|Heckmondwike English Concertina Premier Prize Band 1909|
Firstly it would appear that last week the Regular Scribe (whose humble servant addresses you herewith) should have attributed the Last Shanty sung by Mike to Tom Lewis, and not to any other individual who (according to one of this week’s stories, of which more shortly) might have a small copyright hang-up.
[RS: In my defence, I was not present for the singing of the said song, and it appears I may have misunderstood the message given to me by Colin about the song Mike sang last week]
Secondly may I remind you one last time that this week’s (Dec 2nd) meeting will be, for one week only, at our old haunt The Bridge in Shortwood, near Pucklechurch (BS16 9NG).
As to this week, Colin announced that being close to St Andrew’s Day, a Scottish theme would be appropriate. This might be construed as a Bad Idea given that no one, which included Colin himself, had prepared anything for such an occasion. So to the despair of all Derek was forced to start off with the first Scottish song to come into his head, which, his head being what it is, transpired to be 40 verses of Earl Brand (Roud 23, Child 7).
Others manfully strove to follow the theme, with special credit to Steve who produced a gamut of Scottish material including Jock Stewart (Roud 975), Lizzie Lindsay (Roud 94) and Bonny Ship The Diamond (Roud 2172).
But what soon emerged was one of those Dragon nights when the stories told between songs were rather more important than the songs themselves. And we were aided in this by having with us our ‘professional’ story teller Jane, who, as her contribution to the Scottish theme, treated us to Sheila Stewart’s tale of The Traveller, The Minister and The Shoemaker.
When Tony (who had earlier told us the story of how Wheatstone invented the English Concertina) played Dark Island (Ian MacLaughlan) it sparked a reminiscence from Jane of a particularly emotional journey she made to Mull to see the result of its devastation in the Clearances.
Derek’s performance of 51st Highland Division’s Farewell To Sicily (Hamish Henderson) led to an eerie story from Mike about a paperweight his father had carried with him while serving with the Eighth Army and a timepiece which refused to work after his father’s death. Likewise after Derek’s Last Train To Fyvie Mike told of how, after closure, the Fyvie line had to be restored, for one day’s use only, to carry the Windsor Family; and after Colin’s The Robert Whitworth/Heave and Pull (Neil and Roz Kimber), it was again Mike who told us of the tradition of the Saltersgate pub in the Robin Hood’s Bay area where the hearth fire had to be kept burning all year round to keep away the ghost of a murdered excise man.
Gary gave some encouragement to all in my age bracket when he told the story of a femme d’un certain age of his acquaintance who when heckled by a young person who said she was over the hill, replied that she was actually still at the very top of the hill! He also paid tribute to the recently deceased Hugh McDonald of Redgum, by singing Diamantina Drover.
Amidst all these tales Phil battled manfully against a cough to entertain us with The Frozen Logger (James Stevens) and Banks of the Ohio (Roud 157, Laws F5).
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 8, of whom 8 performed)