Joining in the chorus at the Belleview


Dick was in high hopes of occupying the new armchair suite. There was no sign of any of the high heid yins. We delayed and delayed, and even had the barflies asking when we were going to play some music. By this time the darts players had taken possession, so we stayed where we were. There were four of us: Ian, Dick, Terry and me, Fred. The guest ale was Black Cat beer, a "chocolate malt" at 3.4%. Safe to drive home with. Certain individuals were said to be sporting themselves in the crags and eyries of Norfolk. There was a spirited review of Towersey, with reflections on the price of drink there, and rumours of someone getting their mobile-home stuck in a marsh, and animadversions against singer-songwriters. But eventually Dick kicked off with "Bring us a Barrel". Terry was in full folk-critic mode, and reminiscing about his old days of playing blues. He gave us "Mary Love" (The folk-club, lass, won't do for you), accompanying himself on his mandolo. Then I had a crack at "Norwegian Wood" on the willowflute. Dick was nodding his head, so it's recogniseable. Ian sang John Barleycorn, and we raised our voices in chorus aginst the volume of the barside chatter. Dick followed that with "The Innocent Hare", and Terry supplied "The Bold Fisherman". I took out my high D whistle for "The Roaring Barmaid" and "Get up Old Woman and Shake Yourself." At least with a high whistle you have an edge against the background conversations. Ian sang "Ratcliffe", and Dick "Limehouse Reach". John manifested himself and took a stool against the far wall, until he realised there wasn't a crowd, and came and joined us. We weren't falling apart but we weren't far off it. Continuing the naval theme, Terry gave us "Water and Beer", revisiting the biblical legend of Noah. I sang "The Road to Venezuela" (per Stackridge) and we had a rousing chorus. Ian stubbornly insisted on being nautical with "Cruising round Yarmouth". Dick was still smarting under the fine imposed upon him the last time he sang it, but he wanted to get the rest of the bar singing. It was "The Wild Rover". And they all joined in like good 'uns. Dick was grinning evilly by the end of it. Terry shifted the mood with "The Flowers and the Guns", but John shifted it back with "If you had a brain you'd be dangerous". Then I played "Country Roads (take me home)" on the Willowflute. Ian resumed his theme with "On Board a Man O'War, Boys". Dick led us in "The Lusty Smith", going for the rousing chorus. This prompted Terry to sing "Letters to and from a young man". John felt that if Dick could sing "The Wild Rover", then he could sing "Danny Boy". Oh yes. It was all coming out, the folk club dark-side. Chorus? I'll give you chorus! So I led them in "Ilkley Moor bar't'at". They seemed to know that one. Ian sang "The Jolly Tinker" and Dick "Drink Old England Dry". Terry had had enough of original songs by then, and was back in folk-critic mode, so he sang "The Songs they are a Changin'". John released his alter-ego in the song "Big John". We had a bit of trouble with the bass notes. My voice was beginning to go. I resorted to a lyric sheet for "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" expecting Dick would join in, but it was the Woody Guthrie one, not the Burl Ives version he knew. Ian capitulated to the general mood and sang "Old Maid in the Garret". It was getting near chucking out time by then. Dick was looking around for his taxi. But he gave us "The Fatal Glass of Beer". (It wasn't beer, it was bitter shandy! ) Terry couldn't let us go without one last quick one, so he sang "The Good Ship Calabah". So there you are. We wuz the hard core, keeping the legend alive!

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  1. and thank you Fred for keeping the blog alive

  2. Excellent to know you soldiered on regardless .... in true folky fashion! And yes, I was stuck in mud at Towersey the previous weeknd and on the 1st Sep was setting up in Wallingford ready for the Bunkfest... hope to be back at MBAC next Wed, Bottom Line permitting as we are playing at Dog and Badger on Tuesday.