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