Sunday, November 16, 2008

OSS Sings Again!


Some time ago I was asked to sing in a variety show, please, pretty please. The concert was this afternoon. Now I haven't sung publicly in more time than I'd care to admit. And also being on the other side of that sixty line of demarcation my voice has changed. Taken on a tenor-ish hue as it were. Not conducive at all to the songs I used to sing at the drop of a hat or a penny back in the day.

I was a little thrown, going over the old repertoire. I knew the crowd would want Irish, old Irish, with maybe a little sean-nos thrown in to add a real traditional flavour.

And it occurred to me as I ruefully reviewed the songs that no longer suited the timbre of my voice, that perhaps I should embrace this new tenorish thing and sing a song of my father's, having learned it from his father. According to folk lore, the great tenor, John McCormack, had sung this on his farewell tour as his last song of the evening.

Now I never heard it sung by a woman, so trailblazer that I am, I fearlessly tackled it as I felt that Newfoundlanders, like the Irish, lost so many of their people to emigration.
The Old House
Lonely I wander, through scenes of my childhood,
They bring back to memory those happy days of yore,
Gone are the old folk, the house stands deserted,
No light in the window, no welcome at the door.
Here’s where the children played games on the heather,
Here’s where they sailed wee boats on the burn,
Where are they now? Some are dead, some have wandered,
No more to their home shall those children return.
Lone stands the house now, and lonely the mooreland,
The children have scattered, the old folk are gone.
Why stand I here, like a ghost and a shadow.
‘Tis time I was moving, ‘tis time I passed on.


The reaction of the older segments of the audience was gratifying. They absolutely loved it, it touched a chord with them and I think it will become part of the OSS's new repertoire.

The second song was an old Cork ditty I would sing, way back in the mist of folkie-guitarie time. I put a little sean-nos spin on that and was pleased that neither my nerves nor my memory let me down.
I Know my Love

I know my love by his way of walking
And I know my love by his way of talking
And I know my love dressed in a suit of blue
And if my love leaves me, what will I do?

Chorus:
And still she cried, I love him the best,
And a troubled mind, sure can know no rest
And still she cried, bonny boys are few,
And if my love leaves me, what will I do?

There is a dance house down the Mardyke
And there my true love goes every night
He takes a strange girl upon his knee
Well now don't you think that that vexes me?

Chorus

If my love knew I can wash and wring
If my love knew I can sew and spin
I'd make a coat of the finest kind
But the want of money sure leaves me behind

Chorus

I know my love is an arrant rover
I know hell wander the wild world over
In dear old ireland hell no longer tarry
And a foreign girl he's sure to marry

Chorus
Chorus

What will I do?


And of course, I would YouTube and audio link all of this if I wasn't in Dialup Dementia.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for the memory. Two more songs that I had forgotten from the extensive list sung around our fireside many years agi!

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  2. You sing too? Oh my! What a multi-talented Leo lady you are.

    I'd love to see and hear a youtube video of you - maybe one day when you're hooked-up to broadband (or whatever it takes) you'll give your blogging mates here a wee concert? Please!

    PS ~ what is sean-nos, please?

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  3. Hi WWW

    Sod Twilight - I was going to say THAT!

    xxx

    Pants

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  4. wow. i wish i could have heard you. congratulations, and i'm assuming your skirt didn't fall off this time?

    i know that second song, but i can't remember why. i can hear a bright tinkling woman's voice singing it, but whose?

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  5. GM:
    You too?
    Our firesides were very similar, my mother and father had great voices and put them to great use with a host of songs.
    I positively loved the way my father sang The Old House, and he would sing it at the drop of a hat.
    XO
    WWW

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  6. T:
    The show was video'd today so once I get DVD I will get high tech daughter to help me with transition to blog once I am out of Dementia.
    Sean Nos is a very old way of singing, I don't do the full Monte on it but briefly it is a way of playing with some of the individual notes, you do a little spin on the one note. Like a side trip for music. It is always done a capella.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. Oh, never sod T, Pants, she's got ways of looking at the stars that would frighten your pantknickers off you!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Laurie:
    You remembered! That skirt thing is going to haunt me to the end of my days, let me tell ya! I looked for a pair of really bright suspenders when last in town but couldn't find. I wore black trousers today, double buttoned for safety!
    I believe the Corrs do a version of I Know My Love (a very fast version and quite jolly.)Maybe you're thinking of that one? I must troll through my CDs.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. The themes there are so timeless aren't they? Nostalgia and wandering men. No wonder they get such a good reception. Obviously your choice of songs and tenor voice was spot-on.

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  10. Yes, you've nailed it, Nick, timeless themes.;^)
    I will be keen to hear me on DVD as it is impossible to hear oneself on stage.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. I must get over to Newfoundland to see you in real life and to hear you sing those songs. I can't imagine not being able to.

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  12. I only ever once plucked up the courage to sing solo before an audience, and that was in an old Birkenhead pub when I was in my twenties. I dare say someone bet me something to do it, so with the help of three, (or was it four?) pints of Banks's Best Bitter I gave my best performance of 'Danny Boy' (always one of my favorite songs).

    It got a standing ovation so can't have been too bad, but I've never had the nerve to repeat the performance. I've played and sung in a band on a number of occasions since, but it's much harder when you're in the spotlight alone.
    You must have nerves of steel, WWW. I bow before your great courage.
    Mind, the Irish were always the singers. We Liverpudlians were more into the telling of jokes.

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  13. Irene:
    you'd be most welcome any time, my dear. And we could Krups ourselves into a caffeine coma!!!
    XO
    WWW

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  14. Irene:
    you'd be most welcome any time, my dear. And we could Krups ourselves into a caffeine coma!!!
    XO
    WWW

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  15. I think a lot of it has to do with a resolution I made many years ago to say "yes" RJA to whatever invitation was offered to me. (Being mindful, of course, of ethics and morals).
    I second thought myself beforehand of course but I am always thrilled at the opportunity when all is said and done as new avenues open up and new friends are made.
    You are more than likely gifted with a very good voice and also musically inclined if part of a band.
    As to Liverpool, anyone I've known from there as always had the music in their blood.
    And The Beatles? The Beatles!
    XO
    WWW

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