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

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


Lyr Req: Down Below (Sydney Carter)

Alan Francis 16 Dec 99 - 06:33 PM
Tim Salt 17 Dec 99 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,John Gill 18 Sep 06 - 10:11 AM
Bugsy 18 Sep 06 - 10:50 PM
Bob Bolton 19 Sep 06 - 12:16 AM
Bob Bolton 19 Sep 06 - 12:30 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 06 - 10:00 AM
Bob Bolton 19 Sep 06 - 06:41 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Down Below
From: Alan Francis
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 06:33 PM

There is a song, written, I think, by Sidney Carter, about the London sewers called "Down Below". I remember Redd Sullivan singing it at the Troubadour in London in the late sixties, early seventies. A thorough search of the Internet has not located the lyrics - the tune is a variation of Sam Hall. Can anyone help?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: DOWN BELOW (Sydney Carter)
From: Tim Salt
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 07:32 PM

Alan, the version I have is the one sung by John Foreman, The Broadsheet King, as written by Sidney Carter - hope it helps.

DOWN BELOW
(Sydney Carter)

When you're working in the dark, down below
Underneath St James Park, down below
When you're working in the dark
Underneath St James park
It isn't half a lark, down below

Now it isn't hard to tell,down below
If it's Bow or Clerkenwell, down below
Cos Bow and Clerkenwell
Have a different kind of smell
And you know it pretty well, down below

Come down Covent Garden way, down below
in the merry month of May, down below
The fragrance of the flowers
Gives us many happy hours
And we sing a roundelay, down below

When to Billingsgate you come, down below
When to Billingsgate you come, down below
When to Billingsgate you come
Well the things begin to hum
And the smell will knock you dumb, down below

And the objects that you find, down below
Serve to exercise the mind, down below
There are watches that wont wind
All wrapped up in bacon rind
And that isn't all you find, down below

Yes there's something in a sewer, down below
Seems to have a strange alure, down below
The magic of the drains
Is a thing I can't explain
But it's calling me again, down below
Yes it's calling me again, down below


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down Below (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST,John Gill
Date: 18 Sep 06 - 10:11 AM

I just found this ancient thread. Thought I'd add to it another verse if anyone's interested:

Hatton Garden is a spot, down below
Where we like to go a lot, down below
There's a bloke in Leather Lane
Dropped a diamond down the drain:
We'll be going there again, down below.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down Below (Sydney Carter)
From: Bugsy
Date: 18 Sep 06 - 10:50 PM

Down Below
© Sydney Carter, 1958

When you're working in the dark,
Down below,
Underneath St James's Park,
Down below.
When you're working in the dark.
Oh, it isn't half a lark,
When you're working in the dark,
Down below.

It isn't hard to tell,
Down below.
If it's Bow or Clerkenwell,
Down below,
For Bow and Clerkenwell
Have a diff'rent kind of smell
And we know it very well,
Down below.

Over Covent Garden way,
Down below.
In the merry month of May,
Down below.
The fragrance of the flow'rs
Gives us many happy hours
And we sing a roundelay
Down below.

The objects that we find
Down below
Help to entertain the mind
Down below.
There are watches we can't wind
Wrapped up in bacon rind
And that isn't all you find
Down below.

When you're under Floral Street,
Down below,
With the water 'round your feet,
Down below.
'Mid the cabbages and beet
You may find a marguerite,
And the thought is very sweet,
Down below.

Hatton Garden is a spot
Down below.
Where we like to go a lot,
Down below.
Since a bloke in Leather Lane
Dropp'd a diamond down the drain
We've been waiting, but in vain,
Down below.

When to Billingsgate we come,
Down below.
When to Billingsgate we come,
Down below.
When to Billingsgate we come
Then things begin to hum
And we wish we'd never come
Down below.

There is something in a sewer
Down below.
That has a strange allure
Down below.
The magic of the drains
Is a thing you can't explain
But it's calling us again
Down below.

Cheers


Bugsy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down Below (Sydney Carter)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 12:16 AM

G'day Alan Francis,

Most of the favourite Sydney Carter songs have been posted to the Mudcat (often by me...) and were in the Digital Tradition. However, much as Sydney, himself, was very generous with his songs and freely shared them, he has died ... and the new owners of Galliard, publishers of his song books, Stainer & Bell (a made-up name ... so you can't go and nag Mr Stainer or Mr Bell!) have decided they are on a nice little earner ... and demand any mention of his songs to be removed.

This just results in lots of groups assuming his work is as "traditional" as it sounds - so they don't even get thos royalties ... let alone the ones they tried to get from the Oirish sance show, for the tune of Lord of the Dance ... which Sydney freely acknowledged as not being composed by him!

Anyway, copy the lyrics smartly ... they may not be here after S & B hear about this thread.

Regards,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down Below (Sydney Carter)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 12:30 AM

Hmmm ...

The flying strikes ... and heedeth not ...! Make that second paragraph:

This just results in lots of groups assuming his work is as "traditional" as it sounds - so they don't even get paid those royalties ... let alone the ones they tried to get from the Oirish dance show, for the tune of Lord of the Dance ... which Sydney freely acknowledged as not being composed by him!

Regard(les)s,

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Down Below (Sydney Carter)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 10:00 AM

Sydney Carter

The composer of Lord Of The Dance, his life was a musical journey in search of an unconventional God

Paul Oestreicher
Wednesday March 17, 2004
The Guardian


The songwriter Sydney Carter, who has died aged 88, achieved the remarkable feat of composing two of the five most popular songs sung in assemblies in British schools. In 1996, a survey of the copyright work most commonly requested for use in collective worship put his One More Step in first place, with his possibly more famous Lord Of The Dance at number five.
Sydney wrote Lord Of The Dance in 1963, as an adaptation of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts, which features in Aaron Copland's ballet Appalachian Spring. Later, he said that he saw Christ as "the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ, I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other lords of the dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus."


Article continues

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lord Of The Dance will continue to be sung worldwide long after its author is forgotten. To live on through his songs will indeed fulfil Sydney's dreams.
Sydney was a folk poet, a holy sceptic and an iconoclastic theologian - that last description would both bemuse and please him - in the amateur tradition of the folk movement, deconstructing the theology of the academic establishment and bringing it to life. He played a leading role in the folk revival of the 1960s and 70s, and it was then that he wrote most of his songs, composed both to please and to shock. Life, as he embraced it, was for dancing.

From start to finish, he was a Londoner. He was born in Camden Town, and imbibed old English songs at Montem Street school in Islington. He loved community singing and later, as a bluecoat boy at Christ's Hospital school in Horsham, West Sussex, he enjoyed the hymns in chapel - every day, and twice on Sunday. But he loved visits with his father to the Finsbury Park Empire just as much.

In the mid-1930s, Sydney read history at Balliol College, Oxford, where he also started to write poetry and dreamt of becoming a painter or film producer. After graduation, however, he ended up teaching at Frensham Heights school, in Farnham, Surrey - along with the novelist Rex Warner - until 1940.

With the second world war, his critical spirit and abhorrence of violence led him into the Friends Ambulance Unit, with which he served in the Middle East, and, in 1944, in Greece, along with a stim ulating group of pacifists, including Donald Swann (obituary, March 25 1994). If any church could come to holding Sydney's allegiance, it was the Society of Friends, with its rejection of dogma, and its reliance on personal experience and social activ-ism, and its affirmation of God's presence in every human being.

After the war, folk music, both sacred and secular, took Sydney over. Much influenced by what he had heard in Greece, he studied its many forms; then, in 1952, he started writing lyrics for Swann, who needed revue material. "I found out that I could do that," Sydney said, "and get paid for it."

He launched what proved to be a long collaboration by providing lyrics for Swann's composition The Youth Of The Heart, which featured in the Globe Revue in London's West End. In the mid-1950s, he was the lyricist on Swann's children's musical, Lucy And The Hunter.

I was a BBC producer when, in 1960, Sydney wrote his most controversial song, Friday Morning. I believe it was also one of the most profound. In it, the robber, crucified with Jesus, cries out:



It was on a Friday morning that they took me from my cell
And I saw they had a carpenter to crucify as well.
You can blame it on to Pilate, you can blame it on the Jews,
You can blame it on the Devil, it's God I accuse.
It's God they ought to crucify, instead of you and me,
I said to the carpenter a-hanging on the tree.



Classic theology says that it was God, but Sydney lets the irony stand. In this, as in the following stanzas, he piles on the guilt, piles it on to God. It leads to the deepest of all questions: is God in Auschwitz or the Twin Towers, the killer or the victim? If there is a God? I had to fight the BBC management to get that song on the air. A brave, liberal head of religious broadcasting was my ally. Today, the fear of a backlash would be far greater.

In 1962, Carter teamed up with Sheila Hancock for the album Putting Out The Dustbin, one track of which, Last Cigarette, on failing to give up smoking, became a minor hit. The songs on the LP were closer to cabaret than to folk, but the pacifist, political singer was there even then. In 1964, the Donald Swann EP, Songs Of Faith And Doubt, comprised six songs by Carter. In the 1960s too, he worked as a critic for Gramophone magazine.

But it was in 1965 that Sydney recorded his greatest success, the six-song EP, Lord Of The Dance, with Martin Carthy on guitar, the Johnny Scott Trio and the Mike Sammes singers. In the sleeve note, he cautions purchasers about the religious content, in case they should be misled by such earlier songs as Down Below and My Last Cigarette.

Sydney treasured those who brought his texts to life, the whole folk scene, Carthy perhaps most of all, and singers like Nadia Cattouse. And they loved him. Across the years, many other musicians recorded his work, among them the Swingle Singers, Bob and Carole Pegg, Maddy Prior and Sarah-Jane Morris. His anti-war lullaby, Crow On The Cradle, was recorded in 1962 by Judy Collins, and, 17 years later, performed by Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and David Lindley at a No Nukes concert. It turned out to be an unexpected success; Warner Brothers bought the US rights and, many years later, Sydney was amazed to receive £9,000 in royalties.

With irony - though never with bitterness - Sydney satirised every form of self-righteous faith; to be without doubt was, to him, the ultimate in godless pride. In two books, The Rock Of Doubt (1978) and Dance In The Dark (1980), he set out the signposts of his journey in aphorisms, a journey through the holiness of humanity.

"Bibles, legends, history are signposts: they are pointing to the future, not the past. Do not embrace the past or it will turn into an idol." Jesus was central to his experience, but not, in his words, "the official Jesus - but the Jesus who is calling you to liberty, to the breaking of all idols including the idol which he himself has become."



Your holy hearsay is not evidence
Give me the good news in the present tense ...
So shut the Bible up and show me how
The Christ you talk about is living now.



Tall as he was, his head in the clouds and his feet firmly on the ground, there was a lot of dance left in Sydney when he came to my 60th birthday party in 1991 with Donald Swann. They sang their hearts out with The Bird Of Heaven: "Follow where the bird has gone./ If you want to find him, keep on travelling on."

When, in 1999 the mists of Alzheimer's disease began to close in, Sydney's second wife, Leela, lovingly cared for him and interpreted him to others. The past gradually receded into the strange land of lost memory. His friend Rabbi Lionel Blue wrote that now "our only contact is a thin thread of memory and his songs. I start singing them, and he joyfully joins in - and I leave him as he continues singing."

More than 30 years ago, Sydney had written his own epitaph:

Coming and going by the dance, I see
That what I am not is a part of me.
Dancing is all that I can ever trust,
The dance is all I am, the rest is dust.
I will believe my bones and live by what
Will go on dancing when my bones are not.



Leela survives him, as does their son Michael, a neurosurgeon.

· Sydney Bertram Carter, poet, songwriter and folk musician, born May 6 1915; died March 13 2004


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Down Below (Sydney Carter)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Sep 06 - 06:41 PM

G'day GUEST of 19 Sep 06 - 10:00 AM,

Thanks for the text of Paul Oestreicher's excellent eulogy for Sydney Carter!

I hope that your contribution to this thread wasn't triggered by misreading my postings as suggesting Sydney had, in some way, "misappropriated" the tune to which he set his wonderful words in creating the song Lord of the Dance. He always, in performance and in print, made it clear that the tune was from the Shaker Hymn 'Tis a Gift to be Simple ... and was his latter-day publishers and holders of the copyrights that attempted to make unearned profits from the tune that was never his.

I think their view of things must be represented by their publishing style ... I bought the fifth of his songbook series - the only one set and published by Stainer and Bell. Many (particularly older) readers had some trouble with Galliard's setting the lyrics in (~) 7-point sans serif ... but S & B (as I prefer to style them ...) set the fifth book's lyrics in (~) 5-point sans serif! When I showed one song to my wife, I said "What do you think of the legibility of these words?" Patricia replied: "What words?"

Obviously publishing by, and for, the extremely short-sighted!

Regards,

Bob


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: 13 November 4:56 PM EST

[ 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.