This CD is a small snapshot of some of the songs that I enjoy singing. I have also included a couple of monologues. I have remained faithful to the musical influences that shaped my life. First and foremost was Mum, bless her, whose family enjoyed singing. She had uncles who trod the Music Halls and her father played the piano for the silent movies! Dad’s great uncle went over to America to make his fortune and brought back the American songs, an interest that remains alive. Mix that all together with a fine leaven of traditional English music and you have an idea of where I am musically!
1. The Gentleman Soldier ~ Traditional ~ I have known this song since for ever. It is a good story and a good tune.What more could you want?
2. The Calico Printer’s Clerk ~ Broadside Ballad ~ Although set in Manchester, there are many other versions. Usually it is the girl who comes of worse in “unhappy in love” songs. I guess the nearest thing today to a Calico Printer’s Clerk would be the chap who takes the money for the guy who prints up the T-shirts!
3. Dead Dog Scrumpy ~ © Crozier/Sheldon Cinephonic Music Co. Ltd. ~ This song was written by Trevor Crozier. Sadly he was killed in a motorcycle accident. The folk world lost a great talent and I am proud to have called him a friend.
4. Horniman Rag ~ The Horniman museum is a fascinating museum in South London.
5. Jim Oglethwaite ~ Monologue ~ My take on an old joke!
6. The Mitcham Line Shunty ~ I used to commute daily on a two coach train that ran between Wimbledon and West Croydon. Another of my own songs…set to a well known tune!
7. My Goodness My Guinness ~ unknown ~ This is actually taken from an old advert for Guinness Beer. I found it in a tram car on the Seaton Tramway and set it to music.
8. Billy Bones ~ Traditional ~ I first heard this on a schools music programme way back when I was 10. I loved it then, and still love it today!
9. Charlie Motts ~ Music Hall ~ A South London Music Hall song. There are those who say it should be Charlie Mopps, but I’ve always known it as Motts (from Mottingham, don’t ye know!)
10. The Muffin Man’s Song ~ There are so many fascinating street rhymes in London. The chorus is the old waterman’s fare table to row people across the Thames.
11. David Lowston ~ Traditional ~ A compelling song from New Zealand.
12. Bold Captain Webb ~ Music Hall ~ A broadside ballad celebrating a record breaking achievement!
13. Alfie ~ Monologue ~ A gentle monologue, again from my pen. A familiar story; indeed, only the other day there was a report in the local paper of some-one having a similar misfortune in a church yard!
14. Sing Song Kitty ~ Traditional ~ This song was a great favourite of Mum’s and she taught it to me.
15. Lord Franklin ~ Traditional ~ The story of Lord Franklin and his efforts to find the North West Passage are well documented. Another traditional song from the frozen wastes.
16. Jumbo Stevens ~ When I unearthed this story while researching in the Croydon Local History Library, I knew it just had to be made into a song! The event actually happened! Sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction!
17. Walking to the Waddon ~ Croydon Folksong Club once met at the Waddon Hotel. Rita and I made up the words to this on a wet walk down to the Waddon Hotel one wet Wednesday. The tune is traditional and is ideal for sloshing down city streets to!