Tuesday, 9 December 2014

morris folk club - march to november

On Tuesday 25 March  we had Morris Folk Club (last Tuesday of the month, at the Hysteria bar). I took my guitar, and used it for one song. I had heard Tim's song Making Time on one of the Dark Lanterns' music pages and really liked it. It was billed as a demo, and Tim said he didn't think it was finished, as he wasn't content with the words. I boldly had a stab at working on the words myself, and then sang a version accompanying myself on rudimentary guitar and sent it to him, which he didn't object to, so I did it at folk club. People liked it; it's a good song. I'd like to sing it one day with Tim playing the guitar, because it was a lovely arrangement. I also sang Can't Stand Losing You, which of course is a Police song, but sings well as a folk song.

On Tuesday 29 April I sang Lightning Express (which I hadn't planned to, but a train theme had emerged in the open rehearsal, and I knew the song well enough) and The Parting Glass.

(I covered the January and February clubs in an earlier post.)

I wasn't around for the May folk club.

On Tuesday 24 June I sang When The Tigers Broke Free and Wave Or Particle.

There was no club in July, and I wasn't around for August.

On Tuesday 30 September. I sang The Brown And The Yellow Ale by myself, and I Am Stretched On Your Grave, planned with Ginny but Mandy also joined us. Unusually for the folk club (so far), we had a guest artists, Brendan Collins, an old friend of the choir, who did a set of his own material.

Ginny and I had practiced with a mixture of hi tech and lo fi - emailing each other recordings of us singing it and then the other singing along with it. We had a practice after the choir practice the week before in the cupboard, which seemed to go quite well; the people still in the hall outside seemed to think so. I sang the tune, Ginny did the harmony which she had done with the choir when they'd sung it, which was before I joined, which I think was more or less the harmony on the Ken Hall and Peta Webb version. Michelle has been encouraging people to try singing together at folk club, and I suggested this one to Ginny because I knew we both liked it but it didn't seem to be very likely that the choir would do it again because not a lot of people did. Either at the first or second choir rehearsal I was at, as an introduction thing, people went round the circle introducing themselves and saying which their favourite song they'd sung with Morris was; I was at the end and Ginny was just before me (in fact I think Ginny was the first person I sang with at Morris, in that same circle, as Michelle got us to go round the circle singing a line at a time in pairs of Shallow Brown), and she said it was I Am Stretched On Your Grave; and I said of those that had been mentioned, that was my favourite. When we sang it at folk club it turned out that more people did like it - including Mandy, which is why she came up to sing it with us, which we certainly didn't begrudge.

On Tuesday 28 October, which had a Halloweeny theme, I sang Twa Corbies and Thriller. I pitched Thriller just on the verge of being too high, so I had to sing it ridiculously loudly, but it came off okay. I do like to dig out songs from various places and sing them as folk songs, and at the Morris weekend away Rachel and Jen had wondered if it was possible to do a Michael Jackson song... Of course, as I pointed out on the night, Thriller is actually a song from Lincolnshire, having been written by Rod Temperton from Cleethorpes. It was semi-plausible as a folk song (I did the Vincent Price bit by singing it to a variation of the music playing underneath it).

On Tuesday 25 November I sang Poor Little Jesus (from the Maddy Prior / Carnival Band version) by myself (as it was our last folk club before Christmas, and I thought it would be good to sing something Christmas-related), and then Death of Queen Jane (based on Karine Polwart's version) with Ginny. Again we'd done hi tech / lo fi practicing: having gone back and forth for quite a bit with possible songs, we decided to go for Queen Jane, though there's no harmony on the Karine Polwart version, though there is a drone, which Ginny thought she might do on her recently-acquired melodeon. I emailed a possible harmony, very simple and not going much away from the drone; Ginny emailed back herself improvising harmonies; I improvised harmonies and recorded snippets I liked, then tried to construct a cohesive harmony out of bits of mine and Ginny's. We did some practice recordings with and without the melodeon (Ginny doing the tune, I doing the harmony), and then a pre-rehearsal cupboard practice with and without, when we concluded it would work better without; another cupboard practice the next week, then the folk club itself. While the emailing process was very helpful, you really needed to sing it together to feel how it worked, and it did work. It went pretty well at folk club, and was extra satisfying to think that we'd come up with the harmony ourselves.

I'm very hopeful that it's the start of various people from the choir having a go at singing together at folk club. Fiona has suggested a song the three of us could do, so we may give that a go.