FOLK SESSION – Howard Arms - Brampton

Bitter winds and treacherous roads kept some of our regular friends away, but the folk session at the Howard Arms on 16th January was still well-attended, with the theme ‘water’ giving rise to everything from philosophical reflection to raise-the-rafters chorus singing. A particular welcome to New Brunswick fiddle-player Brittany, joining us for the first time.

Brittany on fiddle and Adrian on melodeon were our instrumentalists for the evening.  Adrian played the hornpipe Portsmouth (‘because it is a naval base’) and the reel Mona’s Delight. Brittany gave us The Last March, the strathspey John MacColl’s Farewell and the reel Jock Wilson’s Ball.

The sea was the backdrop for a lot of songs: Ellen Vannen (Sally) and Threescore and Ten (Angus) told the story of historical shipwrecks; A Voice in the Wilderness (Anne) commemorated a different kind of tragedy, the drowning of the Morecambe Bay cocklers.  We heard about how hard life is for a sailor (Go to sea no more - Bill) and for a woman who loves a sailor (Fear a Bhata - Katy).  On a more cheerful note, Fiddler’s Green (Phil) predicted a very maritime kind of heaven for deep-sea fishermen, Bill recited the tall tale of Noah and The ‘ole in the Ark, and Mary’s song told us the history of The Black Pearl.

Janet’s The Water is Wide and Phil’s Annan Water both lamented the way that rivers parted true lovers, sometimes fatally.  Steph and Terry’s thoughtful song used The Water as a metaphor for life itself.  Sam’s song of simple life asked Give me fresh water whereas Terry, less modest in his requirements, praised whisky as ‘a hell of a wonderful way to drink water’ (Leave us our Glens). Sally parodied Lowlands Away in what she described as a ‘tea shanty’ (groan!) and Adrian denounced The very fat man who waters the workers’ beer.  Ruth entertained us with the true story of her Rescue from the bathtub.

Being British, of course we had to use the theme to make jokes about the weather. Sam’s song Betty’s Wet Weekend recalled the non-stop rain at the Queen’s jubilee regatta and Sally’s New January Man looked forward to equally non-stop rain throughout the year!   

We next meet on Tuesday 20th February in The Howard Arms at 8.30pm.  The theme (finishing up our Aristotelian ‘four elements’) will be ‘air’ – wind, sky, breath…be creative! Be devious! ALL WELCOME!

January Review