Ten Songs on the Lighter Side

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This collection contains 11 mostly comic songs in total ranging from the horticultural to the downright rude.

Let's Have a Party (Helen Shaw)

This song has one of Betty Roe's most infectious tunes. After a preamble, the business of who to invite to the party starts in ernest. The composer indicates that one or more verses can be substituted with contemporary figures. However, the punch line requires that none are in the audience. 

The settings of Reginald Arkell come from a garden themed entertainment Betty Roe devised with her husband, John Bishop. The Legend of Rosemary in Seven Songs for Soprano also forms part of this group. 

A Lament (Reginald Arkell)

Lamenting the particularly one sided conversations some gardeners hold.

A Perfect Lady (Reginald Arkell)

I knew a girl who was so pure
She couldn't say the word manure...

A Husband (Reginald Arkell)

A husband is the sort of man who tries to help you all he can. 

Lament and A Husband were performed by Roderick Williams and James Gilchrist at the 2004 Ludlow Festival;

"With the Betty Roe songs, we returned to an "authentic" voice, relating domestic incidents with freshness and wit. In a sense, Roe was writing in a "folk" tradition because she believed that art song should be accessible, singable and relate to people's lives. Her Husband and Lament were hilarious comments on domestic predicaments, vividly realised by Williams and Gilchrist."

Anne Ozorio - Review in Music Web 

The Conductor

The Conductor is an ideal song to perform as a party piece at a choir function. The music has a Music Hall feel to it, perfect for allowing the extensive rubato required for an effective performance. Again the composer indicates that references to members of the particular choir or conductors can in inserted. The regular meter and rhyming patterns make this relatively easy. Additional words were written by Betty Roe and John Bishop and the Betty Roe Society hope to be able to publish them in the future.

Uncle Arthur's Harmonium (Maurice Holstock)

"Uncle Arthur's organ had considerable power, Pumping out the pleasure hour after hour. "

The humour depends entirely on the minds of the audience. 

This song was performed to great effect by Laura Wolk-Lewanowitcz and David Stout in the 2011 London Song Festival where the audience definitely got all the inuendos.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas - I Screamed (David Daiches)

April's here but the singer still has (nearly) all the gifts from the Twelve Days of Christmas. Betty Roe has cleverly adapted the tune of the carol to express the exasperation of the singer.

Fair Phyllis (Betty Roe)

This song requires an announcement that some of the consonants on the manuscript are not too clear. The audience should have worked out that the s is an r by the end of the first verse. Make the r in "parted" clear so that the rhyme is expected. 

The music is a perfect pastoral madrigal pastiche and a straight face has to be maintained. Perhaps with a look of shock when you realise what the last word is.

Giles and Fiona and Landlady's Lament (John Turner)

These two songs are both monologues over a piano accompaniment. They were expanded to form the more developed set of pub related songs Pubs are People Places.

Giles and Fiona dates from the height of the Sloan Ranger but acknowledges that everyone has their foibles. 

The Landlady relates her problems but never refuses a gin. The challenge of the song is to become slightly more drunk with each verse.

Green Fingers (Maurice Holstock)

There is an indication that this song should be sung by two performers and the singer always refers to "we". 

Overall 10 Songs is great collection and a valuable addition to any singer's repertoire.