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Tune Req: Tunes for songs

16 Jul 00 - 12:15 PM (#258648)
Subject: Tunes for songs
From: Phil Britton

Hi All,

I'm trying to find some music for tunes that I don't know that somone has given me the lyrics for. I can find web sites with lots of tunes (dance, fiddle etc) and sites with lots of lyrics, but the problem is finding the tunes to the songs lyrics that I have. I've found one or two here as midi file, but apart from that I'm drawing a blank. Anyone got any links, tips etc.

A bit of background: I'm doing this for a retired miner who's set up a website to tell future generations about what life was like as a miner as after the mines and miners were abolished by Thatcher there's a whole generation growing up who've never seen one or met a miner. THe URL is :

thanks a lot for any help


16 Jul 00 - 12:20 PM (#258650)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: George Seto -

Phil, do you have titles to these songs you need the tunes for?

16 Jul 00 - 01:49 PM (#258677)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: George Seto -

Oh, a similar request was made in this thread, with a few links and suggestions

16 Jul 00 - 08:49 PM (#258898)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny

If you read music, you might look for the mudcat cd-rom. It has 8000 songs and half of them have the tunes, but no chords. == Johnny in OKC

16 Jul 00 - 09:26 PM (#258910)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Sandy Paton

Thanks for the lead to the site, Phil. It's an important one.


16 Jul 00 - 10:51 PM (#258942)
Subject: Tunes for Mining Songs
From: Malcolm Douglas

Unless I've misunderstood, these are the songs that Phil needs tunes for.  Many of the texts are on the DT, but very few have tunes attached.  I can probably find some of them tomorrow; meanwhile, would anyone like to make a start?

Collier Lass (lyrics, no tune)
Don't Go Down The Mine Daddy. (lyrics and tune in the database)
Doon The Waggon Way. (maybe Waggoner??
Down in the Coal Mine (I am a jovial collier lad ) ((lyrics, no tune)
Farewell to the Monty (lyrics, no tune)
Farewell to the Rhondda (lyrics, no tune)
I Hate the Company Bosses (Sarah Ogan Gunning) (lyrics, no tune)
Miner's Doom (we have tune)
Miner's Prayer (lyrics, no tune)
Old Miner (Oh who'll replace this old miner) (lyrics, no tune)
Poor Miner's Farewell (Poor hard working miners, their troubles are great) (by Aunt Molly Jackson, no lyrics or tune)
Testimony of Patience Kershaw (Frank Higgins) (lyrics, no tune)
That Little Lump of Coal (Oh, to those who know no better, and the ones who do not care...) (no lyrics, no tune)
The Collier Laddie (I've traveled east and I've traveled west...) (lyrics and tune in database)
The Miner's Lifeguard (A miner's life is like a sailor's) (lyrics and tune in database)
The Recruited Collier (lyrics and tune in database)
Jowl and Listen. (no lyrics, no tune)
Banks of the Dee. (I am an old miner aged fifty and six) (lyrics and tune in database)
I'll Have a Collier (I went out to get some water...) (no lyrics, no tune - Barry Finn has it in a book)
In The Bar Room (More usually called "The Celebrated Working Man".) (lyrics and tune at Conrad's site)
Little Chance (no lyrics, no tune)
Rap Her to Bank (lyrics, no tune)
The Auchengeich Disaster. (no lyrics, no tune)
The Colliers Rant (lyrics and tune in database)
The Hartley Calamity (no lyrics, no tune)
The Putter (no lyrics, no tune)
The Stoneman's Song (no lyrics, no tune)


16 Jul 00 - 10:58 PM (#258948)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Joe Offer

Sounds like it could be interesting. I'll go through Malcolm's list and make links out of all the songs that have MIDIs in the database. If you'd like to work up a MIDI, please send it on to Alan of Australia (click to mail so he can post it at Mudcat MIDIs. Also post a message here to let us know you've submitted a MIDI, so we don't duplicate efforts.
Be sure to take a look at the site Phil's working on (click). It's a remarkable Web site.
-Joe Offer-

17 Jul 00 - 08:42 AM (#259084)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy

I have "Farewell to the Rhondda" sung by Mick Moloney, and will try to do a midi in the next few days.

I suspect I also have the same book as Barry Finn, which contains "I'll Have a Collier (I went out to get some water...)". I already have the tune in ABC so I should be able to post it in midi to Alan tonight

Wassail! V

17 Jul 00 - 06:57 PM (#259543)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy

I have sent a midi of "I'll Have a Collier" (first line: I wnet out to get some water") to Alan of Oz for the Mudcat midi page.

Wassail! V

17 Jul 00 - 06:59 PM (#259548)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy

Now I see there's no lyrics either - I'll post them here as soon as I can.

Wassail! V

17 Jul 00 - 07:06 PM (#259555)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Liz the Squeak

The coal and Albert Berry is a good one if you can find it. Gary and Vera Aspey recorded it ages ago, too wiped to remember which one, but it's the only one we have. Great song, I always got to be the coal. You have to hear it to understand.


17 Jul 00 - 09:31 PM (#259678)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Malcolm Douglas

Midis for the following have gone to the Mudcat Midi Site:

Down in the Coal Mine

The version on the DT comes from a recording by the Ian Campbell Folk Group; I have no idea which of the two commonly sung tunes they used.  It's sung either to The Roving Journeyman or to another melody, given in Karl Dallas' 100 Songs of Toil, and apparantly noted by George Korson: I've sent a midi of the latter to Alan's Midi Site.  The song was originally composed for the stage by J.B. Geoghegan in 1872.

Farewell to the Monty

John Pandrich (Johnny Handle) of Newcastle; "written in 1959 when the Montague Colliery at West Denton was closed by the National Coal Board, and the colliers transferred to new pits further east.  The Montague was an out-of-date pit and conditions in her were bad, but she had produced a lot of coal in her time, and the colliers had affection for their old workplace on that account; moreover they were reluctant to leave her for a colliery far from their present homes." (A.L. Lloyd, Folksong in England, 1967).

Rap Her to Bank (Rap her te Bank)

In The Bar Room (More usually called "The Celebrated Working Man".)

Conrad's links don't seem to work, but tune and text are in the DT:  The Celebrated Working Man.

Doon The Waggon Way is the right title, by the way.  Unfortunately, I don't have the tune.


17 Jul 00 - 09:36 PM (#259682)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Malcolm Douglas

Sorry about the duff link; it should be  The Celebrated Working Man.


18 Jul 00 - 12:46 AM (#259794)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: George Seto -

Hmmm. There's a book I have, called And Now the Fields Are Green. It was put together by John C. O'Donnell. Published by University College of Cape Breton Press. ISBN 0-920336-43-4. The sub-title is "A Collection of Coal Mining Songs in Canada".

It doesinclude the song Don't Go Down In the Mine, Dad. It gives music notation and chords with the lyrics as sung by Charlie MacKinnon. It gives this information on the song:

The origin of "Don't Go Down In the Mine, Dad" is not shrouded in mystery. It was composed by Robert Donnelly and Will Geddes and published in 1920 by Lawrence Wright Music Company of London. Although flatly rejected as folksong in England, Archie Green argues that it became a widely known American folk song under the title, "The Dream of the Miner's Child"

Some speculate that the song was inspired by the great 1907 mining disaster at St Genaed in South Wales which claimed more than 100 lives, while others attribute it to the great fire in the Oaks colliery near Barnoley, England in 1866 which left 360 dead. The song acquired a Nova Scotian connection when Tex Morton, an Australian country-western singer, recorded it with a recited version of the child's dream:

I saw the sad faces of those praying there
Dear Mommy, so brave, and so still.
Said one ghostly miner, "My kid is like you,
He lives far away in Springhill."
There was Hank from Kentucky and Taffy from Wales.
All urgently whispered, "Don't wait."
Then a big draegerman said, "Aye, laddie, Wake up now,
Go back. Warn them. Hurry, before it's too late."

Now the question is how do I get the music out of this to someone who can do the MIDI?

18 Jul 00 - 02:00 AM (#259813)
Subject: Lyr Add: I'LL HAVE A COLLIER^^
From: Snuffy


(Words: traditional from Mrs Mary Boardman. Tune: adapted by Harry Boardman. Copyright: Maypole Music 1972.)

I went out to get some water
Get some water for my tea
Caught my foot and down I stumbled
Collier lads come kissing me

My mother said I mustn't have a collier
It would surely break her heart
But I don't care what my mother tells me
I'll have a collier for my sweetheart

If you leave your collier sweetheart
I'll buy you a guinea-gold ring
You shall have a silver cradle
For to rock your baby in

I don't want your silks and satins
I don't want your guinea-gold ring
I don't want a silver cradle
For to rock my baby in

Collier lads get gold and silver
Ferranti lads get nowt but brass
And who'd be married to a lad from Ferranti's
When there are plenty of collier lads.

My mother said I could be a lady
If from my collier lad I'd part
But I'd sooner walk on the bottom of the ocean
Than I'd give up my collier sweetheart

Note: Ferranti's was (is?) a large electronics factory near Oldham, making computers, radar etc, which would date this version to 1950s/60s. But presumably this is a modern substitution for another trade (weaving?)


Wassail! V

18 Jul 00 - 03:19 AM (#259824)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: John in Brisbane

Alison as I recall did a MIDI for Farewell to the Rhonda - it should be in Mudcat MIDIs.

I haven't looked today but I'd swear that Don't Go Down IN The Mine is in the DT - I saw it this morning looking for something quite different. If it turns out to be different I'll gladly do the MIDI. Let me know via personal message - scan, fax or mail all work fine.

Regards, John

18 Jul 00 - 04:00 AM (#259833)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Joe Offer

There's Farewell to the Rhonda Valley in Mudcat MIDIs - is that it? What's the correct spelling?
Don't Go Down In The Mine, Dad is in the database, with tune.
-Joe Offer-

18 Jul 00 - 05:46 AM (#259855)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: AndyG


Some further information on the song which might explain the transference of "weaver ?" to "Ferranti lad".

As I remember, the Ferranti factory near Oldham made power generation equipment of the sort that goes into power stations. It was part of the heavy industry of the north-west.
[The Ferranti Electronics factory (computers & radar etc) was in south Manchester.]

Ferranti workers in the song would be manual/semi-skilled labour, which fits the context better I think.


18 Jul 00 - 08:18 AM (#259896)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy

Thanks Andy, I was getting my Ferrantis in a twist.

Was it originally weavers or was it some other trade? Does anyone have an older version of this?

18 Jul 00 - 07:22 PM (#260436)
Subject: Lyr Add: TEN PER CENT (Thomason, Smith)^^
From: Snuffy

Here's another mining song which I couldn't find in DT or the Forum. I'm sending a midi to Alan


(Words: Mary Thomason, tune: Pete Smith)

Come, Mary, put me pit clogs by
From t'jacket shake the dust
We've gone on strike for ten per cent
We'll get it, lass, thou trust
There's nothin' cheers our whoam so much
As a great fier of coal
But it's much as collier lads can do
To keep body with their soul

We've gone on strike for ten per cent
We're not downhearted yet
We've gone on strike for ten per cent
And ten per cent we'll get.

Don't bother much wi' food for me
But see our Joe's enough
If thee and he get decent meals
I'll put up wi't rough.
And cheer up me bonny lass
And little Joe don't fret.
That dobby-hoss I promised thee,
When t'strike is o'er thou'll get

I've had hard work t'houd up me head
Sin' we've been browt so low
And t'gaffers want us back at t'pit
But back we wunna' go.
I've been on strike for many a month
This time I'm staying out
And little Joe mun understand
It's not his faither's fowt.

Sung by Pete Smith (guitar) and Mike Harding (banjo) on Deep Lancashire, Topic 12T188, 1968.

The sleeve notes say: It is interesting that Ten Per Cent was, in fact, written by a woman, Mary Thomason, and appears in a book entitled "Warp and Weft", published in Leigh (a mining area) in 1938.
The tune was invented by Pete Smith.

Wassail! V ^^

18 Jul 00 - 07:27 PM (#260441)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy


O'Donnell say of "Don't go down the mine dad"

Some speculate that the song was inspired by the great 1907 mining disaster at St Genaed in South Wales which claimed more than 100 lives.

Could he be referring to this (many more than 100)

1913: (14 October) The Explosion at Senghenydd
At the Lancaster Pit, owned by the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd, near Caerphilly, an explosion killed 439 men. The Welsh-speaking community was totally devastated by the tragedy; laid bare and stripped of a generation of its workers, many of whom were young boys. A contemporary poem reads: "
The collier's wife had four tall sons
Brought from the pit's mouth dead,
And crushed from foot to head;
When others brought her husband home,
Had five dead bodies in her room."
The coal owners had ignored warnings of the dangers in the mine only a short time before.

From Britannica online

Wassil! V

19 Jul 00 - 04:06 PM (#260986)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE MINERS' LOCKOUT (Burnett O'Brian)^^
From: Snuffy

Here's another mining song I couldn't find in DT or forum. Conrad posted the slightly similar Durham Lockout to the forum in March. (Both use the same tune)

(Words: Burnett O'Brian. Tune: trad)

You gallant lads of Lancashire,
Come listen unto me
I will unfold a tale of woe
That's very sad to see.
Our children they are starving.
You can see 'em day by day;
The offspring of our collier lads,
For food they have to pay.

Then let us be united,
We never must give way.
Uphold the Federation lads,
And we will win the day.

It's very hard on us poor lads,
That we must go away,
To beg for our maintenance -
We do it day by day.
But it's better far to do it,
Than that we should engage,
To go and take our shirts off
And get a pauper's wage.

But we must keep our tempers
Don't let our hearts go down,
We're getting well supported,
By the people of the town.
The Publicans and Tradesmen,
Throw in their little mite;
They're working well on our behalf,
They know we're in the right

We must thank our trusty leaders,
They're worthy of their steel;
The masters haven't done what's right,
The hunger they don't feel.
They've found their opportunity,
It was not hard to seek;
We'd nothing lads to start with,
Now we must put on the check.

All honour to Sam Wood my lads,
He's doing all he can -
Trying to get an honest wage,
For the British working man.
The day is fast approaching,
When the victory we'll shout,
And remember those who helped us
When we were all locked out.

Dont forget the collier lads,
They're trying with their might -
Enduring so much suffering,
To get that which is right;
But when you see his box displayed,
No matter where he'll roam,
Think of his wife and children,
Who are starving in their home.

Sung by Harry Boardman on "Owdham Edge", Topic 12T204, 1970.

The sleeve notes say:
Ballads of this type were popular in the Midlands and North for most of the nineteenth century. They usually served the dual purpose of winning moral support for the struggle in hand and as appeals for the raising of money. The ballad, being printed as a broadsheet, was often sold to raise funds for the families of strikers or the unemployed.
The Miners' Lockout was written by the Wigan poet Burnett O'Brian and appeared on a broadsheet bearing an illustration of a pit shaft. We are indebted to Keith Roberts of Wigan for for supplying a photographic copy of the original broadsheet.
The Federation was of course the Miners' Federation, which was to play an historic part in the General Strike.
In June 1893 owners demanded a 25% wage reduction following a 35% fall in the price of coal.
Following the MFGB conference in July the miners refused to accept the wage cut. The lock-out began in the last week of July, affecting more than a quarter of a million workers in the area covered by the MFGB. In the course of the disturbances two men were killed and sixteen wounded by troops at Featherstone, Yorks. The lock-out lasted sixteen weeks: settlement was signed on November 7th. The miners were victorious. Samuel Woods (1846-1915) of Wigan was first Vice-President of MFGB, elected in 1889. A Baptist, total abstainer, "a dapper, gentle kind of man"

Tune: Castles in the Air (several versions posted to Forum as ABcs)


Wassail! V

19 Jul 00 - 04:14 PM (#260999)
Subject: Add: Miners Lockout
From: Snuffy

I forgot to put "ADD:" in the header of the last posting.

19 Jul 00 - 06:11 PM (#261082)
Subject: Lyr Add: DUW, IT'S HARD (Max Boyce)^^
From: Snuffy


(Max Boyce)

In our little valley
They closed the colliery down,
And the pithead baths is a supermarket now.
Empty gurneys red with rust
Roll to rest among the rust
And the pithead baths is a supermarket now.

'Cos it's hard, Duw, it's hard
Harder than they will ever know.
And it's they must take the blame,
The price of coal's the same.
And the pithead baths is a supermarket now.

They came down here from England
Because our output's low.
Briefcases full of bank clerks
That had never been below.
And they'll close the valley's oldest mine
Pretending that they're sad.
But don't you worry, Butty bach,
We're really very glad.

My clean-clothe locker's empty now,
I've thrown away the key.
And I've sold my boots and muffler
And my lampcheck 153.
But I can't forget the times we had,
The laughing midst the fear,
'Cos every time I cough I get
A mining souvenir.

I took my old helmet home with me,
Filled it full of earth,
And I planted little flowers there -
They grew for all their worth.
And it's hanging in the glasshouse now,
A living memory,
Reminding me they could have grown
In vases over me.

But I know the local magistrate,
She's got a job for me,
Though it's only counting buttons
In a local factory.
We get coffee breaks and coffee breaks,
Coffee breaks and tea.
And now I know those dusty mines
Have seen the last of me.

'Cos it's hard, Duw, it's hard
Harder than they will ever know.
And if ham was underground,
Would it be twelve bob a pound.
And the pithead baths is a supermarket now.
Aye, the pithead baths is a supermarket now.

From the album "Max Boyce: Live at Treorchy", recorded 23rd Nov 1973. EMI One-Up OU2033.

An early example of a song addressing the coming of the "post-industrial" world, and the disappearance of heavy industry. Max worked eight years underground, so knows what he's talking about

VRH ^^

20 Jul 00 - 12:55 AM (#261368)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Alan of Australia

Thanks to Malcolm and Snuffy the tunes for the songs listed below can be found at the Mudcat MIDI site.

Ten per cent
I'll have a Collier
Down in the Coal Mine
Farewell to the Monty
Rap Her to Bank


20 Jul 00 - 07:55 PM (#261863)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy

May I correct some of the names in the version of "Farewell to the Rhondda" in the DT, which may pose difficulties for those not familiar with Wales? The mining villages mentioned in the last verse should be:

Treherbert and Treorchy, Tonypandy and Tynewydd,
Ystrad Rhondda and Ton Pentre, all adieu

Also in the first verse, the axe was wielded by Alfred Robens (later Lord Robens). He had been a minister in the post-WWII Labour government, but was later appointed chairman of the National Coal Board by the Conservative government, and oversaw a major programme of pit closures.

^^ BTW: on the recording I have, Mick Moloney definitely sings Robbins, not Robens

Wassail! V

21 Jul 00 - 09:54 AM (#262099)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Phil, That's a very significant site you've pointed us to. As I said when signing in to it, it may be just in time. When they closed the pit in my village (just down the road from Shirebrooke) any hopes historians had of getting their hands on old records were thwarted when everything was chucked down the shafts and buried in concrete.

Thanks also for the informative posts to this thread.

06 Aug 00 - 02:47 PM (#272447)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Snuffy

I have sent a midi of "Duw, It's Hard" (posted 19-Jul-00 - 06:11 PM) to Alan for the Mudcat Midi site

07 Mar 07 - 07:12 AM (#1989273)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs

Another interesting bit of trivia about Ten Per Cent is that (I'm told) it in fact refers not to going on strike for a ten per cent rise, but a ten per cent cut rather than the twenty per cent cut that had been proposed.

07 Mar 07 - 08:19 AM (#1989339)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Willa

I know that this is an old thread, but I have tunes for 'Testimony of Patience Kershaw' and 'Collier Lass' which I could put up as abc versions if anyone is interested.

07 Mar 07 - 02:00 PM (#1989695)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Little Robyn

A lot of the songs on the original list were on the record of Jack Elliot of Birtley, the songs and stories of a Durham miner, put out by the Leaders as LEA 4001.
Many of the others have been recorded by Johnny Handle and sometimes with the High Level Ranters or Lou Killen.

07 Mar 07 - 02:10 PM (#1989705)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: MMario

willa - please do...

15 Mar 07 - 05:07 PM (#1997896)
Subject: RE: Tune Req: Tunes for songs
From: Willa

Haven't done this for a while, so bear with me if it is not quite correct:
T:The Testimony of Patience Kershaw (Frank Higgins)
M:4/4 & 6/4
K:Bb major?
The above is from a poor photocopy someone gave me several years ago; can't be more specific.

T:Collier Lass

From the book 'Povery Poverty Knock' Roy Palmer