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Songs about iron foundries?

Valmai Goodyear 28 Jun 08 - 09:27 AM
Lawrence B 28 Jun 08 - 10:15 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 28 Jun 08 - 10:21 AM
GUEST 28 Jun 08 - 11:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jun 08 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Andy 28 Jun 08 - 12:05 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 08 - 12:41 PM
Muswell Hillbilly 28 Jun 08 - 12:47 PM
Valmai Goodyear 28 Jun 08 - 01:50 PM
peregrina 28 Jun 08 - 04:04 PM
Art Thieme 28 Jun 08 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,Pete 28 Jun 08 - 04:51 PM
Fliss 28 Jun 08 - 05:13 PM
Betsy 29 Jun 08 - 06:36 AM
Valmai Goodyear 29 Jun 08 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,baz parkes 29 Jun 08 - 07:56 AM
Betsy 29 Jun 08 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 29 Jun 08 - 09:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jun 08 - 10:03 AM
pavane 30 Jun 08 - 05:47 AM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Jun 08 - 06:16 AM
Mark Dowding 30 Jun 08 - 06:49 AM
Mark Dowding 30 Jun 08 - 06:51 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 30 Jun 08 - 07:35 AM
Sailor Ron 30 Jun 08 - 07:57 AM
Valmai Goodyear 30 Jun 08 - 08:11 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 30 Jun 08 - 09:27 AM
Valmai Goodyear 30 Jun 08 - 09:46 AM
Valmai Goodyear 30 Jun 08 - 03:05 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 01 Jul 08 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,HughM 01 Jul 08 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,HughM 01 Jul 08 - 08:12 AM
Dave Sutherland 01 Jul 08 - 12:44 PM
Jack Campin 01 Jul 08 - 07:19 PM
Valmai Goodyear 02 Jul 08 - 03:50 AM
GUEST,Stag 31 Mar 13 - 10:18 PM
Seamus Kennedy 01 Apr 13 - 02:27 AM
GUEST,JHW 01 Apr 13 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Gerry 02 Apr 13 - 06:04 AM
alanabit 02 Apr 13 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,guest 02 Apr 13 - 10:06 AM
Mr Red 02 Apr 13 - 11:32 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Apr 13 - 11:45 AM
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Subject: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 09:27 AM

The Spare Parts concertina band is looking for traditional or at least old songs on the subject of iron foundries, preferably in Sussex. There are plenty about steel mills and blacksmiths, but iron founding, casting and the assembly of iron structures such as piers and bandstands seem not to have been celebrated in song.

We need the songs to go with magic lantern slides and engravings from 1832 onwards, when John Every's Phoenix Ironworks opened in Lewes.

Has anyone got any bright ideas about where to look?

Many thanks,

Valmai


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Subject: Lyr Add: TURNING STEEL
From: Lawrence B
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 10:15 AM

The closest to such a theme that I know of is a song, "Turning Steel."

I learned it from Dick Holdstock. It is on his CD, Winter in the Woods
For information go to:
http://www.dickholdstock.com/discography.html

Below are the lyrics.

TURNING STEEL

You wake up in the morning; the dawn's as black as night.
Your mother's shouting above stairs and you know she's winning the fight.
Well, you best venture out of bed, me lad, 'cause you know it's getting late.
Then down the stairs and up the street and through the factory gate.

chorus:
Turning steel, how do you feel, as in the chuck you spin?
If you felt like me, you'd roll right out and never turn again.

Wet and bleak the morning, as you squeeze in through the gate,
As you clock in, the bell will ring; eight hours is your fate.
Off comes your coat all wet and damp and "Right lads" is the cry.
With an eye on the lathe and the other on the clock, you'll wish that time would fly.

chorus:

The gaffer's walking down the shop and so it's work you must.
The dizzy, grinding, groaning metal, the hot air and the dust.
But I'm often thinking of my girl while walking through the park
While gazing at the blooming steel and a million flying sparks.

chorus:

Old Tom Black last Friday his final bell did ring.
With his hair as white as his face beneath, and his oily sunken skin.
Well he's made a speech and he's bid farewell to a lifetime working here
As I shook his hand I knew that he had labored fifty years.

chorus:

And when at last me time it comes, and I can leave this place,
I'll walk out past the charge hand's desk and I'll never turn me face.
Out through them gates into the sun, I'll leave this place behind
With but one regret for the lads I've left to carry on the grind.

chorus:


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 10:21 AM

Hi Valmai
Until recently, I worked in a steelworks and looked for songs on the steel industry in a number of references. It appears that there is very little to be found and most of those are of recent origin.
Try Roy Palmer's book A Touch of the Times for Humphrey Hardfeatures Description of Cast Iron Inventions from 1822, Oldham Workshops, Dalesman's Litany, Saturday Night etc                                          
Regards
Bill


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 11:49 AM

The two best ones I know are 'Steelos' and 'Vulcan and Lucifer' by John Tmas and Barry Coope.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:04 PM

There does seem to be very little, and references are usually to the larger ironworking areas (by the same token, mining songs rarely refer to the Kent or Hampshire coalfields) but the 'Cast Iron' song in Palmer that Bill mentions isn't regionally specific and does have a tune. There is a longer text at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, together with another song, mentioned but not printed by Palmer:

A Cast Iron Song & The Cast Iron Man

Nothing at all about foundries and the like so far as I can see, apart from Terrible boiler explosion ... at Ravensdale ironworks, near Tunstall, though of course that's in Staffordshire.

There are probably plenty of modern songs on related subjects; you may have to fall back on those.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:05 PM

Don't know if this will be any use to you Valmai, but Ewan Mc Coll wrote a song called (I think) My Old Man. It starts with the lines
       'My old man was a good old man'
       Worked at the moulding trade
       In the heat and dust of the iron foundry
       My old man was made
       Down on his knees in the moulding sand
       He wore his trade like a company brand
       He was one of the sack-cloth smoky band
       Yes that was my old man'

Think that's right, and the song goes on to say how the drudgery of the foundry killed the old man, but not his spirit.
Suggest you look it up and see if it's what you need.

Best of luck

Regards

Andy


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Subject: Lyr Add: DESCRIPTION OF CAST-IRON INVENTIONS
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:41 PM

This was researched for the Critics Group album 'Waterloo-Peterloo'
Jim Carroll

HUMPHREY HARDFEATURES DESCRIPTION OF CAST-IRON INVENTIONS
This wryly humorous song is very reminiscent of our present-day fears that we will eventually be entombed under an ever-growing pile of multi-coloured plastic artifacts. In 1784 Cort invented the puddling process which enabled coke to be used as fuel in all the stages of iron-making. From then on the iron industry expanded rapidly and iron was used for an increasing variety of objects. At Coalbrookdale, the window-sills and tombstones were made of iron. John Wilkinson, known as 'Iron Mad Wilkinson', was iron's greatest propagandist. He left instructions that he was to be buried in an iron coffin.

1        Since cast-iron is now all the rage,
And scarce any thing's now made without it;
As I live in this cast-iron age,
I mean to say something about it.
Here's cast-iron coffins and carts,
Cast-iron bridges and boats,
Corn-factors with cast-iron hearts,
That I'd hang up in cast-iron coats.

2        Iron bedsteads have long been in use,
With cast-iron they now pave our streets,
Each tailor has a cast-iron goose,
And we soon shall have cast-iron sheets;
Tommy Whalebone has grown quite a blade,
So dextrous and clever his hand is,
Swears he soon shall have excellent trade
Making cast-iron stays for the dandies.

3        We have cast-iron gates and lamp-posts,
Cast-iron mortars and mills too;
And our enemies know to their cost
We have plenty of cast-iron pills too.
Old Boggle's as rich as a Jew,
Whose wife kicks up a terrible row, Sir,
Saying 'Pray Mr. Founder can't you
Make a cast-iron tongue for my spouse, Sir?'

4        We have cast-iron fenders and grates,
Cast-iron pokers and tongs, Sir,
And we soon shall have cast-iron plates,
And cast-iron small-clothes 'ere long, Sir,
Or, should any mischievous jade,
Wish her dear hubby's head to adorn, Sir,
'Twill be easy to have a pair made,
Of beautiful cast-iron horns, Sir.

5        Now my cast-iron song's at an end,
I hope you'll not take it amiss, Sir.
May your plaudits my efforts attend,
My heart sure would burst if you hiss, Sir,
I pray, my kind friends don't say nay,
For if I'm not out of my latitude,
I your goodness shall never repay,
With such feeling as cast-iron gratitude.


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Subject: Lyr Add: STEELOS + VULCAN AND LUCIFER (John Tams)
From: Muswell Hillbilly
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 12:47 PM

STEELOS
John Tams

I 'ad no choice, and if I 'ad, I'd still 'av chosen steel.
They can do their worst agenst us. They'll not change the way we feel.
Me father's father did it and I know it's all but gone.
There were a 100,000 of us along the Rother and the Don.

CHORUS: Goin' down to Steelo's, get mesen a start.
Dunna ler it cobble. It'll tear the place apart.
Catch it as it's comin', throw the bugger back,
Keep your tongs upon the metal and your eyes upon the track.

I got a start at Steelo's. Me dad put in a word.
His dad 'ad done the same for 'im. That's how the work got shared.
The mill roared like a dragon's den. The Tongmen prove their power
Catchin' white-hot metal comin' 40 mile an hour.

CHORUS: Goin' down to Steelo's, get mesen a start.
Dunna ler it cobble. It'll tear the place apart.
Catch it as it's comin', throw the bugger back,
Keep your tongs upon the metal and your eyes upon the track.

Publishing: Topic Records

VULCAN AND LUCIFER by JOHN TAMS

Vulcan sez to Lucifer, "Tha's fallen into t'neet
It's me as meks this valley ring and keeps these flames aleet".
Lucifer to Vulcan sez, "I'm still the gaffa here
I've signed up another demon and it's 'im you'll come to fear
So it's nowt to do wi' me owd lad." Vulcan sez "I know thee game
I bet Thatcher's got a hand in this." Sez Lucifer "For shame!"
"Come on Lucy, what's the beggar called?" He answered wi a grin
"Maggie sez his name's MacGregor. It wont be t'last you'll hear of 'im."

Publishing: Topic Records


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 01:50 PM

Fascinating stuff: we can certainly make use of some of this.

Bill, Malcolm and Jim's suggestion, 'Humphrey Hardfeatures', turns out to be in in 6/4 time and G minor, which will touch parts other tunes don't reach, but it's worth fighting for. Some of the others may provide material for readings as well or instead. Andy's suggested McColl song looks very appropriate, too.

This is Mudcat at its best. Many thanks, everyone.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: peregrina
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 04:04 PM

Mick Sheehan's song 'The Ballad of Frankie Johnson' from his CD Whiskey Refugees.

It begins 'Oh me name's Frankie Johnson, and at 15 years old
Like a man I walked into the forge...'

words here:here


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 04:33 PM

There are several good ones from Pennsylvania here in the USA. Vivian Richman sang them quite well on her recordings that are still available on Smithsonian Folkways Records.---If you only want songs from Britain I guess it's a moot point.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,Pete
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 04:51 PM

It's a tenuous link but "Man of the Earth" includes the line "Forty years at the ironwork's broken his will"


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Fliss
Date: 28 Jun 08 - 05:13 PM

"Wilkinson was a major force behind the construction in 1779 of an iron bridge, the world's first, across the River Severn at Coalbrookdale. In 1787 Wilkinson launched the first iron barge. His iron obsession reached its peak in the late 1790s, when he paid to have iron windows, a pulpit and other fittings installed into a Methodist chapel in Bradley. He was known as 'Iron-Mad Wilkinson'."

Its his bicentenery and its being celebrated in July 2008 in Broseley, Shropshire, with a pageant and function at his house. Pat Simons from the singing group Cuckoo Oak has set a poem to music for the event, which deals with iron working.

fliss


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Betsy
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 06:36 AM

Graeme Miles - Moulders wedding
Chorus:-
"We didn't throw confetti and we didn't throw no rice,
We threw nuts and screws and a moulders tools and
a workshops old steel vice".
Ron Angel has written a couple of good 'uns also and I cant remember which of them wrote Hard ring of Iron,


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 07:32 AM

That Graeme Miles song could be useful.

I think Richard Grainger wrote Ring of Iron about the ironworks surrounding Middlesborough.

Thanks again!

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,baz parkes
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 07:56 AM

Hi Valmai

Bit far from Sussex, but Jon Raven's Victoria's Inferno had a wealth of stuff related to the Black Country

I don't know if it's still in print, it was by Broadsde Press, which I think was Jon's own publishers.I'd lend you mine,but having just moved house, I haven't a clue where it might be...:-))

Baz


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Subject: Lyr Add: RING OF IRON (Graeme Miles)
From: Betsy
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 09:33 AM

Valmai........not the gentlemen you said
(Cut and pasted from Google !!!! )

RING OF IRON
(Graeme Miles)

Cho: It's all around the town
    All around the town
    It's all around the town
    This hard ring of iron.

There's smoke up in the sky
Smoke up in the sky
There's smoke that's black and chimney stacks
As far as the eye can see

There's shipyards to the north
Chemicals to the south
Factories, stills and rolling mills
Right down to the river's mouth.

But there's fields and pastures green
Fields and pastures green
There's fields and pastures green
Outside this ring of iron

So it's out of town I'm bound
Out of town I'm bound
It's out of town I'm bound
And I'll break this ring of iron.

Copyright Graeme Miles
Song about Middlesborough, on
Teeside, North East England.
RP

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 09:36 AM

Stan Roger's did a song called The Puddler's Song.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jun 08 - 10:03 AM

The Graham Miles song posted above was presumably originally copied from the DT: Ring of Iron.

In an old thread here is Ron Angel's Steelmen, but it's set in Teesside.

The MacColl song is in the DT: My Old Man

Raven (Victoria's Inferno) comments that, while other industries produced plenty of songs, 'The iron industry remains, by contrast, silent.' He includes only two: 'Cast Iron', already mentioned (again taken from Palmer), and a piece -without tune- in praise of the Black Country ironmaster John Wilkinson.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: pavane
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 05:47 AM

The last verse of this may be useful, but sorry, no tune.

The song of steam

"I blow the bellows, I forge the steel"


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 06:16 AM

Was steel ever made in 19th century Sussex iron foundries, I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 06:49 AM

MacColl's "Old Man" wasn't killed by the drudgery of the job - he loved it! - it was the fact that the bosses didn't want him anymore "They gave him his cards, said, 'Things are slack, We've got a machine can learn the knack of doing your job, so don't come back' - The end of my old man"

Peter Bond's song "Category D" is about the closing of Iron ore mining villages after the ore has been worked out and his song "Sticks and Stones" is about the lung disease that workers got after inhaling the iron ore dust.
Not foundary songs as such but may be of interest.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 06:51 AM

Sorry - can't spell "foundry"!
Mark


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRASS & IRON (Robin Madge)
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 07:35 AM

Is this any use to you?
I wrote it about the small foundries that used to exist in Watchet, Somerset.

BRASS & IRON.
Robin Madge © 1985


CH. Brass and iron, smoke and fire,
Flames are rising ever higher.
Brass and iron, smoke and fire,
Watch the sparks fly to the sky.

If you come walking down our street
You'll hear the hammer's steady beat.
The sound, the smell, the light, the heat,
The foundry it is working.

There's a lad that stands by the foundry door,
Drawn by the smell and the bellows roar.
He comes to watch the metal pour
And watch the sparks go dancing.

The pattern maker stands alone,
Gives his chisel one last hone,
Then turns away from the grinding stone
To carve the wooden master.

The moulders work away with sand.
Around the pattern it is rammed,
Then on one side it's put to stand
To await the molten metal.

It's here are made those cogs and gears
That serve the miller through the years.
The caster stands in the heat that sears
To pour the molten metal.

If work at the foundry you should try
You'll find it makes you awful dry,
And in the boozer by-and-by
You'll drink away your wages.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 07:57 AM

You may wish to consider Kipling's 'Cold iron', and his other one, I can't remember the title, but about 'the buyer of the blade', which is about Sussex irin workers.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 08:11 AM

Again, I'm extremely grateful for these very useful suggestions. Kipling is always worth some research for Sussex subjects.

Robin, what tune did you use for your very well-made song? Byker Hill and Donkey Riding spring to mind. I'm usually a bit wary about written songs, but this one feels authentic.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 09:27 AM

I'll have to send you an MP3 somehow, I've no internet at home at the moment as we've just moved house! I could post you a CD perhaps.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 09:46 AM

Cor! A CD would be best if it's not too much trouble. The address is 20, St. John's Terrace, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2DL. Make sure you include your address so that I can reimburse you.

Thanks again,

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 03:05 PM

Sorry, Robin, I should have said - we do read music, so the dots would be fine and undoubtedly the easiest and cheapest way of getting the tune to me.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 07:51 AM

You may read 'em but I don't write 'em I'm afraid:)

Strange thing; I can read them to sing from but not to play from (Anglo), while Anne can read them to play from (English), but relies on memory to sing from.

Should have a CD on its way to you shortly, once we've found where we put the envelopes, stamps etc. that all got put somewhere safe when we moved last weekend.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 08:02 AM

There was a song about iron or steelworkers needing a beer break in the recent BBC radio ballads. I can't remember the details unfortunately but perhaps one of you out there will.
See also the Swan-Necked Valve in the database.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 08:12 AM

Submitted too soon again!
    By way of explanation, the "parting" referred to in the song is where the top and bottom halves of the mould meet. Sometimes this is visible on plastic bottles, where you can see a line running up one side and down the other.
Ideally you need to find a Glaswegian foundryman to explain the song to you. For what it's worth, a moulder from Yorkshire said he thought a "drag" was a drawback piece, i.e. a third section of the mould which could be slid in and out, and that "snug" meant a snag, i.e. a piece of extraneous material which some practical joker had thrown into the parting, but this he wasn't sure about.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 12:44 PM

Although it is all about the mining industry the chorus of "Geordie Black" mentions "We'll beat them all for iron doon at Hawke's" - a foundry mentioned in a couple of North East songs (The Bonnie Gateshead Lass being the other that comes to mind)


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 07:19 PM

Try Bulgarian Orthodox chant for an unexpected connection. One of the most amazing buildings in Istanbul is a small Bulgarian Orthodox church which was prefabricated in Germany in cast iron sections, in classic Victorian Gothic style. It's a strangely atmospheric place. They sell a CD of chant at the souvenir desk but I'm not sure if any of it was actually recorded there. The acoustic is very good.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 02 Jul 08 - 03:50 AM

Robin, that's very good of you, but don't add to the stress of moving. Give yourselves time to settle in before digging into the archives. I'll enjoy the tune all the more when it reaches me.

Jack: an interesting suggestion. Architectural ironwork is fascinating and beautiful stuff. John Every's Phoenix Ironworks made, as well as the bandstands and piers I've mentioned, a magnificent cast iron cricket pavillion for Sheffield Park in Sussex. It was melted down as part of the war effort, alas, but photos show it looking like some sort of royal Thai summerhouse with a riot of arches and tracery.

We can't get away with Bulgarian chant for this particular event, but the bandstands will allow us to play some brass band music; it goes well on concertinas.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,Stag
Date: 31 Mar 13 - 10:18 PM

You might try this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDf2qpLQrNc


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIRE AND STEEL (Pegritz & Kennedy)
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 02:27 AM

Fire and Steel    (Words & Music: Bob Pegritz & Seamus Kennedy)


With the call of the locks on the dark Allegheny
The riverman's life is a journey that's long;
Good-by to the wife and the kids gently sleeping
As he leaves for this icy-cold mistress at dawn

A riverman looks upon towns that are silent
In the still misty haze where the barges cut through
Passing places where fathers sweat blood making iron
As he navigates memories and joys of his youth

Chorus: So I sing of this place where our fathers before us
Sang songs as they worked in the mine and the mill
Where the Three Rivers meet, hear their legacy's chorus
In a place that was born out of fire and steel

The pit is a place where lamplight is sunshine
And the gold that is mined is the color of night.
Every mother's son's life has been played out in coal dust
And sent down the river in the clear morning light.

There's a place where the coal and the iron are mingled
And the roars of the city harmonize with the din
And the prayers of the men in this Bessemer cathedral
Are hot metal hymns singing out from within.

Chorus: So I sing of this place where our fathers before us
Sang songs as they worked in the mine and the mill
Where the Three Rivers meet, hear their legacy's chorus
In a place that was born out of fire and steel

There's Maz and Clemente and Mean Joe and Bettis,
Our heroes and legends who made Pittsburgh real;
The children of people who crossed the wide ocean
To make a new life in their City of Steel.

There's the North side, the South side, the Strip and there's Bloomfield,
Connected by bridges and history past;
So raise an Iron City to the people of Pittsburgh,
May their days run forever and their memories last.

Chorus: So I sing of this place where our fathers before us
Sang songs as they worked in the mine and the mill
Where the Three Rivers meet, hear their legacy's chorus
In a place that was born out of fire and steel.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,JHW
Date: 01 Apr 13 - 05:59 AM

Graeme Miles RIP
'The Iron Moulder's Wedding'


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 06:04 AM

Five years too late, and not trad, but Australian group The Roaring Forties recently put out a CD called We Made the Steel, songs based on 15 years' work by one of the band members in the steel industry in New South Wales.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: alanabit
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 07:35 AM

It's a shame I missed this one at the time. For a brief time I worked at William Lee Malleable in Dronfield. I recorded this one on my first album a few years back:
                        Men of Steel

Six o'clock this morning ? your hands are chapped and chill
The driver is still yawning as the bus rolls up the hill
He takes your fare without a word ? slips the handbrake pulls the wheel
We are the men of steel

Your locker holds your helmet, ear muffs, gloves and specs
On through to the belt ? you look like a space cadet
The monster wakes, the whole world shakes ? it clatters, groans and squeals
We are the men of steel

The molten iron gorges into coal dust and sand cast
To cooling and to forges ? the belt moves on so fast
The heat, the dirt, the noise ? don't make our senses reel
We are the men of steel

To hand you soap and towel ? the shower man is there
Dust and sand inside you foul your throat and pubic hair
Dirt so deep inside you ? no shower or bath can heal
We are the men of steel

We made the pins and divots ? the clasps and iron bars
We made the blocks and rivets ? the nuts and bolts of cars
And what before was iron ore is heard as church bells peal
We are the men of steel

Now in the foundry's silence the ghostly robot hand
Replaced the daily violence ? where people used to stand
A graveyard of hard labour ? shut tight with fate's cold seal
We were the men of steel


In passing, I should mention that one very distinguished person, who used to work in an iron foundry, is Lenny Henry. I heard him talking about it on TV one day - and from the detail he gave, he was obviously not bullshitting. I can add from my own short experience that it is not an episode, which I would wish to repeat!


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 10:06 AM

Graeme Miles wrote Ring of Iron


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 11:32 AM

I wrote one about my Grandfather who was a foreman coremaker. Legend has it he cast parts for the Sydney Harbour bridge, and when I looked around it finally found a series of blocks between the forged hinge and the dressed stone that sat above the bedrock. Each layer was bigger to spread the load that the bedrock could withstand.
The reason his foundary cast the blocks is because they specialised in bridge work and they cast quality blocks that didn't have voids or fissures.
The song is Push on the Shovel (look for the title) but it doesn't say much about foundary work per se.


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Subject: RE: Songs about iron foundries?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Apr 13 - 11:45 AM

One of the small handful of 'personal' songs written by MacColl
Jim Carroll

MY OLD MAN (1986)
One day, while walking through the park on my way home from the library, I found myself following close behind my father and, for the first time, noticing how changed he had become. His broad shoulders had assumed the stoop of defeat. His hair was shot with iron-grey streaks and his skin, which had given him the swarthy hue of the southerner, had turned ashen. The biggest change, however, was in his walk. Gone the brisk purposeful step that I had always associated with him. It had been replaced by the slow saunter of the permanently unemployed. As I drew closer to him, I noticed that I topped him by a couple of inches and I experienced a sudden fierce surge of protectiveness.
?Ewan MacColl, Journeyman

My old man was a good old man, skilled in the moulding trade;
In the stinking heat of the iron foundry my old man was made.
Down on his knees in the moulding sand, he wore his trade like a company brand.
One of the Cyclops' smoky band, yes, that was my old man.

My old man wasn't really old, it was just that 1 was young,
And anybody over twelve years old was halfway to the tomb;
He was loyal to his workmates all his life, gave his pay packet to his wife,
Had a few jars on a Saturday night, yes, that was my old man.

My Old man was a union man, fought all his days;
He understood the system and was wise to the boss's ways.
He said, "If you want what's yours by right, you'll have to struggle with all your might?
They'll rob you blind if you don't fight, son!" That was my old man.

My old man was a proud old man, at home on the foundry floor
Until the day they paid him off and showed him to the door;
They gave him his cards, said, "Things are slack, we've got a machine can learn the knack
Of doing your job so don't come back." The end of my old man.

My old man he was fifty-one, what was he to do?
A craftsman moulder on the dole in 1932 . . .
He felt he'd given what he could give, so he did what thousands of others did:
Abandoned hope and the will to live?they killed him, my old man.

My old man he is dead and gone, now I am your old man;
And my advice to you, my son, is to fight back while you can.
Watch out for the man with the silicon chip, hold on to your job with a good firm grip,
'Cause if you don't you'll have had your chips, the same as my old man.


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