|Bolshevik forces marching on the Red Square|
It was good to see Phil after missing the last few months, bringing back his songs of 19th and early 20th century USA. Colin was MC and started off the session with Tim Laycock's Heaven's A Bar.
A few discernible mini-themes emerged during the evening, not least the singing of two quite different versions of the same song (Roud 1, Child 200). Colin started it off with Raggle Taggle Gypsy while Phil gave us the transatlantic version in the shape of Gypsy Davy.
Derek's chosen theme for the evening was the centenary of the Russian Revolution. His traceable songs on that theme were We Are From Omsk, and The Internationale. The latter was originally written in French by Eugène Pottier but Derek, singing entirely in English on this occasion, used verses from both the British and American versions. He recalled that Jessica Mitford explained the title of her book "A Fine Old Conflict" as a mishearing of the lyrics of The Internationale when visiting Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park. Derek suggested this may not have been entirely truthful since it would have been a mishearing of the words of the American version of the song: "'Tis the final conflict" whereas the British version has "So comrades, come rally".
Mike obviously felt moved to join Derek in his theme but couldn't think of anything appropriate, so he gave us the lovely Nancy Myles. This song was written by Irish musician, Kevin Sheerin who is quoted as saying "It is an Irish flavour song, and Tony [Allen] asked me one night, on a journey from Moate to Athlone to write a song. By the time I got home, I had a verse written, and by the time I went to bed I had three verses of 'Nancy Myles' written, but very few songs would come to me that quickly."
During the interval, Phil asked Simon about The Ellan Vannin Tragedy (Hughie Jones), saying that he liked the song, so Simon sang it at the first opportunity in the second half.
Talking of the interval, Colin suggested that I start to mention the winners of the raffle. I'm not sure I'll make a habit of it but last week the wine went to Simon and the Curly Wurlies to Geoff. "A well deserved and popular win" I hear you all say in unison.
Inspired by Colin's singing of Son Of A Gambolier (Charles Ives), Simon added The Gambler (Don Schlitz) which was made famous by Kenny Rogers. This in turn led to a minor theme of songs associated with Rogers, in which Geoff gave us Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town (Mel Tillis). Note that the recordings presented here of both Kenny Rogers songs are performed by the writers.
The evening was finished off by Simon singing When All Men Sing (Keith Scowcroft, Derek Gifford).
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 6, of whom 6 performed)