Blog No.6: A Musical ‘History’ Of Northumberland & Durham – Part 1 – 18th Century – Tracks 10 to 13


BLOG NO.6 – IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ BLOG NO.5 FIRST, CLICK HEREIf you’d like to read first why I wrote these 65 tracks, then click HERE to read that blog. (Blue text are external links, which will open in a new browser window.)

(Those getting this via email won’t be able to see the tracks. Clicking on the title of the blog will open it in a tab of your web browser. For those reading on a iPad, the tracks will open in a separate browser windows and not play on the Page. Apologies.)

Welcome to a blog about tracks 10 to 13 of ‘album’ (Part) one of these five ‘albums’ (66 tracks in all) covering over three hundred years of history – both real and fictional – relating the English northeastern counties of what were Northumberland and Durham, but now Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham including Teesside. As such, some of the songs are sung in the old Northumbrian, Geordie or Pitmatic accents and dialects. I’ve included explanations of the words used where necessary, and sometimes give lyrics in Standard English. Part 1 covers the 18th century.

The dates by the track are either just where I have placed them (e.g. c.1710); this is when the traditional song was written; or this is when the historical event they portray happened. Keep in mind the music styles will change greatly from Parts 1 to 5 as they reflect the time they depict.

If any ex- or working miners out there spot any technical mistakes, please let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the page. If anyone else spots typos, please let me know. Thanks.

Anyone can give a Rate This star rating at the top of the blog or leave a Comment at the bottom of the page, and you can Like this blog if you’re a WordPress member at the bottom. If you’d like each blog to be posted to your inbox, click on the Follow Mak’s Music Blog tab at the top of the sidebar to the right if you’re with WordPress, or FOLLOW (THROUGH EMAIL) if you’re not. Please do rate the tracks in the Poll after them.

Recorded in Weston Lullingfields & Oswestry, Shropshire © Mak Wilson 1974, 1976, 1977, 1993, 2007 & 2017

Track 10 – The Country Lovers’ Walk – This is just a little instrumental ditty a composed back in the 1990s. Its title is just for the want of a better one I think, but it goes with the mood. It actually started life as one of my ‘Arthurian’ tunes.

All instruments in Garageband and Logic Pro X.

Track 11 – My Sweetheart Is A Fish Wifey –  (‘wifey‘=woman) Another love story, but this time a humorous look at the love between a rather smelly couple: a fish wife and a tanner. Fish wives sold fish, carrying baskets on their backs, and they would sometimes walk many miles. There a very famous folk song on the subject about a fish wife from Cullercoats in Northumberland.

Tanners, of course, were using a whole plethora of smelly stuff which they often had to boil, including urine in the early days, to prepare the hide. They were often place on the edge of towns. Neighbours would sometimes try to get them removed, but others, usually their suppliers, would fight against this.

Sung in the dialect. Below are the lyrics in Standard English.

All instruments are virtual ones in Garageband and Logic Pro X.

My sweetheart is a fish wifey [woman]
She sells the fish down on the quay
And though she smells a bit fishy
At least I know what I’ll have for tea

When we first me I says to she
You have an air of the fish of thee
She says I can’t help that you see
It’s ’cause I am a fish wifey

But in reply she spake to me
Thou has a whiff of hide of thee
I says I can can’t help that you see
I work down in the tannery

My sweetheart is a fish wifey [woman]
She sells the fish down on the quay
And though she smells a bit fishy
At least I know what I’ll have for tea

The only friends that we will see
Are the ones that work with her and me
We’ll either drink down on the quay
Or the pubs that’s next to the tannery

One day I hope that wed we’ll be
When little children we’ll have of three
What game they’ll play we both agree
Will be one that’s called hide or sea

My sweetheart is a fish wifey [woman]
She sells the fish down on the quay
And though she smells a bit fishy
At least I know what I’ll have for tea

Track 12 – There Is A Lass –  This may, at first, sound a song about an incestuous relationship, but it’s not! It’s about the love between a brother and his sister through the bond of their work together for over twelve hours a day, six days a week in the mine. He is a ‘hurrier‘ who pulls the coal-ladened tubs, and his sister, a ‘thruster‘, pushing them to assist. This often led to the thruster having a bald head because of pushing the tubs with their head as well as their hands. It was both hard and backbreaking work, and with the small size of the tunnels the hurrier could very often have to pull the tubs on hands and knees.

This one is sung with a lot of Geordie/Pitmatic dialect words, so below is a Standard English version of the lyrics.

A mix of acoustic guitar from Garageband on the iPad, and instruments in Garageband on the Mac.

There is a lass who I hold dear
She always there right behind me
No matter where
She is the one who spurs me on
When my back breaks
When my heart aches
When my hope is gone

With tattered clothes on her muscled back
With balding hair upon her head
And skin of black
But beauty within is all I see
Her eyes so bright
A shining light
A beacon to me

My sister dear, no love compares
To that which I hold for thee
For how much I care
As I pull the tubs heavy with coal
You push and strain
Help ease the pain
To our final goal

How you can smile I’ll never know
But for those brief time I see your face
It always shows
Before we’re back down the long black road
You dry my sweat
Say ‘Come on pet,
Let’s get that load’

I hope for thee a husband dear
One who who will see all that I see
But take you from here
A man who’ll love you like I do
But who can give
A life to live
Your freedom too

For now we’ll work by candle light
On hand and knees we’ll struggle on
With our daily fight
Twelve hours or more moving corve and tub
I know you’re there
Always there
With your strength and love

Track 13 – The Toon Quay Promenade – Another instrumental, this time to aid you to promenade by as you walk the quayside at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (the Toon) of a Sunday.

Another created using a variety of Apple Loops form Garageband and Logic Pro X.

 

Thanks so much for reading and listening.

Mak

IF YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE A SKIM THROUGH ALL 65 TRACKS, CLICK HERE.

BLOG NO.7 WILL BE PART 2 OF ‘MY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC LEGENDS‘: ELTON JOHN & PAUL MCCARTNEY

PLEASE RATE THE TRACKS IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

One thought on “Blog No.6: A Musical ‘History’ Of Northumberland & Durham – Part 1 – 18th Century – Tracks 10 to 13

  1. This is fun today, because I chose ‘My Sweetheart Is A Fish Wifey’ A light ditty sung tongue and cheek, with a flair for comedy. Brilliant Mak. I noted a possible mistype in the lyrics, which help alot to understand the song. This is the second paragraph – Should it not read met instead of me.

    ‘When we first me I says to she
    You have an air of the fish of thee
    She says I can’t help that you see
    It’s ’cause I am a fish wifey’

    Thanks for my morning music
    Love Anne Terri

    Like

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