Once Aboard the Lugger

The last event at Hillbrow, Featherstone

Many thanks to Peter Honniball, firstly for recording the performance at Hillbrow of All Aboard the Lubber by Alec Rowley (the book and lyrics were by Rodney Bennett), and secondly for sending me, over fifty years on, the audio cassette with the recording on it. You can now listen to the perforance by clicking on the two following files. (Ignore the curious bowdlerisation of my name, which is for technical purposes!) The performance took place at the end of the Michaelmas term, 1960, and was the last ‘event’ at Hillbrow, Featherstone Castle. Despite the background noise and somewhat crackling recording, I think you’ll agree that it’s remarkably good.

The operetta as it was recorded does not include the whole of the score which I’ve managed to obtain. This may be due to not all of it having been recorded or to some numbers being left out. Missing are the overture, songs 5 (‘A Thousand Miles We’ve Sailed’), 6 (‘Hornpipe’), 9 (‘Melodrama.’ Entry of Savages and Savage Dance), 10 (‘Bulesque Greek Dance.’ Meagles) and 15 (Re-entry and dance of the Savages: Ceremonial Dance).

The listings preceding each of the two soundcloud files below indicate the timings of what you can hear from the two sides of the original tape:

  1. Act 1: 00.08: Chorus: ‘Never Go to Sea.’ Starts some way into first verse, but the second verse is the same tune. Followed at 01:56 by dialogue.
  2. 04:25: Mate & Chorus: ‘A Tame Harmonium.’ Followed at 06:37 by dialogue including at 09:30 ‘Ump-er-er’ (raucous, heavily uncultivated – chorus in imitation of a harmonium).
  3. 10:30: Chorus: ‘I Sowed a Seed in Spring,’ (Burlesque of a Folk Song). Harmonium accompaniment. At 12:25 there is some dialogue until 12.50 when the song resumes. Followed at 14:45 by dialogue.
  4. 15:50: Capstan Shanty: ‘Farewell London’ (All crew except Meagles and Captain). There is an extended piano introduction which is not in the score. Followed at 17.:30 by dialogue and (as part of the action) singing practice.
  5. Not there.
  6. Not there.
  7. 20:45: Chorus: ‘The Mermaid.’ The two parts of this song are combined into one line of music. At 23:35, dialogue.
  8. 25:45: Finale (of Act 1), Captain, Mate, Bosun and Chorus. Act 1 ends at 33:45.
  9. Act 2: Not there.
  10. Not there.
  11. 39:45: Bosun & Chorus – Concerted number. Recitative: ‘Aha! Good Morrow, Lads.’ and Chorus: ‘How Luscious was the Scent?’ Followed at 42.05 by dialogue and at 42.30 by start of Song 12, but see next soundcloud file.

Here’s what you can hear from Side B of the original tape:

  1. 00:10: Song 12: Captain & Chorus: ‘I Mourn the Day I Lost You,’ (complete verses 1 and 3 – in the style of a sentimental Victorian ballad). Followed at 02:40 by dialogue.
  2. 05:30: Song 13: Trio (part song): ‘Hail, Smiling Morn,’ Captain, Mate & Bosun. Runs straight into:
  3. 06:45: Song 14: Entry & Chorus: ‘Our Harmonium.’ Followed at 08:07 by dialogue.
  4. Song 15 not there, though the savages ‘Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa’ is.
  5. 14:50: Song 16: All: ‘Finale’ (of Operetta).

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