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Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie

Susanne (skw) 12 Jun 00 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Billy 22 Dec 07 - 12:52 AM
katlaughing 22 Dec 07 - 01:24 AM
NRP3 06 Feb 11 - 02:42 PM
Anne Neilson 06 Feb 11 - 03:18 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 11 - 03:48 AM
NRP3 11 Feb 11 - 08:27 AM
GUEST 20 Mar 11 - 03:58 PM
GUEST 30 Nov 12 - 09:05 AM
Jim Dixon 30 Nov 12 - 09:05 PM
Jim McLean 01 Dec 12 - 02:49 PM
GUEST 30 May 13 - 03:05 PM
Gutcher 31 May 13 - 01:42 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 31 May 13 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,Norrie Paton 05 Sep 15 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Norrie Paton 05 Sep 15 - 10:38 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: MINERS' WIVES (Joe Corrie/Alan Reid)^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 06:41 PM

I promised to add some Joe Corrie songs a while ago. All songs have been sung by the Battlefield Band. Here you are:

[1970:] Joe Corrie (1894-1968) [...] was a miner in the Fife and other coalpits, and his early poems became famous during the twenties largely through the old Glasgow socialist weekly, the 'Forward'. He is a genuine poet, and had considerable success also as working-class playwright. The fashion has passed for his work, and he lived in his declining years in straitened circumstances, and in ill-health. (Penguin Book of Scottish Verse 21)

MINERS' WIVES
(Words Joe Corrie / tune Alan Reid)

We have borne good sons to broken men
Nurtured them on our hungry breast
And given them to our masters when
Their day of life was at its best

We have dried their clammy clothes by the fire
Solaced them, tended them, cheered them well
Watched the wheels raising them from the mire
Watched the wheels lowering them to Hell

We have prayed for them in a Godless way
(We never could fathom the ways of God)
We have sung with them on their wedding day
Knowing the journey and the road

We have stood through the naked night to watch
The silent wheels that raised the dead
We have gone before to raise the latch
And lay the pillow beneath their head

We have done all this for our masters' sake
Did it in rags and did not mind
What more do they want? what more can they take?
Unless our eyes and leave us blind

(from The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, 1970)

IMAGE OF GOD
(Words Joe Corrie / tune Alan Reid)

Crawlin' aboot like a snail in the mud
Covered wi' clammy blae
ME, made after the image o' God -
Jings! but it's laughable, tae

Howkin' awa' 'neath a mountain o' stane
Gaspin' for want o' air
The swweat makin' streams doon my bare back-banes
And my knees a' hauckit and sair

Strainin' and cursin' the hale shift through
Half-starved, half-blin', half-mad
And the gaffer he says, Less dirt in that coal
Or ye go up the pit, my lad

So I gie my life tae the Nimmo squad
For eicht and fower a day
Me! made after the image o' God -
Jings! but it's laughable, tae

(from The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, 1970)

(I've no idea what the 'Nimmo squad' is, but I suspect it refers to a person important in the mining world, in the way people talk of the 'Beeching cuts' and 'Robens' merry men'.)

I AM THE COMMON MAN
(Words Joe Corrie / tune Alan Reid)

I am the Common Man
I am the brute and the slave
I am the fool, the despised
From the cradle to the grave

I am the hewer of coal
I am the tiller of soil
I am serf of the seas
Born to bear and to toil

I am the builder of halls
I am the dweller of slums
I am the filfth and the scourge
When winter's depression comes

I am the fighter of wars
I am the killer of men
Not for a day or an age
But again and again and again

I am the Common Man
But Masters of mine take heed
For you have put into my head
Oh! many a wicked deed

[1988:] The song began life as a poem by the late Joe Corrie. Alan put it to music, together with Miners' Wives, adapting the words to make it fit. Joe Corrie was a Fife miner in the 1920s. After the General Strike (1926) he found himself without a job - like so many who had strong principles - so with some family and neighbours he formed a touring theatre company. He wrote, directed and acted in the plays. In later years he wrote plays for the theatre and radio as well as some songs and poems. He never returned to the mines but his direct, dignified and even prophetic poems confirm him as a true worker-poet. (Battlefield Band Songbook 123)

The fourth song I have, 'Island Earth No More', is based on a poem by Joe Corrie, 'Highland Clearances, 1812', and was adapted by Alan Reid. I haven't got the song's words copied out, they're in the Battlefield Band songbook, and I'll send them in when I'm back from my Scottish holiday. (VBG!)


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Subject: Joe Corrie - Websites to his work
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 12:52 AM

I lived in Fife (Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline) from 1969 to 1973. I played in a rock band with three young fife miners (the deep Michael? pit which stretched 5 miles out under the North Sea). When they were back on the surface, they were a wild bunch, but great fun (if you were into drinking large amounts of alcohol and getting into fights - back then, I was!). As an outsider, but a friend of the mining community, I was tolerated, but unless you go down the mine to work, you can never be a real part of that close-knit community.
I learned of Joe Corrie then, but it wasn't until later that I began to get into his work. Before the Internet, it wasn't easy to gather information from small local libraries. But today, with some of his poetry being set to music by the Battlefield Band, his poems and prose are becoming so much more available. There are a number of sites that feature his work. I just wish I had met him back then!
Here are some sites of this remarkable man.

site 1
site 2

site3
site 4


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Subject: RE: Joe Corrie - Websites to his work
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 01:24 AM

Wonderful links and much great material to explore. Thanks so much!


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Subject: Lyr Add: I AM THE COMMON MAN (Joe Corrie/Alan Reid
From: NRP3
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 02:42 PM

Songs by Joe Corrie - Scottish Playwright.

I wonder if any Mudcat enthusiasts can provide some information on the songs written by Joe Corrie?

I have a few recordings of them: 'Maid of Kenmore'; recorded by Neil MacLean, and later by Robert Wilson. 'Kirsteen' recorded by Neil Maclean and also much later by Calum Kennedy.

The ones by the Battlefield Band are already mentioned on a Mudcat thread, back in the year 2000.

NRP3.

See the previous message for I AM THE COMMON MAN.--joeclone


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Subject: Lyr Add: IMAGE OF GOD (Joe Corrie/Alan Reid)
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 03:18 PM

Two poems were set by John Eaglesham (formerly of The Clutha and latterly of Stramash) -- "Guttin' Herring" and "A Wife he disna lo'e'.
I was given them both but have no facility to transmit the tunes -- apologies!
Corrie had a true connection to the real voice of the working class and the resulting "songs" are very acceptable as an expression of human concerns.

See an earlier message for IMAGE OF GOD. Please don't post more than one song per message.--joeclone.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WOMEN ARE WAITING TONIGHT (Joe Corrie)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 03:48 AM

Thanks for prodding this thread back to life - it got me to take down a couple of small and very tatty paperback booklets of his poems we were lucky enough to find in a second-hand bookshop years ago: 'The Image of God', and 'The Road The Fiddler Went' (the latter has a preface by J Ramsay MacDonald; MP); neither are dated.
There is also a collection of his work published by 7:84 Publications; 'Joe Corrie, plays, poems and theatre writings'.
My own favourite poem of his is to be found in 'The Penguin Book of Socialist Verse'. I'm not sure if it would transfer into a song, but we used it several times as a reading in themed evenings on 'Work'
Jim Carroll

WOMEN ARE WAITING TONIGHT
Women are waiting tonight on the pit-bank,
Pale at the heart with dread,
Watching the dead-still wheels
That loom in the mirky sky,
The silent wheels of Fate,
Which is the system under which they slave.
They stand together in groups.
As sheep shelter in storm,
Silent, passive, dumb.
For in the caverns under their feet,
The coffin seams of coal
'Twixt the rock and the rock,
The gas has burst into flame,
And has scattered the hail of Death.
Cold the night is, and dark,
And the rain falls in a mist.
Their shawls and their rags are sodden,
And their thin, starved cheeks are blue,
But they will not go home to their fires,
Tho' the news has been broken to them
That a miracle is their only hope.
They will wait and watch till the dawn,
Till the wheels begin to revolve,
And the men whom they loved so well,
The strong, kind, loving men,
Are brought up in canvas sheets,
To be identified by a watch,
Or a button,
Or, perhaps, only a wish.
And three days from now,
They will all be buried together,
In one big hole in the earth.
And the King will send his sympathy,
And the Member of Parliament will be there,,
Who voted that the military be used
When last these miners came on strike
To win a living wage.
His shining black hat will glisten over a sorrowful face,
And his elegantly shod feet will go slowly behind the bier.
And the director of the company will be there,
Who has vowed many a time
That he would make the miner eat grass.
And the parson, who sits on the Parish Council,
Starving the children and saving the rates,
Will pray in a mournful voice,
And tear the very hearts of the bereaved.
He will emphasize in godly phrase,
The danger of the mine,
And the bravery and valour of the miner.
And the Press
That has spilled oceans of ink
Poisoning the public against the 'destroyers of industry',
Will tell the sad tale,
And the public will say,
'How sad.
'But a week today all will be forgotten,
And the Member of Parliament,
The coalowner,
The parson,
The Press,
And the public,
Will keep storing up their venom and their hatred,
For the next big miners' strike.
Women are waiting tonight at the pit-bank,
But even God does not see
The hypocrisy and the shame of it all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: NRP3
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 08:27 AM

Many thanks indeed for the response to my request for some information on songs by Joe Corrie. Another one I recall is 'If Ye Only Wait a Wee' again it is from a recording by Neil MacLean, the Gaelic gold-medal tenor, whose career spanned the 1930s into the early 1960s.

I had never read the poem 'Women Are Waiting Tonight' - indeed, I hadn't even heard of it; I found it very interesting, and will have a few more readings of it in the future. It had Joe Corrie's stamp on it all right!

The socialist movement should certainly have paid more respect to him than they have done (I don't mean the Labour Party, they wouldn't even begin to understand a man like Corrie).

NRP3.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Mar 11 - 03:58 PM

Thank you for these postings of Corrie's poems. They are great stuff.

Regarding the comment about "the Nimmo Squad", I think this is a reference to Sir Adam Nimmo, a prominent coalowner who had an aggressive attitude towards the miners during the 1926 strike. There were Nimmo Coal Company pits in Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire, I believe, and Nimmo seems to have been on the board of a number of Scottish coal companies, including the Fife Coal Company. Corrie would have worked for the Fife Coal Company from about the age of 14 when he was living in Cardenden, Fife.

Cardenden has another claim to literary fame - Ian Rankin comes from there!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 12 - 09:05 AM

I am looking for the sheet music(words and music) for a Corrie song 'fair maid of kenmore', and would be grateful if you would know where I can find it, as I want to sing it at a competition in Fife.
There is no contact no for mudcat...is it in USA or Scotland?
Dr N Milliken Edinburgh neilkcm@hotmail.com


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Subject: Lyr Add: FAIR MAID OF KENMORE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Nov 12 - 09:05 PM

Found on a web page called NEFA - Banff and Buchan Collection – Tape Transcription:

The lonely moors pale on the lovely Loch Tay,
Thy shiel in my sentinel stands by the shore
The hills are asleep in the lade of Loch Tay
As I wait by your window, fair maid of Kenmore

Awaken my loved one, come wander with me
The joys that are passing will come never more
As the waters of Tay flow down to the sea
Loves pleasures are pleasing fair maid of Kenmore

The sheep on the hillside have gone to the fold
On the peak of Ben Lawers that ere????
O why need we sigh for the pleasures of old
Awaken my loved one, the world is our own

Awaken my loved one, come wander with me
The joys that are passing will come never more
As the waters of Tay flow down to the sea
Loves pleasures are pleasing, fair maid of Kenmore

Though fair is thy beauty and gently thy heart
Though you would be jewelled for kings to adore
Come by with the joys that are passing away
And fleeting forever fair maid of Kenmore

Awaken my loved one, come wander with me
The joys that are passing will come never more
As the waters of Tay flow down to the sea
Loves pleasures are pleasing, fair maid of Kenmore

So pure was thy beauty, so gentle thy heart
That mountains may rumble and roll to the shore
Ere the love and devotion shall fade from my heart
And the song from my lips now fair maid of Kenmore

Awaken my loved one, come wander with me
The joys that are passing will come never more
As the waters of Tay flow down to the sea
Loves pleasures are pleasing, fair maid of Kenmore


[I can't find any confirmation that the Corries recorded this.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Dec 12 - 02:49 PM

Jim Dixon I don't think this song has anything to do with the Corrie Folk group, rather Joe Corrie the poet.
You'll notice the 'source singer' John McKinnon (I think it was) had no idea who wrote the song or where he for it from 'probably a book' so wasn't traditional but attributed to Joe Corrie, see early post.
I have a book of Joe's songs but this one isn't included.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 13 - 03:05 PM

I believe that The Maid Of Kenmore was written by Joe Corrie for the singer Robert Wilson, and recorded by Wilson in 1944 or 1945 on the old HMV Plum Label. The lyrics differ very slightly from those on your site.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: Gutcher
Date: 31 May 13 - 01:42 AM

When we moved in from the outback to the village of Mauchline in the late 1940s. Joe Corrie was living with a married sister some 100yds. from our new house, unfortunately I cannot remember the married name of his sister but will check with some of my own sisters to see if they remember. Robert Wilson lived in Ayr so may have been aquaint with Corrie when he lived in Ayrshire, hence the song mentioned by Guest above.
My recollection of Corrie was of a gaunt greyfaced man who did not communicate with the surrounding neighbours.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 31 May 13 - 07:15 AM

Anyone interested in Joe Corrie's stuff would enjoy the new CD of his poems set to music by the Bowhill players- title 'A Cage Load of Men'-featuring Fife veteran performers like Davey Stewart and Fiona Forbes (sorry Fiona) and reviewed by myself in the current issue of 'Living Tradition' and no doubt the CD available from the magazine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: GUEST,Norrie Paton
Date: 05 Sep 15 - 10:22 AM

Can anyone tell me if Joe Corrie wrote the song 'The Lee Light o' the Moon'? James Urquhart recorded it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Songs by Joe Corrie
From: GUEST,Norrie Paton
Date: 05 Sep 15 - 10:38 AM

If Gutcher is still interested Robert Wilson was certainly a friend of Joe Corrie. He was introduced to Joe by Sydney MacEwan, who relates the story of introducing the two, in his autobiography.

Robert's son Carey, told me that his father and Joe appeared together in a photograph on a copy of the sheet music for 'Maid of Kenmore.


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