Failing to be Gloomy at the Prince Albert


Transient Doom and Gloom at the Prince Albert 27/04/2011

The Prince Albert was thronged this Wednesday night, with rare appearances by Dougie and Izzy. Spring was in the air, despite our best efforts, although there was only one nuptial reference, and that one equivocal... After the table was turned, the squeezeboxes set to an overture of Young Collins and the Princess Royal. Planxty Miss MacDermott they call that, those who know O'Carolan.
Dick formally opened the proceedings with "Bring us a Barrel". Fred followed that with "The Northhill Maying Song". "Faraway Tom" was Delia's offering. The song is by Dave Goulder, and refers to the cuckoo, she tells us. Dave sang us "Northern Geordie England", one of his own, and very nice too. "Jack Robinson" was played on the mandolin by Alan J, with participation in general. Alan and Rosie together performed "If Love was a Red Dress". Martin invoked Ocean Colour Scene with "The Circle". Richard got topical with "The False Bride" or "A Week Before Easter".
Alan and Liz lightened the mood somewhat with "Lady for Today", and followed it up with "Wild Bluebell", as ever with fine harmonies. Liz set us the question of who wrote "Wild Bluebell". Nobody knew or guessed. It was Agatha Christie. "Lady for Today" was by Rosie Hardman. Dougie spun us a tale of an alleged uncle, to introduce "While the Gamekeepers lie Sleeping". Izzy treated us to a set of "Spoot O'Skerry" and "The Morpeth Rant" with support from various whistles.
I know Simon Dave and Alison have put their initials in another order, but they remain ASD to me. They set to bring the mood down again with "I have been a rambling" (some floating verses with the Northhill Maying Song there) "The very thing that makes her rich makes me poor" and "Ghost" ("I'm just a Ghost in this House"). So we were in a proper Folk Club mood by then.
It was Dick's turn and he made another reference to weddings , for some reason, with a song the name of which I have neglected to record. I am dishonoured. Just imagine to yourselves that I have disembowelled myself with my pennywhistle. One benefit of doing the blog is you can make sure the tune you played incorrectly is correctly spelled. Fred played "An Phis Fliuch" on pennywhistle and did himself no credit. For the English translation of this title you will have to look elsewhere. You could try Delia lowered our spirits further with "They built the ship Titanic" but since it had a rousing chorus, the lowering was not entirely successful. Next to perform were Alan and Rosie with "You're so far away", another song of parted lovers. Martin continued that theme with "The Fisher Lad of Whitby", a Frank Tilson number; the lovers in this case being parted by pressgangs. Richard played "The Blossom in the Rain" on the low whistle, "off a Brian Peters CD" he said. As an instrumental this had no depressing storyline, so failed to lower the mood any more.
Liz and Alan maintained a neutral mood with "Toss Your Pennies", from "somebody from Brandywine Bridge", which despite being about unemployment had a merry chorus. It says here "Poor Franklin" which must have been another song by Liz and Alan, although my mind has gone blank. I blame the boondoggle ale. John sang us "Don't slay that Potato" which disgracefully lifted the mood, despite being a song about death... Potatoes die too, don't laugh...
Izzy played us a pleasant little number the name of which she had mislaid, lost or forgotten. It happens to us all. In Irish circles such tunes are referred to as "Gan Ainmh" which is the Irish for "Nameless". So Izzy played us one "Gan Ainmh". This was far too jolly to sustain the gloomy mood. ASD had resigned themselves to being cheerful by this time, so played us "Shepherd's Hay" and "Step Back" ("Old Molly Oxford"). Alison sang "How can I keep from singing" which may have been a cryptic attempt to continue the gloom, but then duetted with Dave for "I ain't done it myself but I seen it done" which was rude as well as cheerful, so a complete failure there. Dick sang us "Royal Oak" about British mariners carving up Turkish Dogs. Maybe somebody other than a Turkish Dog died in it, but if so, we missed it, so it has to be classed as cheerful. Fred finished up with "Wee Jimmy's lost his Marley (Marble)" which despite having a live inhumation and a casual explosion has an agreeable chorus, so very disappointing on the gloom scale.
We did our best to be miserable but just couldn't manage it. Spring must be in the air.

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