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Byker Hill: background info anyone?

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BYKER HILL


Related threads:
Help What is Bumble? (Byker Hill) (34)
Question about Byker Hill (52)
Elsie Marley & Byker Hill revisited (2) (closed)
Lyr Add: Byker Hill (9) (closed)
Lyr Add: Biker Bill & Walter Shaw (9)


keberoxu 05 Nov 19 - 06:48 PM
GUEST 04 Nov 19 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Peter 12 May 19 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Chris Carter 09 May 19 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Wolf Baginski 19 Mar 18 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Calum 16 Oct 15 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Frank 16 Aug 15 - 02:40 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Aug 15 - 10:43 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Aug 15 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Frank 16 Aug 15 - 09:00 AM
GUEST 30 May 14 - 11:23 AM
Greenm 14 Mar 14 - 11:16 AM
ripov 27 May 13 - 07:52 PM
MGM·Lion 27 May 13 - 05:22 PM
MGM·Lion 27 May 13 - 03:25 AM
MGM·Lion 26 May 13 - 06:41 PM
Tootler 26 May 13 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 26 May 13 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,concerened 25 May 13 - 10:00 PM
ripov 25 May 13 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,concerened 25 May 13 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,guest 24 May 13 - 06:52 PM
johnadams 08 Nov 10 - 12:20 PM
MGM·Lion 08 Nov 10 - 11:38 AM
Bill Brown 22 Oct 10 - 11:46 AM
Bounty Hound 13 Jun 10 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 12 Jun 10 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,measures 30 Apr 10 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,2581 17 Feb 10 - 02:43 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 12 Feb 10 - 03:14 PM
Matt Seattle 12 Feb 10 - 12:48 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 12:45 PM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Feb 10 - 12:44 PM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Feb 10 - 12:37 PM
Dave Sutherland 12 Feb 10 - 12:36 PM
Matt Seattle 12 Feb 10 - 12:33 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Ed 12 Feb 10 - 10:27 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Feb 10 - 10:19 AM
Matt Seattle 12 Feb 10 - 06:33 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Feb 10 - 06:06 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 05:57 AM
Matt Seattle 12 Feb 10 - 05:50 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 10 - 03:04 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Nov 09 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 19 Nov 09 - 04:04 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 09 - 11:42 AM
Dave Hanson 11 Aug 08 - 02:49 AM
Leadfingers 10 Aug 08 - 07:27 PM
The Sandman 10 Aug 08 - 07:00 PM
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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Nov 19 - 06:48 PM

There is a Sydney Carter lyric,
set to music I believe by Donald Swann,

called
"Take Me Back To Byker."

The lyric probably merits a thread of its own.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 19 - 12:15 PM

When did Byker pit close..


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 12 May 19 - 12:00 PM

AS Walker had staithes for loading coal onto keel boats "shore" is most likely in my view. Walker Colliery was very close to the river. Old maps show a wagonway from the Byker Hill area to the Tyne at Walker.

Until seeing Walker Colliery on the map just now I had always taken "Walker Shore" simply to be where the coal was delivered from the colliery's own wagons to the boats.

(I haven't trawled through the whole thread either)


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Chris Carter
Date: 09 May 19 - 02:57 PM

I haven't the hardihood to read through all of this but I'd like to chuck in a thought on some of the early discussions about Walker Shore (fanciful, IMO, theories about sewers and the banks of the Tyne etc.) A glance at the map will show that both Byker and Walker are miles from the sea. So it's not likely to refer to a mine on or under the sea shore. Back in the 17th-19th century Byker, Walker and the area between was largely open countryside. I have always heard the name as Walker Shaw. The dictionary defines shaw as a wood or wooded area; so Walker Shaw becomes a mine in woodland. Makes more sense to me.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Wolf Baginski
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 05:13 PM

Passing thought here: with the song dating back to 1812, those were the days when clothing was hand-sewn, even with factory spinning and weaving, so the three shirts would cost more than we think.

Singer wasn't the only inventor of sewing machines, but their arrival made clothing affordable for ordinary people. The effects were one the those Victorian-era changes that, because of photography, we can see. And the sewing machines explains a few things I have known about for years, such as the quality of uniforms in the American Civil War. The Union Army was backed by clothing factories using sewing machines.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Calum
Date: 16 Oct 15 - 09:32 AM

Here's something that seems a little off-piste: have a look at tune 48, here.

http://www.malcolmrutter.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/hmddf.pdf


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 16 Aug 15 - 02:40 PM

Everything's To the tune of Elsie Marley the as days

It would make this vers fit with the rest of the song whitch would be nice


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Aug 15 - 10:43 AM

"Elsie Marley", bugger it. No relation to old Ludwig V's "Fur Elise"!


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Aug 15 - 10:40 AM

But then, Frank, who would play "the tune of Elise Marley" as it went -- and why?

Nice idea, tho...

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 16 Aug 15 - 09:00 AM

I have an idea about the pig jig.
If a carriage on the gravity train was known as a pig, you shovel in the coal then send it jiggling down the track to walker shore ?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 May 14 - 11:23 AM

Back 30+ years ago, there was a band that played the Cedar/Riverside area in Minneapolis that eventually evolved into Boiled in Lead ( BiL ) and recorded a version of this song.

So from what I hear you saying in this thread, it's not a punk tune?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Greenm
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 11:16 AM

Unbelievable tha this thread has been going for so long, and so thought I would bring it into 2014......
Back in the mid sixties A dear friend of mine now sadly passed away used to sing this song and we were at a loss to determine what it was about (we established the Duke of York folk club in Eccles after moving from the Cross Keys); however in 1973 I moved to the North East and soon discovered the meaning as I worked out of an office near Byker.
Last night I was at the TyneFolk club in Blaydon to hear the Wilsons and was surprised to hear them sing Byker Hill (to the tune I know and with the words I know). I hadn't heard the song since the sixties and thus my reason for looking it up on MudCat. I can't really add much more to the discussion but couldn't let this opportunity go, to add my three penneth. Incidentally I saw input from Malcolm Douglas in the thread, and wondered if it was the same person I know (i.e. Ex ICL)?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: ripov
Date: 27 May 13 - 07:52 PM

If you're playing along with the Carthy CD I make it c# and g#7 and maybe another I cant quite fathom.
But guitarists can probably use those g-clamp things and just play chord I and V7.
The insertion of a bar of 3/4 in a jig (or conversely 6/4 in a 3/2 hornpipe) is common in both folk and classical music, and here the first two beats (ie 2 dotted minims or crotchets) become a triplet (ie 3 minims or 3 crotchets, depending whether you take it as 9/4 or 9/8), the 3rd beat remaining as 3 crotchets or quavers.
Even with some words the tune sounds perfectly sensible in straight 9/8;- Jen-ny come| Back toyourlittle| Ba-a-by
It sounds like a pipe tune, so in the original it would be very difficult to tell where the beats were anyway.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 May 13 - 05:22 PM

Did that work for you, concerened?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 May 13 - 03:25 AM

Taking it you meant the YT version, which I too have always sung unaccompd, I got my guitar out to try an accompt. I found that one minor chord would do for each line, of verse & chorus, without change, as this is one of those tunes that end on the dominant. It came out as

1st line - Amin
2nd line - Dmin
3rd line - Amin
4th line - Emin

Try that.

Hope this helps.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 May 13 - 06:41 PM

concerened -- not sure which version you want the chords for, the Carthy/Swarbrick to the Drunken Piper/Collier tune (which they did do accompanied), or the Bellamy/YT one [which they sang unaccompd]? But both are fairly simple tunes for which you should be able to find the chords for yourself just by strumming and changing the 3 basic chords, tonic, sub-dominant, dominant, till it sounds right. Not a difficult thing after a bit of practice with pretty well any tune which doesn't modulate minor/major.

Good luck.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Tootler
Date: 26 May 13 - 05:46 PM

Guest, concerned.

I've only ever heard it unaccompanied, so no chords. I'm sure someone will have some, but really it is best unaccompanied.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 26 May 13 - 05:37 PM

Well known local saying - "You can bike from Byker to Walker, but you've got to walk from Walker to Byker".


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,concerened
Date: 25 May 13 - 10:00 PM

Yes, all this is very interesting and you are all very interesting and very lovely clever people and yes, we have all done our research.... but please, please, please, please has any one of you very clever and very interesting people the chords to this great song please?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: ripov
Date: 25 May 13 - 08:32 PM

Keelmen owned the boats that transferred coal from the shore to the merchant ships at anchor in the river. I would guess that "trim" refers to their clean and well dressed appearance compared to the dirty pitman with torn clothes.
As carters would have taken coal from the pit to the shore, carter, rather than cutter, may be the right option for a query earlier in the thread.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,concerened
Date: 25 May 13 - 06:28 AM

Yes, but has anyone got the chords please.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 24 May 13 - 06:52 PM

Just learning this song anew. 'The pitman and the keelman trim' has started a debate. Does 'trim' refer to coal trimming or to conditioning through hard work?


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: johnadams
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 12:20 PM

Way back when..... (Date: 08 Apr 08 - 11:35 AM )
GUEST,Ro suggested...


As a bit of a darker ending it was once suggested to me that the last chorus should be replaced with:

There's no Byker Hill, no Walker Shore
The Collier lads they are no more
no Byker Hill, no Walker shore
The collier lads they are no more


Pete Coe added the following verse several years ago:

'There's no Byker Hill, no Walker Shore
The Collier lads they are no more
It's been like that since '84
So Farewell Elsie Marley'

We've just recorded it as the opening track on in his new album 'Backbone'.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 11:38 AM

A 'gill', btw, is a variable measure of liquid. It means quarter-pint in southern England, but a drinker wanting a half-pint in a northern pub would call for a gill ~ which is clearly what is meant in the 2nd line of Byker Hill ~ also seems to be the meaning in the cumulative Barley Mow song [Good Luck to the Barley Mow in the DT], which refers to 'the gill pot', & you would never get a quarter-pint pot in The Barley Mow [or any other pub], but you would certainly get a half-pint one.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bill Brown
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 11:46 AM

I'm surprised that nobody has (that I can see) brought this up before, but what is "The Bonny Lass of Byker Hill?" It looks like it is the name of a tune.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 05:28 PM

Always loved this song, particularly the Carthy/Swarbrick version. Pretty Grim Morris in Ipswich used to do a dance to it, whic worked really well.

Put off performing it myself by the first line though, the first Mrs B was a Gill, as is the present, not sure I could cope with another;)


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 05:27 PM

I heard the Wilsons sing this last night at the grove folk club in Leeds - best ive ever heard anyone sing this song.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,measures
Date: 30 Apr 10 - 03:06 PM

gill (gil, likely) is a measure (of liquid)


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,2581
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 02:43 AM

Personally, the versions I like best are by (1) The Hush (Bob Fox); (2) The Cottars; and (3) Na'bodach.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 03:14 PM

The last one from the Village- recording heard on sunday folk I did not like at all just not in the spirit. Sort of high on drugs or maybe a bit gay.
Conrad


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Matt Seattle
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:48 PM

'Drucken' is common for "Drunken'. There's no record of Dorrington Lads ever being called Drunken or Drucken anything within Northumbrian circles. It's only ever called by other slightly different titles, all with Dorrington in them. Really. It's not a commonly played tune (this from 14 years living and playing in Northumberland). I have within easy reach every known version either written in manuscript or published since 1733. Most recorded (audio) versions derive from the Minstrelsy, the version there is a partial misreadng of the one in Robert Bewick's collection, of which I am currently preparing the new edition for the Northumbrian Pipers' Society.

The name of the place, near Wooler, is now written and (mostly) pronounced Doddington. It was formerly pronounced with the heavy Northumbrian burr or uvular 'r' where the 'dd' is. There's a reputable brand of ice cream made there now.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:45 PM

OK Dave ~ no real offence taken.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:44 PM

I was responding to Matt and confirming that it was not the tune he mentions. I translated "drucken" into English, and I do have that recording, but when Topic put it on their sampler, they conveniently omit the names of the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:37 PM

My apologies Mike. Nothing personal.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:36 PM

Beat me to it MGM I was going to cite that one and another tune entirely used by The High Level Ranters on their "Northumberland For Ever" album c1969


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Matt Seattle
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:33 PM

The 2-2-2-3 idea is an innovation. That's fine, no problem, I do it myself elsewhere, but it is another thing to suggest that it is a traditional feature of the tune.

I know that Lloyd misunderstood at least one other pipe tune (Bonny Pit Lad). None of us knows everything. Pipe tunes weren't his forte.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:29 PM

Don't forget that there are variant versions of titles as well as of texts and tunes: my info that it is called The Drunken Piper, as GUEST·Ed confirms above, is Martin's own sleevenote itself. So when Dave MacKenzie authoritatively declares "It is definitely not The Drunken Piper" all he means is that it is not the tune that he happens to know by that title. Frankly, Dave, you should know better than to try to put me down like that.

FWIW, I know the tune under both titles, as it appears in an instrumental medley on The Iron Muse under title The Drucken [sic] Collier.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 10:27 AM

Martin Carthy said in the Byker Hill sleeve notes:

The tune of Byker Hill sung here is not the one sung traditionally. It is a Northumbrian dance tune in 9/8, unusual in that instead of being divided into three threes as are most other 9/8 tunes, it is divided in three twos and one three and appropriately called The Drunken Piper. The words are an amalgam of a version I learned years ago while playing with the Thameside Four, and the version sung by A.L. Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 10:19 AM

It's definitely not "The Drunken Piper". I've definitely heard it as drunken something, but I haven't managed to find a recording with tune titles, though I'm sure it was collier. I've got vague memories of Martin saying he'd got that version of Lloyd originally.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Matt Seattle
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 06:33 AM

I don't know about Lloyd, but what Swarb plays with M Carthy here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3dJHy7mDck
is the first strain of Dorrington Lads, more or less the Northumbrian Minstrelsy version. The vocal tune is simplified.
The only 'Drunken Piper' tune I know is a totally different 2/4 Scottish march - there may be other 'Drunken Pipers' but they're not Dorrington Lads.

As a very strange coincidence Martin Carthy later recorded the two tunes from the Dixon book I mentioned above on:
Broken Ground
Waterson:Carthy
Topic TSCD509
[Adam A Bell; Dorrington Lads]

No idea whether he made the connection to Byker Hill, I think that medley was Eliza's idea.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 06:06 AM

I believe it was Bert Lloyd who set the words to "The Drunken Collier". He sings it on XTRA 5023, "The Best of A.L. Lloyd"


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 05:57 AM

re the Carthy/Swarbrick 'fast' version ~ they sang Byker Hill to tune of The Drunken Piper rather than to the other tune with which it is more usually associated: no reason why not; just made it a different sort of song, tho.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Matt Seattle
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 05:50 AM

Just a clarification about the following quoted above:

"This nursery song [My Dearie Sits] is thoroughly local, and dates from about the beginning of the last century. There is such an insignificant difference between the above tune and Dorrington Lads, that they are usually taken to be the same air. As it is, however, better to err in repitition than in omission, we have included both, premising that we have been unable to settle the question of priority of date."

They are NEVER taken to be the same air (in my experience). They are different in character, harmonic structure and melody. They are however both in 9/8 (or 9/4, old style). The earliest appearance of both is in the William Dixon pipe tune manuscript dated 1733-1738 (edited/published as The Master Piper by me in 1995 and 2002). The Dixon book was unknown to the editors of Northumbrian Minstrelsy. My Dearie is called Adam A Bell by Dixon but it's the same tune.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 03:04 AM

The MArtin Carthy/DAve Swarbrick version is much to fast for my recollection.

Dating from 1970, performed by Northern Front at the Londonderry in Sunderland, it was sung almost as a dirge, "By-ker hill and Wa-lker shore", beat, "Collier lads for ever more". Check with Ed Pickford, songwriter and ex-Northern Front for serious miner musical interpretation.

Sunderland born, Byker bred.


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 05:11 PM

The Elsie Marley verse actually comes from the song 'Alice Marley' of the late 18thc. In this song it is 'bumbo made from gin'. I'd say this is likely some form of Flip or grog or punch. The following version I got recently in the BL, ref 11621 a 6, 9, song 3. the garland is titled 'The Bold Sea Captain's Garland' No imprint but I'd guess it was one of Marshall's printing either in Gateshead or Newcastle as some of the other garlands in bound with it are Marshall's.

Graham's earlier posting gives the history of Alice.
A New Song made on Alice Marley
1
Alice Marley is grown so fine
She won't get up to serve the swine
but lies in bed till eight or nine
And surely she does take her time.
And do you ken Alice Marley, honey?
The wife who sells the barley, honey,
Won't get up to serve her swine,
And do you ken etc.
2
Alice marley is no neat,
'Tis hard for one to walk the street,
But every lad and lass they meet,
Cries do you etc
3
Alice kkeps wine, gin and ale,
in her house below the dale,
Where every tradesman up and down,
Does call and spend his half a crown.
4
The farmers as they come that way,
they drink with Alice every day,
And callas the fiddler for to play,
The tune of A M, honey.
5
The pitmen and the keelmen trim,
they drink bumbo made of gin,
And for to dance they do begin
The tune of A M,h.
6
The sailors they will call for flip,
as soon as they come from their ship,
And then begin to dance and skip,
To the tune of A M h
7
Those gentlemen that go so fine,
They'll treat her with a bottle of wine,
And freely they'll sit down and dine,
Along with A M h
8
So to conclude these lines I've penn'd,
Hoping there's none, I do offend,
And this my merry joke doth end,
Concerning A M h.

Only thing that doesn't quite fit, is if Alice kept an inn near Chester-le-Street why would sailors go the 5 miles from the Quay when there were plenty of inns on the Quayside? Must have been a good pub!


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 04:04 PM

There was a pit at Walker look

http://www.dmm.org.uk/colliery/w046.htm


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 09 - 11:42 AM

Our Geordie had a pig
He hit it with a shovel and it danced a jig
now he has been put away
by the man from the RSPCA


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 02:49 AM

Surely it's the pit name, Walker Shaw !!

eric


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 07:27 PM

There is argument about wether the 9/8 was the original tune !
And I am glad Biker Bill got a mention earlier


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Subject: RE: Byker Hill: background info anyone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 07:00 PM

I reckon the other tune and other set of words are better.
Carthys version sounds to me like a vocal exercise,probably very good for getting the voice warmed up,but to me does not sound like a traditional song,it sounds like an art song.whereas the other version has balls.Dick Miles


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