Friday, October 29, 2010

Distant Son

Sunset Song by Dougie Maclean

I just bought me a new toy this past week.  I have finally entered the digital age and bought me an i-pod touch with 64 GB memory.  It has the capacity for 16,000 songs but I am having to make some hard decisions about which songs to put on the device from my approximately 1120 CD's,  It is the equivalency of the Desert Island Disc decisions.  I have had to decide what artists and what CDs to put on it and, of course my full collection of the Beatles CDs was an easy decision and the next was my collection of Dougie Maclean CDs of which I have a complete set.  I don't know if any of you know who Dougie Maclean is but i was first introduced to him by this tape Sunset Song.  I have attended three concerts presented by Dougie,the first being at a nighttime concert festival in Salt Lake City, Utah and then every concert he has presented in Utah since.  Dougie just stands with his guitar and sings his songs and banters about what he writes and how he has written the songs.  It is spellbinding. 

Dougie was born in 1954 in Dunblane, Scotland.  His career started with a traditional band, The Tannahill Weavers, in 1976. His solo career started in 1981 and since then he has recorded numerous albums. He plays multiple instruments, including guitar, violin, mandola, viola, bouzouki, banjo and bass as well as being a singer and composer.  I have also seen him play proficiently on the didgeridoo.  He now makes his home in Butterstone near Dunkeld in the beautiful Tay Valley in Perthshire Scotland.  Dougie MacLean grew up in the countryside where his father was a gardener. He was surrounded by his families love of music - his mother played mandolin, his father fiddle. In 1983, with his wife, artist Jennifer MacLean, he launched his own record label, Dunkeld Records, with the very successful album Craigie Dhu (1981)  With numerous recording projects in view, Dougie set up his own recording studio in the Old Schoolhouse, Butterstone Perthshire.  It is now known as Butterstone Studios

In 1993 Dougie was asked to the Composer and Musical Director for the TAG Theatre Company's production of A Scot's Quair. The original novels from which the play was written by Lewis Grassic Gibbon's and is a classic Scottish trilogy.  The parts of the Trilogy are Sunset Song, Cloud Howe and Grey Granite.

Sunset Song is about a young woman named Chris Guthrie.Chris Guthrie's mother, broken by repeated childbirths, commits suicide and poisons her baby twins. Two younger children go to live with their aunt and uncle in Aberdeen, leaving Chris, her older brother Will and her father to run the farm on their own. Will and his father have a stormy relationship and Will emigrates to Argentina with his young bride, Molly Douglas. Chris is left to do all the work around the house. Soon after this, her father suffers a stroke, leaving him bedridden. For a time he tries to persuade her to commit incest with him, but as he is badly hurt he is not able to force her. He dies shortly afterwards. At his funeral, Chris realises what happened to her father and breaks down in tears as she never knew the hardship he has endured for them.
Chris, who has had some education, considers leaving for a job as a teacher in the towns, but realises she loves the land and cannot leave it. Instead, she marries a young farmer called Ewan Tavendale and carries on farming. For a time they are happily married, and they have a son, who they also call Ewan. However when the First World War breaks out Ewan senior and many other young men join up. When he comes home on leave he treats Chris badly, evidently brutalised by his experiences in the army. Ewan is killed in the war and Chris subsequently hears from Chae Strachan. who is home on leave, that Ewan was shot as a deserter, but he died thinking of her. She begins a relationship with the new minister and she watches as he dedicates the War Memorial at the Standing Stones above her home. The Sun sets to the Flowers of the Forest, bringing an end to their way of life, forever.

Cloud Howe continues the story of Chris Guthrie from the first part, Sunset Song. It gives an account of her life during her second marriage to Robert Colquhoun, a Church of Scotland minister. At the end of the novel he dies in the pulpit while delivering a sermon.

Grey Granite continues the story of Chris Guthrie/Tavendale/Colquhoun. She moves to the fictional city of Duncairn (previously referred to in Cloud Howe as Dundon). In the introduction to Grey Granite, Gibbon points out that Dundon/Duncairn is based neither on Aberdeen or Dundee (as some reviewers had surmised), but is "merely the city which the inhabitants of the Mearns (not foreseeing my requirements in completing my trilogy) have hitherto failed to build". An important character is her son by her first marriage to Ewan Tavendale, also called Ewan Tavendale. He becomes a political activist. 

The theme of the characters love of the land and the her desire to escape  the narrow horizons of rural living must have rung true with Dougie.  Many of his songs have to do with returning to the land and his love of the land and the lessons he learned growing up close to the land. 

The music according to the liner notes, "is a reworking of instrumental musical themes that evolved during the production-it captures a variety of moods incidents and landscapes.  All the instruments were played by Dougie. 

The tracks are

01.    Sunset Song
02.    The Burning of Peesie's Knapp -arousing faster paced fiddle tune with bhodrain accompaniment
From the Novel
Peesie's Knapp, one of the olden places, no more than a croft of thirty-forty acres with some rough ground for pasture, but God knows there was little pasture on it, it was just a fair schlorich of whins and broom and dirt, full up of rabbits and hares it was, they came out at night and ate up your crops and sent a body fair mad. But it wasn't bad land the most of the Knapp, there was the sweat of two thousand years in it, and the meikle park behind the biggings was black loam, not the red clay that sub-soiled half Kinraddie.
Now Peesie's Knapp's biggings were not more than twenty years old, but gey ill-favoured for all that, for though the house faced on the road--and that was fair handy if it didn't scunner you that you couldn't so much as change your sark without some ill-fashioned brute gowking in at you--right between the byre and the stable and the barn on one side and the house on the other was the cattle-court and right in the middle of that the midden, high and yellow with dung and straw and sharn, and Mistress Strachan could never forgive Peesie's Knapp because of that awful smell it had.

03.    The Kinraddie Scythe  Describing the harvest in a fictional town called Kinraddie. See the You tube video above
04.    Cloud Howe: A medium slow piece using synthesizer, bhodrain and guitar.
05.    Cirrus: The name of a chapter in the novel Cloud Howe.  Other chapters are named Cumulus Stratus and Nimbus.
06.    The Eviction
07.    The Bridge Incident
08.    The Kaimes
09.    Grey Granite
10.    Distress.

I could not find any songs from Sunset on the Internet so below are ones that illustrate the incredible talent of Dougie.   Hope you enjoy. 

Here are the complete discography you can get them at his online store. Please buy many. 

  • Caledonia (1979)
  • Snaigow (1980)
  • On A Wing And A Prayer (1981)
  • Craigie Dhu (1982)
  • Butterstone (1983)
  • Fiddle (1984)
  • Singing Land (1985)
  • Real Estate (1988)
  • Whitewash (1990)
  • The Search (1990)
  • Indigenous (1991)
  • Sunset Song (1994)
  • Marching Mystery (1994)
  • The Dougie MacLean Collection (1995)
  • Tribute (1996)
  • Riof (1997)
  • Perthshire Amber (2000)
  • Dougie MacLean Live (2000)
  • Who am I (2002)
  • Inside The Thunder (2006)
  • The Essential Dougie MacLean (2007)
  • Muir of Gormack (2007)

Sunset Song (BBC 1971) Clip 1 - Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Sunset Song ( BBC 1971) Clip 2 - Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Sunset Song (BBC 1971) Clip 3 - Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Sunset Song (BBC 1971) Clip 4 - Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Kinraddie English Trip

Dougie MacLean - 01 The Search

The great Dougie Maclean Solid Ground

Dougie MacLean - Singin Land

'Ready for the Storm'

Dougie MacLean - Caledonia

Dougie MacLean - Another Time

Dougie MacLean-Talking With My Father

Dougie MacLean - Little Ones Must Walk On

The Lewis (Uig) Chessmen ; "Marching Mystery" - Dougie MacLean

Dougie MacLean - Scythe Song

Kathy Mattea with Dougie MacLean - Ready For The Storm

Dougie MacLean - Broken Wings

Dougie MacLean - The Gael

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Songs we Love to Sing by The Fivepenny Piece

The Fivepenny Piece CD cover

The Fivepenny Piece are are a five-piece band formed originally in 1967 in Stalybridge in Lancashire in northern England - all members of the band were from Stalybridge or nearby Ashton-under-Lyne
The Fivepenny Piece made more than a dozen albums throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as a number of singles. Their first single was issued in 1969 on EMI's UK Columbia label.
The original band members were:
  • John Meeks (guitar, vocals)
  • Lynda Meeks (vocals) - John's sister
  • Eddie Crotty (guitar, vocals)
  • George Radcliffe (bass, vocals)
  • Colin Radcliffe (guitar, vocals) - George's brother

As someone that grew up in Hyde, then in the County of Cheshire, in the fifties and early sixties their songs are reflective of the times and areas that I grew up in.   

Side 1
Stalybridge Market Nostalgic song about the old Saturday night market in Stalybridge, where all manner of things could be seen and bought (or stolen!), reminiscent of the old Lancashire poem Eawr Market Neet   

You learn of the sights in the famed London City
Where everything there is both ugly and pretty
But London is out of comparison quite
With Stalybridge Market on a Saturday Night.

There's Cockles and mussels and oysters and salmon
There's lobsters and haddock and crabfish so common
A pump of primed water to keep them all white
they'd have you believe they as fresh as the night
There's cabbage and broccoli potatoes and onions
And quacks with their ointments for warts corns and bunions
A Lantern of paper that shows such a light
At the Stalybridge market on a Saturday Night.

There's ginger beer, toffee, and treacle and tarts
Laid out for young fellas to treat their sweethearts
There's black pudding sausages, cow-heels and tripe
There's hawkers and beggars your money to gripe
there's besems and brushes to fill kitchen sink
And all those small things that kids try to pinch
Cause money is scarce it's taken it's flight
From Stalybridge Market on a Saturday Night.

Hiking: Another one of Eddie's tales, this time about a hiker chap asking directions from a not particularly helpful local.

I've always been partial to hiking
I go every past time I come
To see all the beauties of nature
Round Buxton and all that way on
I sometimes get lost in my travels
When taking a little known track
But with having a tongue in me napper
I've never yet failed to get back

I felt a bit nervous one evening
the road was deserted and still
I'd not met a soul for an hour or so
And I felt I could do with a gill
I was just on the point of despairing
And started bemoaning me fate
I'd come to a bit of a cottage
With a farmer chap leaning o'er gate

So i said good evening grand weather
And charmed him with one of me smiles
Er is this the direction for Hayfield
And have i to go many miles

He said there's a milestone o'er yonder
You need na come bothering me
so I thought that's not very civil
So I said " well i can't read you see

"Canna read" he said looking gormless
tha must be an ignorant man
tho milestones oer yon just by barrow
For its one of those sort with nowt on.   

Mi Grandfather's Day an evocative song about an old man telling his grandson how things were in his day.

Come to your Grandad aye sit on his knee
Just let me tell you how it used to be
Before all this natter bout profit and pay
Let me tell you about your grandfather's day

When me an your granny were just bits of kids
We'd play all our games with bits of tin lids
We'd walk hand in hand and blush at things we would say
It was no sin to blush in your grandfathers day

They're building them skyscrapers concrete and glass
Where once there were trees with nice flowers and grass
And me an your granny would walk in the park
No motor cars coughing out sputters and spark

I'm Powfagged this humorous song is about a chap who's too tired ('powfagged' in Lanky speak) when he gets home, to show his wife any affection.

I came home from factory powfagged t'other night
Mi bones were all weary and mi fags wouldn't light
I sat down to mi tea and then settled in't chair
For an hour with mi paper with my little wife there

She sat down beside me, her head on mi lap
She said You know something, You're a really Nice chap
I looked in her eyes and saw they did shine
I said just you listen to these words of mine

I'm powfagged, I'm powfagged,I'm jiggered, I'm tired
My eyes won't stay open Lets sit by the fire
Mi spirit is willing but my flesh is all weak
So just sit beside me I'm powfagged 

Down Our Street: Lively song about the friendly folk who live "down our street"

Down our street you're bound to meet
Kindly people and they really are a treat
They will help you out without a doubt
Everybody's welcome when they're down our street

Dizzy in the dairy, real nice girl
Sets all the local fellas in a whirl
Takes good care to spread herself around
Just a kiss for one and six and lunch for half a crown.

What A Splendid Character
When I walk through the woods the birds begin their singing
I see an old tree whose russet leaves are tingling
I walk up to that old tree throw my arms around him
And think what a splendid character
Never to have harmed anyone

Yet me I'm neither good or bad
I fluctuate and oscillate
I've never in my life done anyone any harm
Nor for that matter any good.

Bowton's Yard  well-known poem by Samuel Laycock, in the Lancashire dialect, set to music by Eddie Crotty. The song is about Bolton's Yard in the Castle Hall area of Stalybridge, and the various characters and tradesfolk who lived there in the mid-19th century. The yard itself was demolished in the 20th century slum clearances of the area, so sadly it can no longer be seen. Samuel Laycock (1826–1893) was a dialect poet who recorded in verse the vernacular of the Lancashire cotton workers. He was born on 17 January 1826 at Intake Head, Pule Hill, Marsden, West Yorkshire, the son of John Laycock, a hand-loom weaver. He had no formal education apart from Sunday school and a few months at a local school. In 1837, when the family moved to Stalybridge, Cheshire, he worked as a cotton weaver.

Blue Plaque for Samuel Laycock

At number one, in Bolton's Yard, my granny keeps a school,
But hasn't many scholars yet, she's only one or two;
They say the old woman's rather cross; well, well, it may be so;
I know she box'd me roundly once, and pull'd my ears an aw'.

At number three, right facing the pump, Ned Grimshaw keeps a
He has Eccles-cakes and ginger-bread, and treacle-beer, and
He sells oatcakes as well, does Ned; he has both soft and hard,
And everybody buys of him that lives in Bolton's Yard.

Bolton's Yard

Bolton's Yard, the dialect pronunciation being 'Bowton's Yard' was one of the courtyards of working class housing in the Castle Hall area of the town.  The houses were probably built in the 1820's, when that part of the town was laid out.  Castle Hall was built to house the cotton workers who were flooding into the town to work in the mills.

Stalybridge Wakes The wakes were originally religious festivals that commemorated church dedications. Particularly important was the Rushcart festival associated with Rogationtide. During the Industrial Revolution the tradition of the wakes was adapted into a regular summer break in the mill towns of Lancashire, where each locality would nominate a wakes week during which the cotton mills would all close at the same time. Stalybridge Wakes occurs in the third week of July. Wakes Week became the focus for fairs, and eventually for holidays where the mill workers would go to the seaside, eventually on the newly developing railways.

One question you'll be asked about
Where are you going for't Wakes
Will it be Rhyl or Colwyn Bay
Or are you trying Skegness
We have not a place to go
I need a really good rest

Now me and wife an family of three
We went to Royton by the sea
We saw clog dancing and listened to bands
And then we went on Royton sands

And we kept eating parkin
We kept eating parkin
We kept eating parkin
That's why we are so brown.


I remember a wakes week spent in Colwyn Bay in a caravan.  It was windy and cold and I listened to Radio Luxembourg and stayed in the Caravan all week.  I have the awful memory of eating Cucumber sandwiches seasoned with sand.  not a pleasant experience.

Gotta Get Away With an arrangement somewhat reminiscent of Fred Neil's Everybody's Talkin'  A wishing song about leaving the old place behind. 

Don't know where I'm going
Only know I've got to get away
Away from the smoke and the boredom of my day
Gotta be moving gotta be proving that I can make my way
I don't know where I'm going
I only know I've got to get away

Gonna buy a ticket on a one way British Railway line
Away from the chimney's manufacturing grime
Got myself a yearning gotta be turning to a new a new kind of day
where the grass is greener on the other side of the way

He Came To Me A love song

He came to me in silence from a hill of many years
The words he left unspoken were the ones that brought my tears
A love for ever calling me, A feeling overtaking me
A silence born of ecstasy A love I've never known

Left-Handed Thread Song that seems to be about the unpredictability of mood and feelings

It's a left-handed thread that fastens my head
And i can't screw it on in the morning
So each way that it turns I just have to learn
Is a matter of luck with no warning

Gently Gently A song sounding like a medieval troubadour love song

Gently gently from his sleep
Melting rain my lover wakes
Compulsive needs of time

Pete Was A Lonely Mongrel Dog Who Lived In Central Wigan: A Children's Song about a dog running away to the sea and then went to the army and then went "off to fly" as an airman and then went to his digging. "with his tails neath the trees of Wigan Done in Music hall style

Pete Was A Lonely Mongrel Dog Who Lived In Central Wigan
He had a great thought one winters day while out for bones a digging
He'd change his life and he'd change his ways
And a sailor man he'd be
So he packed his tail and buried his bone
And off to sea went he. 

Today I Am A Mountain
Today I am a mountain, Mountain
Today I am a mountain reaching to the sky
My mind up in a cloud where all the eagles fly
My feet stand cool in water where the river flows and flows
Today you said you loved me me and heaven knows

Today I am a mountain in the ranks of man
Standing tall above them all reach me if you can
My faith will never falter with a love that grows and grows
Today you said you loved me, me and heaven knows

Reflections Of Emily A gentle love reminiscing

Reflections of Emily
Here in my memory
Reflection's of Emily
Of my love can see

Many loves I have known
None of them have ever grown
And all that my eyes can see are
Reflection's of Emily

Songs We Like To Sing
Some don't know and some don't care what songs they like to sing
Some don't seek and so they don't find the love of anything
If they ever sing at all the songs are sad to hear
they make the autumn leaves look pale afraid that winter's here
So sing the songs we want to hear
Sing them loud and clear
 Below you will see some other examples of Lancashire Folk and by Fivepenny Piece.  Enjoy and sing the songs you want to hear.


I'm Powfagged ~ The Fivepenny Piece

King Cotton - The Fivepenny Piece

A Special Child

king cotton,mike harding

FivePenny Piece, Piddling Pete. The 1977 version you've all been waiting...

Nowt so Queer as Folk 1977. Great Entertainment from Fivepenny Piece. E...

First Day at School 1977. Another great one from Fivepenny Piece. Enjoy

Stalybridge Station Fivepenny Piece

Fivepenny Piece. Our Dog Freds.(A Proper Thoroughbred) 1977 Exellent Enjoy.

Fivepenny Piece - Mountain Climber

The Fivepenny Piece - Paddle My Own Canoe

The Fivepenny Piece - cum to you tea

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Houghton Weavers - Poverty Knock


Blackpool Belle by The Houghton Weavers (High Quality Edition)

The Houghton Weavers - Awterations

Queux garden song Slideshow.mpeg

Uncle Joe's Mint Balls

Sit thi Deawn by the Houghton Weavers

Today we go into the Lancashire Folk genre.  What is that you may ask.  Well it is music written by Lancashire folk musicians which mostly center on the Industrial work of the North of England and nostalgia of the working class of hearth and home and Northern Humour.   Some of the best of these are Houghton Weavers and The Fivepenny Piece. The music ranges from what might be described as 'pop-folk' (typified by The Seekers), to Easy Listening/Pop, to 'Lancashire' music - songs in the Lancashire idiom reflecting their roots. The apparent simplicity of the songs and the accompaniment is belied by the complexity of many of the lyrics which are by turns meaningful (as in folk protest songs); humorous (Lancashire humour, of course!); surreal (occasionally verging on being nonsensical); and romantic (love songs) - but even that doesn't cover the full spectrum of their work. The variety of material nearly always makes for interesting listening.

The Houghton Weavers are an English folk music band formed in 1975 in Westhoughton, in the borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester, England. The current three band members are David Littler (acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, banjo-ukulele, bouzouki, piano accordion and vocals), Steve Millington (bass guitar, keyboards, acoustic guitar, piano accordion and vocals) and Tony Berry (lead vocalist).

In 1978 they made an album. They are best known for their BBC TV show Sit Thi Deawn (Lancashire dialect for "sit you down", referring to the supposed hospitality of Lancashire people). The programme ran for six series or seven years and was a mixture of easy listening music and comedy for a local audience.

Here is the album track listing:

Sit Thi Deawn (Sit thee Down); is a nostalgic song about "grandad's and hospitality.  I guess it's how I remember the North of England too. 

There's a cosy little spot I know
Lies just inside of howfen
Who's praises I will sing to you in rhyme
Where lives my dear owd (old) grandad
And my granny too, god bless 'em
And many an hour I've spent theer (There) in my time
They have a little garden
And a slap up loosely constructed) little green house
Where grandad passes many an hour away
He's happy and contented
Among his plants and flowers
And if I should pop in he's sure to say….

Ay mon I'm fain (glad) to see thi, sit thi deawn
I'm as fain us if thed (thoued) give me half a crown
Neaw(Now) you munna (must not) go away
You mun (must) stop an have your tay
Fer i'm gradely (greatly) fain to see thi sit thi deawn

God bless their silver yeds
They are both very owd and feeble
They're getting very near their journey's end
But still I feel quite certain
That when death shall separate 'em
In heaven above their lives again will blend
They've always been contented
They've tried to do their duty
No beggar from their door's been turned away
However ragged and tattered
He's always asked 'em inside
And then he with a smile to them would say....

I think we might a lesson learn
From this owd pair so humble
And try like them to lead a blameless life
And if we're ever tempted
To be selfish and hard hearted
Let's throw those nasty feelings clean away
Let's try to do to others
As we'd have 'em do to us
And remember what mi grandad used to say....  

The Lancashire Fusilier;This is a story of a young man who enlists in the Lancashire Fusiliers for a "golden Guinea" .  He is off to the army and tells this to his girlfriend Jenny. "Holding a musket instead of my Jenny Dear."
File:Soldier of 20th regiment 1742.jpg

Let No Man Steal Your Thyme; This is a class of lyric songs which I call the "warning songs". These songs are found both here and in the U.K. The use of plants and herbs as symbols is an old tradition and appears in folk songs all over the world. The rose represents true love, and the rue plant stands for regret. There are two or three versions of the lyric.

Come all ye maidens young and fair
All those who are blooming in their prime
Always beware and keep your garden fair
Let no man steal away your thyme

For thyme it is a precious thing
And thyme brings all things to my mind
Thyme with all its labours
Along with all its joys
Thyme brings all things to an end

The Manchester Rambler; This is a song written by Ewan MacColl for a protest to allow access to all land for hiking. The first of MacColl's great angry protest songs was [...] a campaign song for one of the great mass actions of the thirties. Hiking was a popular sport [...]. The only problem was that many favourite areas were privately owned grouse moors, where the keepers didn't take kindly to the working-class invasion. There were several cases of hikers being attacked. The solution was a confrontation, a mass trespass over the area around Kinder Scout. MacColl says he expected just a few hundred to join the Trespass, 'but eight or nine thousand turned up'. Police and keepers were waiting, there were pitched battles, and many hikers were jailed. MacColl himself wrote Moorland walking, or rambling as it was known in the industrial towns bordering on the Pennines, was a mass sport [in the 1930s] and tens of thousands of young people - and few who were not so young - used to leave the Manchester and Sheffield districts each weekend bound for the moors and dales of Derbyshire. [...] [My friend] Bob and I had become seasoned walkers during the months we had been knocking around together. Every Sunday we were out on the Derbyshire moors, mostly on Kinder or Bleaklow, driving ourselves to cover more and more miles. [...] The old days when I had toiled up Jacob's Ladder like an old man were behind me now. I was as limber, and almost as tough, as Bob and just as fast. We prided ourselves on the way we could lope for hours on end over broken moorland and on the speed with which we could ascend Wild Boar Clough, Middle and Far Black and the Alport. (MacColl, Journeyman 165ff.)

Calton Weaver; This is another warning song about the effects of "Nancy Whiskey"  The Calton weavers were a community of handweavers established in the community of Calton, then in Lanarkshire just outside Glasgow, Scotland in the 18th century. In the early 19th century, many of the weavers emigrated to Canada, settling in Carleton Place and other communities in eastern Ontario, where they continued their trade. In 1787 the weavers went on strike. Troops opened fire on the demonstrators and six weavers were killed. Calton is a district of the city of Glasgow which was important in the weaving industry. Though this is the best-known setting for this song about the perils of drink, there are variations such as "The Longford Weaver", "The Darkley Weaver", "The Dublin Weaver", "Long Cookstown" - or just "Nancy Whisky".One of the earliest known versions was sung by Ewan MacColl. It has also been recorded by Ian and Sylvia, Andy Irvine, Luke Kelly and the Dubliners, The Clancy Brothers, Ryan's Fancy and Shane McGowan and the Popes.

My Brother Sylveste;

Have you heard about the big strong man
Who lived in a caravan?
Have you heard about the Johnson Jeffrey fight
Where the black man fought the white?
He plays all the organs in the belfry,
And he wants to fight Jack Dempsey.
So they'll all come out to see
Well who?My Brother Sylvest and me.

He's my brother Sylvest
And what has he got?
He's got a row of bloody medals on his chest,
Big chest!Killed forty thousand Indians in the West,
He takes no rest,
He's got an arm like a leg,
And a fist that would sink a battle ship.
Big ship!Takes all the Army and the Navy
To put the wind up Sylvest

Howfen Wakes: "Howfen Wakes", (the word howfen
is local dialect for Westhoughton and the wakes were the annual local holiday week),

Poverty Knock; This is a song written in the !890's by workers in the mills. According to the book Victoria's Inferno (songs of the old mills, mines, manufacturies, canals, and railways, edited by Jon Raven, 1978: Poverty Knock "text and melody: from the singing of Tom Daniel, a Batley, Yorkshire weaver (collected by A.E. Green 1965). Tom Daniel died in April 1970 aged 76."  A. L. Lloyd wrote in his book, "Folk Song in England" that Tom Daniel told Green in 1965 that he learned the song 60 years earlier in the first mill he worked in after leaving school. Doing the arithmetic,, Mr. Daniel was born in 1894, and started working in the mills in 1905, age 11... 

My Grandma Grimshaw was a mill worker and she told the tale that she was the one that had to retrieve the shuttle if it broke from the yarn and get it set back up.  it was a very dangerous job for a young girl. 

Up in the morning at five, it's a wonder that we stay alive
It sets me yawning to great the cold dawning
And back to the old, dreary drive

Oh dear, I'm going to be late, Gaffer is standing at gate
With his hands in his pockets our wages he'll dock us
We'll have to buy grub on the slate

     Poverty poverty knock, my loom it is saying all day
     Poverty poverty knock, Gaffer's too skinny to pay
     Poverty poverty knock, always one eye on the clock
     I know I can guttle when I hear me shuttle go
     Poverty poverty knock

Farewell She; Sometimes called Farewell He in various forms this was once spread all over England. Baring-Gould noted it in Devon, and Frank Kidson found a fairly long version near Leeds (he called it Let Him Go). Usually, a girl is the 'victim' of the song.
 Fare thee well, cold winter
And fare thee well, cold frost;
Nothing have I gained by thee
But a false young girl at last.
But if she's got another one
And they both can't agree,
She's welcome to stay with him
And think no more of me.

Thinking I should keep it
To never pass her by,
For what I'd have a true young girl
I'd lay me down and die.

Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats & Dogs; a tribute to the artist L. S. Lowry, who had died two years previously. For the song, Coleman drew on his own memories of Salford and Ancoats as well as the paintings of L. S. Lowry. St Winifred's School Choir appeared on the record, singing the children's song "The Big Ship Sails on the Alley-Alley-O". The single spent three weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. The b-side of the record was entitled "The Old Rocking Chair".The tune of the song has been adapted into a song sung by fans of Scottish football club Celtic FC, entitled Willie Maley, who was a prominent figure in the early history of the club. The song can be heard on a weekly basis sung by fans, and played over the loudspeaker system at Celtic.

Seth Davey; This popular song, variously known as Seth Davy, Whiskey On A Sunday or Come Day, Go Day, concerns the Liverpool street entertainer with his dancing dolls, who died in the early 1900s. Now a bit of a folk standard.
SETH DAVY was a real person, he really existed, and he died a couple of years into the 20th century. There was a street and a pub, both called "Bevington Bush" just north of Liverpool City Centre, and Seth Davy did do a "busking" act outside.In his book 'Liverpool: Our City - Our Heritage', Freddie O'Connor tells us that in 1760, half a mile from Marybone ("St Patrick's Cross") along Bevington Bush Road was a hamlet named Bevington Bush which had an inn called simply the 'Bush', which became a favourite haunt for folk to travel 'out into the country', to the 'Bevy Inn' as it became fondly known. The Liverpool slang for 'bevvy' ...may have derived from this old inn.Liverpool Pictorial says, "Bevington Bush was the name of a thickly wooded valley between Bevington Hill and Everton Hill. An inn on Bevington Hill was called `The Bush'. With the opening of Scotland Road, the ancient Bevington Bush Road became a minor road amidst the massive slum district that would soon engulf it. As the district was built up it also lost its original name.

SETH DAVY., by Glyn Hughes.

He sat on the corner of Bevington Bush,
astride an old packing case,
And the dolls on the end of the plank went dancing,
as he crooned with a smile on his face.
CHORUS: "Come day, go day. Wishing me heart for Sunday.
Drinking buttermilk all the week; whisky on a Sunday."

2; His tired old hands drummed the wooden plank,
and the puppet dolls they danced the gear.
A far better show then you ever would see,
at the Pivvy or new Brighton Pier.
CHORUS; Come day go day........

3; But in 1905, old Seth Davy died,
and his song was heard no more.
And the three dancing dolls ended up in a bin,
and the plank went to mend a back-door.
CHORUS:"Come day, go day

4; But on some stormy nights, down Scotty Road way,
when the wind blows up from the sea,
You can still hear the song of old Seth Davy,
that he sang to his dancing dolls three;
CHORUS; "Come day, go day...

Lord Of The Dance; It is a hymn set to the music of an American Quaker hymn Simple Gifts.  My daughter Amy and I made up an arrangements singing both versions alternately.  Song with Christian overtones that has become a folk standard and recorded by just about everyone from Abba to ZZ Top - well, the Houghton Weavers to the Spinners, anyroad.

All Around My Hat; The song "All Around my Hat" is of nineteenth century English origin. A young man is forced to leave his lover, usually to go to sea. On his return he finds her on the point of being married to another man. In some versions he goes into mourning, with the green willow as a symbol of his unhappiness (willow is considered to be a weeping tree). In other versions he reminds her of her broken promise, and she dies mysteriously. In some versions he simply contemplates his lover left behind, without actually returning to find her being married. In other versions, the young man is a street hawker who is mourning his separation from his lover who has been transported to Australia for stealing.

All around my hat I will wear a green willow
All around my hat for twelve months and a day
And if any one should ask me the reason why I'm wearing it
It's all because my true love is far far away

My love he is fair and my love he is handsome so
My love he's as honest as the dawning of the day
But when he said goodbye well I couldn't even cry a while
Since I am awaitin' him by the dark and lonely bay


Now why is it so that my letters are unanswered oh
And why is it so that from him I never hear
Or as he found a new love in France or in Germany
Or his he lying dead or tis this that I do fear


Now do you remember the walks along the hillside?
Many's the happy word that we spoke along the way
But now he's far away and he never will return so
Farewell those songs and laughter of my love so young and gay

The Minstrel A song to close the show

Goodbye and Adieu and Farewell
I love you but now I must leave you
With a smile and a song in my heart
The Shows over its time to be gone
But perhaps I will see you next year
And I'll have a new tale to amuse you
And Many more tunes you will hear
I'm a Minstrel, a peddler of songs.
I'm a weaver, a Calton weaver,
    I'm a rash and a roving blade;
I've got siller in my poaches,
    I'll gang and follow the roving trade,
O whiskey, whiskey, Nancy whiskey
Whiskey, whiskey, Nancy, O.
As I cam' in by Glesca city,
    Nancy Whiskey I chanced to smell,
So I gaed in, sat doon beside her,
    Seven lang years I lo'ed her well,
O whiskey & c

The Dubliners - Lord Of The Dance

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Great British Experience

Recently I have found that I am becoming nostalgic and listening to music for an earlier time especially British Light MusicThe genre has its origin in the seaside orchestras that flourished in Britain during the 19th and early 20th century. These played a wide repertoire of music, from classical music to arrangements of popular songs and ballads of the time. From this tradition came many specially written shorter orchestral pieces designed to appeal to a wider audience. Notably, even serious composers such as Sir Edward Elgar wrote a number of popular works in this medium.  I remember when Dad and Mum took us to Scarborough and we would go to the Spa n the waterfront and listen to the Orchestra.

It was a wonderful experience for a ten year old boy to listen to a live orchestra playing beautiful melodies.  I have also been listening to a BBC 2 radio program hosted by Alan Titchmarsh who plays a eclectic combination of music similar to that which I listened to growing up when we listened to BBC radio.  This album relates to many of the light music that were used for BBC radio and television programmes. 

The track listings is as follows

1. Devil's Galop - Charles Williams Concert Orchestra. Charles Williams was a composer of light music whose themes were used in very many films but uncredited.  This theme was used on BBC's Light Programme serial Dick Barton.  It was often used often to give a sense of dramatic urgency to a chase scene.
2. Calling All Workers - Eric Coates Symphony Orchestra. was the theme song for a radio program called Music While You Work. which was started during World War II to help factory workers become more productive by playing non-stop popular/light music at an even tempo. For a period, a third edition was broadcast in late evening for night-shift workers. After the war, the broadcasts continued on the newly-formed BBC Light Programme.  I remember listening to this on Summer days when Mum used to listen to it. My Grandma Grimshaw also used to listen to it. 
3. Westminster Waltz - Robert Farnon & His Orchestra.  This piece was always played on the Light Programme.
4. Puffin' Billy - Clifford, Hubert & MLO This was the theme of one of my Favorite radio shows called Children's Favorites and would listen to all the requests. Never made one of my own.  Children's Favourites was a BBC Radio programme from 1954 broadcast on the Light Programme on Saturday mornings from 9:00. A precursor (from 1952) had been called Children's Choice after the style of Housewives' Choice.
The programme played requests from children of all ages. For most of its run, the programme was frequently introduced by Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac). McCulloch's grandfatherly tone was quintessentially 'old-school' BBC. His opening words "Hello children, everywhere!" were his "catch-phrase", though a modification of his much earlier closing words "Goodnight children, everywhere" on Children's Hour.  Some of the Favorites were things like the Laughing Policeman and Teddy Bears Picnic
5. Horse Guards (Whitehall) - by Haydn Wood was the theme tune of Down your Way a radio programme that traveled around Britain and interviewed people in the towns it visited.  It was always interesting listening to the different accents and different sounds from the places.  Using your imagination you almost felt as though you were there.
Richard Dimbleby (right) and his producer John Shuter (behind right) at Southfleet, Kent, interviewing the pub landlord of the "The Ship" Mr. and Mrs. George Clinch and their 3 daughters.
Originally presented by Stewart MacPherson (from 1946 - 1950) , then Richard Dimbleby (from 1950 - 1955) followed by Franklin Engelmann and in 1972 by Brian Johnston, visited villages and towns in the British Isles and interviewed colourful local characters, then invited them to choose a piece of music.
6. In Party Mood - by Jack Strachey was the theme song for a very popular radio show called Housewife's Choice  It played a wide range of (mostly popular) music designed to appeal to housewives at home during the day. Like many other BBC radio shows in the era of very limited broadcasting competition, it achieved massive audiences, and is very closely identified in the public mind with its era. 
7. By The Sleepy Lagoon - Another piece by Eric Coates that was used for the theme of Desert Island Discs and the theme is still played today on the show which is still going strong on BBC 4.  The premise of the show is to invite renowned people and ask them to choose eight different recordings that they would take with them if they were wrecked on a Desert Island.   
8. Girls In Grey - Another piece by Charles Williams Girls In Grey" was a tribute to the Women’s Junior Air Corps) which jauntily serenaded the airwaves circling round the mast of Alexandra Palace at the start of each "BBC Television Newsreel
9. Silks And Satins - by Peter Yorke was the theme tune for Emergency Ward 10. Emergency – Ward 10 is a British television series shown on ITV between 1957 and 1967. Like The Grove Family, a series shown by the BBC between 1954 and 1957, Emergency – Ward 10 is considered to be one of British television's first major soap operas.
10. March - Dunn, Vivian & Light Music Society Orchestra  This piece is the theme of another medical programme Dr. Finlay's Case Book
11. Barwick Green - by Arthur Wood is used as the theme song for the Archers a radio programme that has been in continuous broadcast since 1950.  It would be on in my house where my mother would listen to the problems of a rural English family.  It still is going strong on BBC 4 and has Internet listeners of over one million. 
12. Runaway Rocking Horse - is a piece written by Edward White who ran a ballroom orchestra in Bristol after he had served in the RAF during the war.
13. Girl From Corsica - written by Trevor Duncan. In 1959, he composed his two most famous works The Girl From Corsica and the Little Suite. The first of these was used as the theme music for the BBC Television serial of Francis Durbridge's The Scarf; the opening March from the second was used as the signature tune for Dr. Finlay's Casebook.
14. Non Stop - by John Malcolm was the theme tune for ITN news.
15. Skyscraper Fantasy - by Donald Phillips. Skyscraper Fantasy was probably his best-known work, although its transatlantic style sounded more like the work of an American composer, than a Londoner 
16. Headless Horseman - by Ron Goodwin was a light music composition that Goodwin is most known by 
17. On A Spring Note - written by Sidney Torch is the composer's most recognizable piece. The piece On A Spring Note is considered to be one of Torch's best works and is still regularly played and recorded by Modern Cinema Organists. In 1953 the BBC decided that it needed a new programme whose brief was: "to help people relax after the week's hard work and put them in the right mood for a happy weekend". With Sidney Torch's full participation, the formula for "Friday Night Is Music Night" was devised - with such foresight that the programme survives to this very day. The BBC Concert Orchestra had been formed the previous year, and Torch conducted them for almost twenty years in this series, until his retirement in 1972.
18. Sea Songs March - by Ralph Vaughn Williams was the theme song for a British comedy about an overweight school boy Billy Bunter at Greyfriars school.
File:Floreat Greyfriars.jpg

19. PC 49 by Ronald Hanmer was the theme of the show PC 49
Brian Reece as PC 49 & Joy Shelton as Joan
20. Canadian In Mayfair - Composed by Angela Morley but was born as Wally Stott but ended up as Anglela Morley.  She underwent a sex change operation in 1972. The piece was written as a tribute to Robert Farnon her mentor.  She also wrote the music for Dallas and Dynasty.   
21. Dancer At The Fair -Written by John Fortis. Not much known. 
22. Las Vegas - by Laurie Johnson was the theme for the show Animal MagicJohnson also wrote the theme for Moonraker.

23. Starlight Roof Waltz - By George MelachrinoMelachrino died by falling asleep in his bathtub and drowning at the age of 56.
24. Evensong - by H. Easthope Martin.  Martin, born in Stourport, studied piano, organ, harmony and composition (with Coleridge-Taylor) at Trinity College London. His Evensong, variously arranged for piano, organ and orchestra, became very popular, but apart from An Old Time Tune which also appeared in various versions, the posthumously published Souvenirs for piano and a few other piano solos, the bolero Castanets, for violin and piano, and Two Eastern Dances for orchestra premiered by Sir Henry Wood at the Proms, his output was primarily for the voice: anthems, such as Holiest Breathe an Evening Blessing and Holy Spirit Come O Come, and songs. 
25. Knightsbridge - written by Eric Coates was the theme tune for In Town Tonight   In Town Tonight was a BBC radio programme broadcast on Saturday evening from 1933 to 1960. It was an early example of the chat show, originally presented by Eric Maschwitz.
Its theme music was the Knightsbridge March by Eric Coates. Its introductory sequence had a voice crying "Stop" to interrupt the sound of busy central London, before an announcer said "Once more we stop the mighty roar of London's traffic ..." At the end of the programme the voice would say "Carry on, London".

Well Happy Wednesday.  England drew today.  Another example of the great manager.