The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62524   Message #2905318
Posted By: GUEST, Sminky
12-May-10 - 11:51 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Ten Thousand Miles Away
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ten Thousand Miles Away
The following is an extract from Era Magazine, Saturday August 21, 1897:


To the Editor of The Era

Sir - I was very much pleased and interested by the remarks of a correspondent in your last week's issue under the above heading. It affords a singer much gratification to read, after half a century has gone by, that his songs are still alive and of the class that are likely to live forever.

But your correspondent need not go to the British Museum for information about any of the songs he cites. If he refers to a file of The Era from 1871 to 1874, he will find that 'Down in a coal mine' and 'Out in the green fields' are both my songs, the former being written and composed for me by Joseph Bryan Geoghegan, author of 'Men of merry England', 'John Barleycorn', 'Lancashire Witches' etc. It was published by H.D'Alcorn, each title page bearing my picture.

I sang the song for many months at every music hall in London, at Drury Lane Theatre, the Princess's, and at Evans's for four years. Mr.Tony Pastor made the song popular in America, and personally thanked me for permission to use it when we met at Mr.G.W.Moore's garden party when Tony paid his first visit to England - about 1884.

I may add that 'Down in a coal mine' was not forgotten on Jubilee Day, for I was "spotted" in a window by Mr.Payne, of firework fame, who insisted on my singing the old song, and not less than 8,000 persons, who were thickly crowded round Newman Hall's church, joined in the chorus as lustily as the audience did on the first night I sang it in London at Gatti's, in the Westminster-bridge-road.

Yours faithfully,
J.W. Rowley

Following up on the clues from above, I came across this in the same magazine, January 1st, 1871:

Mr.J.W.Rowley, a recent arrival from the provinces, made his bow to an audience at the East of London and achieved great success. He has a nimble pair of feet, and treated his spectators to some step-dancing of the right sort, which was given with ease, grace and artistic finish. He will assuredly take first rank among the Music Hall singers.

His characteristic songs, 'Down in a coal mine' and 'The Donkey Driver', went immensely.

Some interesting facts about the song's origin - and a revised date of composition.