Extraordinary how potent cheap German cover versions are
So there I was on Facebook, trying to link a Youtube clip of Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band doing Hal-An-Tow, it being May Day and all that. Apparently because of copyright issue this recording, made in Britain with British musicians, may not be viewed in Britain. Bah!
As May Day is also International Workers' Day I decided that an appropriate alternative version of Hal-An-Tow would be this one, performed by a couple of German chaps to celebrate their swimming club. You now me: never one to pass up the chance of a weird cover version. And this is definitely odd, yet somehow strangely appealing. Who said the Germans had no sense of humour?
(* Yes, I know Hal-an-Tow is the music for the Helston Furry Dance. Yes I know that takes place next Wednesday. Your problem is?)
Two memories stirring.... One is of a columnist in Folk Review back in the 1970s who dreamed of opening a folk club and calling it "Hal and Joe's Jolly Bungalow". Which would be awesome. (If you don't know the English lyrics of Hal-An-Tow, all is explained here.)
And the other is of a radio comedy series from my youth. Round The Horne was essential listening in our house (and many many others). It had several running gags from week to week: there were Julian and Sandy, the two outrageously camp entrepreneurs; Rambling Syd Rumpo, Kenneth Williams' folk singer with unintelligible but suggestive dialect lyrics; there were the elderly acting couple hamming their way through a romantic scene; and there was some kind of celebration of a national day such as today. Or not so much:
Another type of opening featured announcements about a particular event, e.g. Coat A Sheep in Raspberry Jam Week, Immerse an Orangutan in Porridge Week, Smear A Traffic Warden in Bloater Paste For Asia Day, or something equally bizarre. This would be the excuse for all sorts of happenings, such as the two-man inter-rabbi bobsleigh championships (to be held on the down escalator at Leicester Square underground station — weather and platform tickets permitting), Formation Goat Nadgering, Paso Doble Jockey Wagging, Floodlit Horse Massage, and Nark Fettering on Ice, and reports of the latest activities of the Over-Eighties Nudist Leapfrog (or Basketball, or Judo) Team.
I actually remembered "Smear A Traffic Warden With Bloater Paste for Asia Day", not to mention "Festoon a Gnome With Bacon Rind Day". They don;t write them like that any more.