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ADD: The Keelman (author??)

Joe Offer 20 Jun 22 - 05:31 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jun 22 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Derrick 27 Jun 22 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Ben Campbell 27 Jun 22 - 01:21 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jun 22 - 02:06 PM
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Subject: ADD: The Keelman (author??)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 05:31 PM

Thread #70781   Message #1209878
Posted By: breezy
18-Jun-04 - 10:29 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: About Keel Boats/ Keel Men-P.D.&Bullies
Subject: ADD: The Keelman (Graham Searle)

'The Keelman'

written by Graham Searle and as sung by Ben Campbell

(Graham Searle)

at Folk on the Moor, Wooter, near Ivybridge, every Sunday, but Ben injured himself yesterday and will not be at the St Albans folk club tonight, but his song will nevertheless be sung.

at the Duke of Marlborough, Holywell Hill, St Albans.


'Aye we would sweat, shovelling the coal, pulling hard on the oars.
The hours were long ,that shortened our lives,
Down on the Tyneside shore, down on the Tyneside shore

The life of a keelman working the staithes,began as our childhood passed.
The money was poor and we paid in years,We knew that our dye it were cast.
The colliery boats out on the sea, took all the coals away,
Our bodies were torn, but our honour stayed strong, as we laboured the live long day.

The bosses they knew that with heavier loads,they would line all their pockets with tin,
For our families needs we turned our worn hands to a battle we could not win.
We fought all the odds as best we might ,to load all the cursed coal,
That blackened our faces and blackened our gear, but never the keelman's soul.

When the chapel bell rang to call us to prayer we would put on our Sunday best.
Blue jacket, white shirt, bell bottoms of grey, blue bonnets and a yella vest.
Reet grand were each man wi his kin by his side ,and proud were each loving wife,
But what of our hopes and what of our dreams wi a swift end to working life?

By his 40th year a mans work were done for his body could take no more strain.
The call of old age would play its grim tune and all for a rich mans gain.
Only charity now will pay for his bread for what work can men like us do?
Our hearts maybe right but our muscles are weak, yet each to himself must be true

and its got a cracking tune preceded by the Keelrow

come tonight and you'll hear it, or Sunday at the Legion when we have the 'Spotlight' club in St Albans

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Subject: RE: ADD: The Keelman (author??)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 22 - 05:32 PM

Was this song written by Graham Searle or Ben Campbell? Are the lyrics correct?

Sung at the Singaround by John Breeze.

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Subject: RE: ADD: The Keelman (author??)
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 12:37 PM

Graham sadly died last year,I have emailed Ben telling him about your post and giving him a link to this post.

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Subject: RE: ADD: The Keelman (author??)
From: GUEST,Ben Campbell
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 01:21 PM

Graham Searle and I wrote the song about 25 years ago. I wrote the chorus first and Graham wrote all of the verses. I used the original verse from the traditional "Keelrow" as an intro into the main song. The tune was one which had been rattling around in my head for some time. The CD has a very young Seth Lakeman, along with his dad Geoff, playing in the background. The CD was recorded in the Lakem
ans studio when they lived in the strangely named Crapstone on the edge of Dartmoor.

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Subject: RE: ADD: The Keelman (author??)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jun 22 - 02:06 PM

Thank you very much, Ben. Breezy posted the lyrics in 2004, and we've waited all this time to solve the mystery. Are the lyrics correct as Breezy posted them (above)?


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