The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13966   Message #2771831
Posted By: GUEST
23-Nov-09 - 11:33 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Icy Acres (Colin Wilkie)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Icy Acres (Colin Wilkie)
Well, folks, it's a wee bit of an ancient thread by now, but nonetheless gratifying to be able to wrap it up with a really nice mail I received from Mike Leyland which clears up any questions I had about the song, and who gracefully answered yes when asked if I could post his mail to me on this site:

Hello Colin, I was speaking to a friend recently regarding Icy Acres and he sent me some comments from the Mudcat forum dated 2004 and 2006. You mentioned in 2004 that Marske Fishermen‚s Choir had recorded it and, amongst other things, you did not receive credit for the composition. Kipper Tranter the web master for the choir apologised and said that the Musical Director Bill Porritt would get in touch to explain. I am not sure if Bill ever did get in touch with you. However, I would like to take this opportunity to explain all.
So, to make a short story long...
In the mid 80‚s I listened to folk music on the radio and I would quite often record a programme in the hopes finding a good song that would fit my repertoire. One such song was Icy Acres. Unfortunately, there was a lot of interference during the programme and some words were inaudible, together with everything after the 3rd chorus. Consequently, I had to put in my own words to fill the gaps and I never knew if there were any more verses after the 3rd chorus. I learned the song arranged the guitar and always enjoyed singing it. In 1984 I joined Marske Fishermen‚s Choir and within a couple of weeks formed a group with 5 other choir members (Kipper and Bill included) and performed as Slipway. We performed as a group in our own right and would also perform a set during choir concerts while the rest of the choir had a beer break. As Slipway, we decided to sing Icy Acres and I explained to the rest of the lads that I was not sure if the song might actually be longer than we think.
We tried to find out who wrote it but a lot of people had not even heard of it before I sang it. Today, with all the technological wizardry we have all the information we want at our fingertips and there is very little that is a mystery for long. This was not so in the 80‚s. One member of Slipway was Gren Stubley, a good friend who sadly joined the Heavenly Choir in 2005. During practice one evening I started singing Icy Acres and before I got to the last chorus Gren held up a piece of paper in front of me which said...

„Last verse

Soon we‚ll enter Whitby harbour
Haul our catch onto the quay
Spend a short time with our families
Then my boys return to sea‰

I continued singing and included the extra verse and it seemed to flow quite well, so there it stayed. The idea to change „weary‰ to „ Whitby‰ was also Gren‚s idea as Whitby is only a few miles down the road and we did a lot of singing in and around the Whitby area. It did make the song a little bit more personal.

In 1987 Marske Fishermen‚s Choir decide to record another album and Slipway was asked to record 2 tracks for the album. We did not know whom to credit for Icy Acres so felt it prudent to go along the „traditional‰ path. There was never any intention of claiming Icy Acres as a traditional Whitby whaling song, the sleeve notes say: „Recalls Whitby‚s fame as a whaling port in the eighteen hundreds and reflects the hardships endured on the ice-bound seas of Greenland‰

I left the choir in 1997 so was unaware that you had been in touch even though I am still in contact with some choir members!
I hope this all makes sense and shows that no malice was intended by either audaciously adding a verse or not giving you credit for your work.   

Incidentally, I still have in my vinyl collection the 1st LP I ever bought, back in 1967, the one that opened my eyes to folk music. „SHANTIES The Twelve Buccaneers with Colin Wilkie and Shirley Hart‰

Kindest regards, Mike Leyland

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