Sunday, 1 May 2016
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
The official theme was St George (dragons, England, etc.) and that was complemented by William Shakespeare (400th death anniversary) and Derek even picked up on my suggestion of "disturbing songs", from a theme brought up by the BBC.
Colin was for a start notable by his absence. It turned out that he had to return home when he realised he had forgotten the bottle of wine for the raffle so it was a sligtly belated start when Derek sang The Ballad Of English Literature. Paul was amazed to hear that the song was by Terry Eagleton, professor of English Literature. You'll notice that I didn't manage to find a recording of that song, and it started a string of such hard-to-find song, the next of which was Richard's own Puff And Bold Saint George, requested by Maggie S. Lesley sang the equally elusive Ballad Of Jack The Ripper (Horace Phlange, James Home, Thornton G Roper - published in 1974).
Mike took us into safer waters with Hal-an-Tow otherwise known as the Helston Furry Dance (Roud 1520). After that bit of raucous chorus singing, Tom calmed us down with his version of Carole King's You've Got A Friend.
Steve G sang Lady Franklin's Lament (Roud 487, Laws K9), followed by Steve C staying on a nautical theme with Bonny Ship The Diamond (Roud 2172).
Paul gave us two of his own songs with his usual intricate guitar accompaniment: Her Mother's Daughter began as a song about his granddaughter, but ended up as much about her mother when he realised the parallels, 28 years apart; Take This Song was his second offering.
Simon found his stock of England and Saint George songs a little depleted for various reasons, so he sang Jackson C Frank's Blues Run The Game, which at least mentions England. Colin could be more explicit in adherence to the theme with God Bless England (Peadar Kearney).
Jan was the last on round one, singing Tom Paxton's Last Thing On My Mind.
As already mentioned, Derek referred back to my challenge about disturbing songs in last week's blog report which mentioned him by name. He proposed as disturbing Sir Hugh Le Blond (Child 59). While I couldn't find a recording of that version, Sir Aldingar is the same song under a different title and with different characters. Colin disappointed Derek by declaring it "not disturbing" despite its content of infidelity, marital abuse, abuse of the disadvantaged and attack by biological weapon (though it should be noted that Leprosy is the worlds least infectious infectious disease but the King wasn't to know that) - and that's only in the first half of the song.
Mike reprised Wor Geordie's Lost His Penka, that song telling of our friend from the North East who lost his marble and after looking for it by various means in the drain between the back-to-back houses, finds it has been in his pocket all the time. mike had previously given as chorus before we officially started because Richard had similarly searched for his mobile phone only to find it in his pocket; luckily Richard had not employed "gun pooder" in The New Inn or Chris, the landlord, might have banned us. Incidentally, the reference to "terrier" in Mike's version of the song may not be to a dog but to a "tarrier" or toasting fork which, when attached to a "claes prop" probably makes more sense.
Simon managed more relevance in the second half than in the first with Marriott Edgar's monologue George And The Dragon which Colin nicely followed up with Richard Thompson's The New Saint George.
Derek challenged me to find his final song of the evening and I can say I have definitely failed with this one. His only clue apart from the song itself was that it was English. It may be relevant that the nearest matches I have found have been Scottish. All I can offer are some snatches of lyrics which I copied down as he sang: "What do you think of your ploughman now", "the wooden plough ploughed all", which becomes the refrain, being modified with each verse, "when the ploughman sowed all", "when the ploughman thrashed all", "when the ploughman did all".
Tom's final song of the evening was Your Song (Elton John, Bernie Taupin) after which there was just time for Steve G to finish off the evening with Bert Jansch's Courting Blues.
As far as I know there is no official theme this week but if nothing else, it is the first session of May, so that may suggest something. Whatever you think of, please be there on 6 May.
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 14, of whom 11 performed)