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Origins: The Crawl (BC)

13 Oct 11 - 08:28 PM (#3238651)
Subject: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: Charley Noble

I heard this fine drinking song first presented by Two Black Sheep & a Stallion (Yorkshire) a few years ago at a house concert in Long Island, NY, and it's been fermenting in my brain ever since. I'm wondering who is actually responsible for composing it. "The Crawl" itself describes a set of taverns somewhere in the Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, area.

Jon Bartlett kindly sent me a set of lyrics and a link to the Spirit of the West singing it at Whistler. Here's their lyrics:

The Crawl


Well, we're good old boys, we come from the North Shore,
Drinkers and carousers, the likes you've never seen;
And this night, by God, we drank till there was no more –
From the Troller to the Raven with all stops in between!

It all began one afternoon on the shores of Ambleside,
We were sittin' there quite peacefully with the rising of the tide;
When an idea it came to mind for to usher in the Fall,
So we all agreed next Friday night we'd go out on the crawl. (CHO)

We planned to have a gay old time, the cash we did not spare,
We left all the cars at home and paid the taxi fare;
I got out to Horseshoe Bay a little after five,
From a table in the corner I heard familiar voices rise. (CHO)

Spirits they ran high that night, old stories we did share,
Of the days when we were younger men and never had a care;
The beer flowed like a river and we drank the keg near dry,
So we drained down all our glasses and were thirsty by-and-by. (CHO)

Park Royal Hotel, The Rusty Gull, Square-Rigger and Queen's Cross,
We'd started out with eight good boys but half had gotten lost;
For you'll never keep the lads together when their eyes begin to rove,
So there was just the three of us that made it to Deep Cove. (CHO)

We arrived out at The Raven just in time for the last call,
The final destination of this the first annual crawl;
We dug deep into our pockets there was no money to be found,
Nine miles home and for walking we are bound. (CHO)

Here's a link to video of the group leading this song with the help of a little dancing girl, Ida, drawn from the crowd: click here for video!


But I would appreciate some background information about how this song originated.

Charley Noble

14 Oct 11 - 06:47 AM (#3238805)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: stallion

Was written by two members of Spirit of the West, we contacted Vince Ditrich for permission to record, here is his reply


Thanks for your note. We're very pleased to know that 'The Crawl' is so popular. It is one of our strongest songs still -- all these years later. It'd be nice if you could send me a handful of copies, when the cd is complete, so I can give one each to the lads.

Vince R. Ditrich
I will pm you his address

Stay in touch and greetings to wonderful Old Blighty!


14 Oct 11 - 06:50 AM (#3238807)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: Geoff the Duck

Charley - the song is from an early album by Spirit of the West. I believe all the songs were written by band members, although they often mix in traditional tunes alongside their lyrics.
The LP was - Tripping Up the Stairs (1986).
An excellent band. I saw them in Leeds (UK) about 20 years back.
One member, Geoffrey Kelly is also a member of the Paperboys.

Geoff the Duck.

14 Oct 11 - 06:57 AM (#3238811)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: stallion

Thats it, Mann & Kelly wot wrote it

14 Oct 11 - 10:49 AM (#3238889)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: Geoff the Duck

Listening to the verbal introduction on the youtube clip, I suspect that is probably as accurate a description of the origin of the song as anyone will be able to supply. It is straight from the mouth of the song's writers.

14 Oct 11 - 03:05 PM (#3239014)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: GUEST,SteveG

Spirit! Brilliant songs. Brilliant music. Love all their stuff. Of course they didn't write their big hit in Canada, 'That's Amore'.
They used to come to Yorkshire a lot in the 90s.

15 Oct 11 - 12:56 PM (#3239437)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: Charley Noble

Thanks so much! I've been having problems with my internet connection and haven't been able to log in for a couple of days.

Calls for a drink!

Charley Noble

16 Oct 11 - 10:02 AM (#3239833)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: Charley Noble

So the copyright date would be 1986, and John Mann and Geoffrey Kelly were the composers? It's so hard to nail this stuff down.

Charley Noble

18 Oct 11 - 08:03 AM (#3240706)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: GUEST,Geoff the Duck

That's pretty much it as far as I am aware - album is dated as 1988. I suspect it is Kelly's style of song rather than Mann who seems to be responsible for the more reflective or political songs, but what do I know?
If you like the Crawl, you might like Home for a Rest. Follow links from there to other SOTW songs.

18 Oct 11 - 08:58 AM (#3240731)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Crawl (BC)
From: Charley Noble

Home for a Rest is certainly another great on the road song lead with great energy!

Charley Noble