FOLK SESSION – Howard Arms - Brampton

Many thanks to those who made such a success of the session on 15th May, when we had a packed room and some of the most thundering chorus singing that has ever shaken the rafters of the Howard Arms.  A particular welcome to Julian, Spud, Benji and Maddy of Steeleye Span, to Graham from Cotehill and Pete and Karen from Penrith, joining us for the first time.

The theme was ‘rogues and vagabonds’, with a definite preponderance of rogues.  We had criminal rogues: highwaymen in The Ballad of Tom Dam (Christine) and Whisky in the Jar (Alan); thieves in Maggie May (Dave) and I wish there were no prisons (Adrian); a spiv in Ruth’s spoof Ballad of Bethnal Green; society’s imprisoned victims in Billy Rose (Sam).  We had political rogues – contemporary in Sally’s You knew we were coming, eighteenth-century in Katy’s Parcel of Rogues.  Stew’s No-hopers, Jokers and Rogues were social misfits more than anything else, and the drunken narrator of Graham’s parody of Sound of Silence was just plain anti-social!

Songs about sexual roguery would of course fill an evening in themselves.  The ‘heroine’ of Lyin’ Eyes (Steve) was dishonest to both husband and lover; the pattern of seduction and desertion was treated in upbeat fashion in both Maddy’s Bold English Navvy and Benji’s Underneath her Apron.   Sally told a jokey story of complicated sexual chicanery in Johnny be Fair. Our instrumental performers for the evening, Adrian on melodeon and Karen and Pete on flute and guitar, played, respectively, The Lollipop Man and The History Man, both about rogues (for reasons that this polite website had better not mention).

Vagabonds, though fewer, were well-represented.  The most ingenious treatment of the subject was Spud’s, who sang the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar because vagabonds are all rolling stones!

Many songs, from Eliza’s The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies and Phil’s Jolly Beggar to Mary’s Wild Rover and Julian’s Sloop John B, were cheerful about an itinerant lifestyle, and even Me and Bobbie McGee (Angus) grieves for lost love, not the fact of being a wanderer.  The pain and hardship of homelessness was brought home in Tuppence on the Rope (Dave) and Ain’t got no Home (Christine).  

The Brampton folk session next meets on 19th June at 8.30pm in The Howard Arms..  The theme will be ‘rough and smooth’.  Be as creative/devious as you like!  ALL WELCOME!

May Review