A sparse gathering this evening, but were we downhearted?
The company, encouraged by Angela, was as enthusiastic as ever, filling the hall with glorious music.
Some performers had to explore their memory banks to find four offerings.
It went like this …
Mon pѐre m’as donné un mari: Angela
It May Take a Thousand Years: Paul
Alexandra Leaving: Lynda
Just as the Tide was Flowing: Roland
Old Durham Road: Colin
Suds in the Bucket: Elayne
Donkey Riding/Winster Gallop/Young Collins: Lorna
On the Wrong Side of Midnight: Roger
There'll be no Sorrow There: Angela
I Don't Care where they Bury my Body: Paul
You Raise me up: Elayne
Rattlin' Bog/Bricks and Mortar: Lorna
Strange Affair: Roger
Bound for the Rio Grande: Angela & Elayne
Boulder to Birmingham: Paul
Strong Enough: Lynda
Louis Collins: Roland
Musical Lovers: Colin
Banks o' Doon: Elayne & Colin
Daisybell/After the Ball: Lorna
Midnight Special: Roger
Little Darling, Pal of Mine: Angela & Paul
Like a Bird on a Wire: Paul
Love Will Keep me Alive: Lynda
Rosin the Beau: Roland
Lowlands Away: Colin
If I Only had a Brain: Elayne
Blaydon Races, followed by something else: Lorna
(Roland and Lynda were observed to gyrate with considerable physical energy to that 'something else' ... oh, for a video-cam!)
Farther Along: Roger & company
Regarding Lead Belly and Midnight Special ...
The charming legend according to the gospel of Roger is that, in an unidentified US prison, on the night before release, a prisoner would be transferred to a particular cell. Through the window of that cell the inmate would be able to watch the approaching headlight of the midnight special - a train that heralded liberty.
Huddie William Ledbetter, (1888-1949,) became known in the American folk and blues world as Leadbelly, Ledbelly, or, as he wrote it: Lead Belly.
(Perhaps his given forename, Huddie, had sinister connotations even then!)
'Ledbetter's volatile temper sometimes led him into trouble with the law. In 1915 he was convicted "of carrying a pistol" and sentenced to do time on the Harrison County chain gang from which he escaped, finding work in nearby Bowie County under the assumed name of Walter Boyd. In January 1918 he was imprisoned a second time, this time after killing one of his relatives, Will Stafford, in a fight over a woman. In 1918 he was incarcerated in Sugar Land west of Houston, Texas, where he probably learned the song Midnight Special.'
Who wrote the song?
It is widely regarded as traditional, although lyrics appearing in the song were first recorded in print by Howard Odum in 1905. It was probably not written by Lead Belly, as John and Alan Lomax once attested, although Lead Belly seems to have added a few stanzas of his own in various recordings.