Mr Burns says Excellent!


It was cold outside but snug and warm in the Prince Albert – becoming snugger as the night went on as more gathered to make music. Thank goodness some kind souls had already tucked the table into the fireplace! (You have to be there to know why).

Besides our usual regulars, we were joined by Shirley and Dave from Devon. Shirley used to run MBAC back in the day when it was the Wycombe Folk Club. Lusty singers both, we had some rousing joining-in numbers from them of which more later. Stuart seemed pleased to have a fellow Devonian along.

Dick opened the proceedings as usual with Daddy Fox, followed by Ian with the Dudley Boys, good chorus songs both.

It being close to Burns Night we had some Scottish offerings: Fred sang For a’ That and Mary Mac, a tongue-twisting song nimbly executed. Liz and Alan (Maidenhead regulars) gave us Lad of Lovely Hair, the Thistle and the Rose, and the Massacre of Glencoe. Their other song, Last Trip Home, penned by the Battlefield Band, commemorates the loss of heavy horses from the farming landscape. Liz and Alan not only sing lovely harmonies together but also in the chorus songs, creating a satisfying sound for us all together. Also keeping with the Scottish theme, Karen sang Ae Fond Kiss, which was well received.

Our Alan once again had to soldier on bravely without me by playing Valse Eric Roché on mandolin, supported by Richard on the whistle. Well done Alan!

Shirley chose two good songs for everyone to join in with, Lowlands and The Water is Wide. Dave entertained us with a Mortal Unlucky Old Chap, and a Devon version of Seven Drunken Nights.

An earlier incident with Simon at the Prince Albert was the inspiration for Richard’s self-penned tune, The Handset Behind the Settle, which he played on piano accordion. I never did get to hear the details of exactly what happened...

As well as the evening’s proximity to Burns Night, it also turned out to be ANZAC day, so Delia gave us Click Go the Shears with Stuart on concertina. Stuart followed this up with another song from Devon, Me Old Game Cock.

Andy by this time had arrived, but without the opportunity to confer with Richard, gave us a solo rendition of I Could Not Take My Eyes Off Her, tenderly sung. Later they pursued the Scottish theme with Lizzie Lindsay.

Martin, accompanying himself on the guitar, provided us with a welcome and contemporary contrast in Helplessly Hoping and Jimi Hendrix’s Angel.

With me out of action, we were grateful to have two melodeonists along – Paul and Simon. Paul gave us the reel the Hills of Alva, while Simon entertained us with another Roaring Jelly song, Valerie Wilkins. Later he sang the Remembering Song by Tom Rush, which is full of resonance for those of us of mature years.

Other songs were: Dick with Who’s the Fool Now? And Ian with In Good King Arthur’s Time (a variant of Three Jolly Rogues of Lynne). Stuart and Delia bravely assayed a concertina duet, Elisabeth’s Waltz, which so depleted them that they then conceded to John.

Highlight of the evening was John’s rendition of The Melodeons Are Coming by Dave Taylor:
The melodeons are coming, cover up your ears my friends
When you hear their ghastly wailing carried on the wind
The melodeons have landed and its very plain to see
That this is the way the world will end....All in the key of D!

Full lyrics here.

Undeterred, Paul responded with a snatch of Nellie the Elephant, followed by a couple of jolly polkas which demonstrated that a melodeon sounds just fine in the right hands.
Next week we will be in the Belle Vue for another convivial evening. Hopefully I will be back to full squeezing (and singing) strength by then.

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