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#SeptemberSongs Day 22 – The gallant frigate Amphitrite

This is perhaps the Folk equivalent of a jazz standard.  I originally learned it from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs but have since heard versions by Kimbers Men, Jon Boden, A.L.Lloyd and several others.

It’s a classic sea song which marries together a very singable tune and a great story.  You can just imagine sailors in the freezing cold on their way round cape horn, singing this and dreaming of those ‘glorious days’ to come.

Enjoy!

Lyrics: from memory
Takes: 1

Download: 22 The gallant frigate Amphitrite

#SeptemberSongs Day 21 – I heard the voice of Jesus say

When I was younger I used to play bass trombone in various bands and orchestras.  One of my favourite pieces of music to play was Vaughan Williams’ Folk Song Suite, even without having played it for several years I reckon I could pretty much play the trombone line from memory.  One of the best bits comes in the middle of the first movement where the trombones come in together and blast out the tune (1:35 in the video below).

This tune is often sung in churches to Horatio Bonar’s poem ‘I heard the voice of Jesus say’ which is today’s SeptemberSong.  It isn’t as much fun to sing as it is to blast out on a trombone but it’s a nice song nonetheless!

Lyrics: from memory
Takes: 3

Download: 21 I heard the voice of Jesus say

#SeptemberSongs Day 20 – Ol’ Man River

Ok so this isn’t technically a folk song but hey, my blog, my rules!

I used to have an old cassette tape recording of the goon show which included “The dreaded batter pudding hurler of Bexhill-on-sea”. One of the musical interludes in this episode was Ray Ellington singing a fantastic version of this song at about twice the speed of any other version I’ve ever heard.

I listened to that tape over and over and I’ve loved the song ever since.

Lyrics: From memory

Takes: 2

Download: 20 Old man river

#SeptemberSongs Day 19 – The birds upon the tree

Another song I learned from Jon Boden, apparently dating back to the late 19th century (more info).

I like birdwatching and had been looking for a while for a decent birdy folk song, however most that I found seemed not to be about ornithology at all but instead were elaborate double-entendres! Anyway this one seems innocent enough and it’s a cracking song to sing…

Lyrics: From memory

Takes: 2 (The first time I didn’t put the ‘pop’ shield on the microphone. Techy fail!)

Download: 19 The birds upon the tree

#SeptemberSongs Day 18 – Green Stripy Trousers

This is a Folk song of my own devising today!  I wrote it when Charlie was 1 and his favourite trousers (or, to be honest, our favourite trousers!) were a pair of stripy green leggings that didn’t fit all that well.

I don’t remember much about the process of writing it except that I did it in one evening and it just seemed to appear fully formed (which usually means I’ve subconsciously pinched it from somewhere else…)

It’s great fun to sing and I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Lyrics: From memory (reproduced below if anyone wants to learn it!)

Takes: 1

Download: 18 Green stripy trousers

 

Lyrics

This is the story of a poor young boy
Who had no clothes of his own
save a new pair of trousers bought specially for him
by a rich man his father had known

.

Life hadn’t been kind to our simple young lad
it had dealt him a pretty rough hand
and as sad as it may be those trousers were all
that had turned out the way that he’d planned

.

They were slightly too short and a little too wide
With a belt round the waist made of string
But when he put them on he could stand up strong
Those green stripy trousers made him feel like a king

.

Soon the war came along and our young boy signed up
as a ships boy he sailed off to sea
And though he was given a uniform
he stowed his trousers on board secretly

.

and when his watch was over he’d head to his bunk
and peek inside of his chest
where, folded away underneath all his kit
were the trousers tucked safe in their nest

.

They were slightly too short and a little too wide
with a belt round the waist made of string
But when he put them on he could stand up strong
Those green stripy trousers made him feel like a king

.

Now one day the cry went up: “all hands on deck
The enemy’s off the port bow”
and if ever he needed his old trousers on
well surely the time was now

.

As the air filled with cannonballs, bullets and shouts
and the water turned crimson and black
our hero was down below deck on a hunt
for the trousers he’d secretly packed

.

They were slightly too short and a little too wide
With a belt round the waist made of string
But when he put them on he could stand up strong
Those green stripy trousers made him feel like a king

.

At the end of the fight, as their ship limped away
by the light from the enemy’s sail
the survivors regrouped and recounted the battle
and soon found they told the same tale

.

At the heat of the conflict a creature appeared
to take the enemy ship by surprise
And though none had seen this brave man’s face in the smoke
they all saw the green stripes down his side

.

They were slightly too short and a little too wide
With a belt round the waist made of string
But when he put them on he could stand up strong
Those green stripy trousers made him feel like a king

. .

Richard Clarkson 27.08.2010

#SeptemberSongs Day 17 – After the ball

A nice short song today, and another that I learned from Jon Boden’s A Folk Song A Day project.  It’s a somewhat surreal song that was popular in Victorian music halls.

Enjoy!

Lyrics:
Takes:

Download: 17 After the ball

#SeptemberSongs Day 16 – Maryport

Another song I learned from Kimbers Men, this time written by them based on a poem by a Cumbrian fisherman.

Despite the beautiful melody it is an incredibly sad song, filled with the challenges faced by modern day fishermen.

Our quota’s been cut now, almost to nought
And they’ve sold all the fish long before they’ve been caught

It also contains some fantastically poetic lyrics: Read the rest of this entry

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