It was lovely to be back at our folk session after our August break. There was a buzz as everyone was trying to catch up with friends and welcome in new folk. When the bell rang, it was Pam who was calling us to order. She was our MC for the night. What a fantastic job she did too. Thank you Pam.
The Beatles number, ‘Hide Your Love Away’ was the opening number. This was expertly done by Mike on guitar accompanied by Adrian on his mandolin. The song was written by John Lennon. The song lyrics are ambiguous. They may tell of an unrequited love and hidden feelings. John could also have been referring to the fact that as a Beatle he was expected to keep the fact he was married a secret. Adrian picked up his guitar to accompany Mike with his next number which was ‘Norwegian Wood’. This was another Beatles number and both were released in 1965. The song’s lyrics are about an extramarital affair that John Lennon was involved in, as hinted in the opening couplet: “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me”.
Then Adrian did a well known Dubliners number on his own. It was ‘Fields Of Athenry’. The song is an Irish folk ballad set during the Great Irish Famine or Great Irish Hunger (1845–1850) about a fictional man named Michael from near Athenry in County Galway who has been sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food for his starving family. It is a widely known and popular anthem for Irish sports supporters. It is always lovely to hear Adrian sing.
Then we had the privilege of sitting back and listening to our soprano Doreen. This lady hit the high notes as we sat enthralled at her beautiful singing voice. She started off with ‘I Talk To The Trees’, from the Broadway musical comedy, Paint Your Wagon. It was written by Alan J. Lerner with music by Frederick Loewe. The song centres on a miner and his daughter and follows the lives and loves of the people in a mining camp. Her next song was a tribute to her son Andrew, who sadly passed away last month. The song was called ‘Danny Boy’. The words “Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so!” were particularly meaningful. What a brave thing to do Doreen and our thoughts are with you as you travel this journey. Doreen was accompanied by Pam on the keyboard.
Then Pam called on Andrew and June. They started off with Andrew on his accordion while June sang ‘Ma He’s Making Eyes At Me’. first published in 1921. The lyrics were by the American composer and comedian Sidney Clare and music was written by Con Conrad. It was a join in song. At the end of the song, June referred to the lines “Ma he wants to marry me”. She had chosen this particular song because on the 6th September 2008, nine years ago, they were married! Then June went onto the keyboard to accompany Andrew playing a medley. It started off with ‘Uncle Reuben’, and went on to ‘Boil Em Cabbage, Old Joe Clark and Big Coral’. This is a very lively number where all could join in on their instruments and it got Simone up dancing the night away.
Then someone with and incredibly beautiful voice, who sings with so much expression in her voice and actions got up to sing. I am of course, referring to Anita. She started off with ‘Abdul Abulbul Amir’. This is the tale of male pride and the trouble it can get you into. It started life as a poem written in 1877 by Percy French, whilst he was a student at Trinity College Dublin. It was later set to music and the song was sold for £5 to a publisher. The song later became hugely popular and was falsely claimed by other authors. Next came the song ‘Molly Malone’. This song’s origins seem to be shrouded in mystery. It may have been a Music Hall Song. Molly Malone was a fictional lass and the earliest version of ‘Cockles and Mussels’ is from about 1850.Whatever th origins. it is a popular song, set in Dublin , which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin City. In 1998, the Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street was unveiled and 13th June was declared as ‘Molly Malone Day’ The less reverent call it the statue of the Tart with the Cart! Anita was accompanied by Pam on keyboard.
The singing bird Annie was next called upon. She picked up her guitar and started off with a song called ‘Two Brothers’. This song was sung by Tom Jones and used in Epcot’s ‘The American Adventure’ and Disneyland’s ‘Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln’. Then she sang ‘A Night In The City’ by Joni Mitchell. It’s about night in any city where you wander around listening to music. Joni wrote it about a place in Toronto, Ontario, called Yorkville Avenue. It’s a little village there, and there are clubs all along for several blocks and you can just walk along and stand in what Joni thinks of as ‘music puddles,’ where music sort of hangs from here to here—and if you step too far over into the other direction, you’re into a new music belt, or a new music puddle. Must be a fantastic place to go and visit. Music round the clock!
Steve (Mills) on his guitar came next. His first song was called ‘Rock Salt And Nails’, an American folk song written by Utah Phillips in 1961. Utah was a train-hopping hobo before becoming a respected folk singer who sang at events supporting workers rights. The song has been covered by many artists including Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Steve did a version recorded by the deceased British folk singer, John Martyn which has a more harsher vocal sound. ‘King Of The New York Streets’ was his next choice of song. Steve sang it as King of Seaton streets to make it more localised. Very well done Steve! The song was recorded in 1989 by Dion De Mucci (commonly known as Dion) who comes from the Bronx area of New York which is well known for it’s street gangs.
Our king of folk, Peter, did a Tom Paxton sing-a-long number. This was ‘the well known ‘Rambling Boy’, released by Tom in 1964. Then Peter sang ‘What Did The Deep Sea Say’. This song was written and sung by Woody Guthrie. There are several versions of this song, but this was Peter’s very moving version. The chorus in which we all joined was, “What did the deep sea say, Tell me what did the deep sea say,Well it moaned and it groaned, And it splashed and it foamed, And it rolled on it’s weary way” If you closed your eyes and listened to Peters soothing voice and gentle guitar playing, you could almost hear the sea rolling on it’s way! As always, a superb slot Peter.
Another treat was when our concertina Steve, got up to play and sing. He started off with ‘Unquiet Grave’. A man mourns his true love for “a twelve month and a day”. At the end of that time, the dead woman complains that his weeping is keeping her from peaceful rest. He begs a kiss. She tells him it would kill him. When he persists, wanting to join her in death, she explains that once they were both dead their hearts would simply decay, and that he should enjoy life while he has it. ‘The Rosabella’ was his next song. A traditional shanty that was recorded by Cecil Sharpe from John Short, also known as “Shanty Jack” “or Yankee Jack”, a shanty man born in 1829, who retired to his native Watchet to look after his ailing wife. He was Cecil Sharpe’s major source of shanties.
Dave who hails from Kent, near Ashford, has visited us before. It was really special to welcome him back to sing to us tonight. His choice was a Tony Rose number called ‘Twas On One April Morning’. Dave sang it as a tribute to Tony Rose, a well known folk singer from Exeter who died of cancer at the young age of 61 in June ’02. Tony was a founder member of the “Jolly Porter” folk club, in Exeter as well as running folk clubs in nearby Yeovil and eventually becoming Artistic Director of the South Petherton Folk Festival. Thank you Dave, that was amazing singing.
Not to be outdone, Eileen, Dave’s wife, sang ‘Lowlands Away’ She said there were many versions but asked us to join in with her version. There is quite some debate about the origins of Lowlands, or ‘Lowlands Away’ as it is also known. It is sometimes claimed as Scottish, sometimes as English, and sometimes as American. There is also debate about whether it is a sea-shanty or a ballad. We may all have different thoughts on this, but I’m sure we all agree that Eileen has a really powerful voice, and you can hear every word she sings. Dave and Eileen run a very successful folk club in a pub near where they live. Thank you, we hope that you will visit us again soon.
Back from her trip to Wales, was Simone. She played a song called ‘Mad World’ by Tears for Fears on her recorder. Simone has lost a few of her friends in the last few months, and this was played as a tribute to them, especially for Trevor, her friend of fifteen years. Well done for that Simone. Then the night wouldn’t be complete without her singing her own song ‘Sail With Me’. I think we all know the lyrics by now so we all join in.
And last but not least before the interval, was our very talented keyboard player and singer. We are always happy to listen to Pam as she plays on the keyboard and sings her own songs. She started off with a tribute to Glen Campbell who passed away on August 8, 2017. He was a well known American singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor. He sang the song Rhinestone Cowboy. As usual, Pam changed the words and sang her version of ‘Nine Stone Cowboy’. Pam then did a lovely sing-a-long, ‘Blowing In The Wind’ a song written by Bob Dylan in 1962. What a nice way to end our first half.
THEN ANNOUNCED IT WAS INTERVAL. TIME TO RUSH FOR REFILLS.
Jurassic Folk & Jam are held on the first and third Wednesday of month. However, on the first Wednesday, we have a jam session in the second half. So it was a real mixture of songs and instrumentals, as we all jammed in together. A really enjoyable night, made better by Pam. Thank you for overseeing the night.
The report and photos were done by June.