Monday, 5 January 2015
New Venue, smashing evening
Mike and Maggie decided they would leave at the interval, so Richard ably MCed the evening, getting Mike to kick off a slightly earlier than usual start with Richard Thompson's We Sing Hallelujah.
Several people took up the seasonal theme. The first was Derek, who sang of the Irish St Stephen's Day tradition with The Boys Of Barr Na Sráide. Cahersiveen is an Irish town located on the Ring of Kerry. The song is based on a poem by Sigerson Clifford, who was born in Cahersiveen, and it tells the story of the boys of Barr Na Sraide (Top Street) who hunted for the wren. The poem recalls the life of his boyhood friends starting from when they were young children through to the Black and Tan period, and up to the civil war. The poem speaks of the Irish tradition of “hunting for the wran”, (wren) on St. Stephen’s Day, December 26. Colin, who I think arrived slightly after Derek sang this song, later provided us with another version of the same bearing some relation to The Wren Song. Derek noted that Colin's version had only the first verse in common with his own. This second link includes a description of the tradition.
Terry stayed roughly in season with Ellan Vannin (Hughie Jones) telling the story of the loss of the Isle of Man steamer of that name on 3 December 1909. Steve G couldn't muster seasonality but claimed partial success with New York's Killing Me (Ray LaMontagne) which at least has "new" in the title.
Richard's first song from the MC's seat was Rise up a New Year's Morning, which was noted by Revd J D Davies in the parish of Llangennith. Richard said he learned it from Calennig but that in itself is a puzzle since he could mean the band or the tradition, since both would seem possible. I suspect he meant the former.
Gary, who wasn't at our Christmas party, wound back the clock to sing John Conolly's I am Christmas. Helen also chose a song from the same songwriter, singing Conolly's Widowmaker.
Roger offered us tales of memorable people he had met while in the police force. Most of them seemed to be the tramps and homeless of Newport. He continued with his interesting tales until he received an indication from Chris that it was time to stop. Chris may have been hankering for white Christmases with Gene MacLellan's Snowbird.
Simon approached Dave Goulder's The January Man with trepidation since he knew this seasonal song was also sung by Mike and by Helen, who were both at the session. Helen indicated that he should sing it anyway, and Mike was not around to hear it.
Maggie suggested that Rose was the most festively dressed person present. Wearing her very Chrsitmassy jumper she sang Delia's Gone.
John's seasonal offering was a self-penned poem suggesting how a Mongolian Christian living a simple life having been to the UK as a younger man, might view the western Christmas.
Jo gave us Cathie Ryan's Farthest Wave to end the first round of songs. So many of us were present that it only took three more songs to make it to the break. The second half saw another round before we were finished off by Richard, singing The Day We Went to Rothesay O', a music hall song to the tune of William Watt's (1792-1859) The Tinkler's Waddin'.
Here's a selection of these and other songs sung during the session.
(Number of people present - 21, of which 16 performed)