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Unidentified songs in Play

GUEST,Dougal Lee 30 Mar 14 - 06:10 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 14 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Dougal Lee 30 Mar 14 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 30 Mar 14 - 08:35 AM
Tattie Bogle 30 Mar 14 - 08:42 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 14 - 08:42 AM
Tattie Bogle 30 Mar 14 - 09:49 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 14 - 10:27 AM
Tattie Bogle 30 Mar 14 - 11:03 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 14 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Dougal Lee 01 Apr 14 - 08:07 AM
dick greenhaus 10 Apr 14 - 09:30 AM
Tattie Bogle 11 Apr 14 - 09:01 AM
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Subject: Unidentified songs in Play
From: GUEST,Dougal Lee
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 06:10 AM

I am soon to appear in a production of a stage adaptation of 'The Yellow on the Broom'. Two songs are specified by the playwright only by titles which mean not a lot to me:'They're closing down our camping sites'; and 'They call us thieves and vagabonds'. Set in Scotland amongst travelling folk in the 30's any help with identifying these songs (and any others which might be appropriate) would be appreciated.Thanks a lot! Dougal Lee


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 06:41 AM

There is a song towards the end of the 'Travelling People' radio ballad which contains the "thieves and vagabonds" line, or something similar.
It is made up of all the accusations that are levelled against Travellers and reponses with examples of behaviour of the settled community
"They say we are cheting, dishonest and ...."
The thieving Travelling People
It is you who.... and rob trains...."
Or some such words
Will see if I can find it.
Good luck with your play - an extremely worthwhile project
This is a song composed by an Irish Traveller, 'Pop's' Johnny Connors, from Wexford, along with the background note
Jim Carroll
Gum Shellac
(Roud 2508) 'Pop's' Johnny Connors, Wexford Traveller


We are the travelling people
Like the Picts or Beaker Folk,
The men in Whitehall thinks we're parasites
But tinker is the word.
With our gum shellac alay ra lo,
Move us on you boyoes.

All the jobs in the world we have done,
From making Pharaoh's coffins
To building Birmingham.
With our gum shellac ala lay sha la,
Wallop it out you heroes.

We have mended pots and kettles
And buckets for Lord Cornwall,
But before we'd leave his house me lads,
We would mind his woman and all.
With our gum shellac alay ra la,
Wallop it out me hero.

Well I have a little woman
And a mother she is to be,
She gets her basket on her arm,
And mooches the hills for me.
With our gum shellac alay ra la,
Wallop it out me hero.
Dowdled verse.

We fought with the Romans,
The Spanish and the Danes,
We fought the dirty Black and Tans
And knocked Cromwell to his knees.
With our gum shellac alay ra la,
Wallop it out me heroes.

Well, we're married these twenty years,
Nineteen children we have got.
Ah sure, one is hardly walking
When there's another one in the cot.
Over our gum shellac alay ra lo,
Get out of that you boyoes.

We have made cannon guns in Hungary,
Bronze cannons in the years BC
We have fought and died for Ireland
To make sure that she was free.
With a gum shellac ala lay sha la,
Wallop it out me heroes.

We can sing a song or dance a reel
No matter where we roam,
We learned Nero how to play the pipes
Way back in the days of Rome.
With our gum shellac ala lay sha la,
Whack it if you can me boyoes.
Dawdled verse.

'Pop's' Johnny Connors, the singer of this song, is also the composer. He was an activist in the movement for better conditions for Travellers in the 1960s and was a participant in the Brownhills eviction, about which he made the song, The Battle of Brownhills, which tells of an unofficial eviction in the Birmingham area which led to the death of two Traveller children.
An account of part of his experiences on the road is to be found in Jeremy Sandford's book Gypsies under the heading, Seven Weeks of Childhood. This was written while Johnny was serving a prison sentence in Winson Green Prison in the English Midlands. He said that further chapters of an intended biography were confiscated by the prison authorities and never returned to him on his release.
Gum shellac is a paste formed by chewing bread, a technique used by unscrupulous tinsmiths to supposedly repair leaks in pots and pans. When polished, it gives the appearance of a proper repair but, if the vessel is filled with water, the paste quickly disintegrates, giving the perpetrator of the trick just enough time to escape with his payment.

Ref: Gypsies, Jeremy Sandford, Seeker and Warburg, 1973


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: GUEST,Dougal Lee
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 07:31 AM

Thanks very much for that, Jim. I'm sure your reference to the radio ballads may well be right and I'll do some research). The adaptation is somewhat careless of anachronism (Adam McNaughton's eponymous song is much used by characters who die thirty years before it will be written!(Don't tell the audience)). Someone suggested that the other song might be by Duncan Williamson, but I've no idea whether this is right, nor can I find it. As for the song you print, many thanks: a verse or two may well come in useful. Has it a tune? Or, rather, of course it has a tune; but where might I find it?


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 08:35 AM

Duncan Williamson can be heard singing "Closing Our Camping Ground Down" on the Kyloe CD "Travellers' Tales - Volume 2 (Kyloe 101), available from Veteran Reciords in Suffolk. The words were also printed in the Scottish magazine "Tocher", number 30, (1979) p. 187.


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 08:42 AM

Is this the Pitlochry Theatre production to run from June- - October this year? It has been dramatised by Annie Downie. Previously run of sell-out performances at Perth Theatre in 2004. You might get info from this source, or try Pete Shepheard at Springthyme Music to find out about the other song.
"Yellow on the Broom" is of course the autobiography of Betsy Whyte, first published 1979, so Adam McNaughtan's song would probably be of this era, though the tune is one of those used for "The Female Drummer" (as sung by Peter Bellamy and others).


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 08:42 AM

Johnny's song is a magnificent 'pride of identity' statement; it is to be found on the album of Traveller singers, 'From Puck to Appleby' (from us or Musical Traditions)
If you have trouble finding it you'll have to e-mail me - via Joe Offer
We recorded Duncan - can't recall the song but someone at Elphinstone might know, or Adam McNaughton, or Bob Blair... or anybody from that part of the world.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 09:49 AM

I have looked at Duncan Williamson on Springthyme Music, where a number if Duncan's recordings are on CD, but can't find a reference to the particular song asked for. But I see that Mike Yates above has posted the necessary! Must have been winging it's way while I was composing!


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 10:27 AM

" The words were also printed in the Scottish magazine "Tocher", number 30, (1979) p. 187."
Not in our copy mike - which begins p 337, nor in Vol 27 which include p 187
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 11:03 AM

Seems Duncan's song "Closing our Camping Ground Down" is in the book "Traveller's Joy" obtainable from the EFDSS for £10. The book was compiled by Mike Yates, and published in 2006. There is an accompanying CD and the song is the final track of 20 on it.


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 14 - 12:39 PM

From The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook
Sung to the tune of the Scot's ballad, 'Amang the Blue Floors and the Yellow'
Jim Carroll

The Gypsy's Answer
They say we leave litter and mess up the land,
We're the dirty travelling people.
But who laid the blight on each mill and factory site?
Was it us—or the Gorgio people?

They say we're a menace to the health of the land,
The unhealthy travelling people.
But who poisoned the air and the rivers everywhere?
Is it us—or the Gorgio people?

They say we're dishonest, not worthy of trust,
The thieving travelling people.
But who kills for gain, who robs banks and holds up trains?
Is it us—or the Gorgio people?

They say we are quarrelsome, given to blows,
The violent travelling people.
But who starts the wars, breaks the first of human laws?
Is it us   or the Gorgio people?

They say we are backward, retarded and dull,
The ignorant travelling people.
But who judges arid condemns those who're different to them?
Why you do—the Gorgio people.


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: GUEST,Dougal Lee
Date: 01 Apr 14 - 08:07 AM

Dear All,
Many thanks for all the useful information and suggestions. This is indeed for the Pitlochry production which starts rehearsal next week. I was myself in the Perth version (mighty success!) and had some responsibility for the music; but my memories are hazy and this will be a distinctly different venture(different design and director;more resources, bigger cast); but I'm sure we'll come up with a good show. Come along! Now, I must go and see if I can coax some semblance of melody out of a borrowed set of bagpipes. Yours aye, Dougal x
ps. Any further recommendations gratefully received, though I've no idea at present whether any of them are likely to be used.


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Apr 14 - 09:30 AM

from Bob Blair:
    Hi Dougal

    Good to meet you here on Mudcat. Adam MacNaughtan (see above and below) have been long time attendees at Pitlochry and have much admired your performances and musical versatility.

    One of the songs that you are undoubtedly looking for is "The Yellow on the Broom" written by Adam MacNaughtan, when he was asked to review Betsy Whyte's book of the same name. The song is now popular in the Folk reviaval. Presumably you've read the book as background to to the play

    When Alison Downie made Betsy's book into a play, Adam gave her permission to use the song in the play, and it was part of the play when it was performed at The Tron here in Glasgow.

    Stramash, the group that Adam and I performed with was honoured to feature Betsy in a concert some years ago. A wonderful traditional story teller and singer.

    I spoke with Adam this morning and I have his permission to send you a copy of him singing the song - here's a link.

    http://www.mediafire.com/listen/3jfg6tv19879gl2/08_Adam_McNaughtan_-_The_Yellow_on_the_Broom.mp3

    I'm not sure if that link will work directly from Mudcat but if not then just paste the details into your browser.

    I'll find another way of getting it to you if that doesn't work. I'm reluctant to put my contact details up on a public forum (too may trolls) but here's an email address that will remain active for the next 10 days if you want to contact me about anything.

    blairyb@fastnamail.fm

    Another song you might be interested in is Ewan MacColl's "Freeborn Mam". Ewan wrote it as part of a radio ballad on travellers. Another link http://www.mediafire.com/listen/9l40to0za0b0cvg/08_FreeBorn_Man.mp3

    If you have never heard the radio ballad then you would find it useful background material and should help inform the performance of yourself and other members of the cast. Let me know if you would like a copy

    As an actor and singer you might also be interested in some of Adam's other work. Have you heard "Oor Hamlet" his reduction of the Shakespeare classic into Scots. Here's a link if you haven't heard it.

    http://www.mediafire.com/listen/g5u7scogmzsrnbi/15_Adam_McNaughtan_-_Oor_Hamlet.mp3

    We're both looking forward to this years Pitlochry season - had our tickets booked for the lot since January. We'll be at YOB on 19th June. Fancy a coffee?

    Regards

    Bob Blair


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Subject: RE: Unidentified songs in Play
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 11 Apr 14 - 09:01 AM

Several others from Ewan McColl and the Radio Ballads: The 30-foot trailer, The Terror Time (this sounds particularly haunting with a lowland bagpipe drone, as in a lovely recording by the group Stravaig, since you mention bagpipes!). Lyrics for both in the DT here.
And yes, we'll book our tickets!


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