Wednesday the 18th January turned out to be a good night with Mike New doing his usual good work as MC. After a good welcome and fire exit information, we got started.
‘Early Morning Rain’ (sometimes “Early Mornin’ Rain”) was Mike’s first song. It was composed and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. The song appears on his 1966 debut album. He composed the song in 1964, but it’s genesis took root during his sojourn in Westlake, Los Angeles, during 1960. Throughout this time, Lightfoot sometimes became homesick and would go out to the Los Angeles Airport on rainy days to watch the approaching aircraft. The imagery of the flights taking off into the overcast sky was still with him when, in 1964, he was caring for his 5-month-old baby son and he thought, “I’ll put him over here in his crib, and I’ll write myself a tune. “Early Morning Rain” was the result.
Then we had another treat when Jerry and Annie accompanied by Mike sang a song called ‘Another Suitcase’ from Evita. This was sung by Juan Peron’s teenage mistress when she was thrown out. The song was recorded by Scottish singer Barbara Dickson for the 1976 concept album, Evita, which contains songs from the musical of the same name. This musical was based on the life of Argentinian leader Eva Peron. So glad that Jerry is now joining his wife Annie in singing.
Annie, Mike and Adrian went on to a Tom Paxton number called ‘If I Could Beg Steal Or Borrow’. The chorus -“If I could beg, steal, or borrow, a ticket on some boat or plane, I’d be leaving London tomorrow, to fly to my young love again”, was an easy one to sing-a-long with.
We were all then very pleased to welcome Doreen back after the sad loss of her husband Maurice. He will be missed by us all. Accompanied by Pam on the keyboard she thrilled us with her lovely soprano voice singing ‘Hushaby Mountain’. This is a ballad by the songwriting team Robert and Richard Sherman, written in 1968. Then Doreen sang a show tune from the 1929 Rodgers and Hart musical “Spring is Here”. This was called ‘With A Song In My Heart’ It was also sung by Doris Day, in the 1950 Hollywood musical “Young Man with a Horn”. Well done Doreen. We all thought you were very brave and we love to hear your singing.
Adrian performed next. He found it difficult to get started as we all wanted to sing Happy Birthday to him. He had just celebrated his 21st?????? birthday the day before. He finally started and sang ‘Look What They’ve Done To My Song’. Melanie Safka, wrote the song. She is an American singer-songwriter. Melanie made her first public singing appearance at age four on the radio show “Live Like A Millionaire”, performing the song “Gimme a Little Kiss”. She was slightly younger than Adrian!!
We were pleased to welcome Pam, our very talented singer, keyboard player. She sang ‘On Top Of The World’. This song was written and recorded by the American rock band “Imagine Dragons” for their major-label debut. The song itself expresses a celebration of accomplishment for the band.
Then she did an old favourite of mine called ‘Harper Valley PTA’ written by Tom T Hall and sung by Jeannie C Riley in 1968. The song tells the story of Mrs. Johnson, a widowed mother of a teenage girl, who becomes outraged when one afternoon her daughter brings home a note from her Junior High School’s PTA decrying Mrs. Johnson’s supposedly scandalous behavior by small-town standards. According to the PTA she is setting a bad example for her daughter. In response, Mrs. Johnson attends the next PTA meeting (being held that same afternoon), wearing a miniskirt, to the surprise of the PTA members. She then exposes various episodes of misbehavior and indiscretion on the part of several members of the PTA, concluding with, “This is just a little Peyton Place, And you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites!”. Thank you Pam.
We were happy to welcome Fran who has recently moved down to Colyton. She is a talented Flautist. Throughout the evening she had been quietly harmonising on her flute which sounded lovely. In (A minor) she played ‘Summer Time’ an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. She went on to play ‘Danny Boy’. This ballad was written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly. It is interesting to note that the words to the song were initially written to a tune called “Londonderry Air”. It was penned by English lawyer and lyricist Frederic Weatherly in Bath, Somerset in 1910. Weatherly gave the song to the vocalist Elsie Griffin, who made it one of the most popular songs in the new century. In 1915, Ernestine Schumann-Heink produced the first recording of “Danny Boy”.
The Amycrofters, Andrew and June, were next to perform. June played on her keyboard whilst Andrew was on his accordion. They sang a classic Scottish folk song, written and immortalised by comedian and folk singer, Billy Connolly. It was called ‘If It Was Nae For Your Wellies’ They did this to commemorate Burns’ Night, which is on the 25th January and celebrates the life of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, author of many Scots poems. They went on to do what they are well known for. This is playing a set of tunes they use when playing for folk dances. These consisted of ‘Darling Nellie Gray’, ‘Log Cabin’, ‘Jolly Coppersmiths’, and ‘Silver And Gold’. This is known as R5 in their dance band book. This, as usual, made some get up and dance in the middle and others (who were too shy,) (or too old! to get up) were seen tapping away.
Then our own Mr Folk, Peter picked up his 6 string guitar. He is more used to playing his 12 string guitar, but has been finding it a bit heavy lately. He had been digging out some jazz numbers that he had heard but never sung. After finding his piece of paper with his ‘crib’ notes on it he began to perform. ‘Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor’ is a blues/jazz/folk song with which Peter started. The song’s origins are somewhat nebulous but can be traced back to the 19th century. Gillian Welch made this song famous. He then went on to sing an Eva Cassidy number called ‘People Get Ready’. This Gospel influenced track is a 1965 single by “The Impressions”, and the title track from the People Get Ready album. Mike said it was a great bit of “Scan Scout” singing.
Simone had written a special poem especially for us called ‘Jurassic Jam’ and handed a copy out to everyone. As she read it ,we were able to follow. The first two lines were “Every second Wednesday you will know just where I am, Playing my recorder in Eyre Court Jurassic Jam”, The last two lines were – “With varied pasts we celebrate The Music of our Soul – Jurassic Jam Forever welcomes guests both young and old”.Once again Simone, you have come out tops.
Anita picked up on the Burns’ Night theme with a poem called ‘The Serious Burns Unit’. This was about the prime minister, Mrs May, visiting a hospital in Glasgow. When the patients spoke to her in Lowland Scots, (or strictly speaking the Ayrshire dialect of Scots,) she got confused as she couldn’t understand them. She asked the doctor if they were in the psychiatric ward. He answered her and said “No we are in the Serious Burns Ward”! This was written by Robbie Burns – hence the pun – ‘Serious Burns Unit’ Then Anita read a poem called ‘Agathe Green’ that was written and composed by A. Humble-Crofts and Margarett Hooper in 1911. It was performed by Margaret Cooper, who died in 1911. Anita has a way of reciting poems that has everyone sitting on the edge of their seats and listening with both ears.
Hazel with her beautiful singing voice and gentle guitar playing sang and played ‘Golden Arrow’. This is a popular song which was published both as an intermezzo two-step and a ballad in 1909. The music was composed by Egbert Van Alstyne, with lyrics added by Harry Williams. The ballad is a love story between the unnamed son of a Chief Arrow-Bow and a maiden named Golden Arrow, both of the Sioux nation in Idaho. She went on to sing a song written by Chris Rea in 1978 called ‘Fool If You Think It’s Over’. As Hazel had to go and her songs were short, Mike asked her to do another one. She chose a Simon and Garfunkel song called ‘Citizen Of The Planet’. Thank you Hazel.
Then it was time for our interval. A quick chat, and another visit to the bar.
Mike started off in unaccompanied mode with ‘Lonesome Road’ This is the first time I have heard Mike do this, as he normally has his guitar in his hands! This song by James Taylor, appears on the album “Dad loves his Work” (1981) and on the album “Live” (1993).
Steve had been sitting quietly during the first half. He now appeared with his guitar ready to sing ‘Woodstock’. this song by Joni Mitchell was the number he chose. Joni wrote it to sing at Woodstock, but due to problems with the flight she never made it. As a result, her group sang it and she sang it herself later. This was a speeded up version! Next came a song entitled ‘Tennessee Stud’ sung by Johnny Cash. This song was written by Jimmy Driftwood. It was released in 1959 by Driftwood, and tells the story about a man, his horse and their travels in Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Mexico in 1825.
Then Annie did a Robert Burns on called ‘Ca The Yowes’ or in plain English, ‘Drive The Sheep To The Hills’. Obviously this is in keeping with the Scottish theme.
Our new flautist, Fran did a beautiful number called ‘Ashokan Farewell’. It is well known and those who were able, joined in. Others were so moved by the beautiful playing that we just sat and listened. This piece of music was composed by American folk musician Jay Ungar in 1982. The piece is a waltz in D major, composed in the style of a Scottish lament.
The Amycrofters then played a real Scottish set of medleys starting off with ‘Scotland The Brave’ going on to ‘Barren Rocks Of Aden’, and finishing with ‘Cock Of The North’. It was lovely to see everyone joining in. Some played instruments, some banged on the tables and others danced “The Gay Gordons” in the middle of the room.
Doreen sang ‘Our Day Will Come’, a popular song composed by Bob Hilliard and Mort Garson and sung by Amy Winehouse. This was another song in which we could all join in.
Pam did a John Lennon number called ‘Imagine’. Again, Pam comes out tops when it comes to playing the keyboard and entertaining.
Anita did ‘The Wee Cooper O Fife’, a Scottish number. The fourth line was “Hey Willie Wallacky, ho John Dougall. The fifth line went Alane quo’ rushety, roo, roo, roo. Anita said that as far as she understood it, it was meaningless, but of course she could be wrong!
Simone sang ‘Ride On’. This is a lovely song by Irish Folk singer Christy Moore. Thank you Simone for doing this number so superbly.
Adrian announced that he had been thinking of doing a “dirgey sad song”. Then he said he had changed his mind and proceeded to do ‘Only 16’.
We ended the night with Mike leading ‘Copper Head Road’ in a real jam session with everyone joining in.
What a lovely night we had. Thanks again go to Eyre Court for allowing us to take over the restaurant for the evening, and to the their staff who are always so helpful. We thank Mike for being the MC. Thanks are due to Gerry and June for doing the photos. The good ones are the ones Gerry took. The bad ones of course are June’s! Thanks are also due to the spectators who came along and supported us. They all enjoyed it.
We hope to see as many of you as can make it on the 1st of February when Anita and Hazel will be hosting the evening.