Friday, April 30, 2010

Being The Thirtieth of April 2010...

In The Smoke: David
May Song: Colin/Ken
Who's Sorry Now?: Berry
Jack In The Green: Mave
Silver Dagger: Anne
?: Angela
Ohio River Boat Song: Jane/David
Another You: Lucy
Sad Ending: Mick
When I'm 64: Brenda/Berry
Little Love Song: Josie/Mick
Raggle Taggle Gypsies: Anna
Geometry of Life: Kevin
The Blacksmith: Dusty/Paul
When The Spring Comes In: Jenny/Bill 1:1
And Morning Bells Will Chime: Les
Sally: Dusty/Paul
Rakish Paddy: Bill 1:1
I Wonder Where You Are Tonight: Paul/Bill 1:1
It Must Be True: David
Outward Bound: Berry/Ken
And Our Singing Will Never Be Done: Mave
Fandango: Ken
Virginia: Angela
Famous Blue Raincoat: Jane/David
Bye Bye Love: Lucy/Paul
The Night Poor Larry Got Stretched: Mick
Blow The Wind Southerly: Josie
You Do Something To Me: Brenda/Berry
A Rovin': Anna
Jonathan Pratt: Kevin
I Don't Need to Look That Far: Dusty/Paul
Three Drunken Maidens: Bill 1:1/Colin

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A May Song ...

Friday will be May Day eve.
In comes the 'obby 'oss ...

Here's a seasonal anthem composed by Dave Webber. Although it is a contemporary song, it has entered the tradition of the May Day celebrations in Padstow. To listen to Magpie Lane's recording click May Song.

It would be a breach of copyright to publish the entire lyrics. However, the linked video is in the public domain. I thereby justify reproducing the jolly words, (received by aural transmission,) of the chorus...

Hail, hail, the first of May-o,
For it is the first summer’s day-o.
Cast your cares and fears away,
Drink to the old oss on the first of May.

Ken will join me in hard-core corner. We plan to perform this chorus several times, (until we've got it right,) and the assembled company can repeat it faultlessly!

For those unfamiliar with the term 'oss', you have to understand that the Cornish alphabet does not include lower-case 'h'.
The sound of 'r', seems to arbitrarily follow many voRwels that precede a coRnsoRnant. For exaRmple, 'cast' becomes 'caRst'. Inexplicably, however, 'horse' loses both the 'h' and the 'r' to become 'oss'!
Lots of Cornish sentences end with '-o'.
Got that?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Memoirs of a Folk-Song Collector in Rural England

A Folk-Song Collector Recollects Her Perambulations in Rural England in Search of the Music of the Rustic People and Their Forebears
by Miss Letitia Vormal de Hyde

August 18th , 1896, Houghton Weevils, Somersetshire.
It was sultry as I stepped off the train at the tiny halt at Houghton Weevils, and sought a dog-cart to convey me, my recording phonograph, portable escritoire and wax cylinders to Lingham Peveril, where Miss Lucy Broadwood had previously in conversation indicated that I might find some interesting singers of rustic songs. The only dog-cart, it transpired, had no dog, but several chickens and a ferret. The cartman apologised and explained that his dog had recently died and this arrangement was temporary, and he was expecting a new canine by the next post. He further explained that the ferret provided little by way of locomotive effort, it being there simply “pour encourager les autres”. He gave the ferret a poke with a long stick, there was an enthusiastic clucking, and the cart lurched forward. As the cart did a power-slide off the main road onto the track leading to Lingham Peveril, the driver commented that the track had become deeply rutted and uneven in the recent rains, and, although it was now dry, I should take pains to hold on securely. I looked around but could see nothing sufficing as even a handhold. The driver, introducing himself as Mr. Muttock, offered himself as a stanchion, if I were to place my arms firmly around his lower waist. This I did, and each time the cart bumped and jarred over some obstruction, Mr Muttock bounced upwards against my hands. When this happened, he said, through a strange grimace and with glazing eyes, that I should not be afeared, it was all “most satisfactory”.
(to be continued)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Being The Twentythird of April 2010...

Come Sail Your Ships Around Me: David
Drink Old England Dry: Colin
I Don't Want: Eddie
English Country Garden: Yvonne
?: Mike
The Quite Joys of Brotherhood: Anne
Frank Mills: Tony
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child: Roger
My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean: Bill 1:2
You Can Cry A Million Tears: Allis/John
Cottager's Reply: Mave/Ken
Dark Island: Lorna/Laura
Tobin's Jig/Lark In The Morning: Mick
I'm Thinking Tonight About Blue Eyes: Angela
The Deep Blue Sea: Roland/Angela
You've Got A Friend: Margaret
Dr. Jazz: Paul
Come Here: David
Lord Franklin: Colin
Masquerade: Allis/John
Dancing With You: Eddie
Is It Him Or Is It Me?: Yvonne/Mike
The Swallow Song: Anne
Our Canary Won't Sing: Tony
In No Strange Land: Roger
Lady Eleanor: Bill 1:2
The Squire of Tamworth: Ken
Wild Bas Strait: Mave
Cajun Two Step: Lorna
Farewell Dearest Nancy: Laura
Out of the Blue: Mick
Foggy Mountain Top: Angela
Sweet Georgia Brown: Paul/John

St. George's Day

Here's the chorus line for the second and subsequent verses, (not the first,) of what I might present this evening in celebration of this feast-day ...

Aye dry, aye dry, aye dry, my boys, aye dry ...
Before the French shall come and drink old England dry.

Considerable gusto, along with celestial harmonies are required!

Verses have not been published.
These may be subjected to alteration depending on the unreliable memory, and myopia, of the performer, AND sabotage by unwelcome interruption!
"Who? Me?" says MWP!

Those who missed Ken's excellent broadcast on Chichester Hospital Radio yesterday evening are at a disdvantage.

Yahoo reports: Monster Crab Caught off Cornish Coast

Crab is on the right

Friday, April 16, 2010

Being The Sixteenth of April 2010...

The Wife Of Usher's Well: David
Banks of Sweet Primroses: Colin
?: Mave
Carolina: Mick/Marion
Tall Ships: Janet
Miss Otis Regrets: Berry
The End of the World: Lynda/Paul
The There Ravens/Adieu: Mark
Sad and Beautiful World: Jane/David
Dollar Down: Les
Blue Bayou: John
Marco Polo: Mike P.
Blackwaterside: Mick
Sweet Bird: Angela/Roland/Bill 1:1
Scarboro Fair: Margaret
Glory Of Love: Mick/Marion
A Mountain in Switzerland: Paul
Turn A Blind Eye: David
Unicorns: Colin
Standing In The Church: Mave
Charming Molly O': Ken
The Rose: Janet
For The Good Times: Lynda/Paul
Speed of the Sound of Loneliness: Mike/Marion
Wake Up Now Mother: Jane/David
Sweet Dreams of You: Berry
Theme From 'Out of Time': Mark
I've Got Friends In Low Places: Les
Scorn Not His Simplicity: John
Nobodies Fault But Mine: Mike P.
?: Mick/Mike P.
Rye Cove: Angela
Daffy Down Dillies: Roland/Angela/Bill 1:1
T'was on One April Morning: Bill 1:1
Wonderful Life: Paul

Friday, April 9, 2010

Being The Ninth of April 2010...

Fallen Moon: David
Annabelle: Lynda
Raining In My Heart: Brenda/Berry
Greensleeves: Mark
How Will You Know When Spring Is Here?: Mave
Poisoning Pidgeons In The Park: Ken
Welcome In Another Year: Steve/Diane
The Ugly Duckling: Yvonne
Flying High: Mike
All The Pretty Little Horses: Jane
Ramblin' Boy: Angela
I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow: Roland/Angela
Tzenna, Tzenna, Tzenna: Berry
Knocking On The Window: Tony
Walk With Me: Phine
Snorkle: Mick
The Royal Oak: Steve
His Eye Is On The Sparrow: Paul
When The Spring Has Come: David
A World Without Love: Brenda/Berry
Bridge Over Troubled Water: Mark
Where Did You Get That Hat: Mave
Billericay Dickie: Ken
Shepherds On The Hill: Steve
Whendover Hill: Diane
All Of These Things and More: Mike/Yvonne
Oh, Sister: Jane/David
Annie's Song: Lynda
Blue Moon/Lamare/I |Will: Tony
Cruising Down The River: Berry
Make You Believe In Me: Phine
Boullie House Jig/Butterfly: Mick
Mary Lou: Paul
Sweet Tyme: Diane/Steve

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Here's a Health to the Company ...

Here's a good finishing-off song. I have a set of words transcribed from the excellent singing of Louis Killen accompanied by an ensemble called The Revels.

One of the better renditions I have found on youtube is this one - Here's a Health ...
Louis does it better.
Can we?

These are the lyrics I use:

Kind friends and companions, come join me in rhyme.
Come lift up your voices in chorus with mine.
We’ll drink and be merry, from grief we’ll refrain,
For we know not when we will all meet again.

Here's a health to the company and one to my lass.
We’ll drink and be merry all out of one glass.
We’ll drink and be merry, from grief we’ll refrain,
For we know not when we will all meet again.

Here's a health to the dear lass that I love so well.
For spirit her beauty, there’s none can excel.
She smiles on my countenance as she sits on my knee.
There is no one on Earth that’s as happy as we.

Here's a health to the company ...

Our ship lies at harbour and she's ready to dock.
I wish her safe landing without any shock.
And if I should leave you by land or by sea,
I will always remember your kindness to me.

Here's a health to the company ...

Here's a health to the company ...

... ad inf.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Someone asked, "What's a Pace Egg?" ...

Here’s an only-slightly embellished anecdote…

A couple nights ago, my wife and I were enjoying a post-prandial drink in a very nice hotel in the West Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge.
Jane, vigorously grabbing my arm, suddenly announced to me, “That’s Tosspot!"
She discreetly indicated a diminutive male figure in company at an adjacent table.
Fortified by an excellent meal, and emboldened by a not-insignificant quantity of wine, I approached said gentleman to enquire, “Excuse me, Sir, my wife wants to know if you’re really a tosspot?"

(Now, readers will detect a certain element of risk embodied in such a confrontational invitation to converse. If anything serious should have ensued, I could always blame Jane!)

The gentleman rose proudly from his seat, thereby achieving an imposing stature of 4 feet and 11 inches. He bared his irregular teeth.
I cowered away somewhat, anticipating a knee-blow to my soft parts.

Slowly, deliberately, menacingly, and giving a sly wink to his companions, he manufactured the most malevolent grimace.
Jane hid under the table.
The tension all around was palpable.
There was a hush in the hitherto cacophonous conversation at the bar.
I took another step backwards, narrowly avoiding falling over the table behind me that almost concealed Jane's behind.

“Indeed, I am, Sir! TOSS POT at your service!” he loudly proclaimed to the wider audience.
Then, after giving a well-rehearsed theatrical bow, he shook me firmly by the hand!

Order was restored as onlookers resumed spontaneous respiration.

Now let me explain …

Toss Pot is a character in a Pace Egg Play. Such plays are usually performed outdoors on Good Friday. I first came across them as a child when I lived in Yorkshire and Lancashire, although they are certainly more widespread. Toss Pot is claimed to be unique to plays originating in the upper Calder Valley.

Here, on the south coast, the ‘combat variety’ of Mummers Plays have a similar narrative, although performances are generally restricted to the winter season.

The moral plot, if one can be identified at all, is the triumph of good over evil. However, in the present day, the dramatic personifications of these abstract notions would be perceived as inciting racial violence.
St. George is always Caucasian and righteous.
Wickedness is characterised by the BLACK Prince of MOROCCO or a TURKISH Knight!

Toss Pot’s primary function is to coerce unsuspecting on-lookers into giving money.

Toss Pot's efforts at the annual Pace Egg Play at Heptonstall, that Jane and I attended this year, were well rewarded. Here's a clip ... Heptonstall Pace Egg Play, 2010

... and nobody really died!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Being The Second of April 2010...

Daisy Bell: David
The Week Before Easter: Colin/Paul
Sweet Gene Vincent: Ken
Green Banks of Grain: Mave
White Horses: Lorna
Stormy Weather: Sheena/Paul
O'Carolan's Draft: Mick
Westering Home: Duncan
The Bay of Biscay: Jane
The Thrill Is Gone: Lucy
Outward Bound: Lynda
Torn Between Two Lovers: Phine
The Sheep Stealer: Paddy
Carry Me Back To Old Virginia: Angela
Antarctic Ice: Bill 1:1
Raining In My Heart: Paul
Riley's Furniture Man: Roland/Angela
If You Loved Me Half As Much As I Love You: Berry
The Brag of the Evil Twin: David
Things We Said Today: Ken/Berry
The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze: Mave
?: Lorna
Yesterday: Sheena
? Fox: Mick
A Bad Bad Day: Duncan
Sad and Beautiful World: Jane/David
Mary ?: Lucy/Paul
Caleb Mayer: Lynda
I've Got a Bimbo: Paddy
What Shall I Write?: Phine
I Saw The Light: Angela/Roland
When Will I Be Loved: Bill 1:1/Paul
Dreaming: Paul
Maggie Anne's Tune: Colin
Ey Zito Zelk:
?: Berry/Ken