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Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)

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LaMarca 25 Jun 97 - 02:09 PM
25 Jun 97 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Paul Lucas 28 Aug 19 - 04:42 PM
Raggytash 28 Aug 19 - 04:51 PM
Backwoodsman 28 Aug 19 - 05:14 PM
Raggytash 29 Aug 19 - 04:46 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Aug 19 - 05:05 AM
Raggytash 29 Aug 19 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,akenaton 29 Aug 19 - 06:11 AM
Raggytash 29 Aug 19 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,akenaton 30 Aug 19 - 06:04 AM
Raggytash 30 Aug 19 - 06:12 AM
Backwoodsman 30 Aug 19 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,akenaton 30 Aug 19 - 06:43 AM
Raggytash 30 Aug 19 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,Akenaton 30 Aug 19 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Akenaton 30 Aug 19 - 07:10 AM
Raggytash 30 Aug 19 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,akenaton 30 Aug 19 - 07:25 AM
Backwoodsman 30 Aug 19 - 08:35 AM
Raggytash 30 Aug 19 - 09:15 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Aug 19 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,henryp 30 Aug 19 - 12:12 PM
Backwoodsman 30 Aug 19 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Elderlygentleman 26 Sep 19 - 08:11 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 26 Sep 19 - 08:50 AM
JHW 26 Sep 19 - 10:16 AM
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Subject: Joe Peel/June Tabor
From: LaMarca
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 02:09 PM

As long as I'm trying to decipher June Tabor's recordings, I'll ask if anyone out there has the lyrics and author for "Joe Peel", which she recorded on "A Cut Above" with Martin Simpson. The song is a character sketch, apparantly about a man from a coaltown who almost escaped a miner's life by going out for rugby(?), failed to make the pros and made the best of life as a collier. Some of the lyrics/plot aren't completely clear to this American; between June's accent/voice and the cultural differences I can't completely understand the song, but think it's beautiful anyway.


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Subject: RE: Joe Peel/June Tabor
From:
Date: 25 Jun 97 - 03:00 PM

Go to the following:

http://xp8.dejanews.com/getdoc.xp?recnum=5938865&server=db96q3&CONTEXT=867265231.28710&hitnum=5

-gene

or http://www.dejanews.com [ june tabor | joe peel ]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Paul Lucas
Date: 28 Aug 19 - 04:42 PM

Joe Peel was a real character from a small village called Flimby between Workington and Maryport on the Cumbrian coast, near the Solway estuary, in NW England. As a youngster he excelled at sports - and after a spell down the pit, he left the area to play Rugby League professionally - hence the reference to girls 'making forward passes', a move not allowed in the game of Rugby and a cheeky come on from the girls. There's a mention of another match turning peoples' heads - the Jarrow Lads V (abbreviation of versus) Ruling classes. This would be the mass march from Jarrow on the River Tyne in the NE, 300 miles on foot to Westminster, London to lobby Parliament about the plight of the unemployed masses at this time of great depression. This Jarrow Crusade as it was known was in 1936 and so gives a clue as to the era of Joe Peel's life. So as things worsened and wartime came, he returned 'home again and up The Brow'. This is another play on words, The Brow is the better off part of Flimby, up the hill away from the terraces, but also 'up the brow' is a way of saying, make the best of things. So, off he went back to the coal face and developed a lung disease which finally saw him off. I never did discover whether 'Lizzie' referred to HM the Queen in his later years or some family member, but knowing the Cumbrian humour, a bit of both. The song was written by a local man, Peter Bond, released in 1977 on an album called 'Alright for Some'. He seemingly knew Joe Peel and wrote the song as a tribute to him, almost a eulogy. It is a great song, . Hope this helps
Paul Lucas

Lyrics

Workington way, when lads left school,
'Twas just the pit and foundry beckoned,
Young Joe went down to hew the coal,
But not for long, so some folks reckoned.
For Joe could tackle hard and Joe could run,
He only needed time for growing,
And soon he'd signed his name to play
And to the city moved away.

Now on the sports page he'd appear,
The idol of the local lasses.
Out on the field he played it fair
While all the girls made forward passes.
Until another match turned people's heads
Jarrow lads v ruling classes.
And with no future in it now
It's home again and up The Brow.

Back underground to hear no lark
For thirty years from dawn till evening,
Until the coal had left its mark
And to the bank the earth returned him,
No more to sweat his days out in the dark,
Some years on top the dust had earned him.
And all the while the sickness grew,
Still he'd ask what he could do for you.

He'd do odd jobs for one and all
Though snow was thick or rain was teeming.
And all the world would seem to call;
The kettle never finished steaming.
“Reach up”, he'd say, “By God, you're looking thin”,
While mischief in his eyes was gleaming.
“If Lizzie thinks you're hungry still,
They'll be nowt for us in her will.”

The day you left I stayed outside
With scalding tears, no comfort knowing.
We all turned up to say goodbye;
The church was filled to overflowing.
You'd never have believed it if you'd seen
How many people mourned your going,
And just how lucky folks still feel
To say they knew Joe Peel.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 28 Aug 19 - 04:51 PM

Most of the above is spot on.

However Peter Bond one of the most sublime songwriters I have ever heard was born I believe in (or very close to) Middlesbrough.

I seem to recall that Joe Peel was related to his wife.

Peter is a complete wordsmith of the very highest order. If I was ever invited on to Desert Island Disc's this would be one track I would take with me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 Aug 19 - 05:14 PM

Yes Raggy, Peter’s a Teessider. His brother is an old tall-ship sailing colleague of mine, and a FB Friend, and he still lives in the area.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Aug 19 - 04:46 AM

Would that be Trevor, who I know to say hello to.

Which tall ship were you on, I crewed on one for 4 years off and on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 19 - 05:05 AM

Yep, Trevor’s the man! Another very nice musician and singer!

I did 25 or so voyages, mostly on the STS Malcolm Miller, a few on the STS Sir Winston Churchill, and one on the STS Stavros S Niarchos. Mostly sailed as Cook’s Assistant-cum-Purser, but did a few as a rope-puller/rigging-climber too. First trip in 1968 when I was a callow and pimply youth, then no more until 1983. I think my last one was in the early 2000’s.

Happy days!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Aug 19 - 05:32 AM

I too was mostly a "deckie" but did a fair stint as "head cook and bottle washer" on The Grand Turk.

Happy days indeed!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 29 Aug 19 - 06:11 AM

One of my very favourite songs, a thing of beauty and emotion. The essence of what we call folk music.    In my mind the "Lizzie" mentioned was the mother or close relation of Joe's visitor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Aug 19 - 06:18 AM

I always got the impression that "Lizzie" was Joe's wife.

as in:

"if Lizzie think's your hungry still, there'll be nowt for us in her will."

Joe joking he would outlive his wife despite his illness.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 06:04 AM

Yes that is quite likely Backwoodsman, hadn't thought about it like that, but would it not be fairly easy to verify? Was joe's wife called Elizabeth? was Joe married? That is not clear from the lyrics. I Always imagined Joe to be living on his own. Interesting discussion.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 06:12 AM

Ahem!!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 06:21 AM

Well, Ake, it was Raggy’s point, but I agree with him - I’ve always assumed that ‘Lizzie’ was Joe’s wife.

I could always ask Trevor! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 06:43 AM

I'm sorry Raggytash….and Backwoodsman, a "senior moment" I'm afraid.
Raggytash, I have just noticed that you are acquainted with Trevor and Peter if you get the chance could you please convey my appreciation of his wonderful song. I was fortunate enough to have a relative who had a life which corresponded to Joe's almost exactly.....he had a huge effect on my own life....I'm not as bad as many here believe :0)
Thanks.... Ake.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 06:54 AM

Hi Ake, we all have those moments !

I have considered for many, many years that Peter Bond is one of the finest songwriters of the present era. I used to see him quite often and he was always a complete gentleman in every sense of the word. Sadly I rarely see him now as he seldom plays any gigs.

I was always struck by the beauty of his words, the sentiments of his songs and his craft in creating tunes to fit them. Joe Peel is just one, albeit very fine, example of that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Akenaton
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 06:58 AM

Just as an afterthought, the final verse is an absolute classic, I still cannot listen to it without being deeply moved, I find it hard to understand how a performer ca find the strength to deliver the song. I have never heard Peter actually singing his song, but June's version with the piano accompaniment is almost perfect.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Akenaton
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 07:10 AM

Sorry about all these posts, but my relative was also a miner in the Fife coalfields for a long period...he talked about "up the brow" as the entrance to the mine workings, not a particular area of one small town.
Any old miners on mudcat?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 07:15 AM

Trust me on this one Ake ............... it's not a patch on Peter's.

Kathryn Roberts and Seth Lakeman do a pretty good version of it, one I prefer to June's which I find a little odd because of unusual piano chords, notes that I think Peter would never have countenanced.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 07:25 AM

I bow to your obvious musical expertise Raggytash, but as an amateur guitar player, I think the piano chords add to the emotional effect of the brilliant writing.....I look forward to hearing Peter's original version, I wonder if it is still available?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 08:35 AM

I prefer Kath & Sean’s version too, Raggy.
And I’ve always understood it to be ‘over the brow’ - ‘The brow’ I’ve taken to mean the top of the shaft, where the men stepped into and out of the cage.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 09:15 AM

I have been to think it is "up the brow" a brow being a hill, although Ake's interpretation seems reasonable and I will happily defer to his knowledge via his relative..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 10:00 AM

I remember a chant from school days

"I'm a Collier by trade, I can use a pick and spade
I can shove a little wagon up a brow
And when I go t'top, I can sup a bottle of pop
That's what an Irish navvy cannot do"

Brow being pronounced brew in this case. Nowt to do with the song in question. Just adding a bit to the brow/brew discussion!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 12:12 PM

Pit Brow Lasses;
Later that year (1842), the Mines and Collieries Act was passed. It stated that it was illegal to employ a female of any age, or a boy under the age of ten, underground at a mine. Soon, new communities of female workers began to spring up around the pit head. They were known as ‘Pit Brow Lasses’ in Lancashire and areas of the north, ‘Tip Girls’ in South Wales, and ‘Pit Bank Women’ in Staffordshire.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Aug 19 - 12:17 PM

From coaleducation.org:-

Brow - A low place in the roof of a mine, giving insufficient headroom.”

Not really very helpful in the context of the song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Elderlygentleman
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 08:11 AM

Trying to work up this wonderful song currently and a little late to the party: apologies.

I come from several generations of miners on my father's side of the family. From the context in which it was used in my part of South Yorkshire , 'the brow' was a term I assumed, from the context, to mean the mine area generally. So, if asked where he was going, a miner on his way to work would reply, 'up't brow'.

Another phrase in the song is 'to the bank the earth returned him'. Again, from context, 'the bank' I concluded to mean not currently working, with perhaps a subtle implication that you were in reserve if needed. I wonder if this was how it was during the depression when miners were on short time? All of my father's brothers were on short time at the pit during that time; perhaps the hope was that you might get the call to work an extra shift?

Nothing definitive in these thoughts, just my impressions from years of being around uncles who were working miners.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 08:50 AM

I think the bank in this sense just means the surface, as in the song Rap 'Er To Bank (knock on the cage to let them know to bring the cage up to the surface).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
From: JHW
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 10:16 AM

This is a wonderful song. Imagine if you'd done enough in your life to be so remembered.


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