The most famous singing pub in England was undoubtedly the Ship at Blaxhall in Suffolk – you can see 1950s footage of a 1950s singing session at the pub on the recently released Here’s a Health to the Barley Mow DVD and read about it in Keith Summers’ article Sing, Say or Pay! A Survey of East Suffolk Country Music now available on the Musical Traditions website. Various members of the Ling Family were at the centre of the musical community which gathered at the Ship. Three members of that family, Percy, Geoff and George, were featured on the Topic LP The Ling Family: Singing Traditions of a Suffolk Family and I learned ‘Underneath your apron’ from the recording of Percy Ling on that LP.
There’s a brilliant rendition of this song by John Kirkpatrick, on the Umps and Dumps album The Moon’s in a Fit. My version differs not only in the absence of virtuoso vibraslap – I sing the first verse to a different tune from all the others. I have been back to check with Percy Ling’s version (for the first time in years, I must admit) and, although I don’t guarantee I sing exactly the same notes as Percy, I definitely got this feature from him.
Underneath your apron