Saturday, January 31, 2009

Albums That Should Be In Everyone's Collections...

What Shall We Do With The Tired And Emotional Sailor..?

From the BBC news website 30th Jan 09...
"Drunken sailors" have been removed from the lyrics of a nursery rhyme in a government-funded books project.

But the Bookstart charity says the re-writing of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor? has "absolutely nothing to do with political correctness".

The charity says that the shift from drunken sailor to "grumpy pirate" was to make the rhyme fit a pirate theme, rather than censorship.

"Put him in the brig until he's sober," has also been lost in the new version.

This latest ideological spat over nursery rhymes was sparked by the re-writing of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor.

'Rusty razor'

Bookstart, a project that encourages parents to read with their young children, has produced a different version - with no references to alcohol-swigging sailors.

Instead the hard-drinking sea shanty has been turned into something gentler, with lyrics such as "Tickle him till he starts to giggle, Early in the morning."

The charity has dismissed accusations that this is a politically-correct attempt to avoid the alcohol references, saying that it was a case of re-cycling a familiar tune for reading events that were based on a pirate theme.

"We wanted to find a rhyme which would fit in with this subject and this one has a tune which is instantly recognisable by all," said a statement from Bookstart.

"The inclusion of action lyrics like 'wiggle' and 'tickle' offer parents and small children an opportunity to interact, have fun and enjoy acting out the rhyme together."

Although the Drunken Sailor version familiar to children already leaves out some of the saltier verses.

The original includes such suggestions as: "Shave his belly with a rusty razor", "Stick him in a bag and beat him senseless" and "Put him in the hold with the captain's daughter."

The captain's daughter was a euphemism for a lashing from a cat o' nine tails.

I know of several other variations to this shanty that would make my grandmother disown me...

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it...

Drunken Sailor

Being the Thirtieth of January 2009....

With Buddy Holly now spinning fast enough to affect the rotation of the planet let's find out how this situation came about...

It Doesn't Matter Anymore: David
I'll Lay You Down: Eddie
Not Fade Away: Jane/Dave
All Gone Away: Ray
Raining In My Heart: Brenda/Berry
Think It Over: Berry
True Love Ways: Bill 1:2
Peggy Sue: Mick
Sweet Lemoney: Mike
Don't Explain: Lucy
Heartbeat: Paul
Ever The Winds: Colin
Sweet Little Mystery: David
The Night Is Young: Eddie
Famous Blue Raincoat: Jane/Dave
The Gypsy Rover: Ray
The Very Thought Of You: Brenda/Berry
Hey Hey: Berry
Air On A G String: Mick
Maybe Baby: Bill 1:2
Leaving On A Jet Plane: Lucy
That'll Be The Day: Paul
Tom Bowling: Colin
Peggy Sue Got Married: David
Fields Of Athenry: Ray

You can relax now Colin...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Is the ukelele a folk instrument?

When I was young...
(I mean REALLY young. By the age of seven years I was forbidden to wear terry-towelling nappies any more, and disposables had not been invented,)
... my elder brother responded to the question, “What would you like for your birthday?”
“A geetar, please,” I heard him say.
Now, here was a word I hadn’t heard before; I certainly couldn’t spell it!

The due anniversary arrived. My brother arose from the single bed that poverty obliged we many siblings to share under the kitchen sink and, half-dressed and unwashed, ran into the living-room to view his gifts.

Have you ever seen a crest fall?!

The larger of two parcels was a mere eighteen inches long. His disappointment was apparent as he loosened the wrapping to reveal … a ukulele!
“Well,” said Daddy, “It’s a stringed instrument with frets. Won’t that suffice?”
(Philip didn’t know what ‘suffice’ meant.)
“But it’s only got four strings!” he exclaimed.
(He knew about geetars.)
“And it’s not in standard tuning!”
Long-faced, he surveyed the instrument. While looking at the accompanying tutor–book, he began to wish he had learned to read.
Graciously he acknowledged the gift and tried assiduously to take the music on board. Then he got bored.

Some while later, in recompense for having beaten me up the previous day, (I still bear the bruises,) he said I could have it.

By then I could read the tutor. I learned a couple of chords, although I didn’t know what a ‘chord’ was. The plinky-plonky sound so irritated my mother that she, in a fit of bipolar exremity, threw the ukulele onto our open fire. We couldn’t afford coal so the piano went next because I had been unable to procure any nutty-slack from alongside the railway line.

Decades passed, nutty-slack became an anachronism, (as did proper railways,) and I came to forgive those foregoing abuses.


One evening last year a couple sneaked unobtrusively in to the City Folk Club. They were demure, quiet and self-effacing. David had a smallish bag that looked like it could contain a modest instrument. Jane said she might sing.

Then, oh then … it was their turn!
The room fell silent.
Ken didn’t say a word.
This is the delight we heard ...

Wowed, or what?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Being the Twentythird of January 2009....

Funny (as in odd) time of year this is and no mistake...
Christmas over, to early for a spring clean...
I can't get excited over Burn's Night or Australia Day or the Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox)...
It's like standing at a bus-stop waiting for the year to turn up...
Still, for two and a half hours a week I have a purpose....
Writing a list...

Where Do You Go To My Lovely?: Bill 1:2/Berry/Ray+Full Cast
New York Girls: Colin+Full Cast
All the Good Times: Paul+Full Cast
24 Hours From Tulsa: David
My Flower, My Companion and Me: Eddie
I Love My Love: Jane
An Empty Cup: Bill 1:2
As Time Goes By: Brenda
Someday: Berry
You're My Best Friend: Ray
Unaccompanied Triangle Solo: Heather
Walk With Me: Les
Fishes: John
Sisters of Mercy: Paul
Lowlands Away: Colin
Farewell, Farewell: Lynda
Last Night I Went Out Walking: David
Sing With Me Now: Eddie
Ma' Bonny Lad: Jane
Walk Right Back: Bill 1:2
Slow Boat To China: Berry
When I'm 64: Brenda/Berry
Oh! Lord It's Hard To Be Humble: Ray
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away: Les
A Cradle Song: John
My Lady's A Wild Flying Dove: Lynda
To Soon To Know: Paul
Songwriting: Ken
All Things Are Quite Silent: Colin
Daydream Believer: Bill 1:2
Red Rubber Ball: Les
Rolling Home: Ray

Until we meet again....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Now That's What I Call Folk Dancing....

My Love is Like a Red Red Rose...

With Burn's Night approaching, I had to publish this:

Subjects for discussion:
...Haggis is a load of sheep's crap loosely hidden in intestinal integument.
...Burns was a plagiarist.
...A plagiarist is someone who performs on the beach with a rat-infested instrument called a pasteurella pestis! (Are you with me, Ken?)
...Burns, having sired 14 illegitimate offspring, was an incorrigable philanderer.
...Where did I go wrong?

Not for discussion:
...Eva Cassidy's music is divine.
...She is sadly missed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

All The Good Times...

Paul has agreed to lead an unaccompanied rendition of this song....

The singer has left his song on the air,
The hunter has hung up his horn,
After the day the long, long night
After the night the dawn.

All the good times are past and gone,
all the good times are o'er,
All the good times are past and gone,
little darling don't you weep no more.

I don't want a seat at your table so bright,
I don't want a bed on your floor,
You can't hunt me down through the forests of love
and nail up my hide on your door.

Forget all the teeth that threaten to tear,
forget all the pains in your head,
The meek and the weak shall inherit the earth,
the savage and honest are dead.

Build me a boat where the willows once grew,
where the vole and the otter swam free,
Row me away from this desolate land,
make for the open sea.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New York Girls

This is what Steeleye Span did:

Below is what I do, based on words used by Stan Hugill. I think I recall that the Spinners recorded these lyrics:

As I walked down Broadway one evening in July,
I met a maid who asked my trade and, “Sailor John,” says I.

And away, you Santee, my dear Annie.
Oh, you New York Girls, can’t you dance the polka.

To Tiffany’s I took her, I did not mind expense.
I bought her two gold earrings and they cost me fifteen cents.
And away…

Says she, “You lime-juice sailor, now see me home you may,"
And when we reached her cottage door she this to me did say …
And away…

“My flash man he’s a Yankee, with his hair cut short behind.
He wears a pair of long sea-boots, and he sails on the Black Ball Line.”
And away…

“He’s homeward bound this evening and with me he will stay.
So get a move on, sailor-boy, get cracking on your way.”
And away…

So I kissed her hard and proper, afore her flash man came.
“And fare-ye-well you bowery girl, I know your little game.”
And away…

I wrapped my glad rags round me and to the docks did steer.
I’ll never court another girl, I’ll stick to rum and beer.
And away…

I joined a Yankee blood-boat, and sailed away next morn.
Don’t ever fool around with girls; you’re safer off Cape Horn.
And away…

You, Peter Sellers and ukelele players are invited to join in.

How To Be Cool...

For any young people that may have, by some horrific mistake, found their way here...
Hope that you live long enough to look this good...
For any older people...
Do it now because it will be to late when you're dead...

Being the Sixteenth of January 2009....

Well, another night of scintillating company, caustic wit and fine, fine music...
Meanwhile, back at the City Folk Club we did this...

Sailing: Mike P.+full cast
Fare Ye Well Dearest Nancy: David
Lady Franklin's Lament: Colin
The Widow of Westmoreland: Bill 1:1
The Old Lady of Padstow: Mave
(She Did the) Fandango: Ken
Dead Reckoning: Andrew/Carol
Stones: Carol/Andrew
Dancing With You: Eddie
Maria Helena: Berry
The Contender: Mike P.
All My Trials: Maggie
All of Me: Brenda/Berry
When Morning Breaks: Lynda
Hard Life: John
The Battle of New Orleans: Paul
Jimmy Crack Corn: Phil/Tony
The Last Thing on My Mind: Tony/Phil
Need Your Love so Bad: Roger
Sweet Little Mystery: David
An Announcement (See later post): Colin
Loftus Jones: Bill 1:1
'orrible Lies: Andrew
A Smuggler's Song: Carol
Somewhere Along the Road: Eddie
Long Time Forgotten: Paul/Berry
Winchester Cathedral: Brenda/Berry
A Turkish Song: Maggie
In the Early Morning Rain: Lynda/Paul
40 Shades of Green: John
This Land is Your Land/Keep on the Sunny Side: Phil/Tony
Hobo's Lullaby: Roger

Welcome to the new faces (Phil/Tony+the ladies in the dark), to returned faces (Carol/Andrew, Eddie/Margaret & Les/Pam) and to a face we have missed for so long (Roger).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Mike P. sent me this as a suggestion for a starting number. I'm not sure where the D-seventh came from but, hey-ho, he's leading.

Thanks, Mike.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Being the Ninth of January 2009....

I would like to be able to introduce this weeks listing with some relevant babbling but I've had to focus my limited intellectual capacity on the basics of atomic structure so...
Did you know that an atom is made up of a nucleus and several shells and that the outer most shell is called the valence shell..?
The nucleus is made up of Protons & Neutrons...?
The shells of the atom carry the Electrons..?
You will know when my studies of the atom are complete by the smoking hole where West Sussex used to be...
In the mean time let's huddle together and sing:

Early One Morning: David + Full Cast
Farewell to the Gold: John
When I Was On Horseback: Jane/Dave (c/w dulcimer)
Laurie: Bill 1:2
Hey Jude: Herr Ken
When The Green Man Comes A-Walking: Mave
Dance Around In Your Bones: Mike
Goodbye: David
A Begging I Will Go: John
Kathy's Song: Lynda
I Wish I Was Eighteen Again: Paul
Ny Kirree Fo Niaghtey: Colin
Cold Haily Rainy Night: Bill 1:1
The Stars In Your Eyes: David
Lea Boys Honey: John
Down To The River: Jane/Dave
This Boy: Bill 1:2
Little Pot Stove: Ken
You Are My Honeysuckle: Mave
Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do ?: Mike
Blow Ye Winds: John
Never Again: Lynda
No Hiding Place: Paul
Spanish Ladies: Colin
Manchester Rambler: Bill 1:2
Haul Away: Paul

I now have to go and gather winter fuel...

Ken Picks Up The Gauntlet...

I bet Bill 1:2 didn't expect to have to put his hand in his pocket to buy anyone a pint tonight...
The only German vocab I know, excluding 'himmel', 'achtung' and 'Aieeee' which I learnt from the comics of my youth, is Brustwarze.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bill 1:2 Throws Down A Challenge...

Hello there Blogsters...!
Here is a little useless information, which I'll follow up with a challenge.
Pre 1967 (circa) international copyright laws meant that anyone translating a song from one language to another would have to forfeit half of the writers royalties to the originators and quite right but (and this is the injustice) any future royalties in the original language meant that the translator was entitled to a percentage too.

If you're still with me I'll give you an example; Lennon/McCartney wrote 'She Loves You' which was translated into German by some geezer, whom I'll call Wolfgang into 'Sie Liebt Dich' (Ja Ja Ja) John and Paul received half the writers royalties from these recordings but all future royalties from the sales of the song in English, Wolfgang got half. Thankfully it was changed, not, I might point out that it made any difference to me but a strong principal was at stake.

So, here is the challenge. Below are the german lyrics to Hey Jude and if anyone can sing them I'll buy them a pint (or equivalent) To make it easier on both performer and listener, I've only included verses 1 & 2 + the chorus.

1. Hey Junge, mach doch keinen Mist
Hor ein trauriges Lied, und dann mach's besser
Denk daran, ihr die Tur zu deinem Herzen zu offnen
Dann kannst du's probieren, es besser zu machen

2. Hey Junge, hab keine Angst
Du bist losgezogen, um sie zu kriegen
Und in dem, Augenblick, wo du ihr dein Herz offnest
fangst du an, es besser zu machen

Und wenn's dich doch mal kalt erwischt, hey Junge
lass dich nicht gleich niederschmettern
Du weiss ja, nur Dummkopfe machen einen auf cool
indem sie die Welt noch etwas kalter machen
Da da da da da da, da da da ...

So there you go, I find I can make the first two lines but then it all seems to go to pot.

See you Friday ... Bill 1.2

Monday, January 5, 2009

Beresford Green Speaks (Twelfth Fit)...

Here you are then - some more BLOG stuff.

Well I would do were it not so cold. To those who managed to leave their warm fireside on Friday 2ndJan to brave the freezing elements of the Regnum Club, I have only the warmest of feelings & I really do salute you. I counted 20 of us driven spirits anxious to start the New Year just as we left the old one; - with enthusiasm! Brenda! Are you listening?

A very fascinating piece of information nearly came to light on Friday despite the cold. Care of Mike & Bill1 we were to learn that Ralph McTell probably didn't write the original melody to "The Streets of London" having shared a Paris sewer / do I mean subway with another composer who also wrote it! Not finished yet because it would appear that neither of them actually wrote it. The whole idea was that of another "Third Man"

For me, playing the guitar has a great deal of habit attached to it. It's a dummy thing. At the very start I was taken by my mother's enthusiasm for The Harry Lime Theme, which I believe is more properly called "The Third Man Theme." I was about 6yrs old when I was in the Hounslow branch of British Home Stores with my mother. She heard it playing. {See - don't worry about the Coronation, Suez, or the Kennedy assassination, it's the Zither I remember!}. From this moment on these were the sounds that I wanted to make. No more crying, no more silly parental requests, no hunger for food, nor toys or even Rusk! My future was mapped out - well sort of.

There had been precious few new British records in that austere post war period. Mum rued the passing of the great dance band era, viewing all subsequent efforts as very sub-standard. On this occasion however, she was almost demented. "Oh listen to that sound. It is truly wonderful. If I had the money I would buy that. I'm going to ask them to play it again". She gave in and bought the 78 record after borrowing half the money (was the record 3/6d?) from my Grandma. I still have that record here. It was played at her funeral along with other favourites.

Of course I listened to what were then very strange tones of the German Zither. OK it was Austrian then. Actually I think it was the musician & composer Anton Karas that was Austrian. There was to be precious little new Zither music. Perhaps it was just too difficult, or the instruments unavailable. It was to be the guitar that took over & in reality, usurped it. Playing the strings so directly is a very different experience from other instruments. Unlike the piano, which uses hammers, it is so intimate. One is so much a part of it that the vibrations reach you through contact as well as via the auditory passages. The fingers are right there where the note is formed, able to alter it, will it, or stroke it into being. One can even mute it, truncate it, damp it or otherwise express the execution. Then there's that sound. Magnificent! I used to play, (can't quite do this anymore), with my ear actually on the side of the guitar just to hear more of the sound. In some more recent acoustic guitars, they have made another sound outlet on the side of the upper/smaller bout. This allows more sound to reach the ear of the player & it is said does no harm to overall sound quality.
Of course the Zither man used finger picks, just as so many guitarists use them, a plectrum, or their nails. By that means you trade off one thing for another. The plastic or metal gives a very staccato attack (beginning) to the sound, but it's much more difficult to exploit the volume dynamics unless you use plain fingers. By that I mean the mixture of the flesh & nails of the right hand.

Do you know how long it was before I actually saw a Zither being played live? A busker in Guildford in the 1980's. Forty years - that's how long! I was determined to remember how it worked, but I couldn't. I knew everything seemed to be the opposite of the guitar. I remembered banks of strings tuned to chord groups. Then there was a raised fingerboard with five strings (Anton seems to have six), which are stopped by thimbles/fingers/slide worn on the left hand. The RH thumb has a pick for the fingerboard, whilst the RH fingers produce the chord sounds. There are two YouTube videos. I think the sound on Anton's 1949 London B & W film has been overdubbed. It is too processed. Have a look at the 1982 colour version on YouTube. It has the whole tune. Can you see that Third Man?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Being the 2nd of January 2009...

So, we have returned...
From our park benches, from our cardboard lean-to shelters under the fly over, from our wheelie bins at the back of the off license and, in my own case, from the gaunt, imposing gothic pile atop the frightening windswept hill where my faithful retainer Mungo gnashes his rotten teeth and rails at the endless sky...

Having cast aside our elasticated Christmas gifts we did this:

The Last Thing on my Mind: Colin+full cast
The Road Away: David
Christmas Day (except): Mike
The Leaving of Liverpool: Bill 1:2
Samuel, Oh How You've Changed!/Streets of London: Mike
Winter Wood: Berry
Rise Like Larks: Mave
Down in yon Forest: Colin
Come Fill Up Your Glasses: Ken
The Bold Fisherman: Jane/Dave
I Just Want to Stay and Love You: Maggie
The Cruel Mother: Bill 1:1
Flash Company: Jenny
Outward Bound: Lynda/Paul
Bird on the Wire: Paul
Joe Peel: Anne
Cousin Jack: Peter
When the Spring has Come: David
The Forsaken Mother and Child: Colin
Travellin' Shoes: Bill 1:2
Mary You May Have to Run: Mike
Lonesome Me: Berry
Back and Sides Go Bare: Ken
Love Hurts: Jane/Dave
Unsure Love: Maggie
Brisk Young Widow: Bill 1:1
Raglan Road: Lynda
Isle of Hope: Anne/Peter
Black Muddy River: Anne/Peter

I must now go and film a potato...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Someone said, "Get that on the BLOG!"

David was far too modest to post this himself.

Then, we're all gorgeous!