Swinging at The Old Ship


Several of the regulars were already at The Old Ship when I arrived on Wednesday. That wasn’t unusual. More surprisingly, as well as a group of people in the dining area, there was also a large pair of powered speakers, a big mixing desk, a MacBook and a couple of microphones in the bar area. Everyone looked at me, expecting me to know what was going on. I didn’t.

It turned out that the diners were having a ‘leaving do’ for one of their number. Unbeknown to the rest of the group, one of his colleagues had hired this karaoke rig so he could sing some swing numbers. The leaver had been told that the karaoke rig was ours (are you following so far?). Rob the chef asked if we minded if they did some numbers between ours. So we did just that.

As usual, we took turns to sing or play and, once we’d all had a turn, we let the karaoke guy loose for a couple of songs. His repertoire was from the swing era, with great songs like Lady is a Tramp and Fly Me To The Moon. These were sung with rather more confidence than talent over very loud backing tracks. Several of our number, but none of his group, could be seen to be singing along. There was even some dancing.

We had two of three turns each, but I stopped taking notes when I moved to the quieter end of the bar. Notable contributions from my note-taking spell were:

  • Stuart playing two tunes (Polly Me Dear, Click on the Shears) together on the concertina, segued into accompanying Delia’s singing of Nottingham Swing
  • Gerry’s version of I Don’t Want To Talk About It, a hit in the UK as one half of a double A-side by Rod Stewart (with First Cut Is The Deepest). As requested, I used my phone to look up the writer of the song. It turns out that it was Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse. Danny was not a prolific songwriter, and is perhaps better known for having his descent into heroin addiction be the subject of Neil Young’s Needle and the Damage Done.
  • Clohinne Winds, a new song from Karen and Roger.
  • Rosie’s singing of I Only Have Eyes For You. This was a big hit in 1975 for Art Garfunkel. My Dad is eighty next week and is having a family party at which we’ll do a turn. This is one of his favourite songs and will feature on the day. Expect another of his favourites next week. You can be sure that this won’t be a folk song.

It was great to see the newly-married Tony, even if we didn’t get much of a chance to chat. Also present were Dick and Richard.

We’ll be at The Pegasus in Marlow Bottom next week where we confidently expect things to be simpler, with no karaoke, no football and, we hope, a big attendance.

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  1. We got some rather mixed information about the PA and backing tracks but the actual story is that someone was leaving a work place and his colleagues were giving him a leaving do. One of them was a singer but the leaver had never heard him sing, so the singer brought along the PA & computer with backing tracks etc. The leaver thought the PA was ours so it was a complete surprise for him when his friend got up and sang! I think they all had a good time & we did too.