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Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)

Jim Dixon 24 Jun 13 - 03:48 AM
Leadfingers 24 Jun 13 - 04:37 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 24 Jun 13 - 06:33 AM
Jim Dixon 24 Jun 13 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Bert 24 Jun 13 - 09:02 AM
GUEST, Kenneth Way 02 Apr 14 - 01:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Apr 14 - 02:24 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: FOLLOW THE WHITE LINE (North/Burnaby)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Jun 13 - 03:48 AM

Someone mentioned this song in the thread WWII songs, so I looked it up. Spotify has 2 recordings: one by Arthur Askey and one by Arthur Riscoe. The lyrics are identical (except for some irrelevant patter).


FOLLOW THE WHITE LINE
Words and music by Michael North & Davy Burnaby, ©1939.

Bill's been busy with his pot of paint
Making all the roads look as if they ain't.
The big white line gets longer every day,
And when it's dark you can hear the people say:

Follow the white line all the way.
Leading from the Rose and Crown,
From Trafalgar Square it'll take you anywhere.
It'll lead you round the Marble Arch and back to Leicester Square.
Follow the white line all the way,
And no matter where you roam,
It will take you after dark
Round the railings in the park
And back again to home sweet home.

* * *

Can someone put this in some historical context for me and explain what the song is about?

I'm guessing it's about some sort of alternative navigation system that people used when they couldn't read street signs at night due to the blackout. Can anybody tell me more about how it worked? Was there (as the song implies) only one continuous white line, or many?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Jun 13 - 04:37 AM

The use of 'White Lines' as lane dividers was introduced in 1927 in UK


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 24 Jun 13 - 06:33 AM

Jim

According to this: Blackout, Due to the high road casualties in 1940 the speed limit for motorists was reduced to 20 mph during the Blackout. Central white lines were painted in the middle of roads (which are still with us today) and curb edges were painted white as well. Kerb finders could also be used which were attached to a walking stick or umbrella..

And here: Life during the blackout, there's a picture of women white-painting.

As Terry said, there were white lines in England earlier, but I don't know how extensive they were.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Jun 13 - 08:48 AM

"Making all the roads look as if they ain't"

So were the white markings also meant to serve as a kind of camouflage, to conceal the fact that there was a road there, when viewed from the sky at night?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)
From: GUEST,Bert
Date: 24 Jun 13 - 09:02 AM

My Dad used to sing that.

Leadfingers tells us that they were introduced in '27, but as you suspect, the great push came during the blackout.

I believe that cats eyes were introduced at about the same time.

Dad's words were almost the same, except that he used to sing, "it will lead you in the dark 'round the benches in the park"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)
From: GUEST, Kenneth Way
Date: 02 Apr 14 - 01:28 PM

This was a song sung by Tommy Handley at the beginning of the war when because of the blackout and restricted lighting white lines were painted on the roads to help motor traffic to keep on the road. Tommy had a show before Itma took over called The White Coons


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Follow the White Line (+ info request)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Apr 14 - 02:24 PM

Caution- different song:


I'll follow the white line down where it's winding,
'Cause somewhere up ahead your light is still shining
The sound of the silver strings will guide me
I've stood and watched the bridges burn
I'm past the point of no return
Oh, how I wish you were here beside me.

White line took my baby
Led him down that dark highway........

Extract from "White Line," EmmyLou Harris.


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