The 1905 Original All-Blacks who each received
an autographed copy of On the Ball and took
the song on tour.
Richard was once again MC and, since Mike hadn't yet thought of a song, got Colin to kick off the evening, which he did with The Robert Whitworth (Neil and Roz Kimber), telling the story of an epic rescue performed by the Whitby lifeboat of that name on 19 January 1881.
Derek announced that his three planned songs were all connected by a theme, and also to 31 January. It was our job to work out the connection. The first song was Ain't No More Cane On The Brazos, a traditional prison work song of the American South. By the time Derek's turn came round again Simon, with the help of his trusty phone and Wikipedia, had worked out the connection; it was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alan Lomax, who collected the song.
Derek's second song was collected by Lomax when in England, while on the run from the anti-communist witch hunt, despite his protests that he was in Europe simply to work on a project for Columbia records. The song was Jeannie Robertson's version of My Son David (Roud 200, Child 13).
Since his theme was already guessed, Derek switched his third planned song for one following his ongoing theme of songs sung by Fred Jordan. This time it was The Royal Albert (Roud 2). Derek claimed there was still an Alan Lomax connection for when Lomax was collecting songs in the area of The Wrekin, Shropshire, one of the singers he met suggested he should go to see Fred Jordan, who was yet to be discovered. When he went to find Jordan, he was not there, so Lomax did not collect from him, but he did pass his name on to other collectors and thus missed out on a treasure trove of songs.
Simon pointed out that there was another connection between Derek's third song and 31 January. While searching Wikipedia for Alan Lomax, he had noticed that the first venereal disease clinic was opened at London's Lock Hospital on that day in 1747. The connection is that The Royal Albert comes from a group of songs usually known as The Unfortunate Rake (one is even called Lock Hospital). These songs are about someone, usually a man, and often a soldier or sailor, who has been infected with syphilis.
Taking up the rugby theme of the evening, there were some obvious rugby songs but at one stage it seemed Mike was capable of finding a rugby connection to just about anything. The ones I spotted were as follows:
- Richard - On The Ball (Richard sang the original words, written by Ted Secker, captain of the hapless 1887 Manawatu "Unscorables," for his team to sing while travelling to a match against Wanganui)
- Roger - If I Were The Marrying Kind (though not necessarily exactly that version)
- Chris - The Ash Grove (Welsh song Llwyn Onn; English lyrics by John Oxenford)
- Richard - Men of Harlech (Welsh song Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech; English Lyrics [different versions] by John Oxenford, Thomas Oliphant and others)
- Roger - D'ye Ken John Peel (Roud 1239; John Woodcock Graves; rewritten by George Coward)
- Roger - Abdul Abulbul Amir (Percy French)
Away from the rugby theme (as far as I know), Colin sang Our Captain Calls All Hands (Roud 602), to something approaching the tune Monks Gate. That's not a criticism of Colin, but rather that I think the correct tune for the song is similar to Monks Gate rather than being exactly that which Roger used to sing an abridged version of John Bunyan's He Who Would Valiant Be.
Phil departed slightly from his usual cowboy songs with Deep Elem Blues, a song about the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Texas.
Colin finished off the evening with Roger Watson's The Pick And The Malt Shovel.
Next week's is our closest session to Valentine Day, so Mike declared the theme to be Lust and Unrequited Love; the gauntlet is laid down. See you next week for lots of that!
Here's a selection of these and other songs sung during the session.
(Number of people present - 9, of which 8 performed)