Boil ‘em Cabbage Down Lyrics

These are the verses we sing for Boil ‘em Cabbage Down, most are genuine official verses but some we just like to make up ourselves so don’t be surprised if no-one else knows what you’re on about if you sing one of our verses at a hoe-down or jam.

The tune in C goes:

CC FF CC GG
CC FF CG CC

And for the 5 string banjo tuned in Open G, the melody notes are all on the first string except for the last bar where they are on the second string of the C chord:

C(1)C(1) F(1)F(1) C(1)C(1) G(1)G(1)
C(1)C(1) F(1)F(1) C(1)G(1) C(2)C(2)

You can also have some fun mixing it up alternating 1 and 4:

C(4)C(4) F(1)F(1) C(4)C(4) G(1)G(1)
C(4)C(4) F(1)F(1) C(4)G(1) C(2)C(2)

Or use a 1 and 2 progression:

C(1)C(2) F(1)F(2) C(1)C(2) G(1)G(2)
C(1)C(2) F(1)F(2) C(1)G(1) C(2)C(2)

I had a play with this sequence in Week 20 of my Learning To Play Frailing Banjo videos – take a look here [link].

The Lyrics

Went up on a mountain, to give my a horn a blow
Thought I heard my true love say, yonder comes my beau

Boil ‘em cabbage down, down
Bake them oatcakes brown, brown
The only song that I can sing
Is boil them cabbage down

Heard my dog the other night, thought he’d tree’d a ‘coon
Saw them walking paw to paw, later by the light of the moon

Someone stole my old ‘coon dog, I wish they’d bring him back
He’d chase them hogs right over the fence and the little ones through a crack

Possum’s in a ‘simmon tree, racoon’s on the ground
Racoon says ‘you son of a gun, won’t you throw some ‘simmons down’

Racoon’s got a bushy tail, possum’s tail is bare
Rabbit’s got no tail at all, just an itty bitty bunch o’hair

Racoon and Possum, walking ‘cross the prairie
Racoon says to Possum ‘would you like to marry?’

Racoon’s died of the whooping cough, Possum’s died of the colic
Along comes a frog with a fiddle on his back enquiring the way to the frolic

The water in the river was mighty cold, we thought that we might drown
Along came a fisherman and pulled us out, back on to dry ground

Met a possum in the road, blind as he could be
Jumped the fence and whipped my dog and bristled up at me

Once I had an old grey mule, his name was Simon Slick
He’d roll his eyes and back his ears and how that mule could kick

How that mule would kick, he kicked with his dying breath
He shoved his hind feet down his throat and kicked himself to death

We also have a few ‘work in progress’ verses based on ‘Grandpa Willie’:

Grandpa Willie won’t wear no pants, Todd don’t know what to do
It wouldn’t be all that bad ‘cept Pammy won’t wear hers too

Todd and Pammy go dancin’, out on a Friday night
Grandpa Willie won’t take his meds, it’s gonna be a fight

Grandpa Willie says things were different, back in his old day
Bobby thinks he made it all up, it might just be that way

Pasta With Home-Made Spicy Tomato Sauce

A quick and easy meal which can be made with a few basic ingredients, or use as a base for experimenting with additional ingredients some of which are suggested in the ‘Level Up’ sections.

Ingredients

1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Bouillon Vegetable Stock Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Mixed [Italian] herbs
Mushrooms (either whole button mushrooms or sliced / quartered larger ones)
Quorn Cocktail Sausages
Your favourite pasta, I’m using wholewheat Tagliatelle
[Level Up Ingredients]
1 Onion and some garlic cloves

The cooking doesn’t take long so you can either prepare everything up front, or if you are cooking on a one ring burner then prepare each step as the former is cooking.

The Tomato Sauce

[Level Up Option] Chop / dice the onion and garlic and fry until soft and caramelised.
Add mushrooms to the pan and allow to soften
Add can of tomatoes and bring to the boil
Wash out the tomato can with half a can of water and add to the pan
Squeeze in a few inches of tomato paste
Add a couple of teaspoons of mixed herbs
Add a couple of teaspoons of Bouillon powder
Turn the teaspoon around and use the handle to add a small amount of Cayenne Pepper, start off with a small amount as you can always add more but can never take it back out again!

Simmer this lot down for a short while, everything should go slightly mushy with a nice thick sauce, give it a taste and add more Cayenne Pepper if it’s tasting a bit tame to you. Then put to one side.

The Pasta

Boil up a large pan of water
Add 75g of pasta per person
Boil until cooked

The Finish

Put the tomato sauce back onto the heat
Slice up the cocktail sausages into chunks and add to the tomato sauce, stir up until nicely heated through again
Drain the pasta and then either add the sauce to the pasta and heat through or serve up the pasta and add the sauce on top.

This Damn War

Another song from early last year, recorded in the back of the yellow van parked up at a Devon campsite in August this year. I don’t play this one very often so I’m quite distracted looking over at the lyrics in this recording.

 

Here’s the lyrics, it would be great to see your interpretations of it:

D F maybe C

I don’t know where she got that frown from
I ain’t seen it anywhere before
But then things used to be much better
Way back before this damn war

I hear the gunfire crackling overhead
The politicians have all gone now
And the sick are left lying in their beds
Things used to be so much better back then

There ain’t many of us left now
Just me and her and this god damn war
I don’t know who we were fighting this for

I don’t know where she got that frown from
I didn’t see it anywhere before

Things could have been so much easier
If we’d only listened to what they said
Politicians have all gone now
They left us dying in our beds

 

 

 

Carrot Curry Recipe

One of my favourite meals at the moment is carrot curry, simple to make at home or camping, on a one or two ring burner, it provides a quick and healthy dinner.

Ingredients

Carrots
Onion
Garlic
Curry Powder
Rice

The cooking doesn’t take long so you can either prepare everything up front, or if you are cooking on a one ring burner then prepare each step as the former is cooking.

The Curry Sauce

Chop / dice the onion and garlic and fry until soft and caramelised.

To make this more of a Katsu curry add sliced ginger, soy sauce (1 tbsp) and honey (1 tsp)

Add a little water and curry powder (a couple of teaspoons per person) and simmer for a while.

Take off the heat and put to one side, optionally blend to a paste if you have a blender available.

The Rice

For speed and taste use white basmati, 80g per person. I always rinse with running water first and then add to a pan of boiling water.

In about 8 to 10 minutes the rice will be soft and fluffy and can be drained and then rinsed with boiling water.

For the camping version I forgo the after rinse but still rinse a little before cooking.

The Carrots

Slice the carrots and place in a large covered pan

Add a centimetre or so of water and place on a high heat

Stir through occasionally, the carrots should steam in 5 to 10 minutes

You can add variety by adding other veg into the steamer at the same time, perhaps sweet potatoes, asparagus or broccoli as you prefer.

IMG-2268

There’s a lot of different ways you can experiment with this recipe, everything is open to substitution ie completely replace carrots with sweet potato to make a sweet potato curry. Use mild or medium or stronger curry powder or paste to change the flavour. If you have more time you can add the vegetables to the curry sauce, add more water and boil them in the sauce instead of steaming them separately. Go wild and see what different combinations you can come up with.

Frailing Banjo Week 20

Week 20 of learning to play frailing banjo, and also the art of standing on my head. Both are progressing, sometimes forwards, sometimes backwards. Both crafts share some of the same requirements, patience of course and practice. Sometimes brute force gets you through to the next level and there you can find the nuances. The temptation with headstands is to rush the whole thing and use force and inertia to get upside down, of course then inertia being inertia it doesn’t just stop, it goes all the way over. Last week though I found a sweet spot, usually I’m spending all my effort balancing by making slight adjustments to leg positions – legs are inevitably sticking out all over the place – but this time I got both legs over my centre of balance and everything suddenly went quiet. I was balanced, without effort and without moving.

Sometimes that happens with the banjo, I’m playing and messing up every F change, the 1st string is dulled when I hit it as my finger hasn’t fretted it quite right, and then sometimes everything just falls into place.

This week I’m practicing ‘Boil ‘em Cabbage Down’ messing around with some of the other melody notes, hitting the 1st and 2nd strings I found that I could hear the resonance of that 2nd string hanging in the air and sounding almost as if a flute was accompanying the tune. I’m using the first riff of ‘John Hardy’ to practice the C to F to C change and then messing around with one of mine, ‘Woman Without Dog’, that has the D7 F C G progression.

We’re living without broadband at the moment, halfway between here and there, making do with mobile data and uploading videos sporadically.

Front Room

Front room,
Drawing room or parlour.
Best room.
Now a store room.
I write at an old table,
With drawers and planks screwed down on top.
A phone, a mug and a crowbar
Are my companions.
The street is silent for a moment.
18:37
Unlike the time the neighbour’s dog
Barked for three nights long, three long nights.
The ink in my pen runs out
And as I return with a new cartridge
Aware of the headache arriving soon
I step on a splinter of wood
From the busted up wardrobe.
My bare foot bared,
Unprotected.
The silence is over.
18:39

 

I Never Meant To Stop Drinking

I never meant to stop drinking, it wasn’t something I consciously ‘gave up’. Not like the times I participated in ‘Dry January’ for charity, where with support we could collectively draw strength for the arduous task of ‘giving up’, for ‘abstaining’, until with a last gasp of the month we could all pile back in on the 1st February. Back to our bottles of wine and pints of beer, congratulating ourselves of a month of abstinence and a few saved pounds in cash and a few lost pounds in weight. Then everything was back to normal. That morning malaise that heralded every morning like an underlying current of depression. The ideas of morning gym sessions, Saturday Parkruns and Sunday morning long runs that disappeared into the haze of a massive hangover after a Friday night on the town. I had so much to lose, weekday wine was a hard earn reward for the day worked. Friday night beer was a reward and a good time out with my friends. Saturday night beer because there was a band on at the local. Tuesday night beer on the way to the shops that ended with a closing time pizza and the food still un-bought. This was the merry-go-round life I was leading. Alcohol wasn’t a problem, it was just a fact of life. Dry January proves it’s not a problem, we can give it up, stop it, anytime we like. Of course, we don’t want to as that what makes life fun right? Who wants to be one of those boring teetotallers? Don’t drink, no fun.

I never meant to stop drinking, my life started to change subtly, a career break, working for minimum wage for a summer season on a campsite, working fifteen hours a day, tending bar, taking bookings, cooking fry-ups. Evening wine dwindled and disappeared, Friday nights were different on the other side of the bar. The season changed from summer to autumn and a nightly bottle of cider became the norm and then that dwindled and disappeared. Mornings became clearer and something finally registered. The cognitive dissonance of having a good time of which most of it becomes a blur of good time followed by some sort of down, the down of lacklustre sleep, the down of a few beers and a midnight snack of pizza and chips, the down of a massive hangover the lasts until 3pm. These don’t feel like good times, but sure as sure, by late afternoon I’m looking forward to a glass of wine with my dinner, maybe two. May as well finish the bottle. Somewhere that all disappeared.

I never meant to stop drinking, it just happened. It’s not an effort, it’s not a hardship, I’m not even ‘giving up’. Last week we dropped by the local pub for the quiz night. It’s something we do occasionally to stay in the social loop, have a beer and amuse ourselves by how many of the answers we don’t know. This week we stayed for the whole quiz. For reference, the quiz is three beers long. From eight o’clock to ten o’clock, three beers and two packets of crisps. I was awake at 4am, all that beer has to come out at some time. Disturbed night sleep, queasy morning, skipped the gym. Life was interrupted. This is when I realised that life had changed, no longer was I celebrating the night and accepting the consequences of the next morning, this time I was regretting the loss of my clear morning, the freedom to be on top form and for anything to be possible.

I never meant to stop drinking, it just happened. Like now when I’m in the supermarket and decide I want a glass of wine with my dinner and head to the wine aisle and remember, actually, I don’t. That was just a memory glitch, my old life bleeding through into now. And then I walk on with my life.

Learning Frailing Banjo Week 19

It’s week 19 and I’ve been practicing a new song ‘John Hardy’, one of the key priorities for me on the banjo is to learn the tunes and the words rather than having to depend on tabs and song sheets to remember them as I seem to have to do with the guitar. I have been practicing the first three lines of each verse (CC FC GG GG) and started by just playing the first string as the melody note for each chord. Once I had this cracked, as in I had learnt the order of the chords, I then looked again and practiced the melody strikes for each of those chords ie string 21 11 12 34 for each of those chords above. Looking at the tabs in Patrick Costello’s ‘The Outlaws and Sealawags Songbook’ there’s some funky hammer-ons and single note strikes at the end of each line to add in as well as soon as I am comfortable. That’s the great thing about learning these songs, they can be as simple or as complex as you like for your own stage of learning.

In this week’s video I also talk about making the melody notes sing and the twin trails of learning to play fast and also learning to play accurately as I fumble for the F chord.

Clipped Wings

At a summer camp celebrating the freedom of child-led education, attendance at the mandatory Monday morning recycling ‘workshop’ was announced by megaphone. ‘Clipped Wings’ is our response to that contradiction, the 3 chord tune provided a soundtrack to loosely rhyming contradictory statements which we threw onto some paper, this is just one version of it.

Learning Frailing Banjo Week 18

In week 18 I’m back at home again after our visit to Cleckheaton Folk Festival shown in the last video and also some time spent in Ceredigion, Wales where I recorded the guitar on the beach videos for ‘Ride On’ and ‘Say Goodbye To Me Gently’. I’ve submitted ‘Say Goodbye To Me Gently’ to the Lichfield Arts Song Writing Competition, so fingers crossed for the composition in the competition.

Today I talk about being able to pick out the melody notes from the general noise that I make on the banjo and also the start of the process of migrating another of my guitar songs, ‘Woman Without Dog’ to the banjo. We had a slightly lost and stressful morning of trying to figure out how many beats in the bar there were for each of my guitar finger picks for each chord in the song to then compare to a banjo strike/strum/thumb of which there are 2 sets to each bar. We had to start with the assumption that the song was in 4/4 time and came out with the probable timing of:

D – 4 or 5 or 6 bars
She’s up in the park every

G – 3 or 4 bars
day…………

C – 4 or 5 or 6 bars
Walking her dog at least that’s what she

G – 3 or 4 bars
says…………

IMG_2032

And finally my other project of learning the yoga headstand of Salamba Sirsana continues as a reminder that improvement is learnt and is achieved through regular practice.