|Outside the pub at Tinsley Green, Sussex, 1936.|
The singer George 'Pop' Maynard
is seen on the right of the picture.
(Photo from Keith Summers Collection)
Colin was MC and started us off with Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel (Dan Emmett - Roud 12153). The first two lines of the song, at least as Colin sang it, are "Rain forty nights, gonna rain forty days,
Gonna rain on the Allegheny mountains" which inspired Derek to sing the First World War song, Raining, Raining, Raining.
Geoff's first song after his recent break from the club was Far Away In Australia (Roud 25792) although I'm pretty sure that's not where he's been.
Simon gave us Mike Harding's song of a musical First World War veteran, Jimmy Spoons.
Mike carried on with his 1988 song list, covering the letters C and D: Claudy Banks (Roud 266, Laws N40); his own song, Children Of The Train, which he wrote in 1971 as a rebuttal to inaccurate media reports of the 1928 Charfield rail disaster; Doctor Mack (Roud 1861), Dido Bendigo (Roud 584) and The D-Day Dodgers (Lance-Sergeant Harry Pynn - Roud 10499).
The reference to Charfield caused keen chess-player Geoff to tell of the Charfield Chess Club, which claimed to be "The largest rural chess club in the Empire". Mike said he knew who started the club: Henry Weaver. Geoff undertook to find out more about this character.
Derek sang a version of The Unfortunate Rake (Roud 2, Laws Q26/B1). Geoff said he had not heard that version before, so Derek came back with a much more obscure version telling the story of an Oxford University freshman who is distracted from his studies by the girls of the town and eventually drops out of his course. Simon asked whether it was autobiographical for the Oxonian Derek. He said it predated his time at the university and was not only a song he heard at sung at the students' folk club, but one he found to be lodged at the Bodleian Library, though without record of a date or author. Geoff returned to the subject with another version of the theme: Only The Hangman (Wayne P Walker).
Derek also gave us a pair of songs about doffers, people who remove ("doff") bobbins, pirns or spindles holding spun fibre such as cotton or wool from a spinning frame and replaces them with empty ones. The first such song was The Doffing Mistress (Roud 2133) and the second You'll Easy Know A Doffer (Roud 20420). The second verse of the latter song tells of how a weaver will never get a man, which caused Simon to disprove that idea by singing The Handweaver And The Factory Maid (Roud 17771).
It also fell to Derek to finish the evening, which he did with a good chorus song: Come Landlord Fill The Flowing Bowl (Roud 1234).
Following an earlier discussion about traditional children's toys, Derek had been trying to remember the name of a traditional singer who was also a champion marbles player. It was only after he had left the pub and collected his car from down the road that it dawned on him and he returned specifically to tell us it was "Pop" Maynard, whose real name he correctly believed to be George.
Here's a selection of songs sung during this session.
(Number of people present - 5, of whom 5 performed)