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Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)

Barry Finn 24 Aug 98 - 11:03 AM
hrodelbert 24 Aug 98 - 11:35 PM
AndyG 25 Aug 98 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,A lurker 15 Sep 02 - 11:09 AM
DMcG 15 Sep 02 - 11:18 AM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Sep 02 - 12:18 PM
GUEST 03 Feb 07 - 02:11 PM
oggie 03 Feb 07 - 03:32 PM
ard mhacha 04 Feb 07 - 03:38 PM
alanabit 04 Feb 07 - 03:58 PM
Dave Hanson 05 Feb 07 - 10:25 AM
Scrump 05 Feb 07 - 10:48 AM
Mark Dowding 05 Feb 07 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,JohnnyC 23 Jan 11 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Simon 30 May 11 - 07:46 AM
Musket 31 May 11 - 04:36 AM
Peter the Squeezer 31 May 11 - 06:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 May 11 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,gbuckbeng 23 Nov 14 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Neil G 22 Jul 17 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Mark Dowding at work 31 Jul 17 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Neil G 08 Aug 17 - 01:56 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add; King Cotton
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 11:03 AM

Gary & Vera Aspey must've recorded this 20 or so yrs ago, there's one word in the first verse I'm not sure of, if anyone would correct it I'd be greatfull.

King Cotton (no credit as to Trad or copyright)

See how the lint flies over the morning
See how the smoke in the valley clings
See how the (slateure? maybe slate roof reference) shines in the drizzle
This is the valley where cotton is king

See how the houses cling to the hillside
Hear how the streets of children sing
Wait till the scream of the factory whistle
This is the valley where cotton is king

See how the hunger eats at the faces
The ragged clothes to the flesh does cling
Dust in the lungs & the bodies twisted
This is the valley where cotton is king

Sleep is washed from the broken faces
Morning clogs on the cobbles ring
Off to the mills the weavers hurry
This is the valley where cotton is king

Work all day to the looms' hard rhythm
Scrabble & toil till your tired bones sing
Crawl back home as the gas light flickers
This is the valley where cotton is king

This is the land where children labor
Where life & death mean the self same thing
Where many must work that few might prosper
This is the valley where cotton is king

If anyone could give more info or backround on this I'd be oh so happy. I'm sorry I don't know how to put down the music. Thanks, Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add; King Cotton
From: hrodelbert
Date: 24 Aug 98 - 11:35 PM

I haven't heard this in twenty years either but 'slate roof' makes sense. In that part of the world the majority of houses have slate rooves.

Ta! hrodelbert


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add; King Cotton
From: AndyG
Date: 25 Aug 98 - 08:33 AM

See how the lint flies over the morning
See how the smoke in the valley clings
See how the (slateure? maybe slate roof reference) shines in the drizzle
This is the valley where cotton is king

Yep, 20 years is about right !

lint = lin't = linnet ?
I can guess but not be sure that line 3 is
See how the slate roof shines in the drizzle

I may be completely wrong about this so don't quote me :)

I "think I remember" that Mike Harding wrote this ? He certainly wrote and performed similar material in the early part of his career (singing in Mather College Folk Club etc.).
I definately heard him perform this song in clubs about that time, (as well as Gary & Vera, Horden Raikes, etc). The song was quite popular as I recall.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add; King Cotton
From: GUEST,A lurker
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 11:09 AM

Written by Mike Harding


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add; King Cotton
From: DMcG
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 11:18 AM

I have a recording of an LP entitled "King Cotton and songs of the working classes during the period 1750 to 1850". That 'and' is more sneaky than I thought - or someone is telling fibs!


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: KING COTTON (Mike Harding)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Sep 02 - 12:18 PM

A little before my time, this old thread. However, since it has returned from the dead, I may as well add the lyric as Mike Harding wrote it:

KING COTTON
^^
(Mike Harding)

See how the lint flies out over the moorland,
See how the smoke to the valley clings,
See how the slate roofs shine in the drizzle,
This is the valley where Cotton is King.

See how houses cling to the hillside,
Hear how the streets of children sing,
Wake to the scream of the factory hooter,
This is the valley where Cotton is King.

See how hunger has eaten the faces,
Tired flesh to the bones just clings,
There's dust in the lungs and the bodies are twisted,
This is the valley where Cotton is King.

Sleep is washed from the broken faces,
Morning clogs on the cobbles ring,
Off to the mill, the weavers hurry,
This is the valley where Cotton is King.

Work all day to the looms' hard rhythm,
Scrabble and toil till your tired bones sing,
Then you crawl back home as the gaslights flicker,
This is the valley where Cotton is King.

This is the land where children labour,
Where Life and Death mean the self same thing,
Where many must work that the few might prosper,
This is the valley where Cotton is King.

From Folk Songs of Lancashire, Mike Harding, 1980.

Harding wrote:

"In Newcastle and Durham it was Old King Coal who shaped the lives of the people, while in Lancashire it was King Cotton. This is not an historical song. The people with dust in their lungs and twisted bodies can still be seen walking the streets of the cotton towns and the houses are still strung along the sides of the valley, jerry-built, tumbling grey worms with smoky backs. A London visitor once complained to a Lancashire mill owner that the hoses he built weren't fit for people to live in... "Ah built t' factory for 'em to live in", the mill owner replied. "Ouses is nobbut fer sleepin' in". I wrote this song after a long walk along the Rossendale valley one rainy, smoky November afternoon."

"King Cotton" was a common term. "Lint" is not a contraction of "linnet" (!) but simply lint; cotton-fibres.

X:1
T:King Cotton
C:Mike Harding
B:Folk Songs of Lancashire, Mike Harding, 1980.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=120
M:2/4
K:F
d d2 d|d2 A=B|c =B2 G|A D3-|D4|
w:See how the lint flies out o-ver the moor-land,_
z ddd|d2 A=B|c d2 A-|A4-|A4|
w:See how the smoke to the val-ley clings,__
z GGG|G2 G2|A3 D/D/|C D3-|D4|
w:See how the slate roofs shine in the driz-zle,_
D2 AA|G G2 A|CD E2|D4-|D4|]
w:This is the val-ley where Cot-ton is King._


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 07 - 02:11 PM

Hi there. I dont know this version of the song, I know it as sung by Mike Harding. I do know though that the lyrics are almost identical and that the song refers to the Rosendale Valley North of Manchester in England's North West. I was a major source of half the world's cloth at one point in history, and yet poverty was rife amongst the majority of people there.

When modern goverments seek to take away hard fought for rights we now take for granted, we should all remember these days of only 150 years ago, five or six generations, when even our children were abused as part of the capitalist dream of riches.

Blessings - Ged of England.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: oggie
Date: 03 Feb 07 - 03:32 PM

I always felt that Mike was a better songwriter than he is given credit for being, Bomber's Moon for example is IMHO brilliant

Oggie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: ard mhacha
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 03:38 PM

I have King Cotton as a rousing march played by one of those great colliery bands from northern England.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: alanabit
Date: 04 Feb 07 - 03:58 PM

Mike Harding comes in for a fair bit of stick at times. However, I know he was a first rate entertainer and a fine songwriter. It is good to be reminded about that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 10:25 AM

Mike is without doubt a fine songwriter, good musician and good live entertainer, but as a broadcaster he is total crap.

eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: Scrump
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 10:48 AM

I was a major source of half the world's cloth at one point in history

Well done, GUEST :-)

As for Mike Harding, I agree he is (or at least, was - I don't know what he's like these days) indeed a good folk performer, before the comedy overtook the folk aspects of his act. He was good at comedy too, and it must have been very lucrative for him, so you can't blame him for neglecting the folk for a while.

A totally different song with the same title, but an equally good one, IMO, was written by Colin Radcliffe and John Meeks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 05 Feb 07 - 12:59 PM

The last verse of this song goes:

See now the clouds flying over the moorland
See how the graves to the valley sides cling
Look at the mills now they're idle and empty
This is the valley where cotton WAS king

Many of the mills now have been demolished, some have been refurbished into heritage centres that tell us how things used to be or arty crafty centres that sell candles that nobody lights and teacloths that get hung on walls and never dry a pot.

A great song - I've been doing it for years and it's still part of the repertoire.
Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton
From: GUEST,JohnnyC
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 12:27 PM

I first heard this song done by Mike at the Alhambra at Bradford in the 70s Although I grew up on the east side of the hills, my family history as far back as can be traced was working class Manchester so I've always felt a connection to the work of Mr Harding and especially this song.

As others have said here, Mike was a great entertainer and a songwriter worthy of far more recognition that he ever achieved. King Cotton is an immensely powerful song and I'm grateful to have recently discovered it on youtube. His chosen career as a broadcaster was him simply selling out in my book but nothing will ever match the huge cock up he made when he criticised the quarrying industry in the dales and said they should be forced to close. For a nouveau-rich townie to turn up and criticise people for making a living out of the only commodity they had to sell was too hypocritical for me and I've tried my best to avoid him ever since.

King Cotton though. Brilliant, utterly brilliant.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: GUEST,Simon
Date: 30 May 11 - 07:46 AM

I heard this song as a kid on a bootleg tape my parents had and grew up with it. I now live in the Rossendale valley, and on the One Man Show recording, he introduces it from when he worked as a boiler scaler in the valley.

Thanks to Mark Dowding for including the last verse - I was going to do the same but hadn't read to the bottom of the thread.

Now see the clouds flying over the moorland
See how the graves to the valley sides cling
Look at the mills, they're idle and empty
This is the valley where cotton was king

As sung, it starts on B flat minor, but it's easier to capo up a fret, and play an Am or just start with an Am; other chords are then Em, D and G as you go along.

The intro and outro are very similar to Stairway to Heaven as well if you want to learn that bit.

Great discussion - hail to Mike for what he has given us.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: Musket
Date: 31 May 11 - 04:36 AM

I suppose in the world of "celebrities" it is considered normal to slag people off. However, I do sometimes shake my head at some of the vitriol aimed at Mike Harding as a broadcaster.

The BBC commission the show to their requirements, and Mike fulfils this. If there is an issue with the program (and in my opinion it is one of the best programs BBC radio put out in any genre) then perhaps complaints should be aimed at those who shape broadcasting rather than aiming it at a gifted person who hasn't a bad thing to say about anybody and tries to entertain at both ends of The UK spectrum of folk, both nostalgia for those stuck in the early '70s and the rest of us who are introduced to some brilliant new and existing talent out there.

There, said it now.

That'll be three pints please Mr Harding.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 31 May 11 - 06:03 AM

No relation to the march by the same name, written by one John Philip Sousa.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 May 11 - 06:15 AM

I guess Mike should be flattered to get what might be descibed as "The McColl Treatment".

Good singer, good songwriter, very, very funny, supporter of many good causes, fronts a brilliant radio show, nice bloke to chat to.

Right let's get stuck him to him - after all we have had loads of training giving it to poor dead Jimmy!

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: GUEST,gbuckbeng
Date: 23 Nov 14 - 07:29 AM

Good to see a thread of anything has evolved over so many years with few but quality contributors!

Was looking for lyrics to this to save my typing and found this thread.

Have been a follower/fan of Mike for many years and would echo the quality of this song written by him. In an intro to a performance on one of his albums he introduces it as a reflection from his first job in boilers when he saw the industry in the Rossendale Valley to a later visit when he returned to see the decline in industry here (I live right in the middle of the valley),

I totally agree with the sentiment, although, not completely the subject since most of the "Valley" industry was centered around shoes and, particularly in Waterfoot, around slippers, however the cotton heritage is huge here and down through Rochdale, over Rooley Moor, towards Manchester, the Ship Canal and it's making Manchester a port for American cotton.

On a brighter note, I have just booked tickets to go to see Mike and Bernard Wrigley together in Settle at the start of December when I will introduce his "Live" presence to my two grown sons.

In a world of musical "Reunion" driven by the lack of the great musical quality of the 70's in many genre and a general desire to hear songs and music that is original rather than "karaoke re-hashed" versions of old, quality, music , Mike has taken to touring again after the BBC's dubious dismissal and so the tone of "was" that pervades this thread can now be changed to a tone of Mike "still being" a great act to watch, and I look forward to many years more.

http://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/mike-harding


Garry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: GUEST,Neil G
Date: 22 Jul 17 - 11:18 AM

I'm looking for the words of another 'King Cotton' song but not the one by Mike or 5PP. I have the first verse, the chorus and the last verse which goes:
There was warp and weft and weaving
When the looms were on the go
In the cotton towns of Lancashire
One hundred years ago
There was work when the looms were busy
But none when the idled all day
So the weavers learned to sing this song
Whenever they were at play

CH
When trade is low the loom moves slow
There is not much cloth to be made
King Cotton is sad for the working lad
For he'll starve at the weaving trade
When the shuttle goes 'click' the loom moves quick
There is plenty of cloth to be made
King Cotton is glad for the working lad
For there's brass in the weaving trade

Now the loom are smashed and broken
No shuttles can be found
The King is dead but still his ghost
Haunts every cotton town
His mill are quiet and empty
Stark windows face the sky
But the old ones still can sing the song
Of weaving days gone by.

What I need are the second and third verses - anyone able to help???


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: GUEST,Mark Dowding at work
Date: 31 Jul 17 - 08:22 AM

Neil G - It's a song by Alan Bell which I've got written down somewhere at home. I'll dig it out later on and post it here for you.
Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: King Cotton (Mike Harding)
From: GUEST,Neil G
Date: 08 Aug 17 - 01:56 PM

Cheers Mark.
Never thought of it being Alan Bell but knowing his 'Windmills' song it does resemble the sentiment in that.

Neil G


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