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Canal songs (UK)

Related threads:
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Tech: Canal Song website moves - Redirection? (11)
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Folklore: English canal system ghosts (29)
Lyr Req: UK: NW canal songs? (23)
BS: canal restoration videos, UK, Gloucs (7)
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Lyr Req: Neath & Swansea Junction Canal (21)
Canal, Railway, Navvy, photographs (4)


Steve Parkes 17 Jun 99 - 03:58 AM
Roger the Skiffler 10 Feb 03 - 03:39 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Feb 03 - 04:51 AM
Steve Parkes 10 Feb 03 - 05:26 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Feb 03 - 06:25 AM
AggieD 10 Feb 03 - 06:35 AM
Steve Parkes 10 Feb 03 - 06:52 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Feb 03 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,T-boy 10 Feb 03 - 07:58 AM
Roger the Skiffler 10 Feb 03 - 08:24 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Feb 03 - 08:36 AM
The Admiral 10 Feb 03 - 08:55 AM
Dave Bryant 10 Feb 03 - 10:25 AM
GUEST 10 Feb 03 - 12:18 PM
Jeanie 10 Feb 03 - 03:30 PM
Charley Noble 10 Feb 03 - 04:06 PM
Roger the Skiffler 11 Feb 03 - 03:10 AM
AggieD 11 Feb 03 - 06:02 AM
ced2 11 Feb 03 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Santa 11 Feb 03 - 09:59 AM
Lady Nancy 11 Feb 03 - 03:19 PM
Charley Noble 11 Feb 03 - 04:58 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 03 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Dagenham Doc 13 Feb 03 - 02:30 AM
Dave Bryant 13 Feb 03 - 06:10 AM
Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland 13 Feb 03 - 10:46 AM
GUEST 13 Feb 03 - 02:28 PM
Mr Red 13 Feb 03 - 05:02 PM
Roger the Skiffler 14 Feb 03 - 09:59 AM
Ross Campbell 13 Jan 08 - 11:46 PM
Skipper Jack 14 Jan 08 - 07:01 AM
LeTenebreux 14 Jan 08 - 09:39 AM
Ross Campbell 14 Jan 08 - 10:48 AM
Ian Hendrie 14 Jan 08 - 05:13 PM
Les in Chorlton 14 Jan 08 - 05:20 PM
Ian Hendrie 14 Jan 08 - 05:26 PM
Susanne (skw) 15 Jan 08 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,PMB 16 Jan 08 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Barnacle (at work) 16 Jan 08 - 04:42 AM
Folkiedave 16 Jan 08 - 05:07 AM
Mr Happy 16 Jan 08 - 08:01 AM
Ross Campbell 16 Jan 08 - 08:55 AM
Mr Happy 16 Jan 08 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,PMB 16 Jan 08 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 16 Jan 08 - 11:43 AM
Mr Happy 16 Jan 08 - 11:58 AM
Ian Hendrie 16 Jan 08 - 12:36 PM
Ian Hendrie 16 Jan 08 - 01:40 PM
Snuffy 16 Jan 08 - 07:49 PM
Mr Happy 28 Jan 08 - 12:04 PM
Ian Hendrie 28 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM
Ian Hendrie 28 Jan 08 - 03:48 PM
Ross Campbell 28 Jan 08 - 11:23 PM
Harmonium Hero 02 Feb 08 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Ian Hendrie 03 Feb 08 - 01:40 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Feb 08 - 07:12 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Feb 08 - 07:17 PM
Leadfingers 04 Feb 08 - 05:23 AM
Harmonium Hero 06 Feb 08 - 06:06 PM
Ian Hendrie 07 Feb 08 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Ian Hedrie 15 Feb 08 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Pathheider 21 Jul 08 - 05:35 PM
Ian Hendrie 21 Jul 08 - 06:20 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jul 08 - 06:33 PM
Dave Illingworth 22 Jul 08 - 03:50 AM
Ian Hendrie 22 Jul 08 - 04:13 AM
Jay777 22 Jul 08 - 04:30 AM
Dave Illingworth 22 Jul 08 - 06:49 AM
Fidjit 23 Jul 08 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Vicki Kelsey 24 Jul 08 - 12:27 AM
Wincing Devil 24 Jul 08 - 12:09 PM
Newport Boy 26 Feb 09 - 05:17 AM
Newport Boy 26 Feb 09 - 05:34 AM
Ian Hendrie 27 Feb 09 - 03:39 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 27 Feb 09 - 06:46 AM
Ian Hendrie 28 Feb 09 - 05:30 PM
Stewie 28 Feb 09 - 09:33 PM
Ian Hendrie 01 Mar 09 - 04:00 AM
GUEST 07 Mar 09 - 06:50 PM
Ian Hendrie 08 Mar 09 - 03:26 PM
Ian Hendrie 26 Mar 09 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Ian B 14 Apr 09 - 01:59 PM
Reinhard 14 Apr 09 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,New City Canal Transport (see facebook) 04 Jun 09 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Waterboy 05 Jun 09 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,davey 05 Jun 09 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Ian Bruce 05 Jun 09 - 05:36 PM
Commander Crabbe 05 Jun 09 - 06:54 PM
Ian Hendrie 06 Jun 09 - 03:31 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jun 09 - 10:43 PM
Newport Boy 21 Aug 09 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Tom from Australia 17 Sep 09 - 04:55 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Sep 09 - 03:09 PM
Ian Hendrie 24 Mar 10 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Ian Hendrie 06 Apr 11 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 07 Mar 12 - 06:23 PM
Ian Hendrie 07 Mar 12 - 06:26 PM
Ian Hendrie 18 Jan 14 - 08:56 AM
keberoxu 10 Nov 15 - 03:12 PM
GUEST 11 Nov 15 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,CJB 11 Nov 15 - 08:25 AM
Ross Campbell 25 Jan 16 - 10:52 AM
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Subject: British Waterways - canals & stuff
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 Jun 99 - 03:58 AM

There have been a few mentions and questions about British canals lately. Have a look at this website if your're interested.

Steve
I moved this message here from another thread on the same topic. The Feb 3003 thread begins in the next message. I also added (UK) to the thread title to differentiate if from the many threads on US canals.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Canal songs
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:39 AM

I know several 'Catters are interested in these, not only those of us who come from the Venice of the Midlands ( why don't Italians call Venice the Birmingham of Italy?).
While at the Skiffle Madness session I picked up a flyer from skifflers DPN+1 for a CD of theirs called The Unknown Boatman. (£6.50 inc P&P from Dave Illingworth tel: 0208 540 2919 for details .) Looks interesting.

RtS
(Push Boys, Push)


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:51 AM

Roger, since you come from Brum, do you have the words of the BCN song "There's miles and miles of poly round the blades" ?

It goes to the tune of "She'll be coming round the mountain and describes all the sorts of objects that get wrapped round the propeller on a trip on the Birmingham Canals.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 05:26 AM

Did you know that BCNers have 23 different words for water? And 41 for things that get wrapped round the prop.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:25 AM

The usual word used just before you unclamp the weed hatch is F***K !

"There's an 8 mill porno movie round the blades and we'll have to watch it quick before it fades..."


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: AggieD
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:35 AM

The best one is getting a dead body round the prop, as happened to a fellow boater in Farmer's Bridge Locks 2 years ago. We were stuck overnight in the lock pound between locks 2 & 3 because the police reckoned someone had partaken of one too many pints of cider & slipped into the cavernous depths underneath the PO Tower. Guess what we have renamed Farmer's Bridge Locks now?

Close second is someone's cratch cover round the prop. You can't cut that off so easily!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:52 AM

But, Dave: any old-time boatman can cuss for two minutes without hesitation, repetition or deviation!

AggieD: there was a tv series not so long back which featured the anual around-the-BCN-in-48-hours race. One of the boats took a wrong turn up a dead end and found their prop wash was disturbing some very toxic mud. It was full of nasty stuff that had been dumped there from nearby factories, and it didn't legally count as dangerous and so couldn't be cleaned up) so long as no-one disturbed the mud; but when a boat did, it was grounded until everything had settled down!

Steve (BCN Society, 1976-7)


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 07:18 AM

I once picked up a heavy duty poly bag near West Drayton on the South GU. It was very dark and cold that night and as I cut the bag away, in the light of the torch, I saw pink flesh with white bone sticking out. I investigated further and found that it was the remains of a pig's carcass, but it gave me one hell of a scare.

Another incident - again in the dark, reminded me of the scene in "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea" where they fought the giant squid. The "tentacle" that reared up in the weed hatch turned out to be a piece of slimy 4" polythene tubing - there was about 4m of it - it was very useful for all sorts of jobs once I cleaned it up !


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 07:58 AM

I think the 'poly round the blade' song was written by The Admiral.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 08:24 AM

I don't think I've got those words, Dave, I'll have a look at the Halliard/Black Country 3 stuff I've got and report back!

RtS
(and, referring to another thread: Poor Old Horse)


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 08:36 AM

I don't think that Tony did write the song, but he might know it.
Dave Blagrove sings it, but he said that he didn't write it. I'll try and weedle the words out of him if no-one on the cat can supply them.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: The Admiral
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 08:55 AM

Thanks for the compliment T-boy but I got the words from the singing of David Blagrove and for years I thought that he had written it and always credited it to him but I have heard a rumour recently that it wasn't written by him (Dave B I think it might have been you who told me). All the same, a cracking song that I've had a load of fun out of over the years!
As for weedbox diving, the BCN is a much cleaner place than it was, you still have problems but I can remember one year on the Birmingham Level not being able to travel more than 100 yards without another nip down the inspection hatch. They don't tell you about these things when you're looking through the glossy brochures!
But just to slip in a quick Breezy type shameless plug, we have Dave Illingworth at Maidenhead FC on March 6th!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 10:25 AM

Tony, if you've got the words, could you post them - I'm sure there's quite a few catters who'd find them amusing.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 12:18 PM

36 Miles away from the sea is about the building of the Manchester Ship Canal, and is a Chris While/Julie mathews song.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Jeanie
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:30 PM

Came across these today (whilst looking for something totally different !) for sale on the Folk in Education website:

Cassette 6.95 (GB Pounds) 'English Canals' - Traditional songs about the building of the canals (John Kirkpatrick, Sue Harris, Jon Raven)

Cassette 6.50 'Watching the Boats Go By ' - The waterways reflected in song for children.

- jeanie


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Subject: Lyr Add: TELFORD'S BRIDGE (John Warner)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:06 PM

A truly splendid newer canal song was composed by Australia's John Warner who paid a visit to Thomas Telford's great iron canal bridge which arches some 120 feet over the River Dee. He and Margaret Walters do a great job of singing it on their CD WHO WAS THERE © 1997 Feathers & Wedge, available from Margaret at P.O.Box 615, Glebe NSW, 2037 Australia.
^^
TELFORD'S BRIDGE
(John Warner © 1994)

Her age might be forty, though wrinkles tell lies,
And long years of labour are drawn in her eyes;
She puffs her old pipe, leaning outboard to see
Where Telford's great bridge spans the vale of the Dee.
Her husband's asleep in his close, narrow bed,
After fifteen hard hours, he could scarce raise his head;
It's seventy feet from the helm to the bow;
She leans on the tiller; it's her turn right now.

Chorus:

So butter some bread, Sally, brew us some tea,
For it's cold on old Tolfred's Bridge over the Dee.

It's a fine narrow boat that she handles with skill
On the Shropshire Canal as it weaves through the hills,
With coal for Llangollen or roof slates for Chirk,
Three children to manage and long hours of work;
Her Sally's below brewing tea hot and strong,
If she's owt like her ma, she'll be courting e'er long;
Aye, then there'd be childer before you could know,
And small enough room in the cuddy below.

She's painted the buckets with rich love and care,
Wild roses and castles run riotous there,
But there's no time for fantasy, dreams and such stuff,
For the cut's narrowed down to the Bridge's lean trough.

The aqueduct's channel is seven feet wide,
With a stout iron rail on the broad towpath side;
On the off-side there's nothing, no shelter at all;
She steers from the hatchway, three feet from the fall;
The Dee's foaming waters roar distant below;
The wind up the valley will bluster and blow,
And six year old Ted sits up high on the horse,
But she's seen it before and she steers a straight course. (CHO)

Captain, the Clydesdale, bows his noble mane,
And plods proudly on through the fierce scuds of rain;
The towline curves upward, wind-snatched to the lee,
And ninty-five tons rides over the Dee;
The stean engine's coming, or so she's been told,
But she'd not trade old Captain for all the Queen's gold,
And here's Tom a-waking,; he'll soon want his tea,
Where Telford's great bridge spans the vale of the Dee. (CHO)

Enjoy,
Charley Noble
PM me for Margaret's e-mail address


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 03:10 AM

No luck on the words to the "poly/prop" song, Dave, the records I've got are all of "traditional" songs except the Dudley Canal Tunnel Song.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: AggieD
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 06:02 AM

Steve: I remember reading about that problem with the toxic mud. Same old thing: the cut is still looked on as a great dumping place for everyone's rubbish. The EA didn't like having to stump up for it's recent pollution of our 'home' stretch - the Leics GU - after discharging raw sewage - yummy!

Jeanie: Thanks for the link, very interesting tapes hey have on that site

Aggie


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: ced2
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 06:23 AM

Is anyone aware of the half written song to the honour of Delesseps Bronte written when he was undertaking the building of the Bodkin 42 rise locks as part of the scheme to join up the Leeds & Liverpool to the Rochdale Narrow canal. The scheme envisaged leaving the L&L near Keighley, going up the Worth Valley and over the top to reach the R N near Summit(just outside Littleborough).


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 09:59 AM

What about "When Manchester's a Seaport Town"? I know there has been a thread about Leeds ditto, but neither seems to be picked up in the search, and as the Manchester Ship Canal came before the link to Leeds, the song probably moved eastwards after composition.

Any accurate information on this?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Lady Nancy
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 03:19 PM

Nothing to do with canal songs, but I am currently running a coal yard alongside the Leeds/Liverpol canal which has been in existence for 116 years, initially on the south side.

Whilst clearing out 116 years of dross and old papers we came across a wonderful joural/ledger from 1896 when the barges delivered the fuel via the canal and continued past my yard to Skipton, where lime was collected. A by-product of the yard I now run was the lime, which was burned in lime-kilns still visible in the canal banking, which was dropped off for treatment and then distributed to the farmers for their land. Narrow-boat and bargee family names appear in this journal, with detailed costings of the coal and lime, number of days the journeys took can then easily be worked out. And it took some time to do the round trip! Lime barges were still dropping their cargo here in 1941! Unfortuneately, from 1941 until 1962 there is a gap in the old paperwork in the office, as 1942 was when the yard moved to its present side of the canal.

At the moment it is not quite sure what will become of these old papers; the family has yet to decide. Ideas being tossed around are our local museum (which is one to be proud of!), one of the Waterways museums, or a local history group.

I wish someone had kept details of the songs and music.... Shame!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 04:58 PM

Maybe I'll ask a "Joe Clone" to delete John Warner's song posted above. It doesn't seem to provoke any interest.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 07:02 PM

There's Robin Laing's song about the "Union Canal" which runs from Edinburgh to link up with the Forth and Clyde canal around about Falkirk / Grangemouth, words supplied if requested. There's also another song Robin sings about a boat race on the Union Canal that has some lyrics which can easily go wrong ie involving punts and punting which I cannot trace ...... the chorus starts
"The starter fired his gun to start the rollicking fun
The was pushing and grunting poling and punting ?.......


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Dagenham Doc
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 02:30 AM

Captain of the waterways.. now there's a 'grand ' canal song??
   

   Doc.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHEN THE CHESTNUTS BLOOM IN FLOWER
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 06:10 AM

One of my favourite canal songs is about the only serious one that Dave Blagrove has written "WHEN THE CHESTNUTS BLOOM IN FLOWER".
^^
It's five in the morn, an hour before dawn,
And the frost it liming the bank.
I'm down in the engine 'ole dipping the sump,
And pumping the fuel to the tank.
Then it's swing on the handle, compression taps drop,
And let her run up to full power.
It's just the same way on a morning in May
When the chestnuts bloom in flower.

When the chestnuts bloom in flower,
When the chestnuts bloom in flower,
It's just the same way on a morning in May
When the chestnuts bloom in flower.


It's a cold winters night, I run by the light,
Of Waddington's headlamp the moon.
My for-end is breaking a thin skim of ice,
And I reckon she'll thicken up soon.
The going is slow, there's two miles to go,
And the boozer there shuts in an hour.
But it's just.........

A wet Autumn day, we've been hours on the the way,
And I'm feeling knobbed-off with me mates.
we're towing the butty uphill through the locks,
With a hundred foot line round the gates.
Me overcoat's soaked, the brasses are dull,
And the motor's aground on a slough.
But it's just.........

A fine day in July, when the bright swallows fly,
And the dragon-flies flit in the reeds.
But I'm laid on the counter, poking the blades,
Coz the bloody things blocked up with weeds.
Then the cut starts to boil, as the thunder-rain drops,
Lets hope that it's only a shower.
But it's just.........


I've probably slightly changed Dave's original words since I first learnt it - right after Dave sang it in public for the first time at "Bridge 61" Foxton Locks. I've accompanied him on guitar on many occasions since that first time.

I should have the tune at home, I'll try and post it if anyone's interested.

BTW - Does anyone know how things are going at Foxton. The last time I was up there (with the Admiral and his lady and I think, Leadfingers), the plans to knock down the old buiding and replace it with a new Beefeater-style gin palace were all going ahead. Tony Matts was always keen on a session im the old place - does anyone know what the score is now ?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Tam the bam fraeSaltcoatsScotland
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 10:46 AM

I am still looking for the words to a song by the Spinners called 'The roving navvy' can anyone help me please.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE NAVVY BOYS
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 02:28 PM

Busbitter - Here they are: (from this site http://ingeb.org/songs/itsfirst.html) ^^ THE NAVVY BOYS

It's first when I set out on tramp
I was but very young,
My mind was bent on merriment,
On joy, and on fun:
My mind was bent on merriment,
And ne'er could give it o'er,
For still my mind was quite content
On Paddy's green shamrock shore.

With my laddy fal de de,
With my laddie fal de do
With my laddy fal de de,
We are navvy boys, you know.

When I became a navvy
I own I was dismayed,
To see our noble hacksmen (1)
On them a while I gazed,
Likewise our noble barrow-men,
Who ne'er could give it o'er,
In hopes that they would meet again
On Paddy's green Shamrock shore.

On Monday morn when we go out
Our work to begin,
The noise of our tools, brave boys,
Does make the valleys ring;
We will drive our piles and bore our holes,
By one, by two, by four--
The best of our navigators come
From Paddy's green shamrock shore.

When the rain it does come on we are
Happy then as kings,
We are off into the ale-house,
And the bell then loudly rings,
We call for liquor of the best,
And our bumpers they run o'er,
The very first toast that we drink
Is Paddy's green shamrock shore.

When we meet a bad landlady,
The truth to you I tell,
We do our whole endeavours
It's for to please her well;
But at the pay we slope her (2),
As we've oft done before,
And with her money drink a health
To Paddy's green shamrock shore.

When we meet a bonny lass
We give to her a kiss,
We take her in our arms, my boys,
I own it is no miss;
We take her in our arms,
And kiss her o'er and o'er,
But still the one that we like best is
On Paddy's green shamrock shore.

Come all you roving navvys
That listen to my song,
I hope you'll not be angry
If I've said anything wrong;
I own I am a navvy bold,
The truth I will deplore,
Many a happy day I spent
On Paddy's green shamrock shore.

(1) sub-contractors, 2)leave without paying.

People who are unemployed, are those that wish to work, whereas beggars have a trade of a kind, which is sometimes envied by those in conventional occupations because of what they fancy to be its untrammelled nature. This is why itinerant tradesmen were often envied, especially since they were thought to take advantage of their travels for amorous adventures. Among other mobile workers of the nineteenth century were the navvies, who prided themselves on their prowess both at work and at play.

Chords:

D G D A    D G DA D


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 05:02 PM

plug
Saul Boat Gathering and folk "do" @ Saul Junction July 4-6 2003

Sid Kipper + Meet on the Ledge + +
      e-mail +
      www.junctionevents.org.uk/


Shameless plug - if you can't remember the URL it's on
cresby.com

I once wrote a canal song - never sung it in public - the right moment never seemed to come along. It was about Caggy Smith who still used a horse in the early 70's and apparently replaced it when that one died. Horse drawn allowed full length butties and only one pass through the locks.

Anyone have any info on Caggy Smith who was based on the Warley side of West Brom. I'm thinking Great Bridge for some reason.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 14 Feb 03 - 09:59 AM

The Admiral was too modest to direct you to THESE photos of Maidenhead Folk Club visiting the Midlands by narrow boat.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 11:46 PM

The Guardian carried an article on Saturday 12th January, 2008, indicating that the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (Telford's Bridge in John Warner's great song above) is to be assessed for possible designation as a World Heritage Site. The item hasn't appeared on Guardian Online yet, but I did find this which has a couple of great aerial photographs and refers to other sites with more info:-

GrannyButtons

Ron Baxter of Fleetwood worked on a set of canal songs with Nick Dow some years ago. I'll try to find out more about them for possible inclusion here.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 07:01 AM

I wrote a song for the Swansea Canal Preservation Society.

It is simply called "The Swansea Canal"

The canal runs from the Swansea Valley down to the North Dock.

The song relates the history of the canal from the early days before the railways took over.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: LeTenebreux
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 09:39 AM

If canal songs on your side are anything like the ones over here, they're by real seamen, making fun of the wimpy canal-folk.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:48 AM

Here's the Guardian link:-

World heritage hope for canal aqueduct

Ross


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 05:13 PM

Plea to SkipperJack (and any others with canal songs). Your song 'The Swansea Canal' would be a welcome addition both to Mudcat and my web-site of canal songs (http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/).


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 05:20 PM

Ian Wood from Frodsham Folk Club had a great collection of canal songs, does he still sing?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 05:26 PM

I have only two of Ian Woods' songs (in a total, so far, of 88) on my web-site. If anyone knows any others or the whereabouts of Ian Woods I would appreciate the info'.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 04:05 PM

I hope they'll make it! I've been across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and to me it's one of the most spectacular experiences I've ever had. To clarify: I'm not a canal person at all, just took this one narrowboat trip over ten years ago, and loved it. Wish I could do it again some day.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 03:34 AM

Pontycyclist will remain just as spectacular whether they call it a World Heritage Site or not. I missed out on my chance of fame by chickening out of steering across it in a raging thunderstorm. I could have been The Man Who Was Struck By Lightning While 120 Feet Up In A Narrowboat!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Barnacle (at work)
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 04:42 AM

Tynesider Benny Graham sings lots of canal songs and produced an album with Geoff Dennison of such songs. He gave me the words to "Punters", the Robin Laing song. I sing this. He also sings the one where lots of things get wound round the prop. Try "googling" Benny. He is always extremely helpful.

Sue


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 05:07 AM

Done the trip across - in a 45 foot springer. Awesome. Looking over the side where the towpath isn't is quite frightening.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:01 AM

PMB,

Shame on you!

Last year, me & the fiends were invited by Mudcatter White Dove + fiend to visit them at their overwintering moorings on the Llangollen canal near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Two of our fiends are blind, but nevertheless, when we were taken for a cruise down the cut & we all took turns steering, our visually deficient chum manoeuvred the vessel along the aqueduct session with minimal guidance from the owner.

P'raps if you have to do it again, try it eyes closed!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:55 AM

I couldn't get Ian Hendrie's link above to work. This one seems to:-

Ian Hendrie's Canal Song Menu

Going back to read through it properly now!

Ross


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 09:01 AM

http://czteryrefy.szanty.pl/ian/eian_woods.html


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 09:06 AM

Kamerad Froehlich: I didn't chicken out because it was HIGH. It was the lightning that put me off. We moored up and had lunch, then crossed on the underside, just to show off.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:43 AM

The Benny Graham/Jeff Dennison CD - They're coming back to the water - is still available. See here


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:58 AM

..........the underside.........hmmmn, then you'd've noticed the elaborate overwrought ironwork holding up the structure.

It was cast by imported labour from the Scottish Iron Founders, Cunningham, distant relations of my fiend Cindy's ex.


I've heard of hang gliding, but in a narrow boat??


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 12:36 PM

Unfortunately Jeff Dennison passed away a few years ago. An obituary can be found
here.
Benny Graham continues to present "They're Coming Back to the Water" with fellow north-easterner, the very talented, Bob Fox.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 01:40 PM

Earlier in this thread, albeit 5 years ago, the words to 'The Navvy Boys' were given as a response to a request for a song the Spinners sung called 'The Roving Navvy'. These two are not the same song but has anyone come across this song 'The Navvy Boys' before. At first sight the line about 'Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore' suggests something to do with the song of the same name but this is quite different. Apart from the lyrics of this song appearing on a German web-site internet searches have revealed nothing. Can anyone throw any light on this?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 07:49 PM

I've done Pontcysyllte by narrowboat, but the first time I crossed it was with a 2-man canoe. As it was January, the canal was frozen over, so we had to carry it on our shoulders as we teetered along the icy towpath, between a 100ft drop and a trough of icy water.

You may think that was scary, but the Sergeant was much scarier, so we just got on with it. And lived to tell the tale. Many, many times.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 12:04 PM

..........here ye go! http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RtWNpV7wBkQ


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM

Has anyone got any idea who this is singing the Crinan Canal Song on YouTube?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=B_0WokmBEFM

In some perverse way I rather like it. Anyone who can sing and peel spuds has my admiration.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 03:48 PM

I now believe it to be John Grieve playing the part of 'Sunny Jim', the cook and deck-hand, on 'The Vital Spark' in the Para Handy Tales by Neil Munro. If you know otherwise please let me know.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 11:23 PM

Ian
As Para Handy himself would say "You have it chust exactly, Ian! If Dougie wass here he would tell you."
Neil Munro's Para Handy stories were made into a popular TV series by BBC Scotland in the late '50s/early'60s. Some episodes were remade in colour in 1974. Apparently the BBC "lost" the recordings by re-using the tapes!
British Sitcoms website lists the following;-
PARA HANDY -
MASTER MARINER

BBC / 6x30m-e / 1959-60 11 Dec 59 - 22 Jan 60 black and white

Writer: Duncan Ross / Producer: Pharic MacLaren / Director: James MacTaggart

Sitcom. The exploits of wily Captain Para Handy and his somewhat hapless crew on board their puffer The Vital Spark.

Para Handy......................................... DUNCAN MACRAE
Dougie................................................ RODDY McMILLAN
Dan MacPhail..................................... JOHN GRIEVE
Sunny Jim.......................................... ANGUS LENNIE

So perhaps not John Grieve - my memory playing tricks? I remember Roddy McMillan as Para Handy, but apparently he was "promoted" to skipper when the "Vital Spark" series was made (a couple of years after the "Master Mariner" series)

The cast I remember is the following:-
Cast List

        Roddy McMillan....as Para Handy
        John Grieve..........as Dan Macphail
        Walter Carr..........as Dougie
        Alex McAvoy........as Sunny Jim
        Robert Urquhart...as Dougie (Pilot)

There's more Para Handy material on YouTube, but most relates to the more recent Gregor Fisher remakes (1994).

A bit more digging reveals the continuing availability of a CD "Highland Voyage" originally recorded in 1963.
The track-list credits John Grieve (as Dan MacPhail the Cook) as the singer of the "Crinan Canal Song".
That would explain the potatoes, then?

I've passed the Ardrishaig end of the Crinan Canal a few times in the past year, on the way to visit my brother in Islay. I'll have to try to spend a couple of hours there next trip. There used to be a "puffer" set up as a museum in Inveraray, possibly the last of its type afloat.

Good link, Ian, it brought back some nice memories.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 02:42 PM

Just caught up with this thread. Harking back to the comments about Ian Woods: I hear mention of him from time to time, but not from anybody who seems to know of his definite whereabouts. I knew him in his Frodsham Folk Club days - the early seventies. (Incidentally, the club celebrated its 40th anniversary last month). As Les said, Ian had a few songs about canal life - some, at least, being his own compositions. I don't know if this is traceable, but in about 1975/76, BBC Television did a series of programmes called "Ballad of the North West", which covered various historical themes, and were part drama and part folk music. There was one on the building of the Manchester Ship Canal. The musicians involved were: Ian Woods, Gary & Vera Aspey, The Wakes (me and Tom Brown) and the Northumbrian piper from Canny Fettle, whose name eludes me (as most people's names do). There were about six or eight songs, some of which were written - or re-written for the programme - by Ian Woods. The series was produced by Douglas Boyd - known at the Beeb, we were told, as the Tailor and Cutter, owing to his reputation for ruthless editing and re-writing. I can't remember who wrote the original script for this one, but he claimed that when he saw the re-written version, he recognised four words: "and", "and", "the" and "the". Knowing the propensity of the Beeb (and ITV) for recording over tapes, I don't suppose these programmes exist any more, but would be interested to hear otherwise. I didn't see it broadcast, as I was singing at McTavish's Kitchen in Fort William at the time, but that's another tale...
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Ian Hendrie
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 01:40 PM

Just to repeat a previous submission a biography of Ian Woods from a European source is on the internet.
Further to John's previous submission I would like to repeat my request for any canal related material from the 'Ballads of the Northwest'. Coincidently I was in McTavish's Kitchen in Fort William in 1976 (with Scottish folk entertainment along with the steak). Also I worked in the UMIST Chemistry Department in the early 1970's and I believe that a member of Canny Fettle was working in the lab next door. I don't know who and may be wrong but it would be nice to find out. The Songs of the Inland Waterways web-site now contains 92 songs and in my push to get to 100 I have contacted some of the people kindly suggested by Mudcatters. Replies have been limited and I think my e-mails may be getting Junked. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
Ian


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 07:12 PM

Guest in Feb 2003 mentioned the Union Canal song by Robin Laing: copied here from another thread.

THE UNION CANAL by Robin Laing

Fountainbridge to Falkirk, over Almondell
By Ratho and Linlithgow weaves a magic spell
Fountainbridge to Falkirk, over Almondell
Follow the windings of the Union Canal
Follow the windings of the Union Canal

As a child I was enchanted by swans among the reeds
Tadpoles in my jamjar, minnows in the weed
Gazing from the towpath on my hands and knees
Sunlight on the water, the wind in the willow trees

Thinking on those early days, I was always there
Swinging out on Tarzan ropes, drop in for a dare
Summer was the magic time, but Winter had its day
Skating on the ice until the daylight slipped away

Fountainbridge to Falkirk...

The Union is a quiet place, a relic from the past
See the old stone bridges, they were made to last
It's just a sad backwater, lazy, deep and slow
A sleepy road that used to be a moving picture show

For once the traffic pulsed along, a beat that had no rest
Lifeline for the Lothians, a gateway to the West
Passengersby the thousands, scows of coal and grain
The Union carried everything before the railways came

Fountainbridge to Falkirk...

A casualty of progress, stranded high and dry
The Union was discarded, left to waste and die
Broken and neglected, falling to decay
All those weary Winter days, lonely, cold and grey

Those winter years are past now,the water feels the sun
The fight against the brambles and silting up is won
Narrow boats and barges steer the old canal
Slipping through the countryside that I have loved so well

Fountainbridge to Falkirk...

This song was written ? in the late 80's or early 90's.
Since then the silted up bit has been re-opened and the Falkirk Wheel has been put in (tremendous piece of engineering) so you can now get all the way from Fountainbridge (Edinburgh) to Maryhill (Glasgow). Several clips on Youtube of the Flakirk Wheel.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 07:17 PM

And here also is Robin's Punters song, also copied from previous thread.

PUNTERS

    The starter fired his gun to commence the rollicking fun
    There was pushing and poking and pulling and punting   
    Great big guys groaning and grunting
    You've never seen anything quite so banal
    As the punters punting on the Union canal

There were two participant punts
Performing and pulling off stunts
But the guys in the boaties were little Don Quixotes
Standing in a punt, trying to confront
The others with a dunt, or a sneaky wee shunt

The first punt started so well,
shot along like a bat out of hell
But the guy at the back felt his grip go slack
And the poor old soul slipped down his pole
Landed in the drink and did an eskimo roll

The second punt bumped to the front
And the crew gave a jubilant grunt
But the captain to be blunt was a cretinous runt
And his boat mis-steered, it was weird how it veered
And everybody cheered when the bugger disappeared

And the silence of the setting was drowned
By the sound for miles around
And an unimpressed swan gave a cynical yawn
And the drakes and the ducks all agreed that punting sucks
And the rats and the voles ran back into their holes for some parecetamols

Love the "internal rhymes" that Robin is so good at!

There used to be a punt-pole-vaulting competition across the Union Canal at Ratho: not sure if still happens: needless to say, more punters ended up IN the canal than clearing it!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 05:23 AM

Ian Woods is currently residing in Oxford and can be seen in the area on a VERY regular basis


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 06:06 PM

Ian H. What were you doing at McT's? - eating, singing or...er...washing dishes? I was there over the Easter weekend and from the May bank holiday weekend until early July, I think, and then late September. I was part of the resident duo - Celtic Twilight - with Bill Bracken. The Mathews Brothers did the mid-season residency.
I've also just remembered something that might be useful; There used to be a travelling theatre group called Micron (or Mikron), who toured around on the canals, performing at venues close to the canals. They did musical plays about canal life, written, I think, by themselves. I have an idea that they are still around. They made at least one album of their songs, sold at their performances. My mother saw them in the 70s at Melling Tithebarn (near the Leeds and Liverpool canal, near Liverpool). She bought one of their records, which was still around until my father died, but I think my nephew grabbed it.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 07 Feb 08 - 04:18 AM

John K. I was eating, a steak with a whisky sauce as I remember. I can't remember much else though. I know about the Mikron Theatre Company and enjoyed two of their productions last year. They still tour the waterway system performing at canalside venues and their 2008 dates can be found on their web-site. I have some of their recordings but have not included any of their songs on my 'Songs of the Inland Waterways' web-site as yet. Their songs constitute a large body of material which is often rather specifically related to the productions that they featured in and, in my humble opinion, some of the songs don't past muster when taken out of context (though I can't speak too highly of their productions - they are a 'must-see' as far as I am concerned). As I don't want to exclude any song from the database on the basis of my opinion, I have not tackled this problem yet. I may just link to their web-site. I have done something similar with the songs written by 'Keepers Lock' but this is because they seek to sell song-books containing them and I do not wish to infringe copyright.
Ian


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Ian Hedrie
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 09:01 AM

Can anyone help with the chords to 'Telford's Bridge'?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Pathheider
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 05:35 PM

Here are the words of the song "The Roving Navvy" (sung by The Spinners) as requested so long ago:
^^
The Roving Navvy


1.        Me name is Geordie Thompson. I’m a lad of great renown,
        Known all along the cut and in the nearby town.
        A gallon of ale, two pounds of beef, I have every day
        And when me work is finished, half a crown it is me pay.

Chorus:        So dig, boys. Load, boys. (Clap) them all the way,
        Digging up the cut, me lads, of Manchester way.


2.        I’ve dug the turf for many a mile, shovelled up the dirt.
        I’ve beat me way too frozen that I’m going to eat my shirt.
        I’ve laid beneath the burning sun, digging out the clay
        To trim away the level all along the waterway.

Chorus:        So dig, boys. Load, boys. (Clap) them all the way,
        Digging up the cut, me lads, of Manchester way.


3.        I’ve had me share of randies. You can tell it by me scars.
        I’ve done me share of porter drinking in the public bars..
        I’ve laboured, mortal drunk, on a cold October day,
        Staggered till I nearly fell until I walked away.

Chorus:        So dig, boys. Load, boys. (Clap) them all the way,
        Digging up the cut, me lads, of Manchester way.


4.        I’ve had me share of women in many a shanty town,
        â€™Cause I reckon if I could chat them up, I could always bed ’em down
        And if I could live my life again, this I always say,
        A roving navvy I would be, along the waterway.

Chorus:        So dig, boys. Load, boys. (Clap) them all the way,
        Digging up the cut, me lads, of Manchester way.

Final Chorus:        Aye, dig, boys. Load, boys. (Clap) them all the way,
        Digging up the cut, me lads, of Manchester way.

I got them from their CD "The Best of the Spinners" and the song is attributed on the cover to Ian Woods so it would appear that he did indeed write it.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:20 PM

As this thread has re-surfaced can I remind folk of the web-site 'Songs of Inland Waterways' http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/SongMenu.htm which contains 'The Roving Navvy' and over 100 other canal related songs. It may be worth checking before anyone else spends time transcribing words from recordings.

If you have any UK canal songs not on that web-site I would be very grateful for them.

Another plug : Benny Graham and Johnny Handle will be performing 'They're Coming Back to the Water' at 7.30pm on Sunday, 7th September 2008, at North Cheshire Cruising Club, High Lane (on the Macclesfield Canal). Contact me if you are interested.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:33 PM

Ian,
Looking at the website, you don't seem to have any of the late Gezz Overington's songs of the Tom Pudding system out of Goole. They have copies of his CD at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum. We're singing at least one of his songs at the museum this Thursday, Friday, Saturday evening as part of a special entertainment by a Leeds based arts group. There will be boat trips around the docks with 3 boats, one of them an original Tom Pudding tug manned by 2 of the original crew.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Dave Illingworth
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 03:50 AM

Ian (Hendrie),

Maybe you were not too impressed by our DPN+1 CD "THE UNKNOWN BOATMAN" (Canal Songs), but if you do want any of the words for your
"Songs of the Inland Waterways" web-site, I would be happy to supply them.

Our man Dusty Miller is still writing canal songs. Another thread currently going reminds me that he has written an English version of ERIE CANAL, entitled GRAND TRUNK CANAL, which I have sung a few times
(but never recorded, you'll be pleased to hear).

             Cheers, Dave Illingworth


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 04:13 AM

Hi Dave,

I must apologise for not putting your songs on the web-site yet. I have been snowed under with work (at the end of term) and transcribing your songs was next to be done when I finished. Your CD is excellent and is permanently in the car's CD player at the moment. If you could send me the words that would save me a lot of work. I will also be happy to indicate from where the CD can be obtained.
If you have any chords or music that would be helpful. Failing that, permission to include a short (30 sec) snippet of each song would be welcome. Again, many apologies for delay.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Jay777
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 04:30 AM

Apologies if I've misunderstood the nature of this thread, but I don't think anyone's mentioned Navigators yet. The Pogues' lyrics are on http://www.mp3lyrics.org/p/pogues/navigator/ (I haven't worked out blue clickys yet- sorry!) but they don't appear to be on the DT. I think I first heard the song at Newbury Folk Club in the late 60s.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Dave Illingworth
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 06:49 AM

Dear Ian,

Thank you. Actually, I had not expected a reply, so no need to apologise. But glad you liked the CD.

I will gladly send you the lyrics (probably by snail-mail - I have your address) and will include chords. No dots though, I'm afraid.

                            Best wishes, Dave Illingworth


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Fidjit
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 03:55 AM

All this and not a mention of the "Calibar" by Cyril Tawney.

With memorable lines like

The Engineer from the bank replied, "The 'orse is a doing her best".

Chas


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Vicki Kelsey
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 12:27 AM

I just came across this thread and was pleased to find the John Warner song about the Telford Bridge area (posted in 2003-oh well, better late than never)
    It brought back many happy memories of our canal boat trip with Tom Lewis in the same area. See Tom's website for a narrative and some photos.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 12:09 PM

Would that be www.TomLewis.net?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 05:17 AM

Re-reading Charles Hadfield's British Canals last night, I came across a reference to a song written for the opening of the Neath & Swansea Junction Canal (usually called the Tennant Canal - George Tennant was the promoter).

Hadfield gives 2 of the 19 verses (possibly the first and last?) and says:

The opening of a canal was an occasion for considerable jollification. Sometimes verse contributed, as when Elizabeth Davies, who kept a lollipop shop in Wind Street, Neath, wrote a song of nineteen verses, of which two are given here, to commemorate the opening of the Neath & Swansea Junction (usually called the Tennant) Canal:

O! could I make verses with humour and wit,
George Tennant, Esquire's great genius to fit;
From morn until even, I would sit down and tell,
And sing in the praise of Neath Junction Canal.

***

I hope when he's dead and laid in his grave,
His soul will in heaven be eternally saved;
It will then be recorded for ages to tell,
Who was the great founder of Neath Junction Canal.


It sounds more like a song of praise to George Tennant - maybe he was her landlord? The canal was completed in 1824.

The song is quoted from The History of the Vale of Neath by DR Phillips, 1925. The only copies I can find for sale are over £250.

I'll try the local library when I'm down there this summer.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 05:34 AM

Browsing the rest of this thread, I see all the tales of crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Very prosaic, all of them!

My first trip over Pontcysyllte was in 1959. Anne & I spent our honeymoon on the Llangollen canal, and we crossed both ways during the week. Very romantic.

Oh yes - we'd hired a camping punt - a standard Thames punt, 30ft x 3ft, fitted with steel hoops and a canvas cover. Minimum cooking facilities, and two mattresses but, hey, we were on honeymoon!!

Phil


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 03:39 AM

Thanks NB for providing this. I will add the two verses to the waterway song archive site Songs of the Inland Waterways and hope that the other seventeen surface at some time.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 06:46 AM

Canaly Things

:0)


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 05:30 PM

Thanks Lizzie for that link. Very interesting! - and I have traced at least one additional canal song through it.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 09:33 PM

Mikron Theatre Company
Last Run - Songs Of The Canals And Waterways Of Great Britain 1977

Mikron Theatre Company
I'd Go Back Tomorrow (Allemande ALP 1001) 1979

The above 2 albums are available for download from the Time Has Told Me blog. The first side of the second item is from a play about the life of a boatwoman.

Time Has Told Me.

You will need to scroll down for the canal one.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 04:00 AM

Brilliant web-site! Thanks Stewie.

I acquired a copy of the 'Last Run' album recently but it's not in very good condition so I haven't really listened to it properly nor transcribe any of the songs. So far I have not included Mikron material on the Songs of the Inland Waterways web-site for copyright reasons. 'Keepers Lock' material is not included for this reason as well. They sell song books and I don't want to deprive them of any income. When I have the time I may contact Mikron Theatre Co. and see if they have any objections.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 06:50 PM

Would Skipper Jack let me have a copy of his Swansea Canal song

j.a.howes@talk21.com


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 03:26 PM

And could I have a copy please for the Songs of the Inland Waterways web-site? My e-mail address can be found on the Introduction page.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 01:15 PM

On another current Mudcat thread about Mike Donald (from Skipton) there is mention of an lp 'North by North East' with a track 'Boatman's Song'. Does anyone have the lyrics?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Ian B
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 01:59 PM

The Songs of the Inland Waterway web-site has changed its address.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Reinhard
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 03:52 PM

Just yesterday I found the CD The Navvy's Wife on the Wild Goose Records' website, "a musical drama written by Mick Ryan which gives voice to those whose lives were shaped by the great drive to carve out Britain's canals, railways and roads." Both the description and the cast look quite interesting.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,New City Canal Transport (see facebook)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 05:01 PM

To the tune of She'll be coming round the mountain:

If you like a spot of boating now and then,
Take my tip and don't go on the BCN.
It'll be days I can assure you before thay come looking for you,
And they don't take prisoners round at Windmill End

Chorus
We've got miles and miles of polly round the blades
We've got miles and miles of polly round the blades
We've got miles and miles of,a tatty yellow brolly
And a supermarket trolly round the blades.

There are bags and bins put out by council men,
But the Brummies all prefer their BCN.
All their rubbish they have chucked in,their great big linear dustbin
You'ld think they'd clean the bugger out now and then

We've a battered old Lambretta round the blades
We've a battered old Lambretta round the blades
We've a battered old lambretta,a Marks and Spencers sweater
And an eight inch long French letter round the blades

We've an eight mill porno movie round the blades
Better watch the bugger quick before it fades.
Up to Tixall we'll go fly,in the wide hole there we'll tie.
We'll be safe there from con-stab-u-lary raids.

We've a forty-eight D cup around the blades
We've a forty-eight D cup around the blades.
We've a forty-eight D cup,a dead Alsation pup,
And a horseshoe JUST FOR LUCK!! around the blades.

   Repeat first verse
So if you like a spot of boating now and then.............


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Waterboy
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 02:58 PM

This is very similar to the version on the Songs of the Waterways web-site which contains some additional information about the origins.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,davey
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 03:10 PM

The LockKeeper's Daughter
is a song about the Neath canal in South Wales and was written by Bob Thomas and Huw Pudner...regulars at the Valley Folk club in Pontardawe.
davey


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Ian Bruce
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 05:36 PM

Anyone got the words for "The LockKeeper's Daughter"?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 06:54 PM

A Few more lyrics


Bolinder Boatman


Lyrics transcribed by Chris Bragg and Geoff Grainger from a recording by Gary & Vera Aspey


1. Now I've been a boatman for most of me life,
I've travelled the country on through.
Seen the grouse on the moor of Saddleworth Way,
watched trains thunder past out of Crewe.

Chorus
With me Bolinder beating a steady old thump and
there's smoke drifting out of the stack.
We head through the Potteries then on up North,
take a load on and then go on back.

2. I've loaded with pig-iron outside Bilston Town
and coal out of Bridgewater's mine,
I have legged it through Blisworth with ten tonne of salt,
at Northwich dropped boatloads of pine.

Chorus

3. I've basked in the sun on the Middlewich run
and laid up when weather were wet,
Run from Braunston to Lymm in wild winter
gales in order to win a small bet.

Chorus

4. I remember the day of the wagon and horse,
unloading from ships under sail,
Been from Somerset to London and then on to Goole,
from there I crossed over to Wales
Chorus

5. Now I am a boatman, of that I am proud,
I've worked long and hard for me pay.
With the cargoes she's carried the timbers now
creak but the Bolinder's still pumping away.
Chorus


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE SINGLE BOLINDER

I had a single bolinder
and she was a fine machine
She used to run like hell in the night
when all her parts were clean
I lit her up one morning
at the bottom of Ichington Ten
She pulled around the Basket Bound
before she fired again

And then she burned a gallon a stroke
Titty-fa-la, titty-fa-lay
You could see sod-all for smoke
Titty-fa-la, titty-fa-lay
The motor went so fast
I wound her up full blast
She pulled out the butties mast
Titty-fa-la, titty-fa-lay

Tra, lah, la-la-la-lah
Smackin' it into the cut.

Oh do you ken Old Streeters Men,
the ones with heads of teak
They take a load, of D.S. down
the jam-hole once a week
I was standing on the inside
along the Langley wide
When I sees a pair of boats a-come
with half-an-inch a side

I said "Good God! just look at that boat
Titty-fa-la, titty-fa-lay


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE BRAUNSTON BELLE AND THE NUMBER ONE



When I first saw my Rosie, my heart flew like a bird
Our eyes met at Braunston Junction, smiled but ne'r spoke a word
I watched, as she drifted on the lock-side, like a swan on Tixall Wide
Her hair, was plaited like a fender, head held up, so full of pride


Roses and castles, hearts and flowers
Counting the days, counting the hours


I asked for her hand in marriage and to her father we did run
But he'd vowed, that when she married, it would be to a Number One
My heart fell, when he started speaking, then Rosie, she held the floor
"I'll wed this man or no other, till then I'll work the cut no more"


Roses and castles, hearts and flowers
Counting the days, counting the hours


I swore, that to this place I'd not travel, not to see her work on the land
I may leave here a company man, but worthy will return to take her hand
She said, she would wait for me, there, each and every Whitsun Day
Years passed, and I would hear tell, of my Braunston Belle, from all who passed that way


Roses and castles, hearts and flowers
Counting the days, counting the hours


In time a Number One, I became, 'The Rosie' and the butty 'Ben'
Turned south, upon the 'Shroppie' for to see my Rosie again
As I passed, all the boat's would cheer, bright ribbons and bunting flew
They cleared all the flights for me, for it seemed the whole country knew


Roses and castles, hearts and flowers
Counting the days, counting the hours


The next time, I saw my Rosie, my heart flew like a bird
Our eyes meet a Braunston Junction, smiled but ne'r spoke a word
I watched as she drifted on the lock-side, like a swan on Tixall Wide
Dressed in white, in all her splendour, as she walked on to be my bride


Roses and castles, hearts and flowers
Counting the days, counting the hours

CC


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 03:31 PM

The previous entry replicates the lyrics for songs which are already on the net as part of the
Songs of the Inland Waterways archive which I maintain.

I am always on the lookout for additional material and am on the track of two further songs.

The Wikipedia entry for the Neath and Tennant Canal states that "Huw Pudner and Chris Hastings have written a folk song called "The Red Jacket Stream" about the building of this canal".
Additionally, a previous contribution to this thread states "The LockKeeper's Daughter" is a song about the Neath canal in South Wales and was written by Bob Thomas and Huw Pudner...regulars at the Valley Folk club in Pontardawe.

Does anyone know these songs or know how Huw Pudner can be contacted?
Ian


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 10:43 PM

We did get a chance to voyage over Telford Bridge a couple of years ago. I was invited to perch topside as we crossed and it was, indeed, a long way down.

Here's another canal song which probably has never been sung. It's of World War 1 vintage composed by C. Fox Smith and commemorates the canal boatmen doing their bit:

The Jolly Bargeman

I've put the old mare's tail in plaits — now ain't she lookin' gay,
With ribbons in 'er mane likewise, you'd think it First o' May;
For why? We're under Government, though it ain't quite plain to me
If we're in the Civil Service or the Admiralties!

An' it's "Gee hup, Mabel," an' we'll do the best we're able,
For the country's took us over an' we're 'elpin' 'er to win,
An' when the war is over, oh, we'll all lie down in clover,
With a drink all together at the Navigation Inn!


I brought the news to Missis, an' to 'er these words did say:
"Just chuck yon old broom-'andle an' a two-three nails this way:
We're bound to 'ave a flag-staff for our old red, white an' blue,
For now we're under Government we'll 'ave our ensign too."

The Navy is the Navy, an' it sails upon the sea,
The Army is the Army, an' on land it 'as to be;
There's the land an' there's the water, an' the Cut comes in between,
An' I don't know what they'll call me if it ain't an 'Orse Marine.

The Missis sits upon the barge, the same's she used to sit,
But they'll 'ave 'er in the papers now for Doin' 'er Bit:
An' I walk upon the tow-path 'ere as proud as anything,
If I 'aven't got no uniform, I'm serving of the King.

An' it's "Gee hup, Mabel," oh, we'll do the best we're able,
For the country's been an' called us, an' we've got to 'elp to win;
An' when this war is over, then we'll all lie down in clover,
With a drink all together at the Navigation Inn!


Notes:

From Small Craft: Sailor Ballads and Chantys, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by George H. Doran Co., New York, US, © 1919, pp. 72-73. First published in Punch Magazine, Volume 152, May 16, 1917, p. 320.

Captures a moment in World War 1 when the British Government has issued an order mobilizing the canal bargemen into the war effort, replete with great detail.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 01:00 PM

Adding to my post of 26 Feb, I've found a few more verses to the Neath and Swansea Junction Canal. This gives me 5 of the 19 verses.

I've started a new thread here to track my progress on the rest and to fill in background detail. Note Elizabeth Davies's original title:

Lines on the Neath and Red Jacket Junction Canal

O! could I make verses with humour and wit,
George Tennant, Esquire's great genius to fit;
From morn until even, I would sit down and tell,
And sing in the praise of Neath Junction Canal.

To his noble genius, great merit is due,
The increase of traffic, he'll daily pursue;
Employ to poor labourers, it is known full well
He gave them by making Neath Junction Canal.

***

But I think that my duty I do not fulfill
If I pass Mr Kirkhouse's very great skill.
He exerted his talents as wonderf'lly well
In that great undertaking; Neath Junction Canal

My song it is ended and now I will rest
In hopes Squire Tennant will ever be blest.
His goodness to the poor there is no tongue can tell
Of his courage in making Neath Junction Canal.

I hope when he's dead and laid in his grave,
His soul will in heaven be eternally saved;
It will then be recorded for ages to tell,
Who was the great founder of Neath Junction Canal.

Neath, March 1 1824    Elizabeth Davies

Phil


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Tom from Australia
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 04:55 PM

G'day to the 'mudrats' of the Mudcat.
We are trying to research family - John & Phoebe LUCK, lock-keeper of Braunston about 1820 - 1834 (he died in the cholera epidemic of that year).

I am reliably informed that some of your members were alive and well at that time - and still 'muck in the mud' today.

My problem - what lock would he have been the keeper of (Braunston). How would we begin our search? Any names & contact details????

We will be in 'pommie land' in a few days and I only just now found your site.

Any advice please - most welcome. No cricket jokes ... even though we are thrashing you as usual in the 'One dayers"!

email - tomhulett@hotmail.com

Thanks and happy boating (I'm a caravanner myself)

Tom


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Sep 09 - 03:09 PM

Clarty Sough are doing a concert of Gezz Overington songs tomorrow night at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum. Gezz wrote songs about the Aire and Calder Navigation Tom Pudding System. Unfortunately all tickets have gone but there is a mass session free for all during the afternoon (songs and tunes). The whole of the weekend festival is to celebrate the Tom Pudding tug Wheldale achieving its 'historic vessel' status. There will be trips on the tug round the docks and the 3 pans and jebus will be attached and operational at some point in the weekend having just been renovated.
All tickets for Sunday's concert have also gone.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:11 AM

Miles and Miles of Poly (mentioned several times earlier in this thread) was written originally by Chris & Julie Lloyd (ex "Iron Butty") with Peter Dodds and Anne Peters. Though I am sure many others have modified and added to it, the full story and lyrics can be found on the web-site Songs of the Inland Waterways.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,Ian Hendrie
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 09:52 AM

As this thread has been submerged for over a year I thought it ought to surface for air.

Any one got any new canal songs?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:23 PM

The Alrewas Canal Festival web-site contains details of a planned Canal Song DVD and is looking for interested musicians to help. To quote :

"In June 2012, British Waterways (BW), the current guardian of some 2,000 miles of navigable canals in the UK, will be transformed into a new waterways charity, the Canal & River Trust.

As a celebration for the new charity, we invite musicians and song writers to take part in a project to record a DVD of old and new canal songs.

The new charity will attract national media attention, so we hope the Canal Song DVD will also be an opportunity to promote the musicians and composers whose songs are recorded."

Web address for more information : http://alrewascanalfestival.org/canal-song-project


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:26 PM

Oops, that last GUEST was me.


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 08:56 AM

Glug, glug, bubble, bubble, . . . sounds of sunken thread re-surfacing.

Does anyone know of any songs relating to the UK canals and waterways that aren't yet on this site : www.waterwaysongs.co.uk?

Or, indeed, recordings and/or videos of songs that are?


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Subject: John Grieve as Sunny Jim
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 03:12 PM

Mr. Campbell, your memory is accurate. It takes some explaining to account for John Grieve, who played the puffer's engineer as a rule, singing a Sunny Jim song.

What I know comes from the liner notes from the Highland Voyage compact disc. The disc has liner notes that you won't find on the old vinyl-record sleeve, for an excellent reason: on the occasion of the re-issue and new format, the sole surviving veteran of the Highland Voyage sessions (one of the producers) gives his account and memory of how it all was.

The "Master Mariner" series had Duncan MacRae, near the end of his life, as Para Handy. For some reason, for this recording project, somebody wanted more box-office pull, and wanted to pull in a "name" from outside of the Para Handy adaptations. Maybe there is more to the story than has been told. The result, anyway, brought on board actor Alex MacKenzie from "The Maggie" a/k/a "High and Dry," an classic Ealing film in which MacKenzie played the skipper.

Well, there is room for only one skipper on the Vital Spark, and Duncan MacRae was not shifting for Alex MacKenzie. So, while MacRae got top billing as skipper Para Handy, and Roddy MacMillan continued as the puffer's mate, the other parts were changed around. No Angus Lennie as Sunny Jim here. Instead, Alex MacKenzie became the engineer, and John Grieve was left peeling potatoes and singing "The Crinan Canal for me."

Oh, talking of the songs: the Highland Voyage liner notes give the songwriting credits to, guess who, Alex MacKenzie. True, this?


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 08:18 AM

The lost Radio Ballad "A Cry from the Cut" is here [thanks Jim]:

http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/Ref_Canal_Songs.htm
http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/cry_from_the_cut.htm

There is a 'video' version on Vimeo - with slides of historic scenes set to the original sound track.

https://vimeo.com/17437484

Also see:

http://www.cpatrust.org.uk/bham_ballads/#11

This was a programme much lamented by Ian Campbell in 30.5.99 as being ignored by the BBC. It has never been aired in 50 years. Likely the Beeb doesn't even have a copy.

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/enth13.htm

In addition a 'Tales from the Towpath' has surfaced here:

http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/Ref_Canal_Songs.htm
http://www.waterwaysongs.co.uk/tales_from_the_towpath.htm

A BBC Radio programme about the building of the Manchester Ship Canal

All can be downloaded.

Enjoy!!

CJB


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 08:25 AM

Blaster Bates, the Saltworks and the Canal

Hilarious - as are other B.B. recordings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCTW7KaV1g4

Batesy was blowing up an old saltworks but some of the charge never went off. So they set off the remaining explosives in the canal - just as a 70ft long narrowboat was 'pop pop popping' along!


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Subject: RE: Canal songs (UK)
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 10:52 AM

Subject: RE: Braunston Historical Narrowboat Festival
From: Ross Campbell - PM
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 09:38 AM

The entire film "The Maggie" is available on YouTube here -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSmLuSl7ktM

Enjoy! It's great fun.

The Crinan Canal features later in the film. Last time I passed Ardrishaig, (where the main road crosses the canal entrance) the canal basin had a Clyde Puffer (renamed "The Vital Spark"), available for trips on Loch Fyne.
Road signs on Islay feature both "The Maggie" and "The Vital Spark" in silhouette.

Ross


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