Deal or no Deal in Frieth


The Prince Albert was a very welcome site on Wednesday as the intrepid acoustic players and singers fought their way through torrential rain. After the usual rearrangement of the furniture, and indeed the rearrangement of some customers who, despite pleadings from us couldn’t be persuaded to join in, we settled down to a great evening.

We were privileged to have a visit from Glen who was in these parts for an audition for Deal or no Deal! (should you really admit to something like this??). Unfortunately for Glen, and us, she didn’t make it. Amazingly there were 60,000 applicants which begs the question how on earth does Noel Edmonds still have such an influence on British culture. We did get the benefit of Glen’s voice however.

Tradition has it that Dick starts proceedings, he duly obliged did with ‘Bring us a Barrel’ which got us all in good voice. The two further offerings from Dick were ‘Silver in the Stubble’ (Sidney Carter) and ‘The Lusty Smith’ (didn’t understand a word of it!!!). John was in the hot seat, i.e. immediately to Dick’s left, and he gave us ‘Benjamin Bowman ‘eer’, ‘My Favourite Things’ (if only I could remember what it was about I think us old ‘uns would have thoroughly agreed with its sentiments?) and ‘The Flushers’, a delicate tale of human waste. Ian made up a trio of unaccompanied singers huddled in the corner. He sang ‘John Barleycorn’, ‘Harvest Song’ and ‘Silver Threads’. I spoilt the pervading unaccompanied theme by using my guitar for Ian Anderson’s ‘Life’s a Long Song’ and Paul Simon’s ‘For Emily Wherever I May Find Her’. My second, and heavier, banjo got a very rare outing for ‘Putting on the Style’ (I was very relieved to find that everyone joined in lustily for the choruses which helped to disguise my lack of skill on the banjo!).

Delia’s lovely voice gave us’ The Beggar Man’ and ‘Adieu to Old England’ whilst Stuart sang ‘The Grumpy Old Man’, a salutary tale about the use of meaningless American clichés that pervade our language these days. Anyone using ‘ball park figure’ from now on will be severely reprimanded. Stuart also sang the lovely ‘The Grey Funnel Line’. This marital combination also combined well on concertinas to give us ‘Astley’s Ride’.

Alan’s prowess on mandolin was well to the fore with ‘The Stockton Hornpipe’ and he and Rosie did a great version of John Lennon’s ‘Across the Universe’ where once again the assembled throng showed their age by joining in. Alan (mandolin), Rosie (melodeon) and Richard (low whistle) played a lovely version of ‘Valse Eric Rocher’. Further offerings from Alan and Rosie were ‘Almaz’ and ‘The Watercress Girl’.

Alison and David did a beautiful rendition of Sidney Carter’s ’Crow on the Cradle’ as well as ‘Let me Fall’ (from Cirque de Soleil). David’s wonderful guitar playing was in evidence with ‘Askett Morris’ and also when he sang ‘Dusty Road Diamantina’. Glen showed us what television was missing by singing ‘Kitty Bourne O’Brien’ and ‘When my Morning Comes Around’ (you do you get to sing on Deal or no Deal don’t you?).

Richard always appears with a bag full of different instruments, some he has kept from school, and tonight was no exception. In addition to the aforementioned low whistle he sang ‘I Drew my Ship’ accompanied by his accordion and he played ‘Twin Sister/Softly Robin’ on recorder (at last, someone who was paying attention in junior school music lessons). The evening was brought to a fitting close with Alison singing ‘The Cottage Door’ before we all fought our way once more through the rain and wind. (Can this really be August?)

Next week we are to assemble at the Belle Vue

My failing brain cell may have let me down on some spellings of song titles, for which I apologise.

Martin Butcher

You Might Also Like