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Lyr Req: Pull Down Lads (John Tams)

DigiTrad:
CONGLETON BEAR
OLD MAN'S SONG (DON QUIXOTE)
PULL DOWN LADS


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LaMarca 25 Jun 97 - 02:01 PM
Mountain Dog 25 Jun 97 - 04:37 PM
Charlie Baum 26 Jun 97 - 02:21 AM
Big Dave 29 Jun 97 - 12:50 AM
LaMarca 01 Jul 97 - 03:45 PM
pdcawley@bofh.org.uk 05 Jul 97 - 07:03 PM
Rick 07 Jul 97 - 03:50 AM
LaMarca 07 Jul 97 - 12:47 PM
JB 26 Apr 98 - 02:43 AM
Barbara 26 Apr 98 - 11:42 AM
Pete M 26 Apr 98 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,paul_britland@hotmail.com 25 Sep 02 - 05:49 PM
Leadfingers 25 Sep 02 - 05:52 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Sep 02 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,PaulB 26 Sep 02 - 04:25 PM
Skipper Jack 02 Feb 03 - 09:10 AM
Jeri 02 Feb 03 - 09:15 AM
Jeri 02 Feb 03 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,MCP 02 Feb 03 - 09:39 AM
gnomad 02 Feb 03 - 10:16 AM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 03 - 10:32 AM
Keith A of Hertford 02 Feb 03 - 02:31 PM
Skipper Jack 02 Feb 03 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Q 02 Feb 03 - 04:31 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Feb 03 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Q 02 Feb 03 - 05:58 PM
graham_t 03 Feb 03 - 07:17 AM
Snuffy 04 Feb 03 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 04 Feb 03 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 04 Feb 03 - 02:29 PM
Joe Offer 07 Nov 07 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 07 Nov 07 - 02:00 AM
Joe Offer 07 Nov 07 - 02:28 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Nov 07 - 02:32 AM
johnadams 07 Nov 07 - 01:05 PM
Herga Kitty 07 Nov 07 - 03:13 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 08 Nov 07 - 04:26 PM
johnadams 09 Nov 07 - 03:30 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 10 Nov 07 - 04:57 PM
johnadams 10 Nov 07 - 05:29 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 10 Nov 07 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Ian Carter 30 Sep 08 - 07:18 AM
Ian Carter 30 Sep 08 - 07:42 AM
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Subject: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: LaMarca
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 02:01 PM

Just catching up on the fantasy folk circle, saw a message from "Big Dave" about John Tams' Pulling Down song. Is that the one about the carnival workers? I have tried to learn it from June Tabor's recording, but can't make out some of the words (her voice is so low and smokey, it's hard to understand sometimes). I'd love an accurate copy of the words, and a few translations:
"The Arc's all packed, and the Dodgem's stacked" -I assume these are carnival rides
"A bite of scran(?) to go"


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 04:37 PM

Dear LaMarca,

I've got the June Tabor recording at home, but I've always been under the impression that it's a sea song about taking leave from the lure and the ladies of another port town.

I'll give it a close listen in the next day or two and see if I can jot down my best take on the lyrics. Meanwhile, if anyone's got the definitive lyrics or the story behind the tune, please pass'em along.


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Subject: Lyr Add: PULL DOWN LADS (John Tams)
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 26 Jun 97 - 02:21 AM

This is the version from County Down on "Living in the Country" (Fretless FR165). It's perhaps folk processed and slightly different from June Tabor's version, but at least County Down transcribed the words and included it with the recording:

Haul down, lads
Pass the billy round, lads
Tara to Silvie, tara to Jean
We'll soon be on the road
Don't think on what you're leaving
Don't think on what you've found
Just tear off the toot, pull out the chart
We'll find another ground.

Haul down, lads
It wasn't all that grand, lads
We've made some brass, you've had a lass
It's perhaps as well we're going
I know how it can hurt, lads
To leave her standing there
But there's often tears
And there's always fears
But you'll be back next year.

Pull down, lads
The sets are coming down, lads
The act's all packed and the dodging's stacked
A bite of scrand and go
We'll leave it as we found it
They'll soon forget we've been
O, we trade in fun, and we go and come
We're often scorned and seldom mourned.

by John Tams/Ackee Music

I remember looking up the odd words when I first encountered the song, but the Oxford Englihs Dictionary isn't handy tonight. I remember billy=kettle (as in Waltzing Matilda) and scran or scrand=food (an archaic or dialect term).

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: Lyr Add: PULL DOWN LADS (John Tams)
From: Big Dave
Date: 29 Jun 97 - 12:50 AM

Yes, I did mean the song John Tams wrote from his showman background. I learned it from John's own singing of it way back when he was with Roger & Helen Watson in "Muckram Wakes". The record was called "A Map of Derbyshire".

These are the words as I sing them. No guarantees this is exactly what John wrote - but that's the folk process:

Pull down lads,
We'll pass the bevvy round lads,
Tara to Sylvie, Tara to Jean,
We'd best be on our way now.
Don't think on what you're leaving,
Don't think on what you've seen,
But take off the tilt,
Pull out the chat,
It's time that we were leaving.

Pull down lads,
It's not been a bad ground lads,
We've made some brass,
You've had a lass,
Perhaps it's well we're leaving.
I know how much it hurts lads,
To leave her standing here,
But there's often tears,
And there's always fears,
And you'll be back next year.

Pull down lads,
The sets are cooling down lads,
The Arc's all packed,
And the dogem's stacked,
A bite of scran
Then away we'll go.
We'll leave it as we found it,
They'll soon forget we've been,
For we trade in fun,
And we go and come,
We're often scorned,
But seldom mourned,
I hope you all know what I mean.

TRANSLATIONS:

I don't know what happens with fairgrounds (carnivals?) in the States, but over here they clear the ground after the last night of the show and are gone with out a trace the next morning. This is what they call "Pulling Down".

Bevvy = drink, usually alcoholic, often (but not always) beer.
Tilt = generic name for canvas or tarpaulin covering of stalls, rides, etc.
Chat = generic name for pins, screws and suchlike
Brass = money
The sets = the big diesel engines used to power the rides and the lights, massive mobile generators.
Arc & Dodgems = fairground rides.
Scran = Food.

Hope this clarifies things

Dave Smith


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: LaMarca
Date: 01 Jul 97 - 03:45 PM

Thanks, Dave and Charlie, both! Dave, one of my boyfriends in college used to work as a carny roustabout in the summers; I made the mistake of going to a carnival with him once, and have him describe to me the usual state of inebriation in which the rides were put up - while we were on the Ferris wheel...

What bands has John Tams recorded with? I have the Albion Band recording he produced, "Rise Up Like the Sun", but would like to find other recordings with his songs done by him - I think he's a good songwriter. Was he with Home Service? Are any of the Muckram Wakes recordings still available?


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: pdcawley@bofh.org.uk
Date: 05 Jul 97 - 07:03 PM

Not much to add to Big Dave's post except to note that the 'arc' is actually 'The Ark' which is basically the same as gallopers but you ride the animals that went into The Ark.

Whilst there's still a few sets of gallopers doing the rounds of the fairs there are, sadly, very few Arks left, and many of the gallopers have animals 'cannibalized' from older arks.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Rick
Date: 07 Jul 97 - 03:50 AM

Big Dave / pdcawley

thanks for letting me know what The Ark was. For our US cousins, Dodgems is the ride where you get into an electric car and try to hit as many others as possible.

Rick.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: LaMarca
Date: 07 Jul 97 - 12:47 PM

The Ark/gallopers definition makes me wonder if this is the same thing as a carousel in the US - a circular ride with carved wooden animals on poles, some of which go up and down as the carousel goes around. We have a beautiful vintage Dentzel carousel near us in Glen Echo Park near Washington, DC; the animals were hand carved by the Dentzel family carousel company. It has a wonderful old Wurlitzer band organ, which reads music off paper cartridges like a player piano while the carousel goes around.

Richard Thompson's song "Wall of Death" mentions a number of carnival/fair rides and attractions, fer instance:

"The Tunnel of Love might amuse you, the Noah's Ark might confuse you..."

Is he talking about an Ark here?


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Subject: Pull Down Lads -lyrics and explanation of
From: JB
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 02:43 AM

I'm looking for the lyrics to "Pull Down Lads". I believe it's a recently-composed song, altho I don't know the author's name. It contains some Travelers' slang, so if you have definitions, that would be appreciated, too.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads -lyrics and explanation of
From: Barbara
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 11:42 AM

It's on June Tabor's first Album, "Airs and Graces" [Shanachie 79055]and is by John Tams Believe it was composed in the 1960's or 70's. "about the departure of the funfair from any town, every town. Tilt=tarpaulin roof; sets = generators; scran = food; chat = general purpose word along the line of 'whatsit'." Got the words around someplace, I'll post them when I get a chance, later today probably. Barbara


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads -lyrics and explanation of
From: Pete M
Date: 26 Apr 98 - 04:35 PM

Note that the slang in the song is not travellers cant, just normal working class terms eg scran = food originated I believe as Navy slang, brass = money is in common usage eg "where there's muck thers's brass" etc.

Pete M


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Subject: lyrics tilt, chat & scran?
From: GUEST,paul_britland@hotmail.com
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 05:49 PM

song -"pull down lads" by john tams apears include the lyrics - tilt, chat and scran. Can anyone enlighten me - are the lyrics as they sound, are they authentic fairground speak and if so do they mean what they appear to mean (canvas, tent pegs and food). All the lyrics would be appreciated. Ta...


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Subject: RE: lyrics tilt, chat & scran?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 05:52 PM

Tilt-canvas cover

Chat-some kind of tent peggy thing

Scran-Food.

Hope that is useful.Its a Damn good song that I aint sung since then.


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Subject: RE: lyrics tilt, chat & scran?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 11:11 AM

See these previous discussions:

Pull Down Lads -lyrics and explanation of

Pull Down, Lads/John Tams Contains two sets of lyrics, transcribed from memory from different records.

THE PULLING-DOWN SONG Transcribed direct from the original recording.


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Subject: RE: lyrics tilt, chat & scran?
From: GUEST,PaulB
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 04:25 PM

Thankyou very much for the assistance re slang. All my questions are now answered. Much appreciated


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Subject: Pull Down Lads
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 09:10 AM

"Pull Down Lads" written by John Tams.

There's a line in the song which reads thus:
"Tear off the tilt, pull out the chat"
I understand that TILT refers to the strip around the roof of a circus tent.
But what is a CHAT?

Here's another query.
Who wrote "Watercress O"

Both of these songs have been in my repertoire and that of Motley Crew.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 09:15 AM

From typing "pull down lads" into the search box: Pull Down Lads


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 09:23 AM

And while you don't need the lyrics (guilty of not properly reading your message-sorry), they may help others understand the context of the words. It doesn't seem like we've had a discussion on the song, and I swear I've seen one.

Don't know what 'chat' is, nor 'dodgems' and 'scran', but I'd like to.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 09:39 AM

Look at Pull Down, Lads/John Tams for glossary of most of the words.

(Normally I'd tell you to use the filter for "pull down" or the search, but neither worked for that - it came up for Tams though, although mainly the results were for Rolling Home)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: gnomad
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:16 AM

As for Watercress O, I have wondered the same thing.

I was told in a session that it was by Roger Watson, another Muckram Wakes participant, but I cannot confirm it.

Good song though.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 10:32 AM

Roger Watson. The Young Tradition recorded it (So Cheerfully Round) and commented "It is anecdotal, being taken from his grandmother's memory at a time in her childhood when, as a miner's daughter, she experienced the privation brought on by the meagreness of strike pay".

The Pulling Down Song has been discussed here a number of times, but it isn't so easy to find all the material with the Forum Search inoperative. A useful external source is The Essential John Tams Homepage; in particular:

Pulling Down Song

... where all is explained. The text in the DT is nearly right.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 02:31 PM

We used to call the cover for a landrover trailer a tilt.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down Lads
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 04:11 PM

Thanks Jeri.
I looked up the "Sight" that you suggested and solve the CHAT riddle.

As for "Watercress O" I heard Young Tradition performing that back in the 70's.

From what you Mudcatters say, it could be a Roger Watson's song.

Thanks one and all.

Dave R.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 04:31 PM

Tilt- an awning, a covering, a tent. First appeared in English writing about 1440 (OED). Just an old word that has gone out of favor. As late as the 1971 edition, it was the first definition discussed in the OED.
It was used in Newfoundland- "They had made a tilte with a sayle..." 1612, Dict. Newfoundland English.
Its use was widespread in the past in the United States and Canada; it is fully defined in Webster's Third New International Dictionary.
Also see medieval German telt, a tent.

Scran for eatables is 18th century or older. (OED)
Bevvy or bev for drink was in use from the 19th century onwards. (OED).
Can't find chat or dodgings in general use, but American carnival-circus people have much cant, little understood by outsiders, and I am sure English workers in those fields have even more.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 04:42 PM

It's dodgems (=dodge'ems), not dodgings. All the slang terms have been covered in other discussions of the song here, but it's interesting to see that "tilt" goes back that far; I hadn't realised that.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 02 Feb 03 - 05:58 PM

To "slough" is to pull down the tents in American circus argot.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: graham_t
Date: 03 Feb 03 - 07:17 AM

You can find all Tam's lyrics +notes at the JohnTams website

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.thorp/

Well worth a look


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 08:29 AM

"Tilt" is alive and kicking in the haulage industry, and refers to a covered wagon or trailer (just as it did in the wagon trains of the pioneers).

It is the standard body type for inter-European road transport, as a tilt is easier to open up for customs inspection than either a box or curtainsider body.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 02:10 PM

Roger Watson (with John in Muckram Wakes) said that he
contributed to the writing of "Pull Down Lads". Dunno
if this was the tune or words. I don't see him credited
though.

Lovely song.

Cheers,

                         -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 02:29 PM

The "Map of Derbyshire" album cover with the text description of the "Pulling Donw Song" (a.k.a. "Pull Down, Lads").

The text gives a few of the definitions.

HTH.

Cheers,

                               -- Arne Langsetmo


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Subject: DT Correction: Pull Down, Lads (John Tams)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 12:41 AM

Barb'ry contacted me and said she found one mistake in the Digital Tradition lyrics for this song - the DT has "ox" when it should be "ark." I've posted the DT lyrics below, with Barb'ry's correction included. Any other corrections?
-Joe-

PULL DOWN LADS
(John Tams)

Pull down lads, pass the bevvy round lads,
"Ta'ra" to Sylvie, "Ta'ra" to Jean, we'll soon be on the road,
Don't think on what you're leaving, don't think on what you've found,
Just tear off the tilt, pull out the chat, we'll find another ground.

Pull down lads, it wasn't a bad ground lads,
We've made some brass, you've had a lass, it's perhaps as well we're going,
I know how it can hurt, lads, to leave her standing here,
For there's often fears and there's always tears, but you'll be back next year.

Pull down lads, the sets are cooling down lads,
The ox ark's all packed and the dodgems stacked, a bite of scran then go,
We'll leave it as we found it, they'll soon forget we've been,
For we trade in fun and we go and come, we're often scorned but seldom mourned,
Oh, I hope you 'll know what I mean.

Copyright John Tams
@sailor
filename[ PULLADS
TUNE FILE: PULLADS
CLICK TO PLAY
RG


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 02:00 AM

Joe, just a small change -

The ark's all packed....


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 02:28 AM

Got it, Georgina - any other changes, anyonw?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 02:32 AM

And, I venture, the final line was 'Oh, I hope you know what I mean.'

See the transcription I posted nearly 7 years ago (link above): the DT could have had the right words all this time if they had paid attention (though I did make one typo: 'tha' instead of 'the' in the 'ark' line).


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: johnadams
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 01:05 PM

Having sung this as our finishing song at the end of every gig for a decade, the words are engraved on my brain.

I can confirm that the above words are now exactly as Roger and Helen Watson and John and Suzie Adams sang them. As far as I can tell, they don't differ from the original recording.

JA who with SA took over from JT in MW 14th November 1973.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 03:13 PM

IIRC, it was the first song that Johnny Collins and Jim Mageean sang together - they were both booked on the same night at a club on the Isle of Wight and practised it on the ferry...

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 04:26 PM

Belting words - several of my uncles were showmen. Anyone got the tune concealed about their person?


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: johnadams
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 03:30 PM

The tune as Tam sang it on the new Radio Ballads show is quite developed away from the tune that he wrote originally - and with quite a complex arrangement from Barry Coope.

I can put the original into abc for you if that's any use?

J


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 10 Nov 07 - 04:57 PM

John, I would be most grateful if you could do that. Thanks.


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Subject: Tune Add: PULL DOWN LADS (John Tams)
From: johnadams
Date: 10 Nov 07 - 05:29 PM

Given that it's a free sung tune forced into 4/4, this is as close as I can get it.

X:1
T:Pull Down Lads
H: To be sung freely.
Q:220
M:4/4
L:1/8
K:G
B4 A4| B8|B3c d2B2|c4 d3 c|B3c2 d d B| c3dB3G|G2A2B2c2|(A4A3)B|B2c2d2B2|c2d4d2|^c2 d2 e2 f2|d4 d2c2|B2c2d2 z2|z2 B2c2d2|B4 z2G2| G4 B2 AA| G8|

I'm not far off digitising the original vinyl (just bought a new stylus for the old Linn deck!). PM me if you want an mp3.

J


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 10 Nov 07 - 06:10 PM

Many thanks John.


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: GUEST,Ian Carter
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:18 AM

There's a brand new recording out very soon by The Ram Company. It's the last-but-one track on the new CD: "Waltzers and Wonders: The Wakes Is In Town".

The world premiere of the show is at Derby Folk Festival, at the Assembly Rooms, on Saturday afternoon, 25th October 2008.

Love to see everyone there!


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Subject: RE: Pull Down, Lads/John Tams
From: Ian Carter
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:42 AM

Forgot the link to the band's website:
http://www.ramcompany.co.uk
and my email, if anyone wants more information:
ian@barndance.biz

I've been away for a while (1991-2006) so it's taking me a bit of time to get back into the swing of things, but I'm performing again -- not only as a caller with my MIDIband -- with Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham for our Derbyshire Evenings, and with The Ram Company, of course.

There are a couple of videos on YouTube, too, if anyone's at all interested. This one will get you started: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vruy4OQUh4w


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