Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Corpse Way (Allen Miller)

Artful Codger 21 Jun 11 - 05:36 AM
Artful Codger 21 Jun 11 - 10:37 AM
Keith A of Hertford 21 Jun 11 - 11:45 AM
Keith A of Hertford 21 Jun 11 - 11:47 AM
Artful Codger 21 Jun 11 - 02:20 PM
Artful Codger 29 Jun 11 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Tony P 29 Jun 11 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,mg 29 Jun 11 - 05:25 PM
Artful Codger 29 Jun 11 - 10:20 PM
Artful Codger 29 Jun 11 - 10:39 PM
Artful Codger 13 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Allen Miller 16 Jul 14 - 08:02 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 05:36 AM

Does anyone have transcribed lyrics or information on a song called "Corpse Way". The trio Alchemy sings it in this YouTube clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw-akSGYIwU

According to posts by Felicity Currie in this thread (http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=119230#2583933) and another on "Gunnerside Gill", it was recorded by the group Fourum on their album Singing in the Dales (Guardian Music Co GRC95). In the post linked above, Currie transcribed the first verse and refrain as follows:

1. From Keldwheel Walk to Grinton Churchyard
Two days journey and a night
With John Blade's body on our shoulders
Wrapped in linen clean and white

(REFRAIN)
Clean and white, clean and white,
All dressed in linen clean and white.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: CORPSE WAY
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 10:37 AM

Here is my attempt at a transcription from the Alchemy clip, cross-checking place names against Ordnance Survey maps, Google Maps and regional information sites. For the benefit of other non-UKies, I should mention that the song is set in the northern Yorkshire Dales, Richmondshire, UK, east of Kendal and southwest of Darlington. It describes the carrying of a corpse by foot across the Dales to the nearest cemetery, from Keld in the west part to Grinton in the east. The song is also known as "John Blade's Body."

[Deleted per request from Artful Codger. -Joe Offer-]


My transcription of the second line of the second verse is certainly wrong; help appreciated! Of course, corrections to other bits are welcome, too, as well as other versions, source citations--well, you know the drill.

Corpse Way, judging from the song and present day roads, followed the Swale River primarily east and west through the Dales and, roughly at least, correlates to the B6270. However, in the song, the first part of the journey follows a more direct route from Keld to Muker, straight across Kisdon Hill along a path through the Hooker Mill Scar.

According to Peter Robinson, writing in his novel All the Colors of Darkness:
Saint Andrew's, a beautiful, small twelfth-century Norman church with its square tower and arched door porch, was where the Corpse Way ended, Banks remembered.

Before Muker Church was built in 1580, Saint Andrew's had the only consecrated ground in Upper Swaledale, and people had to carry their dead in large baskets all the way from Muker or Keld sometimes, along the Corpse Way to Grinton. At some of the bridges on the way, there were old flat stones that used to act as resting places, where you could put down the coffin for a few moments and have a bit to eat and a spot of ale. Some of the travelers were no doubt drunk in charge of a coffin when they finally got to Grinton, and perhaps even one or two coffins got dropped along the way.
The 1580 date makes me all the more curious about the provenance of this song; is it just a historical pastiche? Would they still have been foot-porting bodies from Keld to Grinton by the time the stone inn The Punch Bowl was built in Feetham in the 17th century--I'd been guessing this was the inn mentioned in the song (and that they'd probably have eaten and drunk at The King's Head in Gunnerside as well).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 11:45 AM

Is this the same as the Lyke Wake Walk, that I did myself once years ago?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 11:47 AM

Lyke Wake Dirge.
@displaysong.cfm?SongID=3792


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 02:20 PM

The Lyke Wake Walk crosses the Yorkshire Moors from Osmotherly (near Northallerton) to Ravenscar (mid-way between Whitby and Scarborough on the North Sea). It isn't the same route as Corpse Way, though they're both "corpse walks" somewhat near Darlington.

Regarding the songs, "Lyke Wake Dirge" is an allegory about the soul's journey after death, Pilgrim's Progress fashion, and was intended to be sung over the grave; whereas "Corpse Way" is a simple description of a corpse walk, told in advance of the event by the pallbearers, who anticipate having a bit of adventure while being well-rewarded in food and drink. These are unrelated songs, in text, theme, tune, spirit or locality--though I think you were only mentioning the "Lyke Wake Dirge" as relating to the Lyke Wake Walk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 04:32 AM

[refresh]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: GUEST,Tony P
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 12:57 PM

Hi Artful Codger
The second line of verse two should read 'ford the Swale up Ivelet side'

There's an old humpback stone bridge which crosses the Swale at Ivelet, on the north side of which is a 'coffin stone' set into the verge for the pall bearers to lay the coffin on while they took a quick breather on their way to Grinton.

Incidently, we sing John Blake rather than John Blade.

The song was written by Allen Miller.

Best Wishes
Tony Petty (Alchemy)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 05:25 PM

This is very intriguing to me..I would like to know more..we have seen lots of films where a whole village follows the coffin somewhere...didn't realize it was to separate villages...mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 10:20 PM

Tony, thanks so much for the correction and additional information. Since this is a copyrighted song, I had Joe remove my transcription. I'll repost them if Allen Miller grants permission, or he may post the "official" lyrics himself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way (Allen Miller)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 10:39 PM

I should add that Allen Miller is a long-time (and original) member of the Yorkshire-based group Fourum: http://www.fourumfolk.co.uk/

According to the history and discography pages on their site, Allen wrote "Corpse Way" in 1978, and it appeared on their first album Fourum in that year, as well as on Singing the Dales two years later.

Here is a YouTube clip of Fourum themselves: The Surrender Smelters' Song

And Allen Miller's YouTube channel (to which, hopefully, he'll add more):
http://www.youtube.com/user/allenmiller47


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE CORPSE WAY (Allen Miller)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM

Here, with the kind consent of Allen Miller and KAM Music, are the lyrics to "The Corpse Way, provided by the author himself:

THE CORPSE WAY
   Written by Allen Miller, 1978

1   From Keld we'll walk to Grinton churchyard
Two days' journey and a night
With John Blades' body on our shoulders
Wrapped in linen, clean and white
     Clean and white, clean and white
     All wrapped in linen, clean and white.

2   'Cross Kisdon Hill and down to Muker
Ford the Swale up Iveletside,
With food and drink upon our way
Which John Blades' kinfolk will provide
     Will provide, will provide
     Which John Blades kinfolk will provide.

3   We'll meet with Badgers and with Higglers,
Carrying cloth and salt and corn,
And when we get down into Feetham,
There we'll rest till early morn,
     Early morn, early morn
     And there we'll rest till early morn.

4   We'll leave his body in the deadhouse
And at the inn we'll spend the night.
We'll drink our "shot" before retiring
And be ready at daylight
     At daylight, at daylight
     And be ready at daylight.

5   Past Healaugh, Reeth and into Grinton
Changing relays all the way.
We'll bury his body in the churchyard,
Last farewells we'll fondly say
     Fondly say, fondly say
     Our last farewells we'll fondly say.

6   Then it's down to the Inn for the rest of the evening
Drinking till the shot's all done.
Then back we'll head at early morning
Along Corpse Way where we had come
     We had come, we had come
     Along Corpse Way where we had come.

Copyright © 1978 by KAM Music


Allen wrote:
The Badgers and Higglers referred to in verse 3 are simply two types of itinerant pedlars from the 15th century who travelled the country selling cloth, salt and corn! The song takes place before 1580 as in that year a chapel was built at Muker with consecrated ground, and anyone from the head of Swaledale would have been buried there – a far less arduous journey – and not as much of a song!

He also mentioned that Fourum is in the process of producing a book with the lyrics and background information for Allen's Yorkshire Dales songs. The project has been delayed the by passing of Bob Hattersley, a founding and long-time member of the group.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Corpse Way (Allen Miller)
From: GUEST,Allen Miller
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 08:02 AM

The book mentioned above was released last year in September 2013 as Fourum's Dales Collection. It contains background information, photographs and illustrations for all Fourum's Dales songs (written by yours truly) in a compilation triple CD set - The Dales Collection. The 1st CD contains songs written about Richmond in Yorkshire, the 2nd CD comprises songs about Swaledale (including Corpse Way), the 3rd CD is more songs about Swaledale, plus other Dales as well.

For further information see our website: www.fourumfolk.co.uk


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 26 May 5:26 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.