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Monday, December 03, 2012

Here is when the old Takamine yells out for a re-fret -  playing in CGCGCD a new piece called 'Skipping Ollie' - for my grandaughter Olwyn.  Ok I leaned on Martin's 'Swooping Mollie' for the title. :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Town

Our Town

Kate Rusby

Up the street beside the red neon light
That's where I met my baby on a hot summers night
He was the tender and I ordered a beer
It's been forty years and I'm still sat here.

Can't you see the sun's sinking fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on then and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover 'cause your heart's gonna die.
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can't you see the sun's going down on our town, on our town

It's where I met my baby and I had my first kiss
I've walked up Main street in the cold morning mist
Over there is where I bought my first car
I turned it over once now it won't go far.

Can't you see the sun's sinking fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on then and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover 'cause your heart's gonna die.
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can't you see the sun's going down on our town, on our town

Sat here on the poarch I see the lightning bugs fly
I can't see too well for the tears in my eyes
I leave tomorrow and I don't want to go
Oh I love you my town you'll always live in my soul.

I can see the sun's sinking fast
And just like you've said, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on I've got to kiss you goodbye
But I'll hold to my lover 'cause my heart's gonna die.
Go on then and say goodbye to my town, to my town
Can't you see the sun's going down on my town, on my town
I can see the sun's sinking fast
And just like you've said, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on I've got to kiss you goodbye
But I'll hold to my lover 'cause my heart's just died.
Go on then and say goodbye to my town, to my town
I can see the sun's gone down on my town, on my town

The Cloud Factory

Sometimes you hear a song that is so touching and that can speak so tenderly it brings tears. Bill Caddick's song does that. Listen to June Tabor singing on You Tube

The Cloud Factory

(Bill Caddick)

My father worked in the Cloud Factory,
He'd come home wreathed in dreams each day
My Mother took his cloudy clothes
To brush the threads of dreams away.
She'd scold and say "you and your dreams,
They're just for kids and fools like you."
But Father he'd just wink his eye and smile and say "Are you sure that's true?"

My Father taught me how to sing. He sang that dreams were everything,
Can't be bought and can't be sold, More than silver,more than gold.

My Mother thought him fanciful,
She used to chide him all the while,
But me, I thought him wonderful,
Do anything to see him smile.
I used to hear him singing low,
The words are with me to this day:
"You have to hold on to youre dreams or else they simply slip away".

The last time I saw him ill and dying,
The only time I saw him cry.
Too late for dreams to come true now,
As he watched his last cloud rolling by.
Back home she opened windows wide,
And let the clouds out strand by strand
Til all but one had blown away and I caught and kept it in my hand.

My Mother doesn't do much lately
With no more clouds to clear away.
since they closed the factory down
No dreams seem to drift this way.
I found her sitting alone and still,
at first I thought her fasst asleep.
But Father'sd coat lay in her lap and around her feet the dreams lay deep.

She said "He taught me how to sing......

Sometimes I pass the disused factory
And gaze into the empty sky,
and if I let the fancy lead me
A dream or two comes drifting by.
Oh I'll teach me children how to sing,
To sing that dreams are everything,
Can't be bought and can't be sold - More than silver, More than gold.

This track from At the Wood's Heart

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Childhood moments

Along the Ardentinny road that winds down to the beach the low stone walls and trees are covered in lichens and mosses - they are old these walls - round riverboulder topped as west Scotland walls are made to endure. Walking along by them on a chillsnap February day the quiet is precious. On the wet open tussocks a flock of Curlews forages alongside of a gang of Oystercatchers and in the conifer branches there the yellow flash of Siskin. Out on the water of Loch Long the Eider duck oooh! ooh! to each other as though permanently surprised. We walked along the beach - tellins and mussels strewn by the sw gales just yesterday. Just the one pot boat that plies the Clyde for crab to send to eager diners. On this brisk day it was a time for a wee lass to toss pebbles at waves and wonder at things to see. These are fleeting precious moments easily forgot in the bustle of days. A shell in a pocket - a birdsong - a shared smile and holding of hands.
There is an irongrey about a winter beach - a corpsecold wind that nips little fingers. But nobody ails and laughter is singing its own goodtime song. For an adventurous pirate there are trees to climb and things to see and dare. Childhood like this is just the best and what wonder it is to share its moments. What would we now offer to visit its wonder again if but for a few moments. It is for us to make the moments for our children and grandchildren and hope we have made the memories that will be as ours are - precious treasures of times past that made us and gave us the will and need to love life and cherish its future.

Trees don't have to be high - its not the height - its what you can see and imagine when you get there.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

June Tabor

If you haven't listened to June Tabor then you really need to.
Listen to her here singing a Richard Thompson song - adapted from a Sufi poem - Strange affair.
Martin Simpson's guitar is - as all his work - beyond compare.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Cuckoo

Here is a song collected from Mary Langsworthy in Stoke Fleming South Devon in 1892 by Sabine Baring Gould. He went around the South West of England writing listening to ordinary people - mostly old - sing songs they had sung all their lives and that had been handed down from generation to generation. The Baring Gould manuscripts are in Plymouth Library. Back in the 1960's you could actually use the original manuscripts and this is one of the songs I collected and used myself. It was a well enough known song throughout England and could be found in various early 19th C. publications. The theme of the song seems to be that the inconstant lover is first likened to a Cuckoo that is a rover and lastly to a Sycamore which drops its leaves early.

The Cuckoo

The Cuckoo is a pretty bird she sings as she flies
Her bringeth good tidings her telleth no lies
Her sucketh sweet floers to keep her voice clear
And when she sings cuckoo the summer draweth near.

O meeting is a pleasure but parting is griewf
An inconstant lover is worse than a thief
A thief can but rob me of all that I have
But an inconstant lover wil send me to the grave.

The grave will receive me and bring me to dust
An inconstant lover no maiden can trust
They'll court you and kiss you poor maids to deceive
There's not one in twenty that one may beleive

Come all you fair maidens wherever you may be
Don't hang your poor hearts on the Sycamore tree
The leaf it will wither the roots will decay
And if I'm forsaken I persih away.

Here is a scan of the melody with chords.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock:

My father, twenty five, in the same suit
Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.

My mother twenty-three, in a sprigged dress
Drawn at the waist, ribbon her straw hat,
Has sperad the stiff white cloth over the grass.
Her hair the colour of wheat, takes on the light.

She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight
From an old H.P. Sauce bottle, a screw
Of paper for a cork; slowly sets out
The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue.

The sky whitens as if lit by three suns.
My mother shades her eyes and looks my way
Over the drifted stream. My father spins
A stone along the water. Leisurely,

They beckon to me from the other bank.
I hear them call, 'See where the stream path is!
Crossing is not so hard as you might think.'

I had not thought that it would be like this.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I ain't gonna give you none of my jellyroll

"I ain't gonna give you none of my jellyroll"

"Sweet Emma" Barrett (March 25, 1897, New Orleans, Louisiana – January 28, 1983) was a self-taught jazz pianist and singer who worked with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra between 1923 and 1936,[1] first under Papa Celestin, then William Ridgely. Also active with Armand Piron, John Robichaux, and Sidney Desvigne, Sweet Emma Barrett was at her most powerful in the early 1960s and became an iconic figure with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

In 1947, she accepted a steady job at a local club, Happy Landing, but it was her 1961 recording debut, with her own album in the Riverside Records New Orleans: The Living Legends series, that brought her recognition from beyond the Crescent City. According to the liner notes of this album, these were her first recording performances as a vocalist, most of the songs on the album were instrumentals.

She was nicknamed, Bell Gal, because she wore a red skull cap and garters with Christmas bells that jingled in time with her music. She was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine and written up in publications on both sides of the Atlantic. When the Preservation Hall Jazz Band began to "hit the road", she took it on international tours. Barrett toured in the United States as well, including a stint at Disneyland in 1963.

Despite the popular exposure she received at concerts and overseas appearances, Barrett continued to feel most comfortable in her native New Orleans, especially the French Quarter. In 1963, on her album The Bell Gal And Her Dixieland Boys Music, Barrett sings on four of the eight songs and heads two overlapping groups. While she is joined throughout by banjoist Emanuel Sayles, bassist Placide Adams, and drummer Paul Barbarin, four songs feature trumpeter Alvin Alcorn, trombonist Jim Robinson and clarinetist Louis Cottrell, Jr.; the remaining four numbers have trumpeter Don Albert, trombonist Frog Joseph and clarinetist Raymond Burke. Overall, this set gives listeners a good sampling of the sound of New Orleans jazz circa 1963 and is one of the few recordings of Barrett mostly without the regular members of what would become the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Robinson and Sayles excepted). The ensemble-oriented renditions of such numbers as "Big Butter and Egg Man", "Bogalusa Strut", and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"' are rendered with fun and joy.[2]

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band made a brief appearance in the 1965 film, The Cincinnati Kid, which featured Barrett as vocalist and pianist for the band and included a close-up of her.

In 1967, she suffered a stroke that paralyzed her left side, but she continued to work and occasionally, to record, until her death in 1983