|Coventry Cathedral's Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane seen through|
a crown of thorns made from iron (Photo:Simon Meeds)
Last Friday's session involved just the core members and there was no theme. Colin kicked things off with Steve Knightley's Galway Farmer, partly because it was the last day of Cheltenham Festival and partly because Mike likes it.
Simon had been carrying Harry Robertson's Wee Dark Engine Room (the words that is, not the room nor the stove) around with him since St David's day since "whales", "coal" and "gold" all provided very tenuous links. He didn't sing it then, so he brought it out now.
Geoff's first song of the evening was the The Lakes Of Ponchartrain (Roud 1836, Laws H9) and Mike gave us Keith Marsden's Bring Us A Barrel.
Derek said he had looked down the listings of Radio 4's Sunday programmes and noted that the theme of the Sunday Worship programme was "The Woman at the Well of Living Water", which he interpreted as "The widow at the well". He hoped therefore to find something of interest, maybe a performance by a traditional singer? He was disappointed to find that the hymns would be "I heard the voice of Jesus say" and "Tell out my soul". He made up for this omission by singing The Well Below The Valley (Roud 2553, Child 21).
Colin pointed out that it was the sixteenth anniversary of the death of Sydney Carter, and therefore sang three songs written by him: My Last Cigarette, Crow On The Cradle, and The Ballad Of George Fox.
Geoff added some brightness to proceedings with UK one hit wonder, Jerry Keller's Here Comes Summer.
Derek was meanwhile going for a body count. He claimed a million from a song which seems to be related to the Whiffenpoof Song and Kipling's Gentlemen Rankers, but is neither of those - similar in some ways to though Gunboat Sailors which is also derived from them.
Anyway, back on the body count, his research suggested adding about 300,000 from The Bonny Bunch Of Roses (Roud 664, Laws J5).
Mike also claimed a large body count, though at the time of singing he wasn't aware of the game, from The Battle Of Sowerby Bridge. He claimed indeed that it was the anniversary of the battle but the song claims it was on the 44th March! The historical event however seems to have occurred on 4th January 1644.
Simon's poor effort added only two bodies (not really a laughing matter) with Bob Geldof's I Don't Like Mondays. Recently retired teacher, Derek pointed out that this song didn't resonate with him in quite the way it had done when it was sung previously.
Mike continued to unwrap the body bags with his own song, Away To The Western Front. He claimed all the deaths at the front in the First World War. It was then suggested that he might add all those who died subsequently in the Spanish Flu pandemic, started as it was among the soldiers - and incidentally had nothing to do with Spain or the Spanish.
Geoff's voice took us for a tour of his boots, much to Mike's delight since his voice is always happiest in the depths, singing Wandr'in' Star (Alan J Lerner, Frederick Loewe). Finally, it was Mike who finished the evening off with Roll Alabama Roll (Roud 4710).
Keep safe in these strange times. Look after yourself and keep singing, even if it's only to yourself.
Now listen to a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 5, of whom 5 performed)