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req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)

23 Jan 03 - 06:35 AM (#872707)
Subject: Lyr Req: prospect, providence, perseverance
From: GUEST,Geoff Wright

A song listing the various mills in the area of West Yorkshre/Lancashire border which has always stuck in my mind. (These three are a biblical quote as well).


23 Jan 03 - 07:55 AM (#872747)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: prospect, providence, perseverance
From: Noreen

A Keith Marsden song, sung by Cockersdale.
I don't have the lyrics though, sorry.


23 Jan 03 - 12:27 PM (#872959)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: prospect, providence, perseverance
From: Noreen

Lyrics can be found in Picking Sooty Blackberries and the song is on the Fellside recording Prospect Providence (now available on CD!)
More info at:http://www.cockersdale.com/

And from http://www.freenetpages.co.uk/hp/trg/focsle/cocker.htm :
Keith's songs will stand for many as a monument to a past era. 'Prospect' and 'Providence', along with 'Albert', 'Valley' and 'Crank', were the names of some of the mills that dominated Morley (near Leeds) in the boom years of the Industrial Revolution. As the subject of one of Marsden's best songs it is where:


"Fifty years man and boy have I worked the mills,
Though I never could stand the place.
But I got to the top by my own boot strap,
And not 'cos they liked me face.
And I made a good life for my child and wife,
I'd respect from me fellow men.
But the gaffer's giving me the gold watch next week
And he'd never see me again.

Chorus.

Prospect, Providence, Perseverance
Albert, Valley and Crank.
I passed me time in the dust and grime,
With never a word of thanks
Oh the wages were low and the hours were long,
And the gaffers were hard, lads, hard
But the last time's coming, thank God coming soon,
When I'll walk up the damned mill yard."


23 Jan 03 - 05:53 PM (#873246)
Subject: Lyr Add: PROSPECT, PROVIDENCE, PERSEVERANCE
From: Willa

A very powerful and moving song.

PROSPECT, PROVIDENCE, PERSEVERANCE
(Keith Marsden)

Fifty years man & boy have I worked the mills, though I never could stand the place.
But I got to the top by my own bootstraps, and not 'cos they liked my face.
And I made a good life for my child and wife, I'd respect from my fellow men.
But the gaffer's giving me the gold watch next week and he'll never see me again.

CHORUS
Prospect, Providence, Perseverance, Albert, Valley and Crank.
I passed my time in the dust and grime, with never a word of thanks.
Oh, the wages were low and the hours were long, and the gaffers was hard, lads, hard.
But the last time's coming, thank God, coming soon, when I'll walk up the damned mill yard.

There'll be no more sweating on a seek-oil dam through the heat of a summer's day.
There'll be no more choking on the rag'ole dust, there'll be no more fratching for pay.
There'll be no more trying to mend a clapped ?out loom, where the noise makes you climb the walls.
There'll be no more measuring the gaffer's boots by the seat of your overalls.
CHORUS

There'll be no more bawling of a weaver out when a piece makes the menders grieve.
"Oh, my shuttles were all cracked so I'd too many traps, and the weft wasn't fit to weave".
Then the spinner finds fault with the willyer's blend, who says that his rags were too cheap.
And the blame gets passed right down the line, till the gaffer goes and kicks the sheep.
CHORUS

Though the pension's small I've a bit put by that'll do for the wife and me,
And there'll be enough spare for the odd glass of beer and a few days by the sea.
And I'll roll a few woods and I'll still find time for the jobs that I used to shirk.
I'll have so much on that I'll wonder then, how I ever found time to work.
CHORUS

Though the pension's low still the prices rise, my wife's going out of her mind,
And I'm no longer sure what it's all been for, the year long, lifelong grind.
And I'd dust so long that my lungs have gone, and I cannot get my breath.
I can't laugh or talk or even walk, and I long for the peace of death.
CHORUS

Keith Marsden


12 Mar 09 - 09:15 AM (#2587123)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: prospect, providence, perseverance
From: GUEST,Temfy

Lyrics as Noreen and Willa indicate. I grew up in Morley and had the pleasure of hearing Keith Marsden sing this song at the folk club at The Angel. My grandmother and her familiy worked in Prospect Mill and Albert Mill and this song, like so many of Keith Marsden's has a great resonance for me. It depicts and defines, from within, a world that I was connected with, particularly through my grandparents' experience, that has now disappeared.


19 Apr 11 - 05:55 PM (#3138474)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Prospect Providence Perseverance (Marsden
From: GUEST

Taken from us far, far too soon, how many more quality songs could he have written? We will never know! RIP
Skipy


19 Apr 11 - 08:27 PM (#3138554)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Prospect Providence Perseverance (Marsden
From: GUEST,Gerry

Recorded, with their usual marvellous harmonies, by The Fagans, on their CD, Milk and Honey Land. Website http://www.thefagans.com.au/


22 May 15 - 02:51 PM (#3710999)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Prospect Providence Perseverance (Marsden
From: GUEST

My favourite part of my History Degree was the Industrial Revolution as I grew up in Bingley, a textile and some engineering town. My Nan worked in the weaving sheds and lost 3 fingers off one hand and her thumb and a finger off the other as women and children were considered more nimble for tying breaks together for the burlers and menders to correct. My Mum was told on her 14th birthday that she could no longer go to school (which she loved and was clever)because my Grandma had got her a job in the mill! She became a burler and Mender and for many years worked on mohair - she had to leave mending as her eyesight was ruined and the at 52 she went to work in the Inland Revenue for 10 years as a clerk. I think that because she had no opportunities, she wanted to make sure I did what I wanted but I messed around and only went to University when I was 48 and I loved it, I could've stayed there forever.
Keith Marsden's songs take me back with fond memories of jumping on the high piles of pieces as a youngster waiting for her to finish after school.
What a fantastic wordsmith Keith Marsden was - my Husband and I saw him several times around the folk clubs, weren't we lucky!!!


22 May 15 - 11:24 PM (#3711077)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Prospect Providence Perseverance (Marsden
From: Joe Offer

Cockersdale call this song Prospect Providence (click) on their Doin' the Manch album.

There are a lot of words I'm not sure I understand, and I wonder if somebody could explain them:

  • Prospect, Providence, Perseverance - any particular significance, or this just a management slogan?
  • Albert, Valley, and Crank - is this the name of the singer's employer? Was it a real or fictional mill? Location?
  • gaffer
  • seek-oil dam
  • rag'ole dust (Cockersdale & the Fagans pronounce this "rag oil," but I'm wondering if this is a "rag hole" when discarded rags are thrown)
  • fratching
  • weft (threads perpendicular to the warp, dontchaknow) [also known as woof]
  • piece makes the mender grieve
  • traps
  • willyer's blend
  • roll a few woods

It's a good song, but it would be even better if I could understand it all.

-Joe-


23 May 15 - 12:21 AM (#3711085)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Reinhard

See above, in he third posting, Joe:
'Prospect' and 'Providence', along with 'Albert', 'Valley' and 'Crank', were the names of some of the mills that dominated Morley (near Leeds) in the boom years of the Industrial Revolution.

A gaffer should be a foreman.

fratching is arguing or quarreling.


23 May 15 - 01:57 AM (#3711095)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Joe Offer

Thanks, Reinhard. How'd I miss Noreen's post?

-Joe-


23 May 15 - 02:56 AM (#3711100)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Reinhard

From Cockersdale's album sleeve notes:

Prospect Provicende (1981) - based on the life of a warm and generous man the late Henry Atkinson of Morley. You never left him less cheerful than when you met him.


23 May 15 - 07:35 AM (#3711143)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: GUEST

A few more explanations (specially for Joe):

rag 'ole dust; I suspect this is a reference to the willy 'ole (see below) but I am unsure.

piece makes the menders grieve; a piece being a woven length of cloth, it then gets passed to burlers & menders for finishing work (very skilled work, and taxing on the eyesight). A piece which makes the menders grieve is presumably one with a high number of faults needing repair.

Traps; IIRC when the weft snags in the flying shuttle rather than paying out smoothly; gives rise to stopping and weaving faults, so more work for the menders and poorer quality product (hence lower price too)

Morley made a lot of shoddy, so there was a high incidence of willy 'oles and their inhabitants the willyers (aka willy 'ole lads, see separate thread) They were among the lower ranks of mill workers, producing cheap stuff to be spun into warps from a mixture of recycled rags and oil for the weaving of shoddy. The little that couldn't be reused in cloth ended up in nearby fields fertilising rhubarb.

Roll a few woods; play a game or two of bowls Bowls the game - wikipedia

Hope this helps a bit


24 May 15 - 03:02 AM (#3711347)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Joe Offer

Thanks a lot - that was very helpful. Makes me appreciate the song a whole lot more.

-Joe-


07 Sep 17 - 11:42 AM (#3875687)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: GUEST

I love this song, particularly Brian Peters's rendition of it. Thanks for the information about the technical weaving jargon.

However, am I the only one who thinks that the last verse is out of character with the rest of the song? It all seems kind of good-spirited and jolly right up to there: I've spent my entire life working hard at a difficult job that I basically hated, but by God I made it through, and I get to walk out of this place with my head held high and the satisfaction of a job well done, and now my wife and I will live on my nice little pension and I'll have time to do all those jobs around the house that I could never get to before, and I have all these amusing memories of the gaffer kicking the sheep and so forth. And then, boom, we're both out of our minds with misery and grinding poverty and I just want to curl up and die. The penultimate verse seems like a perfectly nice last verse; I suspect that maybe it was until Marsden realized that it's kind of weird for a folk song to say anything even arguably positive about the Industrial Revolution so he stuck on a depressing one.

I don't know. Still love the song. But that last verse just seems odd to me.


07 Sep 17 - 04:51 PM (#3875729)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: FreddyHeadey

The "Willy 'Ole Lad" thread mentioned above
thread.cfm?threadid=23996


07 Sep 17 - 04:53 PM (#3875731)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: FreddyHeadey

I thought the message was that in reality life is pretty miserable. Emphasised by the one contrasting happy verse which was sadly but a flight of his imagination.


08 Sep 17 - 02:39 AM (#3875780)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: r.padgett

Shoddy and Mungo was the yarn product from the recycled wool ~seems used for more heavy woolen products such as army uniforms

The whole area around Dewsbury, Morley, Heckmondwike, Batley/ Birstall, was/is know as the "Heavy Woolen District" UK people will be aware of the tragic death of MP Jo Cox in Birstall not long ago (MP for Batley and Spen)

I and others used to frequent the folk club in Birstall on Saturday nights at The Wine and Spirits Vaults pub ~ and the Black Bull had a number of folk clubs (historically used as the Courthouse btw)

Folk festival continues at Cleckheaton annually and well attended

Batley Varieties was thriving popular music theatre of the 60s/70s with top world class acts booked at the time

Many Irish worked in the mills and The Nash (National was a favourite club for the Irish ~ nowadays lots of Curry houses to cater for other Nationalities who live there (and us)

Beware the speed cameras round the Batley bottom road and Heckmondwike top road there are many!!

Ray


08 Sep 17 - 08:43 AM (#3875830)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Brian Peters

Thanks, Guest, for the compliment. The last verse isn't a case of the author trying to add a dose of artificial misery: the song was written about Keith's close friend Henry Atkinson, who suffered from emphysema in retirement. I suspect the whole point of the 'kicks the sheep' verse is to set up the listener for a fall when the final verse hits. The first couple of verses actually paint a pretty grim picture: the noise of the looms was terrible and made some workers deaf.

I remember James Fagan hearing me sing the song and express shock because his family had only ever sung the first four verses and he'd no idea how it really ended.

It's a great song, and I've often commented when introducing it how Keith Marsden shared Ewan MacColl's skill for capturing workers' speech and thus conveying authenticity. 'Sweating on a seek-oil dam' is a terrific line, using a term for a lubrication device on a loom that only a mill worker would know.

I might add that my wife's family still live mostly in Morley, and my later mother-in-law Joyce once worked in Crank mill (which is still standing, unlike some of the other ones).


08 Sep 17 - 08:54 AM (#3875837)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: r.padgett

I did have cause to visit one mill which was concerned with rope making! and the cacophony of noise was indeed great! This was based in East Ardsley!

Ray


08 Sep 17 - 10:31 AM (#3875870)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Dave Hanson

That's sea coil, Brian.

We used to have a session in a pub called The Pineberry, Keith lived a mile or so away and called in occaisionally on session nights, I've. seen him borrow a guitar and sing a Bob Dylan song when the mood took him, finest songwriter ever from West Yorkshire and a great bloke as well.

Dave H


08 Sep 17 - 11:04 AM (#3875888)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Brian Peters

That's sea coil, Brian.

Really? Could have sworn I'd looked it up years ago. Ah well, I stand corrected. So what's the dam, then? My mother-in-law's no longer around to ask.


08 Sep 17 - 11:22 AM (#3875890)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Jeri

'Sweating on a seek-oil dam' is a terrific line, using a term for a lubrication device on a loom that only a mill worker would know."

From...er..,Brian Peters, in a previous post.

"Sea coil" has nothing to do with mill work. I've also heard the term used with "seek-oil engines" that don't have an oil pump. May be similar, may not. It would make sense to have a dam to collect oil to lubricate machinery.


08 Sep 17 - 11:30 AM (#3875891)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Jeri

I just checked in "Picking Sooty Blackberries - the Songs of Keith Marsden", and it is, indeed, "seek-oil".


08 Sep 17 - 03:03 PM (#3875950)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Dave Hanson

I stand coorected.


Dave H


08 Sep 17 - 03:05 PM (#3875951)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Brian Peters

I stand corroborated. Roller-coaster of a thread!


09 Sep 17 - 01:43 AM (#3876018)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: r.padgett

"roll a few woods" could quite equally refer to "rolling cigarettes" of course ~ Woodbines being a strong variety of cigarettes of the time ~ rather than Crown green bowling

Ray


09 Sep 17 - 07:28 PM (#3876208)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: GUEST

Except, of course, that Woodbines were(and still are) a pre-rolled fag, and hence that "roll a few woods" would be both ilogical and capitalised. KM could have written/sung "smoke a few Woods" had he meant that, I would suggest that this is unlikely.

See also para 3 on page 57 of 'Picking Sooty Blackberries'


10 Sep 17 - 06:06 AM (#3876278)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Brian Peters

Playing a few games of bowls on sunlit Yorkshire afternoons, calculating the competing vectors of bias and green inclination, seems a more uplifting retirement aspiration than smoking a few extra fags.


10 Sep 17 - 07:19 AM (#3876283)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: Dave Hanson

Woods refers to bowling not cigarettes, Woodbines were already rolled.

Dave H


10 Sep 17 - 03:14 PM (#3876376)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Prospect Providence Perseverance(Marsden)
From: r.padgett

Well I did know that! But Keith was a smoker ~ the term would have referred to rolling cigarettes as strong as Woodbines if not stronger!

But I see you were not on my wavelength ~ so whatever you say ~~

Ray

Not as daft as it seems guys or me for that matter ~ nothing too literal