Monday, February 23, 2009

Being the Twentieth of February 2009...

Elysian Fields

I do believe the weather is getting better...
Mind you...
I also believe that cheese is the work of Satan...

Never mind...
Let's sing some songs...

Do the Stars in Your Eyes Shine for Me?: David
Adieu to Old England: Bill 1:1
Still I Love Him: Jenny
Mrs. Bennet's Boy: Yvonne
I've got those Seasick Steve Rainy Day Blues: Mike
Mailman Bring Me No More Blues: Berry/Ken
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: Brenda/Berry
Tickle Dew: Mick
Cocaine Blues/Needle of Death: Mike
North Country Maid: Mave
Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping: Ken
Mary Skeffington: Paul
Wild Mountain Thyme: Jane
Greenland Whale Fisheries: Colin
The Noble Fox Hunting: Bill 1:1
Talking Lion Blues: David
Sammy's Bar: Roger
Are You Lonesome Tonight?: Brenda/Berry
How's The World Treating You?: Berry
St. Louis Tickle Blues: Mick
Catch the Wind: Mike
If I Could Only do One Thing: Phine
If I Died an Old Maid: Mave
My Charming Molly O! : Ken
Girl: Paul
Banks o' Doon: Jane/Colin
Farther Along: Roger

Stay tuned for our next thrilling instalment...
(Damn hire-purchase..!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beresford Green Speaks... (Fourteenth Fit)

Beresford Green. Man of Destiny
I have my copy of the first club CD. It's free "at the point of delivery" as they say of the National Health Service. Just give David a blank CD of the -R variety.
It kept me awake during the small hours of Saturday when I was very sleepy. This unusual intimate take shows just what a talented bunch you are. Listening through headphones on Saturday morning, Brenda was able to hear things long denied to her from across the club-room. She has sat close-by to Mick Wills & Roger Gosbee in the past and already appreciates the full extent of their abilities, but it was David that surprised her most. "Who's that?" she said. "What a lovely guitar sound." David's song, "A Reason to Believe" is an old favourite of hers. Watch out David she's a-coming to get yer!
For me, and I suspect most of we guys, the beauty of Anne Winter was always apparent even before she had ever sung us a note. Here the clarity, tone, diction and inflexion of her voice is truly startling. Captivating, mesmerising, a wonderful experience. Watch out Anne we's a coming to getcha!
Everyone sounded fantastic through my headphones. A great credit to themselves in every way. I heard you Yvonne along with Mike & his "Butterflies." I heard you Eddie - and did Margaret cough? I heard you Colin clearer than ever - with nice guitar. Brenda was OK but you do need to get rid of that Berry bloke. That ain't Folk; in fact that ain't anything!
What a pity that so many members were missing from the compilation. I have regrets from the past that I never did capture the sound of some of those friends & associates I encountered in the 1980's. Don't let this happen here. Make a submission to the next CD which is now open.
Thanks to David for doing this.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Being the Thirteenth of February 2009...

Why is it the small misfortunes that beset us on a daily basis take on a deeper significance on Friday the 13th...?
I dunno...

This week we are really not hating these musical interludes...

The Leaving of Liverpool: Colin+Full Cast
Dame Durden: Ken+Full Cast
What Are They Doing In Heaven Today? : David
Lady of Beauty: Eddie
White Roses: John
This Street, That Man, This Life: Jane/Dave
If Only I Could Make You Care: Berry
I'll be Your Sweetheart: Ray
Romeo & Juliette: Roger
A Heart Needs A Home: Mick
Joe The Carrier Lad: John
A Life-boat Prayer: Mave
For the Goodtimes: Lynda/Paul
Tickle Me: Paul
Take a Wiff On Me: David
Lark in The Clear Air: Colin
Wild Mountain Thyme: Eddie
Leaving Nancy: John
Jesus Saviour Pilot Me: Jane/Dave
Sweet Dreams Baby: Berry/Ken
After the Ball was Over: Ray
Available Light: Roger
The City of New Orleans: Mick
Highway Man: John
Love is The Greatest Thing: Mave
I Know My Love: Lynda

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bye bye, Liverpool...

Here's one that we all think we know:

The Leaving of Liverpool

Fare thee well, the Prince's Landing Stage,
River Mersey, fare thee well.
For I'm bound for California(y),
A place that I know right well.

So fare thee well, my own true love,
And when I return, united we will be.
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
But my darling, when I think of thee.

Yes I'm bound for California,
By the way of the stormy Cape Horn,
But you know I'll write you a letter,
My love, when I am homeward bound.

I've shipped on a Yankee clipper ship,
Davy Crockett is her name;
And Burgess is the captain of her,
And they say she's a floating shame.

It's my second trip with Burgess,
And I reckon I know him well.
If a man's a sailor, he can get along,
But if not, why, he's sure in hell.

The tug is waiting at the pierhead
To take us down the stream.
Our sails are loose and our anchor stowed,
So fare thee well again.

Farewell to Lower Frederick Street,
Anson Terrace and old Parkee Lane;
For I know it’s going to be a long, long time
Before I see you again.

(Beware, those of you who already have this song in your repertoire!
Research indicates that various forms exist. This text is close to what The Spinners recorded. It does not precisely match the earliest-known version that was collected from Richard Maitland, who learned it on board the General Knox around 1885. Mr. Maitland had at least one additional verse, but I think this'll do for now!)

P.S. Please forgive my self-indulgence. I have 'youtubed' this. I am too embarrassed and modest to post this up-front on this blog. However, if you insist, it's at:
For The Dubliners see:

I propose a solo unaccompanied first verse. Instruments (beginning in [D]) and unison voices come in for the first chorus. Then everyone goes for it! There should be space for an instrumental interlude before the last verse. Finally, a reprise of the chorus, a-cappella, shakes the caulking out of the upper deck!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Female Perspective...

"Mary Won't You Weep" - eh! It should be "Brenda Won't You Weep" ! In between my fright-filled performances I have to find time for my other hobby: - painting & drawing. Unfortunately I have an old handicap called Beresford who is often under my feet. He must be fed, patted, cuddled & guided through each day. Sometimes I can't find him. He's either up in his room, where it's difficult to find anything, with the PC (and the cat), - or he's out visiting.

That means it's time for me and so in between the cooking, ironing, washing, and cleaning, {sob-sob}, I may find time for a music practice. The Friday night performance fills me with dread. I don't really enjoy that and treat it like a visit to the dentist. It'll all be over soon! On the night, well practiced pieces just fall out of my mind, fingers don't work & as I don't hear well either it really makes it an ordeal.

However, I do enjoy what other people do and I admire anyone with the gumption to have a go. My particular favourites are mainly Mick Wills, Roger Gosbee & BIll Jordon (2). My hearing aids are turned up for them! Very nice lads they are too. I wish I was 35 again, but still being 40 isn't so very bad! I like their lovely pieces of music, all polished and ready to go. Aren't we lucky to have such stars? I must work harder and give them something back.

Brenda May


Here's the recipe that you asked for:-

Elephant Stew

1 elephant (medium size)
1 rabbit (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cut elephant into bite sized pieces; this takes about 2 months. Add enough brown gravy to cover. Cook over kerosene fire at 465 degrees. Serves 3800 persons.
For those who dislike elephant stew, the rabbit may be added -- but only if necessary because most people don't like hare in their stew.


Make Your Own Entertainment (Or Die)...

After much prevaricating around the bush, I've finally put the first City Folk Club C.D. together...
Should anybody want a copy. let me have a blank C.D.R. and I'll burn a copy for you...
The track listing is as follows:

01) Diego's Bold Shore - Anne Winter
02) Fools Paradise - Berry
03) Lady of Beauty - Eddie
04) Wrong Side of Midnight - Roger
05) Positively Forth Street - David
06) The Swan - Mick Wills
07) Butterflies - Yvonne and Mike
08) The Blackbird - Colin
09) Louise - Berry
10) Just a Simple Love Song - Yvonne and Mike
11) The Night is Young - Eddie
12) Richie Graham - Colin
13) Reason to Believe - David
14) Lord Gregory - Anne Winter
15) Sea Shore - Mick Wills
16) The Dimming of the Day - Roger
17) As Time Goes By - Brenda and Berry

So now let's have your contributions for 'Make Your Own Entertainment (or die) II

Being the Sixth of February 2009...

The weather outside is filthy...
The news is all dismal...
The room is cold...

We still know how to have a good-time...

Oh, Mary Don't You Weep: David+full cast
Bonny Portmore: Colin
The Cool of the Day: Mave
When the Ship Comes In: Ken
John Barbary: Jane/Dave
The Drift From The Land: Eddie
April Come She Will: Lucy
I'll Be Yours Baby Tonight: Berry/Ken
Tune Wot I Wroted: Mick
Blue: Les
A Woman is a Sometime Thing: Maggie
Sipping Cider: John
The Air That I Breathe: Lynda/Paul
The Folks that Live on the Hill: Paul / Roger
You Gentlemen of High Renown: Bill 1:1
Pretend: David
The Banks of The Nile: Roger
Poor Wayfaring Stranger: Colin
Dirty Old Town: Mave
The Indian Lass: Ken
New Partner: Jane/Dave
All the Good-times: Eddie
When Daisies Pied: Lucy
Have You Ever Been Lonely: Berry
Snorkel: Mick
The Carnival is Over: Les
Sad Young Men: Maggie
Moon Song: John
What Ever Happen to Saturday Night: Lynda
Goodnight: Bill 1:1

Shame you weren't there (if you weren't there)...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beresford Green Speaks... (Thirteenth Fit)

Beresford Green. Man of Destiny

There is still a good deal of mystery attached to our understanding of what makes a good "musician". Current thinking has it that among the many necessary strands is dexterity on the instrument, creativity, communication on an emotional level, and a special faculty for memory. Yet you don't need to be a player at all to be a musical genius. Oh no! Many a wonderful composer is a non-player. Science has something to say about why we like the music we do. A definite preference for consonance over dissonance only alters as we grow older & more sophisticated. {Perhaps deaf!}. I favour the idea that the physical parts of the ear prefers the harmonic resonances that is given by vibrations that don't fight with each other. Too simple? That's me. It is said to be the music of our teenage that has the longest long-term influence. Whatever the truth of that reason, I wouldn't subscribe to it being that period alone. I was definitely influenced from the age of three or four. I liked the "cowboy music" of Gene Autry & Hank Williams from the start. I liked my parents records of the 30's - which ranged through dance bands to operatic arias. Nevertheless, by the age of 18/20 it is said that our musical tastes have formed. After that we seem more reluctant to remain open to new ideas.
{Ref: - Daniel Levitin "Your brain on music"}.

In delightful combination there may be symbiosis. It's hard to imagine "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" being as "catchy" if it had not got the lyric that it has.Yet would that lyric be as emotional without any tune? It's a tough one. For me I love the songs that have just the "right" balance. Especially if I can play them! Even more if I can play them in a key that I can attempt to sing them in. Therein lies the frustration & the challenge - for me, when it come to learning new stuff. How often can I get all the bits I need into harness? Rarely is the answer. Very rarely.

The invention by Thomas Edison of the Phonograph in 1878 was not the beginning for two reasons: - 1) He wasn't actually the first, and 2) It took another 10 yrs for the cousin of Alexander Graham Bell, (the man credited with inventing the telephone-CAREFUL!), to come up with a useable wax cylinder. His name, very appropriately, was CHICHESTER Bell, and he worked with a certain Mr C.S. Tainter. From that point there would be seismic changes in the way Music Hall & other items reached into people's homes. By the way, St Anley the Incandescent, it was during that time that Edison pursued his carbon filament light bulb, and he wasn't first to come up with that either. The credit goes to a certain Mr Joseph Swan who demonstrated his prototype years before (1860). He actually obtained his patent a year before Edison in 1879. Better still he was British!

And did you think that John Logie Baird invented Television? He didn't! He developed the Russian Nipkow's mechanical scanning system, yes. Even so, his whole concept was eventually blown sky high by a certain Mr Alan Dower Blumlein, possibly the greatest electrical/electronic engineer of all time, and certainly a genius without parallel in the 20th century. He worked for EMI. (Columbia - HMV). He was also, and now we're literally back on track, the inventor of Stereo. Actually he called it "Binaural Sound." This was pre TV (1931) when he was charged to get a better quality recording system that would get around the Edison patents. There's a lovely little story to go with this. Wanna hear it? While at the cinema with his girlfriend Doreen, she commented on how the voices all came from the same place. It was this train of thought that led him to it. However, it was so far ahead of its time that it got shelved for around 20 years awaiting a more enlightened era. In between he made an enormous technical contribution to the development of wartime Radar, and gave his life testing the process in a 1942 plane crash. The political secrecy erected to shroud his death from the enemy left him in obscurity for all time. Not with thee & me now eh?

When you attempt to record sound everything goes wrong. It is extremely difficult to capture the balance & ambience in a way that sounds natural. In fact unnatural is still the byword for some popular music production. Several well known effects were discovered in recording studios, and it would be some years before these could be done live. These somewhat "processed" sounds make it difficult to copy the songs. The problem of balance also brought developments to bear. From separate microphones and a central mixing desk to a method that could record every instrument in isolation, yet still in time with each other. This means they can be post edited and altered in many ways. An early example of this can be heard on Humphrey Littleton's "Bad Penny Blues" which was recorded by the legendary engineer, Joe Meek at Parlophone, (I thought it was Philips!), He boosted & processed the piano sound to unnatural levels. You get this sound if you take off the panel by the pedals and lie down there. {Yes I have!}.

P.S. Even Albert Einstein was helped by his mathematician wife. Then he divorced her! Nice. {Extract Wikipedia - Einstein's gifts inevitably resulted in his dwelling much in intellectual solitude and, for relaxation, music played an important part in his life. He married Mileva Maric in 1903 and they had a daughter and two sons; their marriage was dissolved in 1919}. So much for jazz!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh! Mary Don't You Weep...

Chord Patten:
Am / / / E7 / / / / / / / Am / / / Dm / / /A m / / / E7 / / / Am / / /

If I could I surely would.
Stand on the rock where Moses stood.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.

Oh Mary, don't you weep, no more.
Oh Mary, don't you weep, no more.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.

Mary wore three links of chain
On every link was Jesus' name.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.


One of these nights about 12 o' clock
This old worlds going to reel and rock.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.


Moses stood on the red sea shore
Smote the water with a two by four.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.


Old Mr. Satan he got mad.
Missed that soul he thought he had.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.


Bothers and sisters don't you cry.
There'll be better times by and by
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.


God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but fire next time.
Pharoah's army got drownded
Oh Mary don't you weep.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Richard Thompson Does Brighton...

Linda: "Who's Richard Thompson..."
David: "Errr..." (Trying to think of something Linda might have heard by R.T.) "He used to be in Fairport Convention..."
Linda: "Oh... Will he be doing Matty Groves...?"
David: "Probably not..."

One of the many reasons I know age is creeping up on me has to be my preference for sitting down at gigs. Others include not liking being stood ankle deep in spilt beer (or ankle deep in something deeply unpleasant in the toilets), finding HUGE volume detracts from the clarity of the performance, not liking the sweaty crush of humanity in front of the stage and nipping to the bar only to find my perfect vantage point has been usurped by some lanky ingrate and his miserable girlfriend. Sat in the circle at the Dome in Brighton has a lot going for it. We were even ushered to our seats by a lady with a torch...
A spartan stage set. Drum kit, keyboard, guitar ready for action and a large projection screen to the rear...
House lights down, unmistakable drone of a hurdy-gurdy, thump of a drum and a trio of black clad figures march on stage. Judith Owen, R.T. and Debra Dobkin hit the stage...
The first half set list, from 1100's to 1900's goes:
Sumer Is Icumen In (I think)
3 Ravens
So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo
The False Knight On The Road
Pipe, Shepherds Pipe
When I am Laid In Earth
Remember Oh Thou Man
Black-leg Miner
Sally Gardens
Trafalgar Square
A Man Would Woe A Maid

I am surprised by several things...
The fullness of sound considering the few instruments...
Judith Owen's wonderful voice...
Debra Dobkin's sympathetic percussion..
R.T.'s humourous banter...
That I actually liked the Gilbert and Sullivan piece (A Man Would Woe A Maid)...
That Anne Winter and Pete were sat a couple of rows in front of us...

After a quick natter with Anne and Pete and a quick ciggi on the pavement, eyes down, look in for part 2...
Jabba Jive
Night And Day
Drinking Wine Spo-dee-o-dee
Lonesome Whistle
See My Friends
Friday On My Mind
Money, Money, Money
Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime

Much applause and foot-stomping from the great unwashed and...

Richard The Lion-Hearted
Cry Me A River
Hold Me Tight
There's A Place
I Want To Hold Your Hand

...and we're out of here...

Now what struck me, as we travelled homeward, was the similarities between this show and an evening at the City Folk Club...
In terms of variety I mean....
I probably haven't been to the best gig in my life yet but this one is currently head of the pack along-side the Half Man Half Biscuit gig in Cornwall...

Once again, thanks for buying me the tickets chums...