|Vicky and Richard (Cooper and Toller)|
First the parish notices: this Friday (24 February) we need all the support we can muster since two of our regulars won't be around. If you haven't been to see us for a while or even have never been before, this is the time to find your way to The Bridge. Then next week (3 March) is our St David's Day special, so songs and tunes from or about Wales (or by extension usually also whales) will be very welcome though as usual the theme is optional.
Back to last week's report and Colin was MC as usual, getting Geoff to start us off. Geoff told us of an oversized hand gun which Marty Robbins found in a gunshop and sang the song which came from that occasion: Big Iron. This started a flurry of American songs.
Phil allowed us to tarry in the USA, singing Woody Guthrie's song romanticising bank robber Charles Arthur Floyd as a Robin Hood figure: Pretty Boy Floyd.
Colin's first song, about the Northwest of the USA. Written by Francis D Henry in around 1874 it is called The Old Settler's Song or Acres Of Clams (Roud 4746).
John took his song, Careless Love (Roud 422) from the singing of Lonnie Johnson. Chris brought us back to the British Isles with The Lark In The Clear Air (Roud 24791) by Belfast poet, Sir Samuel Ferguson, only for us to be whisked off back westward by Roger and Phil with She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain (Roud 4204). To our amusement Roger kept trying to slip in the optional chorus (Aye aye yippie) while Phil, no doubt unable to hear his singing partner continued to resolutely sing the verses back-to-back. Still, Roger won out in the end when Phil ran out of verses to sing.
Derek, for his first song, took us Dancing In Glenrone, after which Vicky and Richard were invited up to sing two songs (as is customary for a duo). This time round they sang Martin Carthy's version of Six Jovial Welshmen (Roud 283) which inspired comments about never having seen so many cheerful men of Cymru in one place at any time. Their second song was William Taylor (Roud 158, Laws N11); it's always a pleasure to be able to link to a video of our actual performers.
Vicky and Richard's other songs for the evening were The Sheepstealer (Roud 1667), Sheffield Park (Roud 860), King Pharim (Roud 306, Child 55), and The Devil And The Farmer's Wife (Roud 160, Child 278). When Vicky questioned whether this tradition of singing one song per person per circuit of the room was real, she was told that Tony and Hillary would do likewise but in fact, although they stayed on to sing a song, they had to leave after their first, which was Bunch Of Thyme (Roud 3) - at least it got us all singing.
Geoff's most unusual contribution of the evening was part poem, part song: The Pig Got Up And Slowly Walked Away (Clarke Van Ness, F Henri Klickmann). Derek's poem turned to song was more serious but barely more sober: The Workman's Friend (Flann O'Brien) - "A Pint O'Plain"; "plain" being "ordinary" stout. It was Geoff who eventually returned to the subject of alcohol with Whiskey You're The Devil (Roud 21715).
It fell to Chris to close the evening with Watching The Wheat (Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn by Wil Hopcyn).
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 12, of whom 12 performed)