Monday, September 20, 2010

The Big Ship Sails...

I had two good gigs last Friday and Saturday. Here's what makes a gig good:

1. I like my stories and songs.
2. Other people like my stories and songs.

Bede and Lucia came to my Saturday gig, and afterward Bede said that my performance style had become a lot warmer and less formal. Lucia pretend-snored during the final song, because she is seven years old and she thought it was funny.

The last song I played was a Travis-picking version of "The Big Ship Sails" (also known as Illy-Ally-Oh, and Ally-Ally-O) inspired by Kate Rusby's version. I even managed a simple guitar solo with suspended chords.

The lyrics of the original song are much more interesting than the version I played. I'm in the wrong time period and part of the country to sing to preschoolers about ships sinking to the bottom of the sea and staying there. My lyrics:

The big ship sails on the illy-ally-o...
The big ship sails and it's rocking on the sea...
The big ship sails and the clouds are racing by...
The big ship sails and it's coming home again...

Like many folk-songs, this one has 3 chords and follows a I,IV,V chord pattern. However, the suspended chords give the song more texture and helps to evoke a daydreaming mood. That's why my daughter pretend-snored, the stinker. I'll try to put together a simple recording (of the song, not the snoring) for the blog.

After both gigs, I heard people singing "The Big Ship Sings" as they gathered up their books and children. That was good to hear.

6 comments:

Lone Star Ma said...

Cool!

tanita davis said...

Ummmm, sweetpea, in what time period and/or part of the country would one need to be in to sing cheerfully of death by drowning to the preschool set? One does wonder...

::sigh:: Seven. A host of fun in that age, yes?

Honestly: you're brave that you can have Bede and Lucia at a performance. I can't even LOOK at Tech Boy if I have to sing a solo. I had solos for the Messiah one year when we sang with the Vacaville City Chorus, and I had to angle my body oddly on stage because the tenors wrapped around and I could maybe barely see him on my left. Crazy, but what are ya gonna do. Anyway - it's cool that you can trust your family as audience.

Saints and Spinners said...

LSM: Thanks!

Tanita: I thought about citing the stories of Struwwelpeter/Slovenly Peter, but then considered that "When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall" would be more apt. An early version of "All the Pretty Little Horses" has "Birds and the butterflies pecking out his eyes/poor little baby crying mama."

I can see in my mind your angling around to avoid looking at Tech Boy. It makes me smile.

As far as trusting my family to be an audience, there was a time when Lucia was banned from storytimes. This was during her blurt-the-endings-of-the-stories phase. I have a funny video clip somewhere in which Lucia has revealed a punchline and I'm looking very pointedly at the camera as if to say, "Whose child is this?"

That was then. Now, she sometimes gets to be my trusted assistant.

tanita davis said...

Oh, eew. Note To Self: Avoid All the Pretty Horses. Also All the Pretty Unicorns, as That Horn Is For Something.

True, Rockabye Baby is fairly... disturbing. I can't say I know anyone who has ever seriously sung that to a child, but someone must have, at one time or another.

Humans: weird, weird species.

Lone Star Ma said...

Our librarian changed the rockabye lyrics for PJ storytime - firmly(:

abcgirl said...

oddly enough, i found myself spontaneously singing the big ship sails to gabriel (i think it must have been the kate rusby version, but pretty much only the ally-ally-oh verse/chorus) to calm him down when he was itty-bitty and it seemed to work. i have no idea why that song in particular came to mind.