Sunday, August 26, 2012

Scarborough Fair

Now hear this ...

This is probably a bit like the song that Martin Carthy shared with Paul Simon in 1965 before Art Garfunkel arranged it in counterpoint, as it was used in the soundtrack of that film The Graduate.

Even in this (more authentic?) rendition of a trad. song Mr Dransfield has added some impossible lover's tasks I've never heard before, but it's much easier to perform this arrangement solo than Canticle!

Being Friday the 24th of August,,2012 ...

It poured with rain and there was a hint of chill in the air.
We even fired up the central heating for a while until its whining noise became intrusive.

Without using any long words Berry told us what to do.

The highlight of the evening involved Roland singing a song without any words at all!

How to engage with your audience ...
an example of best practice!
Suggestions for a caption competition may be submitted as comments.
Here's a collage of images that obscurely represent some of the musical offerings we heard.
See if you can guess!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rambling in the New-Mown Hay ...

Here's a rustic song we might share some time:

Country Life 

I like to rise when the sun she rises,
Early in the morning
And I like to hear them small birds singing,
Merrily upon their leyland,
And hurrah for the life of a country boy,
And to ramble in the new mown hay. 

In spring we sow at the harvest mow,
And that’s how the seasons round they go,
But of all the times if choose I may,
I'd be rambling through the new mown hay.
I like to rise when the sun she rises …
In summer when the sun is hot
We sing, and we dance, and we drink a lot.
We spend all night in sport and play,
And go rambling in the new mown hay.
I like to rise when the sun she rises …
In autumn when the oak trees turn
We gather all the wood that's fit to burn.
We cut and stash and stow away,
And go rambling in the new mown hay.
I like to rise when the sun she rises …
In winter when the sky is gray
We hedge and ditch our times away,
But in summer when the sun shines gay,
We go rambling through the new mowed hay.
I like to rise when the sun she rises …
Oh, Nancy is my darling gay,
And she blooms like the flowers every day,
But I love her best in the month of May
When we're rambling through the new mown hay.
I like to rise when the sun she rises …
I like to hear the Morris dancers
Clash their sticks and drink our ale.
I like to hear those bells a-ringing
As we ramble in the new mown hay.
I like to rise when the sun she rises …

It’s a trad song, but you can hear a recording on The Watersons’ album ‘For Pence and Spicy Ale’, track 1, athough Mike W. sings only two verses - Hit this link: The Watersons - Country Life

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Being Friday the 17th of August, 2012 ...

Quote of the evening, from Yvonne, was:
  • “You sound just like Karen Carpenter.”
  • “Thank you, but she’s been dead for twenty years!”

An immaculately groomed Paul was in the chair.
At last I have a decent photograph of Paul ...

"Oh, stop faffing around, will you?!"

Dogsbody crept around, moth-like, trying and failing to be unobtrusive while attending to the infrastructure of the proceedings.

Undeterred by that peripheral activity, others contributed some memorable performances, a few of which might be discernable from these clues …

  • The B-side of some great hit of the sixties.
  • A song conveyed subliminally from a parallel space-time continuum.
  • A purveyor of meat pies to submariners.
  • Some Creole culinary dishes.
  • Arranged marriage to a toy-boy who has yet to complete full-time education.
  • Barbarous use of a cereal crop.
  • A wireless aviator ...
  • ... and Roger charmingly declined to apologise for anything.

(If you can't work those out, you weren't listening!)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Being Friday the 10th of August, 2012 ...

Mike, erudite and eloquent as ever, was at the helm.

Key words and phrases for discussion included:
  • [Ageing Richard]
  • Jerusalem
  • Canonical things
  • Yearney
(That first has been paraphrased because a google search for images of ‘old dick’ produced most unpleasant results. Actually it's a variety of ale.)

Look who came along …

They were rather good!

We were small in number, superb in quality and just managed to pay the rent.

Here’s one pictorial clue of what might have been performed if I was allowed to tell you …

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Brave Admiral Benbow ...

Earlier this week I was privileged to escort an elderly Auntie Margaret around the Historic Royal Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth.
I have always been engaged by this cheeky-looking fellow …

This is supposed to be the figurehead taken from HMS Admiral Benbow (1813), but I don’t think fibreglass resin had been invented then!

So, who was John Benbow?

Benbow, (1653 -1702,) was a celebrated and notorious admiral of the English Navy, remembered particularly for his bomb-flotilla campaigns against French channel ports in 1693.

On 24th August 1702, during a sea battle against ships of the French Navy commanded by Admiral du Casse in a West Indies campaign, he was seriously wounded by chain-shot that shattered his leg.
Legend has it that Benbow commanded that he should be carried discretely to his cabin lest the sight of his injures should dispirit his crew.

"Take me down to my cockpit ..."

Having been abandoned by at least two captains of other English vessels, the battle was indecisive.
The English squadron retreated to Port Royal. Benbow later died of his wound and was buried in Kingston, Jamaica, where he is celebrated thus:

[Here lyeth the Body of John Benbow, Esq., Admiral of the White, a true pattern of English Courage, who lost his life in Defence of his Queene & Country, November the 4th, 1702, In the 52nd year of his age, by a wound in his Legg. Received in an Engagement with Monsr. Du Casse; being Much Lamented.] 

HMS Admiral Benbow, launched in 1813, was a third-rate ship-of-the-line named in his honour.

Two later RN ships were so-named: an Admiral Class battleship of 1885, and a Duke Class battleship of 1913 that served during the battle of Jutland.

HMS Admiral Benbow, 1913

"Why is all this of interest?" I hear you ask.
There are at least two folk songs of dubious historical accuracy that celebrate the life and death of John Benbow.
Here's one ...
Admiral Benbow

Oh, we sailed to Virginia and thence to Fayall,
Where we watered our ship in and then weighed all.
Then in view on the seas, boys, seven sails we did espy.
Oh, we mann—źd our capstan and weighed speedily.

The first we come up with was a brigantine sloop,
And we asked if the others were as big as they looked.
Then turning to windward as near as we could lie,
We found there was ten men of war cruising there by.

Oh, we drew up our squadron in a very nice line,
And boldly we fought them for full four hours time.
Then the day being spent, boys, and the night coming on,
We left them alone till the very next morn.

The very next morning the engagement proved hot,
And brave Admiral Benbow received a chain shot.
And when he was wounded to his men he did say:
“Take me up in your arms, boys, and carry me away!”

Oh, the guns they did rattle and the bullets did fly,
But Admiral Benbow for help would not cry:
“Take me down to the cockpit, there is ease for my smarts,
If my merry men see me, it would sure break their hearts.”

And there Captain Kirkby proved a coward at last,
And with Wade played at bo-peep behind the main-mast.
And there they did stand, boys, and shiver and shake
For fear that those French dogs their lives they should take.

The very next morning at the break of the day
They hoisted their tops'ls and so bore away.
We bore up for Port Royal, where the people flocked much
To see Admiral Benbow carried to Kingston Church.

Come all you brave fellows, wherever you be,
And drink to the health of our King and our Queen.
And another good health to the girls that we know,
And a third in remembrance of brave Admiral Benbow.

Oh, yes, drink up a health, boys, to the girls we do know
And a third for remembrance of brave Admiral Benbow.

(Transcribed from failing memory - copyright issues are not involved.)

Here's the tune in D:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Being Friday the 3rd of August, 2012 ...

Isn’t Team GB doing well in the Olympics?

Many thanks to those sixteen stalwart ‘folkies’ who left their TV sets to attend the club this evening.

For reasons explained to those who attended last week I can’t tell you precisely what was performed, but here are a few pictorial clues …

Look out, Squire, she's got a knife!
The nostrum sure

Flying away

A Spanish so-called sport

Oh, this is getting really silly.
It was all good stuff.
If you really want to know what went on, hard copy of the song-list will be available next week at the club.
(Distribution elsewhere is strictly prohibited on penalty of excommunication!)

Oh, and look who came along ...