The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #158793   Message #3758658
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
15-Dec-15 - 06:59 PM
Thread Name: Xmas Carols from North-East England
Subject: RE: Xmas Carols from North-East England
Eric Boswell was born Eric Simpson in Millfield, Sunderland, son of a tailor and a seamstress. He studied piano from age seven and later organ under Clifford Hartley, organist of Bishopwearmouth Church (now Sunderland Minster). After degrees in Electrical Engineering from Sunderland Technical College and Physics from Birkbeck College, London, Boswell joined Marconi as a scientist working with radar before becoming a Physics lecturer.

Meanwhile, he spent his leisure time writing serious piano music and light songs. Some of Boswell's 1970s ballads such as Tyneside's Where I Come From, Sweet Waters of Tyne and But It's Mine had joined the likes of The Blaydon Races and The Lambton Worm in the canon of northern traditional songs, and are still regularly performed in the region's folk clubs.

In 1959, while hawking his more commercial songs to London's Tin Pan Alley music publishers, Boswell encountered Gracie Fields at the music publisher Chappell who she was visiting to seek a song to revive her career. Boswell offered her Little Donkey, his telling of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, and Fields' recording, and another by The Beverley Sisters, made the song the Christmas hit of 1959, being No. 1 in the then dominant UK Sheet Music Chart from mid November until New Year. The song was a hit again at Christmas 1960 for Nina & Frederik.

In 1970, Boswell wrote another Christmas song Boy From Bethlehem for his new publishers William Elkin. Although always in the shadow of Little Donkey, Boy From Bethlehem was recorded by the London Children's Choir and like its predecessor is often sung in British schools at Christmas. And there was a third song, How Many Days To Christmas Eve.

From Wikipedia