Friday, June 23, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Folk Songs from north-east England

 Cushy Butterfield - Ian Campbell Folk Group
"Geordie Ridley (1834-1864) wrote this very “Northern” alternative to Harry Clifton’s Polly Perkins, borrowing the tune, but replacing Clifton’s romanticism with an altogether earthier feel. Ridley worked in the mines as a boy, but in his late teens he was invalided out and by 1861 had progressed from part-time to full-time work in the pubs and Workers Institutes of the north-east. His songs were published locally and sold in cheap editions. He is mainly remembered for two parodies, this one, and Blaydon Races which according to Steve Roud is loosely based on the American song 'A trip to Brighton.'
"Whilst as time went by, the songs and entertainment provided in music halls across the British Isles became increasingly homogenous, there were regional differences. The north-east of England developed a distinct tradition which initially at least, remained much closer to its pub singing origins."

Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny - Roly Veitch
"The composer of this most popular local song was Joe Wilson 1841 - 1875. Joe is one of the great composers of local songs. He was certainly the most prolific. His book of ‘Songs and Drolleries’ is a feast of dialect materials."

"The Water of Tyne" - Andrea Haines and Blake Morgan

The Bonny Pit Laddie

When The Boat Comes In - Geordie Folk Song ( sung by Bob Fox)
"When The Boat Comes In" (or "Dance Ti Thy Daddy") is a traditional English folk song, originating in North East England. An early source for the lyrics, Joseph Robson's "Songs of the bards of the Tyne", published 1849, can be found on the FARNE archive. In FARNE's notes to the song, it is stated that these lyrics were written by William Watson around 1826.

GEORDIE SONG Lass On The Bankies TRUE STORY from Gateshead North East England
"A Geordie song - Lass On The Bankies. This is a true story from many years ago when I was an apprentice in a large engineering works in Gateshead, North East England.
As a young Geordie teenager, I was looking forward to a bright and exciting future, totally insensitive to my previous generation who had just fought a world war to enable me to have this freedom. It's a simple story and typical of those who were affected by world events that completely overwhelmed them and through no fault of their own were left with personal battles to pick up the pieces of their lives. How must they have felt when they'd sacrificed so much and no one cared?"

Blaydon Races - Jimmy Nail, Tim Healy and Kevin Whately - Sir Bobby Robson Foundation
"Probably the most well known song from the North East. Most will be familiar with it because of its connection with Newcastle United FC. Written by Geordie Ridley and first performed by him in 1862 at Balmbra's Music Hall. The song refers to the Music Hall by name, as the starting point of the trip - "I took the bus from Balmbra's and she was heavy-laden, Away we went along Collingwood Street, that’s on the road to Blaydon.
Balmbra's is still there but it closed in 2014 after a fire destroyed the interior. There are plans to restore it and re-open as a music hall once more. Although when that will be is not known."


Would you like a phrase book for the impenetrable dialect?


Doonhamer said...

Thank you very much for taking the time to assemble that bunch.
Accents and dialect should used and treasured. I love them.

Bruce Charlton said...

Excellent overview!

I grew up with these songs as a South West English child of ex-pat Geordie (well, Pitmatic - mid-Northumbrian coalfield) parents; and have returned-to and lived in Newcastle for nearly all of the past 45 years.

These songs have a strong appeal, even among the most unlikely of people - such as Bryan Ferry who once, in a moment of madness, imperiled his carefully-constructed image as the King of Cool, to record an... *interesting* version of The Lambton Worm.

(Note: This recording comes with a aural Health Warning.)