FOLK SESSION – Virtual Brampton


The Brampton folk session met by Zoom on 21st September, with the theme of ‘Crimes and Misdemeanours’.  A warm welcome to new contributors Andrew and Melanie.


Given the theme, it isn’t really surprising that in the first five items we had three murders, three hangings, a miscarriage of justice, a knife fight and double death from despair and remorse!  To begin with the murders - Andrew started us off with Carew II (the rhyme that solves the crime) – a parodic sequel to the old drawing-room recitation The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God.  The next two murders-followed-by-executions were Weila Waile (Anne) and Long Black Veil (Sam Millington).  The highest body count was achieved by Chris in the folk tale of that English bluebeard Mr Fox (it’s not, however, a competition…)  A different and sadder mood was created by Mick’s singing of Andy Goodman to his Mother, about the Civil Rights worker murdered in in Mississippi in 1964.


The knife fight referred to above took place in A boy named Sue, sung by Alan (at least the protagonists ended up alive!) and the deaths from despair/remorse in Barbara Allen (Ruth)


But, be reassured! We didn’t spend the entire evening in quite such a sombre fashion.  We had plenty of songs about good old-fashioned folk song sorts of crimes: highway robbery in Whisky in the Jar (Mike); bush-ranging in Wild Colonial Boy (Elaine); smuggling in Kipling’s Smuggler’s Song (Mary); poaching in Jim Jones (Sam Simmons) and armed rebellion in The Song of the Western Men (Adrian).  The Fair Maid of Islington (Eleanor) took her innuendo-laden case to court against a tenant who failed to pay rent for use of her cellar (cough cough).  Phil even found a light-hearted approach to arson in Little Tim McGuire. 


Then there were the misdemeanours:  the human tragedy of adultery (Famous Blue Raincoat – Bob; Jolene – Jan).  But also the tongue-in-cheek tragedy of Matilda, who told lies and was burned to death (Melanie) and the social solecism of the risqué Story that I started at the Kirk Soiree (Katy).  And one could debate for hours about which character committed what crime in Jake Thackray’s The Statues (Paul), a song about two drunks who defend a bronze nymph from the advances of a statue of Robert Walpole.


We next meet on 19th October at 8pm with the theme ‘any song/poem etc that mentions a date’.  One wit has already pointed out that dates are also fruit, so who knows what forms of creativity you will all come up with?  We are still trying to see if we can arrange to meet ‘live’, so please look out for further information about whether we’ll be meeting by Zoom or in the flesh.