinies and a route to fame and fortune.
So, can folk music last? Clearly not: the age of most folk singers and musicians means that it is unsustainable for more than a decade or so, say, being generous, three. So: practically extinguished by 2040, save for a handful, who might be no more numerous than flat-earthists.
Anyone care to speak against the motion?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Being the Twentyfourth of July 2009...

David + full cast: Midnight Special
Lynda/Paul: For The Goodtimes
Berry: The Glory of Love
Paul: Three Steps to Heaven
Brenda/Berry: Dream a Little Dream of Me
Eddie: See That Rainbow Shine
Yvonne: I Only Want to be With You
Mike: It's a Mystery
Jane: Lilac Wine
Mike P.: Zimmerman Blues
Margaret: Polly Oliver
Bill 1.2: Travelin' Shoes
Ray: Jangling Waltz
Mave: Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage
Ken/Berry: Mailman Bring Me No More Blues
Mick: Morning Cantref
David: Withered and Died
Lynda: Most of Us are Sad
Paul: Norwegian Wood
Berry: ?/Somebody Stole My Gal
Brenda/Berry: Winchester Cathedral
Eddie: Sing With Me Now
Mike/Yvonne: Halcyon Days
Jane: Hallelujah
Mike P.: Grandma's Feather Bed
Margaret: Long Black Veil
Bill 1.2: The Dutchman
Ray: Home Lads Home
Mave: Four Strong Winds
Ken: Poor Jenny
Mick/Mike P.: My Darling Asleep/Walls of Liscarrol

Friday, July 24, 2009

Being the Seventeenth of July 2009...

David: The Road Away
Paul: I Wish I Was 18 Again
Les: The Bachelor's Lament
Mike/Yvonne: Butterflies
Lynda: Kathy's Song
Jane: Trudie Dies
Mick: Blackwaterside
Mike P.: Teacher Teacher
Anne: Joe Peel
Bill 1.1: The Longer You Live
Ken/Colin: White Squall
Mave: The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze
Colin: Lowlands Away
David: The World Turned Upside Down
Paul: Anything That's Part of You
Les: Hotel California
Mike: Y.V.O.O.N.E.
Lynda: Never Again
Jane: Salisbury Plain
Mick: When Kings Come Home
Mike P.: Brand New Day
Anne: The Swallow Song
Bill 1.1: The Wicked Gander
Ken: The Golden Glove
Mave: Turn, Turn, Turn.
Colin: The Twa Corbies

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Being the Tenth of July 2009...

David: Positively 4th Street
Paul: Learning the Game
Berry: It's You
Brenda/Berry: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Jane: Hickory Wind
Lynda: What Ever Happened to Saturday Night?
Mick: Vesta Pol
George: Gua'r Dame Las Vacas
Tony: The Piano
Mike P.: Run For Home
Josie: The Water is Wide
Ray: Spanish Eyes
John: Rose of Allendale
Mave: No, My Love, Not I
Ken: Only As Old
Anita/Colin: A Birthday Song for Lynda
David: Stars In Your Eyes
Paul: I'm a Loser
Berry: I'd Never Find Another You
Brenda/Berry: It Had to be You
Jane: Bold Fisherman
Lynda: Lay Me Low
Mick: O'Carolan's Draught
George: La Cumparsita
Tony: Look What They've Done To My Song
Mike: First Song
Josie: Los Muleros
Ray: Empty Echos
John: Hardtimes Come Again No More
Mave: The Manchester Rambler
Ken: Grumpy Old Man
Colin: The Oggy Man

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My next instrument will be ...

A bombarde!
... mais ma femme ... elle dit, "NON!"

Le quatorze juillet, Bastille Day, is a special day of celebration in France. Whether Brittany is truly part of France is historically debatable, and I am unsure how loyal Bretons will receive this post in such a context. (Enlightening comments are welcome.)

Here's a song, in Breton Gaelic about a swan (An Alarc'h). My thanks to someone called hanterkant for the following paraphrased explanation:
The plot is simple, based on a real story. In the middle ages, a Breton duke (surnamed "the Swan") returns from England to Brittany in order to help his people fight against a French invasion. The Bretons sing, "D'an emgann! D'an emgann!" ("To the fight! To the fight!").

Some viewers might recognise the tune. It has been acquired for accompanying a traditional English/Scottish tale of human mortality, desertion and avian feasting.

Which one?

What is the collective term for a group of legitimately conceived bombarde-players?
... bombast?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ship's log for the year of our Lord 2009 ...

By the grace of God, being the fourth day of July.

John – skipper and helmsman
Stephen – helmsman’s mate
Don – caterer
Helen – female cabin boy

On board - a total of 36 voyagers, hopeful for a new life in distant lands, boarded the good ship Richmond, tearfully waved farewell to their grieving loved ones on the quay and set sail for who-knows-where, not knowing if or when they would return.

In fair weather, skilfully steered by very-able seaman John, the vessel was carefully navigated out of the canal basin whence we pursued a southerly direction.

Grog was generously distributed or jealously guarded. To pass the weary hours music was played and songs were sung. Someone decided that an exercise in answering very silly questions might distract the passengers from the tedium of a long sea voyage.

As the city lights dwindled into the distance, we could no longer make out the forms of our relatives still waving their handerchiefs. We discussed the health risks of this ancient custom of handkerchief-waving.

At a remote place called Hunston someone passed wind and we were obliged to tack onto a more westerly course.

At Donnington disaster struck! Our progress was blocked by a low bridge that one Mr. Crosbie had hurriedly constructed overnight. The captain cursed Mr. Crosbie and pondered this desperate situation for a while. He decided to put about our craft. This serious piece of helmsmanship involved going astern for some distance. There was no option other than to return to our home port.

On passing Hunston again a fine anchorage was found. Noting that the on-board supplies were diminishing, some of the passengers undertook the short excursion to a local hostelry. The natives were friendly. A strange intoxicant called ‘Guinness’ was discovered. A pint thereof could be purchased for 350 pence in an unfamiliar local currency. Emboldened by this and other liquors, more songs were sung.

Twilight approached. The passengers staggered back aboard the Richmond. The anchor was weighed and, having left that earlier foul wind behind, we proceeded northwards. Entertained by more music and singing, we safely arrived back at the canal basin in time for the last train home.

Seriously, didn’t we have a jolly time again?

Very many thanks to all who contributed to our enjoyment of the evening.
The timely appearance of ardea cinerea while Anne was singing about a heron was greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Joe and his staff at The Spotted Cow for their indulgence.
Thanks to David for … err ... well … for simply being! (No, I didn’t say, nor intend, ‘being simple’!)
Congratulations to Linda who exhibited exhaustive knowledge of unimportant things. With 93% correct answers, she won the quiz.

Most importantly, thank you to John, Stephen, Don and Helen, volunteers of the Canal Society, who were extraordinarily tolerant of our behaviour and ensured that no lives were endangered, souls lost, nor limbs severed on the voyage.

I was so pleased that my glass eye was rapidly recovered from the bilge!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Being The Third of July 2009...

The Snake: David
I've Got You Under My Skin: Brenda/Berry
Heartbeat: Paul
Leaving on a Jet Plane: Lynda/Paul
Oh So Naturally: Yvonne/Mike
How It's Meant To Be: Margaret/Mike/Yvonne
All The Goodtimes: Eddie
Box On Her Head: Anne
Turning of the Year: Mike P.
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You: Margaret
Someday: Berry
A Tree Song: Colin
You Know Who I Am: Jane
I'm Throwing Rice: David
The Very Thought of You: Brenda/Berry
His Eye is on the Sparrow: Paul
Raggle Taggle Gypsies: Lynda
Jesus Saviour Pilot Me: Jane
Do You Remember?: Mike
Next Time Around: Eddie
Catch Me If You Can: Anne
Play Me: Margaret
I'm Gonna Try For the Sun: Mike P.
Please Help Me I'm Falling: Berry
The Heart is True: Colin
Jimmy Brown: Paul
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight: Mike P.
Silver Dagger: Anne
Putting On The Style: Berry
Talk To Me of Mendocino: Jane

Monday, June 29, 2009

Being the Twentysixth of June 2009...

The Wife of Usher's Well: David
Mole in a Hole: Paul
Moonlight Serenade: Brenda/Berry
People Will Say We're In Love: Berry
Emma's Waltz: Ian
Tender Comrade: John
Zeppelin: Mick
In The Darkness of the Night: Mike P.
I'm Looking Through You: Les
Banks of the Ohio: Ray
Anderson's Coast: Mave
When We Were Good: Ken/Berry
Escuba (?) River: Bill 1:1
The Female Cabin Boy: Colin
Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy: David
Raining In My Heart: Paul
Anytime: Brenda/Berry
What About Me?: Berry
Don't Explain: Lucy
Da Slockit Light: Ian
Tolpuddle Man: John
Tuning Bee: Mick
Circle Game: Mike P.
Where Am I Going To Live When I Get Home?: Les
The Rose of Annandale: Ray
Wave Over Wave: Mave
Harbour Lights: Ken/Berry
Young Billy Brown: Bill 1:1
Old Peculiar: Colin
Devoted to You: Lucy
Lord ?: Ian
Rolling Home: Ray

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blatant Sexism...

"In sailor's apparel I'll dress and go with you..."
Sorry love, the canal trip's sold out now...

Being the Nineteenth of June 2009...

I find the contemplation of chickens and their antics a tonic when I'm feeling low...
Either that or a visit to the City Folk Club...

Good Ale: Colin
What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?: David
Living Doll: Berry/Ben
Saucy Sailor: Jane
Till the Stars Fall From the Sky: Yvonne/Mike
Bosom Bells: Ken
Sussex Shepherdess: Mave
Handy Man: Gerry
Brass in Pocket: Antony
D Day Dodgers: Bill 1:2
?: Ray
Shepherd's Crook and Black Dog: Anne
The Two Crows: Bill 1:1
Lady of Beauty: Eddie
Sealed With a Kiss: Lynda/Paul
Pilot of the Airwaves: Paul
Coalhole Cavalry: Lily/Dan
Cocaine Habit Blues: David
Sir Richard's Song: Colin
Sea of Heartbreak: Berry/Ben
Backstreet Girl: Jane
Bepton Farm: Yvonne/Mike
My Dream: Ken
The Cool of the Day: Mave
Bye Bye Love: Gerry
Wonder Boy: Antony
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: Bill 1:2
Sussex By the Sea: Ray
Ship In Distress: Anne
Claudy Banks: Bill 1:1/Colin
The Night is Young: Eddie
?: Lily/Dan

Oh, I do wish my new bicycle would turn up... :-(

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Album Cover of the Week...

Obviously we don't book acts to perform but if we did....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Being the Twelfth of June 2009...

"A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth." (G.B. Shaw.)

Every Grain of Sand: David
Keep You In Peace: Eddie
All of Me: Brenda/Berry
Whispering: Berry
John Riley: Jane
I Should Have Known Better: Les
Wonderful World: George
Everytime We Say Goodbye: Maggie
El Panio: Josie/Heather
I Recall a Gypsy Woman: Gerry/Heather/Josie
Hardtimes Come Again No More: Ray
In The Early Morning Rain: Lynda/Paul
Bird on the Wire: Paul
I Live Not Where I Love: Anne
The Musical Lovers: Colin
In The Wee Small Hours: Lucy
The Drowned Lovers: David
Somewhere Along The Road: Eddie
It Had to be You: Brenda/Berry
Louise: Berry
Verdi Crys: Jane
Eight Days a Week: Les
Cry Me a River: Lucy/George
When I Was a Young Girl: Maggie
Delta Dawn: Lucy/Paul
Colours: Josie/Heather/Gerry
My Old Man Said Follow the Van: Ray
High Germany: Lynda
Dr. Jazz: Paul
All Things Are Quite Silent: Anne
Hessle Road: Colin
Kiss The World Goodbye: Berry
The Blacksmith: Jane
Dream Lover: Paul
Home Lads Home: Ray...


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who's This Then? ...

16th. June being designated 'Sussex Day', Ken has invited us to perform items associated with Sussex when we meet next Friday.

I know we've been here before, but this is something I offer as a tribute to the late Bob Copper of Rottindean ...

Good Ale.

It is of good ale to you I’ll sing,
And to good ale I’ll always cling.
I like my mug filled to the brim,
And I’ll drink all you care to bring.

O, good ale, that art my darling.
Thou art my joy both night and morning.

It is you that helps me with my work,
And from a task I’ll never shirk.
While I can get a good home-brew,
And better than one pint I like two.

O, good ale ...

I love you in the early morn,
I love you in daylight, dark or dawn.
And when I’m weary, worn or spent,
I turn the tap and ease the vent.

O, good ale ...

It’s you that makes my friends my foes,
It’s you that makes me wear old clothes,
But, since you come so near my nose,
It’s up you come and down you goes.

O, good ale ...

If all my friends from Adam’s race
Were to meet me here all in this place,
I could part from all without one tear
Before I’d part from my good beer.

O, good ale ...

And if my wife should me despise,
How soon I’d give her two black eyes,
But if she loved me like I love thee
What a happy couple we should be.

O, good ale ...

You have caused me debts and I’ve often swore
That I never would drink strong ale no more.
But you for all that I forgive,
And I’ll drink strong ale as long as I live.

O, good ale ...

For an audio presentation follow

Remember, Bob, in folk heaven, will be listening to you joining in the chorus!