Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Getting to Know You"...

On my drive home from work last night I was thinking about Lola Nova's forthcoming 'Getting to Know You' party, and I found myself singing a whole range of show tunes! Of course it all started with 'Getting to Know You' from the King and I. But it went on from there... When my sister and I were in our 'tweens' we spent hours with our mother's old record player and her collection of increasingly scratched LPs - that's what happens to LPs when you play them while bouncing up and down on a bed singing at the top of your voice, we discovered.

We learned the songs with the scratches included, which sounded a bit odd to listeners but was fun from our point of view! Add to that the fact that children (and to be honest adults) sometimes get the words wrong, and you will realise that I know versions of the songs which cannot possibly be accurate. The fights we had over our different versions of the lyrics in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers... It would all be solved by Google nowadays! At least I understand the French song in South Pacific now.
I was best at sounding like Audrey Hepburn's voice double in My Fair Lady - not the cockney bit, but the precision. It's just an exaggeration of my normal accent and singing style. Sad but true.
My sister sounded scarily like Julie Andrews - when I do 'The Sound of Music' now I don't think of trying to sound like Julie, but find myself immitating my sister instead!
In fact, I do sing for others as well as for myself, and the best way to describe my voice would be a cross between those precise English ladies of yesteryear and a less nasal version of Maddy Prior. Oh yes, by the end of the 1980s I'd moved on from show tunes and become truly obsessed with English Folk.
In the 1990s we moved to Cumbria, to the wilds above the Lake District, and found that Maddy Prior, singer with Steeleye Span, lived in the even wilder Debatable Lands to our north, and came to sing regularly at the Brampton Live Folk Festival - you can find recordings of this, some even of the ones we attended, on youtube! The power of the internet...
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But my favourite youtube find of all has to be this very early Steeleye Span film, and even though you have to mentally screen out Martin Carthy with his hand over his ear and the guy looking like a cross between Fred and Velma from Scooby Doo, it is still so beautiful that it almost makes me cry. Is it possible that any of you could agree with me, or has there been no change since I was at university in the late '80s, when I could clear my room in five minutes by putting on a Steeleye Span tape?

20 comments:

hip chick said...

My mother loves all the show tunes and I listened to it over and over as a girl as well. What fun memories. At least you had your sister with you. I was on my own playing all the characters. I just finished reading A Life in Nature about Beatrix Potter and the Lake district. It sounds like such a beautiful place I would love to visit there.

Elizabethd said...

I could outdo Julie Andrews any day....especially when we were in Salzburg where the film was made!

bellaboo said...

My sister and I used to do exactly the same thing.We had all the musicals on vinyl,and knew all the tunes and words off by heart.Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my favourite films.I love all those romantic musicals,but my other half doesn't.He likes Steeleye Span though!

Bellaboo

A Bun Can Dance said...

Dear Floss
I loved that mini tour of your musical decades!
Ah, give me a good musical film any day :-)
I shall shortly pop over to check out your youtube link - I have enjoyed a little Steeleye Span in my day, yes indeed.
Wishing you a musical weekend with lots of fun and plenty of restful times too,
Denise x

A Bun Can Dance said...

Back again!
The youtube Steeleye Span entertained me greatly,not just on a musical level but all that splendid seventiesness of hair, patterned shirts, the attic room, long dresses - oh I love it all! Which is more than I can say for the 'audience' in the video - they don't look very impressed!
Beautiful song - aah those were the days....
D x

bad penny said...

You've got me singing now Floss - Surrey with a fringe on top ! I like singing but get told off when we are out by an embarrassed daughter. My mum had a lovely soprano voice and was in the Royal Philamonic in her student days. I sometimes wished I'd learned to sing choral too.

Puting on LP's & singing & dancing was so much fun in the good old days of vinyl records xx

Andi's English Attic said...

That moment in Shall We Dance when they break off and look at each other and then the king takes hold of Anna's waist and says 'Again.' would be in my top ten favourite movie moments. Love it. xx

Lola Nova said...

Oh dear, and I had just this morning gotten The King and I out of my head. Maybe Oklahoma will take over the spot. I play a game with my friend (a musician) called, Misheard Lyrics. We collect misheard lyrics and then relate them to one another to see who can make the other laugh the hardest. I know, it's not much for sport but, we have a good time with it.
Thank you so much for coming to the party, I had a wonderful time.

Manka said...

I have funny memories about getting the words of songs wrong when I was a child... :)))
I like Audrey Hepburn's films and 'The Sound of Music', too.
Have a nice Sunday, Floss !

Pomona said...

I am afraid that I was and still am a post-punk girl! And I was a bit of a New Romantic at University which meant walking around with big hair, stripes on my face and lots of shawls. Come to think of it, I am still a heap of shawls!

Pomona x

skippinginthemeadow said...

How Lovely to be reminded of these Wonderful films, all of which I have enjoyed :o)

Hope You are having a Lovely weekend xxx

Sumea

Sarah said...

Our girls love to sing together, usually that jolly SingStar ABBA stuff. It's still really awful! As for me, well I have never been a singer, but sure would have loved to have been Julie Andrews. I love how our little girls make up the words they don't know or when you find them singing most inappropiate songs!!

Laura said...

Hello dear Floss,
Now I'm singing all my favorite tunes as well! Loved this post! Years ago I saw The King and I in NYC and it was Yul Brenner's last performance of it....
Getting to knoooow you....
:) Laura

Maria said...

Maddie Prior ! that is such a blast from the past ! My family lived in Penrith (Cumbria) and I saw her at folk events there and also at Alston (top of the world). I also lived in Brampton with my older sister and family in between working 'seasons' on French campsites, what a small world ! Maria x

Pondside said...

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - the first movie I ever saw.
The King and I, my first time at a drive-in theatre.
South Pacific, the first LP I ever ought, on my 10th birthday, with money from my godfather - my but I felt like a young lady!
Thanks for the memories.

Pondside said...

....bought...sigh :)

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Spooky Floss, you and I are on a wavelength at the moment! I just wrote about My Fair Lady too! but I got there down a different route!

My brother and I would sing the soundtack to Oliver incessantly, I was particularly good at OOM-PA-PA! OOM-PA-PA! there's a little ditty their singing in the city.... uh oh I'm off!

Sarah x

skippinginthemeadow said...

Since visiting this post yesterday, I have had a lovely time listening to many of my favourite folk tunes as well as re-discovering some beautiful songs I had forgotten. This afternoon I found Pentangle singing - Light flight, do You remember that one ? Also listened to some Sandy Denny and Nick drake. ThankYou so much for leading me in that direction, i can see myself spending quite a number of happy hours on Youtube in future. I would really Love to hear Your singing voice (and Your sisters), have You thought of recording on Youtube? I would like to sing folk but My voice is more of a quirky jazz/blues style. People say I sound like a cross between Billy Holiday and Bjork. Though was recently told I sounded a bit like Karen Dalton and she does folk too.
I very much enjoyed Your post, Your humour also gave me lots of smiles :o)

ThankYou so much xxx

Have a nice week ahead x

Sumea

Apron Senorita said...

My sweet friend Floss, there is so many memories for me too set around albums. You bring back so many special reminders of great times. I wish you a wonderful week. ~ Yoli :)

Angela said...

Oooh! I love all those old musicals too. We had them on cassette in the car and used to sing along with the kids on long journeys.
The Maddy Prior clip was great [those fashions - and the guy with the hand over his ear...happy memories of student days!]
Thanks for a moment of sheer nostalgia.