The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55979 Message #3875830
Posted By: Brian Peters
08-Sep-17 - 08:43 AM
Thread Name: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
Thanks, Guest, for the compliment. The last verse isn't a case of the author trying to add a dose of artificial misery: the song was written about Keith's close friend Henry Atkinson, who suffered from emphysema in retirement. I suspect the whole point of the 'kicks the sheep' verse is to set up the listener for a fall when the final verse hits. The first couple of verses actually paint a pretty grim picture: the noise of the looms was terrible and made some workers deaf.
I remember James Fagan hearing me sing the song and express shock because his family had only ever sung the first four verses and he'd no idea how it really ended.
It's a great song, and I've often commented when introducing it how Keith Marsden shared Ewan MacColl's skill for capturing workers' speech and thus conveying authenticity. 'Sweating on a seek-oil dam' is a terrific line, using a term for a lubrication device on a loom that only a mill worker would know.
I might add that my wife's family still live mostly in Morley, and my later mother-in-law Joyce once worked in Crank mill (which is still standing, unlike some of the other ones).