SAM SMALL AT THE SOMERVILLE
Richard B Gillion
first performed at the Somerville Club in 2005
When Sam Small came to t' Somerville
He were nobbut a raw recruit
He 'adn't even learnt to march
Much less to load and shoot
But his sergeant had hear him humming
One day when on parade
As a joke he said, "Why not try busking?
Who knows? Tha might even get paid."
So one weekend when no one was looking
He slipped out through t'gate behind t'guard
He were nobbut a slip of a lad, tha knows,
And avoiding detection weren't hard.
But his guitar, that was a different matter,
It stuck out just like a sore thumb,
So he threw it as gently as possible
Over t' wall - wi' a noise like a drum.
It weren't as bad all that, tha sees,
'Cos it didn't fall down to the ground
It landed on top of a four-wheel drive
That 'appened to be driving round.
When Sam turned the corner he saw it
On the car roof and speeding away
It were soon just a speck in the distance
So he sprinted off without delay.
He caught up with the car at the junction
Where the road works had caused such a jam
But he was quite breathless from running
Aye as red as a beetroot were Sam.
Just before the car started off moving
He'd got back his breath (off and on)
"My guitar's on thy rooftop," gasped Sam,
The driver: "Hi, I'm Martin John."
He gave him a lift to the subway
Where they busked for an hour or two
Sam got five pounds, three and tenpence
Martin John: two old buttons and one new.
So Martin said, "Lad, tha's got talent,
I know where they'd like to hear you:
The Somerville Club as they call it;
There's music and friends, and ale too.
I'll pick you up tea-time on Thursday
Same way as I did just today
But I'll not drive as fast as this morning
So you'll not get as breathless on t' way.
So Sam came to t' Somerville Thursday
It were just as Martin John said.
The folk complemented his singing
Which made him go quite cherry red.
The music were all quite a mixture:
Paxton, Dylan and then Macy Gray
And some sang what they called folk songs
What they'd nobbut just wrote t' other day.
Some sang by themselves as a solo
Others as duos, and then
Something quite different recited:
Sam heard monologues about himsen.
One Thursday Sam came in and felt sickly
His face went as white as a sheet
'Cos there amongst t' punters were Lieutenant Bird
And Sam shook from his head to his feet.
And there were the Sergeant beside him
And whispering in his right ear
Then, "Don't worry," said t' sergeant, "sing up, lad.
It's 'cos of thy talent we're here."
"We know tha sneaks off every Thursday
There's no need to show such contrition
If we can't find an entrant from t' ranks by next week
T' captains wife'll sing in t' competition."
"The regiment's honour is what is at stake
And we can't risk it on a soprano
Beside that fine voice, we've heard tha can play
The kazoo, banjo, guitar and piano."
So Sam sang like a lark for an hour or more
Or a rather more sonorous creature
For the beautiful Helen had booked him that night
For the featured artist's artistic feature.
And he sang as the regiment's entry,
Played guitar, banjo and piano too,
But discretion being the best part of valour
He decided to leave out the kazoo.
Sam brought back the cup to his regiment
With his heart almost bursting with pride
And the smile on the face of Lieutenant Bird,
Like the Irwell in flood, was quite wide.
So now it's become a tradition:
On a Thursday convention they snub
All the lads pile into Martin John's car,
Sup and listen at t' Somerville Club.
~ [Somerville Club] ~
[Stanley Holloway] ~
[Marriott Edgar] ~
[Martin John] ~ [Helen Ditchburn] ~
~ [Lyrics] ~