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info/songs: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter

Related threads:
Lyr Req: On Morecambe Bay (Kevin Littlewood) (49)
Morecambe Bay Tragedy (82)
Songs about Morecambe Bay tragedy (2)
Lyr Req/Add: Rainbow Warriors (various songs) (19)


GUEST,Joe Moran 04 May 07 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Joe Moran 04 May 07 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Dylan O'Thomas 04 May 07 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,sandgrounder 04 May 07 - 09:54 AM
LesB 04 May 07 - 11:17 AM
Schantieman 04 May 07 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,pugetunsound 05 May 07 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Joe Moran 05 May 07 - 06:09 PM
LesB 06 May 07 - 09:06 AM
Susanne (skw) 07 May 07 - 08:49 AM
LesB 07 May 07 - 07:17 PM
GUEST,Kevin Littlewood 08 May 07 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,PS from Kevin Littlewood 08 May 07 - 08:56 AM
Susanne (skw) 08 May 07 - 08:43 PM
GUEST,Kevin 09 May 07 - 04:43 AM
Susanne (skw) 09 May 07 - 09:28 AM
LesB 12 May 07 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,sandgrounder2 13 Oct 10 - 02:05 AM
GUEST,Joe Moran 13 Oct 10 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Sandgrounder 13 Oct 10 - 09:42 AM
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Subject: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Joe Moran
Date: 04 May 07 - 05:01 AM

Kevin Littlewood is a singer/songwriter resident at the Bothy Folk Song Club in Southport, UK ( 20 miles north of Liverpool). I've known of Kevin for years and I've heard him perform some very fine versions of tradional songs, but I wasn't aware of his abilities as a songwriter until this week. A friend told me that he'd heard a recording of Kevin's played on Radio Merseyside last Saturday and he was raving about it. Well, I tuned into the internet rerun of the show and I too was mightily impressed. Kevin's song is called "On Morecambe Bay" and it is a classic. It is beautifully written and performed, and tells the tragic story of 23 Chinese cockel-pickers who were drowned in the waters of Morecambe Bay( 40 odd miles north of Liverpool) a few years ago. It takes a lot to grab my attention these days, but this song is so powerful. Ewan MaColl or Stan Rodgers couldn't have done a better job. I'll try to organise a link to the recording.


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Joe Moran
Date: 04 May 07 - 05:10 AM

These instructions may seem a bit complicated but please have a go! Click on link below.
When the Radio Merseyside page opens, look half way down on the right-hand side and click on the words "listen again". When the new page opens up, you will find a "A to Z" listing on programmes in the middle of the page. Find " On the Beat" and click on it. The programme will then start to play on the left of the screen. There is a fast forward facility. Use this to go to 1hr 15mins into the programme. At this point, a recording by Ralph McTell should be playing. After the song finishes there is a short discussion about the song. Kevin's recording starts at about 1hr 19mins and is followed by some comments about the song.

Link to recording


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Dylan O'Thomas
Date: 04 May 07 - 08:04 AM

I started a thread a while back about a very fine song called "Rainbow Warrior, and it turned out it was written by Kevin. If you use the link to that thread, you will find a lengthy posting from Kevin. If the link doesn't work, just type "Rainbow Warrior" in search.

Kevin Littlewood link


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,sandgrounder
Date: 04 May 07 - 09:54 AM

I've known Kevin for years. I wouldn't describe him as a singer/songwriter because that would give the wrong impression. I think of him as a singer of traditional songs who just happens to be also a great songwriter. If you like, he's more like Ewan MaColl than Richard Thompson. His "On Morecambe Bay" is very moving, and beautifully put together.


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: LesB
Date: 04 May 07 - 11:17 AM

Kevin doesn't write many songs, But those that see the light of day are exceptional. Apart from the afore mentioned "On Morecambe Bay", & "Rainbow Warrior", he also wrote "Women of Greenham" which went the rounds a few years ago.
Kevin sings "On Morecambe Bay", on the new C.D. "Residents Lounge", by the Bothy residents. Samples from this & details of how to obtain a copy (only £5), will shortly appear on both the bothy's website The Bothy's myspace page.
Or you could come along to the club yourself at 8pm any Sunday. To The Park Golf Club,Park Rd West, Southport, PR9 0JS, This Sunday the guests are Cockersdale.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: Schantieman
Date: 04 May 07 - 12:21 PM

Fine sensitive performer and inventive songwriter with an excellent facility with metre rhyme and that whatever it is that makes his songs so much better than.......well, almost anyone really.   Definitely in the same league as the the late, great Keith Marsden though very different from him.

I accidentally found myself listening to radio Merseyside a week or three ago and I thought to myself, "I know that voice." It was Kevin talking about his life and music on Stan Ambrose's programme.   Very well worth listening to.

I daresay Kevin will be at the club this Sunday. Speaking of Keith....


Steve


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,pugetunsound
Date: 05 May 07 - 07:44 AM

Now that's a great song! And, I love that very English voice. Of course, there is a long tradition of great songs about disasters at sea, coal mines etc. Even if Kevin's recording doesn't travel far( and it should!),I bet some established performer picks up on this wonderful song before long.


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Joe Moran
Date: 05 May 07 - 06:09 PM

The rerun of the Radio Merseyside show featuring Kevin's song is no longer available. I believe Kevin has got a cd in the pipe-line. I hope it gets promoted properly; anyway, I can tell you now, there won't be a finer new song produced on the English folk scene this year!


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: LesB
Date: 06 May 07 - 09:06 AM

A sound clip of "On Morecambe Bay" is now online on the Bothy's my space page Bothy myspace. The Bothy website will take a little longer as I still have to figure out how to get it on. (I've never done sound clips before).
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 07 May 07 - 08:49 AM

30 years ago I bought a compilation album 'Valley Lights'. One of the best songs on it was 'Dulce et Decorum Est', by one Kevin Littlewood, about the Falklands War. A few years later I managed to get my only glimpse of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger at a singing session in a abre and depressing room above a London pub. A floor singer by the name of Kevin Littlewood was given a spot for a couple of songs. I asked him afterwards if he had this song on 'Valley Lights'. With a grin, he nodded and said. 'Oh, was it you who bought it?'

Never heard of him again, but going by that song he is a good songwriter, and I also liked his voice. I certainly wouldn't mind it if he finally got his big break.


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: LesB
Date: 07 May 07 - 07:17 PM

There is now a link to a sound sample on the Bothy website also one to Pete Rimmer's version of "Bob dylan's Dream", I'll be changing the sound files from time to time with clips from The "Residents Lounge" C D.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: LYR ADD: On Morecambe Bay by Kevin Littlewood
From: GUEST,Kevin Littlewood
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:54 AM

Dear Mudcats

Re-       On Morecambe Bay

Sorry, I am not a regular, so didn't see this. This is a bit of a long posting, as it contains the words of the song. (If you sing it it lasts over 5 minutes)

Thankyou all very much for the kind words about the song. It commemorates the events on the night of 5/6 February 2004 when at least 23 Chinese men and women were killed on the cockle beds of Morecambe Bay. One press report mentioned that some of the workers, and their families at home in China, called the area 'devil bay'; the phrase triggered a childhood memory of warnings that there was 'the devil of a tide' there. I wrote this song in solidarity with those who live and work along this coast.

It's always difficult to sing about other people's tragedies; but I thought something should be said about it, and someone should record it. After I'd written it I saw that the film maker Nick Broomfield recently made a film "Ghosts" about this same topic; it was premiered at a film festival abroad and was on TV recently. I believe there are other songs and poems about it, so maybe if you hear them you can put them on the forum.

Below you will find the words and the chords. For the tune, you can get it on the CD which mon ami Les Brown and others mention earlier. I must emphasise that the track is very much a collective endeavour, with harmonies from Bev Sanders and fiddle from Chris Nelson. The CD from which it comes, "Residents' Lounge" is also a collective effort, and on that you can hear another ten songs from the Bothy Folk Club residents.

Here's the song; good luck with it.


On Morecambe Bay

(I play this with a dropped 6th string. The switch from the A minor chord to the A major chord is something which I do in the song, but if it is too fiddly, you can just stay on the A minor I guess. Anything to keep it simple!)

Verse 1.
       Dm
Out beyond the street lamp's empire
Am             Amaj
And the calliope's roar,
Dm
Beyond the thrift, the wrack, the samphire,
Am               A maj
Where the sea betrays the shore,
Dm
I have seen them in the tide's wake,
Gm
As the rain cuts through the spray,
Dm
Figures on the edge of daybreak
       Am            A maj
Walking out on Morecambe Bay

chorus             Dm
        For the tide's the very devil,
               Gm
        It can run you out of breath,
               Dm
        It can race you on the level,
               Am                Amaj
        It can chase you to your death,
                Dm
        Yes the tide's the very devil
                Gm
        And the devil has his day
               Dm             Am      Amaj      Dm                     
        On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

2. Here's the very life to die for,
Here's a life not as it seems,
Sleeping on a foreign floor
Five to a room no space for dreams.
Tempted by the urge to travel,
Strangers in a stranger land,
Now they dig in sand and gravel,
Plastic bags gripped in their hands.

chorus
        For the tide's the very devil,
        It can run you out of breath,
        It can race you on the level,
        It can chase you to your death,
        Yes the tide's the very devil
        And the devil has his day
        On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

3. Letters home with money orders
See how much we earned today;
Tales of crossing Europe's borders,
So we came to Morecambe Bay;
This is where the cockles sleep
In their beds so soft and sound;
This is where our watch we keep
On these weary cockle grounds

chorus
        For the devil's in the tide's flood
        He'll be weighing down your shoes
        He'll be churning up the sea's mud
        This is one race he won't lose
        Yes the tide's the very devil
        And the devil has his day
        On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay


4. I have met them in the markets,
Brushed their arms in grocery queues,
I should have grabbed them by the jacket,
Should have told them what I knew;
Told them what my mother told me
As we paddled in the waves
Never try and race the tide
Across the sands of Morecambe Bay

chorus
        For the devil's in the tide's flood
        He'll be weighing down your shoes
        He'll be churning up the sea's mud
        This is one race he won't lose
        Yes the tide's the very devil
        And the devil has his day
        On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

5. Now I see them in the distance
Laid out in the dawn's hard light,
Helpless in the sea's persistence,
Twenty-three drowned in one night.
Up above in skies so clear
Their phone calls half the world had crossed
'Between the rivers Kent and Keer
We have raced the tide and lost.'

chorus
        For the tide's the very devil,
        It can run you out of breath,
        It can race you on the level,
        It can chase you to your death,
        Yes the tide's the very devil
        And the devil has his day
        On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

6. In Fujian, Xelang, Baihu,
Where they mourn their next of kin,
Where the men with snake tattoos,
Rack up the debts and call them in;
Parents stand, their arms flung wide
As their children drive away,
Heading out to race the tide
Across some foreign bay.

chorus
        For the tide's the very devil,
        It can run you out of breath,
        It can race you on the level,
        It can chase you to your death,
        Yes the tide's the very devil
        And the devil has his day
        On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay
______________________________________________

Regarding the message from Suzanne skw; funnily enough I remember that night! And I do remember talking to you; was it really thirty years ago? I was younger then! Also, I guess I was being a little tongue-in-cheek that night, for Valley Lights was also a compilation of singers living in Wales, and there are some good songs on it including some from the beautiful voice of a good friend from those days, Heather Jones, with whom I was pleased to sing several times when I lived in Cardiff. You can also hear a very 'interesting' version of the Bells of Rhymney by a certain rock band...

best wishes

Kevin


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,PS from Kevin Littlewood
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:56 AM

The phrase the 'weary cockle grounds' comes of course from the old song, the 'weary whaling grounds'.

Thanks

K


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Subject: RE: Lyr add: Dulce et Decorum Est
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:43 PM

Kevin, I'd have to look it up, but I do think it was a few years before I moved to Swansea in 1981. Of course I realised your comment was tongue-in-cheek. There are more good songs on that LP - by Heather Jones, Frank Hennessy, Mabsant, or Rod Thomas, plus a full choral version of 'Bread and Roses' which, unlike the version of 'Bells of Rhymney', is still my favourite.   

IIRR, that night you sang a song about the then unexplained death of Hilda Murrell. Anyway, 'Dulce et Decorum Est' doesn't seem to have been posted. Here it is:

DULCE ET DECORUM EST
(Kevin Littlewood)

Chorus:
Unemployed we joined up
We thought to learn a trade
Seduced by shiny uniforms
ands upon parade
But they fooled us with their fables
They sold the same old story
Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

Where have you been Angelo, where have you been my son
I've been steaming past the Malvinas on the afternoon run
With my comrades and my shipmates on the General Belgrano
When a submarine torpedo hit us square and laid us low
Where have you been Michael, where have you been this day
I've been sailing past the Falklands in the grey mist and sea spray
When the Exocet missile set our main deck all on fire
HMS Sheffield has become my funeral pyre

Where have you been Victor, where have you been my friend
I've been flying over the task force, that's where I met my end
When a Seawolf missile from their ships exploded in my head
I'm officially listed 'missing', I am numbered with the dead
Where have you been David, where have you been my son
I've been bombing o'er Port Stanley, flying out of the sun
When the anti-aircraft barrage set my Harrier ablaze
I crashed into the clifftops in the afternoon haze

What else was there to offer, tell me what else could they do
The pay was good and the adverts said, We'll make a man of you
Well they made men of them all right, men of blood and war
And a meal to feed the fishes off the South Atlantic shore
Argentina's on the rocks and running out of land
Britain's assets slipping through her fingers like sand
What better things to save them than these brave heroic deeds
Fighting for a patch of brown land which no one really needs


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Kevin
Date: 09 May 07 - 04:43 AM

Suzanne, thankyou very much for that transcription; very good of you to take the time, I am touched.

You are right about the thirty years! I believe Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger were having a hard time finding premises, which was why it was a little bit gloomy in that temporary club.

The song about Hilda Murrell is on another SAIN recording, a solo album called 'Rainbow Warriors'/ Kevin Littlewood, which someone mentioned earlier in the thread.

(The last line of Dulce et decorum should read "patch of land"; must get my diction cleaned up!)

Best wishes

Kevin


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 09 May 07 - 09:28 AM

Will be changed, thank you! (The mistake may not be down to your diction but to my hearing ...) And next time I get to Wales I'll look out for that CD. All the best, Susanne


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: LesB
Date: 12 May 07 - 09:47 AM

Kevin dusted off this song & sang it a couple of weeks ago on the anniversary of the Falklands conflict.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,sandgrounder2
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 02:05 AM

Here's a new link to the Morecambe Bay song, performed live.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSpLu6LPu4I


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Subject: RE: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Joe Moran
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 02:19 AM

That's great! Kevin really is a major talent.
Here's a direct link to the Youtube clip.

Kevin on Youtube


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Subject: RE: info/songs: Kevin Littlewood - singer/songwriter
From: GUEST,Sandgrounder
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 09:42 AM

I assume that "On Morecambe Bay" would not be considered for BBC Folk Awards Song of the Year because it "only" appeared on a locally produced cd. Mores the pity!
However, Christy Moore is now singing it in concerts and others will follow.
BTW, Vin Garbutt should consider this song. I'm sure Vin's intense delivery would really suit this number.


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