Julie sings Summertime

It was only a matter of time before Julie would add this classic lullaby by George and Ira Gershwin classic to her repertoire – and here it is. It’s great to have her singing more again.

Arranging it was quite a challenge for a two-row melodeon, but I like the way my old C/F Koch box’s mellow tones sit alongside Julie’s silvery voice.

Julie sings with Gav’s melodeon

Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron and Nobody Knows You when You’re Down and Out are a couple of songs we’ve been singing in the sessions and folk clubs lately – so we thought it was time to share them.

Dashing is a bit of a departure for Julie, who usually leaves traditional songs to others (but may sing a few more now). I gather from our pal Barbara Brown that it was collected at Minehead by Cecil Sharp – and that he got it from a Captain Lewis. That makes a nice connection, so thanks Barbara!

Nobody Knows You is a prohibition era song about how life can go all wrong for the black market booze dealer. Well, if he or she don’t like their friends, perhaps that’s something to do with the sort of people they hang out with…

 

Gavin sings Worcester City

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!

Julie sings Que Sera Sera

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.

Gav sings Frankie and Johnny

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.

Julie goes Waltzing with bears

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…

Frank Loesser’s Slow boat to China

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.

A letter from Towersey Festival

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.