|The Runcorn Ferry (Old Ted, The Boatman)|
drawing by John Hassall
Richard was MC and he started off with Bessie Of Ballantown Brae (Laws P28). Lesley's singing of A Kiss In The Morning Early set her going on a theme of cobblers ("And off to the shoemaker's shop sure she goes For a kiss in the morning early") which she followed up with more rubbish (I jest) in the shape of Cobbler's Daughter (Kate Rusby). I have previously credited Cobbler's Daughter to Kate Rusby and have not been challenged. This time I found a video claiming to predate Kate's singing of the song but I'm not sure I believe it. Your comments on this matter would be very welcome.
Mike didn't seem too sure what to sing, so he pulled one out of the hat which he hadn't sung, apparently, for a very long time. It was The Last Shanty (Tom Lewis).
Derek sang a song for which I have been in trouble before, and he set me a challenge. The song was The Foggy, Foggy Dew (Roud 558, Laws O3). He asked me, if possible, to link to a version by Phil Hammond. No he didn't mean Dr Phil Hammond (comedian and TV doctor). I knew this partly by common sense and partly because Derek doesn't have a TV. No, he meant Phil Hammond (or is it Hamond, I've seen both) the singer from Holt in Norfolk. I like to link to a video from YouTube because it makes my life easy so, and this isn't an intentional wind-up based on a story Derek tells about the singer (not) touring East Anglia, but it is, I'm afraid, a version by Burl Ives. But no, I don't give up that easily. It turns out that when he appeared on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Martin Bell requested that very recording so if you wish to hear Phil Hammond (or Hamond) singing The Foggy, Foggy Dew, all you have to do is go to this recording on BBC iPlayer and fast forward to 14 minutes dead!
While there was quite some time between the two, I wondered whether there was a connection between Simon singing Derek Jolly's My Grandfather's Ferret, and Derek singing a version of The Crabfish, which is one of the oldest English ballads, dating back to at least 1620. I can't find Derek's version as a recording but these words provide the chorus, while the verses are close to standard except that Derek's crustacean is a lobster. I'll leave it to you to decide whether the two songs are connected.
After an abortive attempt to perform Blow The Candle Out (Roud 368, Laws P17), Steve C sang Bonny Ship The Diamond (Roud 2172). Meanwhile Colin gave us Billy Bragg's Between The Wars (it's not often you see a link to Top of The Pops on this blog). Alan arriving shortly before the interval entertained us with Marriott Edgar's monologue about the Runcorn Ferry.
During the interval, canine folky, Indy became quite vocal. Mike asked him if it was a Welsh folk song he was singing. Lesley seemed sceptical but Simon suggested it might be something traditional from CrickHOWELL.
The second half continued in much the same enjoyable way. Richard noted an article in the issue of Folklife Quarterly that was being passed around about Lord Franklin, and it turned out that Simon was already intending to sing Lady Franklin's Lament (Roud 487, Laws K9) on his next go.
Lesley seemed to know nothing of the origins of her song, The Ballad Of Jack The Ripper. Derek quipped that no one knew who wrote it but it could have been the Queen's son. In fact it seems to have been written by Horace Phlange and James Home to music by Thornton G Roper. There are references to Anne Lennox-Martin singing it until she gave up out of respect for the victims when the "Yorkshire Ripper" was active.
Richard finished the evening with And A-Begging I Will Go (Roud 286).
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 10, of which 8 performed)