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.