This is another song from our visit to the Royal Oak at Lewes last week, with Julie right on song and the tina sounding mellow. Didn’t Frank Loesser just write some corking songs?
I learned this song as a teenager from the famous Leader album of songs collected in Lincolnshire by Percy Grainger more than a hundred years ago.
But somehow have never got around to singing it in public before our gig at our Folk at the Royal Oak gig this week. We think it’s quite a story, so here it is… Beware young men!
We thought it would be fun to try an experiment – accompanying Julie’s singing using the melodeon. We imagined it would make a nice change and this is the result!
The song was originally composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and a very nice, deceptively simple piece of work it is.
Frankie drew back her kimono, pulled and old 44
Then it’s rooty-toot-toot through that bar-room door…
I guess this is what you get when a guitarist of four decades takes up the melodeon – a crazy old American song, with a bit of triplet-blues feel creeping in!
One of the important things I’ve found about being a multi-instrumentalist is that all the instruments inform each other. I’m already beginning to find out how playing the melodeon is influencing my fiddle playing, for example.
Our friend Neil Gledhill of the Old Swan Band asked for this, and by gosh he’s got it. Curiously, it’s one of our most requested numbers; I guess most people feel they have a secret Uncle Walter somewhere about their personalities…
We’ve been learning some new songs ahead of a gig at Islington Folk Club on the 1st October – and this is one of them. Julie and I think it’s a hoot – Frank Loesser’s chords for Slow boat to China alone are wild and wonderful.
The splendid postcard of the liner United States is courtesy of the Wikimedia, by the way – but in the interests of peace between our two nations, I guess I should point out that the slow boat in question is the yacht – not the Blue Ribband-winning liner.
Oxfordshire’s Towersey Festival is an almost overwhelming experience – colourful, crowded, exuberant and crammed with good music, singing, dancing and a range of other entertainments.
Gav was involved with several this year including a dance band booking with Florida and some workshops to lead. So on Sunday lunchtime we took the opportunity to drop into a quiet lunchtime singaround at The Three Horseshoes.
We weren’t sure how many of them knew what was coming when Gav started playing this popular old Fats Waller song on his ‘tina – you may just hear the crowd gasp in surprise if you listen carefully to this recording – but by the end you can also hear how pleased they were that we happened by.
A few moments later, they were probably just as surprised when I hit them with the ballad of McCaffery – still a powerful song nearly 150 years since the events it describes took place.
Julie and Gav and friends address an age-old question!
This is a recording of Julie and Gavin Atkin at a session at the Bell & Jorrocks, Frittenden, Kent in mid-August 2009. It was made by fellow concertinist Brian Hawes of Hastings – many thanks Brian!
Informal old-fashioned music sessions at the pub take place regularly on the last Sunday of each month from September to May. Ring Gav on 07985 522734 for information.
Our plan is to build a site here to promote the singing and playing of Julie and Gavin Atkin.
Julie is a superb singer who particularly enjoys singing old-fashioned popular songs, while Gavin plays the rarely seen Jeffries duet concertina. Here’s a sample of Julie and Gav performing I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter.
We’re happy to take bookings for clubs, festivals, and concertina and other events at very reasonable prices! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s another sample from YouTube: