Tracks 5 to 9 of the ‘album’ covering the latter part of the 20th century – from a song about the demise of my home town, to the story of a collier who worked under the North Sea
BLOG NO.37 – IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ BLOG NO.36 FIRST, CLICK HERE, OR TO WATCH VLOG NO.1 CLICK HERE. If 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.)
This blog is about tracks 5 to 9 of the final part (Part 5) of ‘From The Earth To The Seas‘. Now comes the blurb if you haven’t read the other Parts…. There are five ‘albums’, 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; Part 5 covers 1976 to today. 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.
The dates by the track are either just where I have placed them (e.g. c.1900), 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. Blurb over…now for the tracks….
Track 5 – In The County Of Durham (c.1983) – This song is about the town I grew up in – Stanley, Co. Durham – when it was at its lowest ebb in the early 1980s, and unemployment was over 30%. The mines had all but gone, so too had the ship building and Consett Iron Works had only recently shut. It was a very sad time to make return visits, and it seemed from the outside the there was more alcohol than usual consumed at the working men’s club on a Saturday night. Things would only get worse in the next few years, as the next song demonstrates.
This version is slightly different to the original. I recorded it in 2009 in GarageBand using Apple Loops only, and only slightly added to it in 2017.
The photo for the track is the Stanley of today.
Track 6 – Life Has Never Been The Same (1985) – A song about the affects the Miners’ Strike of 1984/85 had on NW Co. Durham. It really did tear families apart, and many ex-miners still won’t talk to or acknowledge those ‘scabs’ who went across the picket lines. Unlike farther south in Yorkshire, there wasn’t quite the same amount of support or unity for the strike, which is what probably caused even more problems. Of course, it all came to nought, and just made prime minister Margaret Thatcher even more determined to quash the Unions, and gave her more ammunition when arguing that the country and their energy industries couldn’t be held to ransom by the coal miners, and they should not rely on coal. North Sea gas and oil, nuclear energy and cheap coal imports had already sounded the death-knell for most of the Northeast’s coal mines long before the strike, along with exhausted coal seams or those too expensive to pursue. Thatcher then finished it off.
The photo I have used is actually from Tilmanstone Colliery, near Dover, Kent, in September 1984. (Credit: PA) The government brought in police from outside of the areas they guarded, and this meant that they didn’t always care about how they treated the miners, as they wouldn’t be around after the strike was over.
I use some dialectic words in this, such as ‘wor‘, which means ‘our’. ‘A miner’s son he stood so proud‘ refers to the National Union of Mine Workers leader Arthur Scargill. ‘A grocer’s daughter‘ is Margaret Thatcher.
Created in GarageBand with the help of Apple Loops.
Track 7 – When You’ve Worked Down A Pit All Your Life (c.1986) – From the perspective of a miner who has lost his job because of the pit closures.
Created with help of GarageBand on iPad.
Track 8 – Half A Mile Down And Three Miles Out (c.1988) – Inspired by a nephew of mine who worked at Monkwearmouth Colliery on the mouth of the River Wear, although the image I’ve used is of Easington Colliery because it also shows the sea that the seams lay under; some three miles out. This nephew, Alan ‘Titchy’ Calvert – whom I’ve written about before – first worked pretty locally to Stanley at Kibblesworth Colliery, but when that closed he had to choose between Monkwearmouth and unemployment.
Pitmatic words: ‘me‘ =my; ‘cyeval’=cavel=place were the face worker worked; bait’=food; ‘marras‘=marrows=work mates
Created in GarageBand on the Mac and iPad.
Recorded in Weston Lullingfields & Oswestry, Shropshire © Mak Wilson 1974, 1976, 1977, 1993, 2007, 2009 & 2017
The next blog is probably going to be a vlog (video blog) because of hand and arm problems, and is most likely going to be Part 10 of the Close Encounter Of The Music Legend Kind, which will be about singing with the legends that are Kermit and Miss Piggy on the Muppet Beach Party album, and being involved in recording the sitcom Dinosaurs‘ BIG SONGS album at Capitol Records in Los Angeles.
Thanks so much for reading and listening, and please, please, please rate the blog (at the top)! (Grovelling over.)
IF YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE A SKIM THROUGH ALL 65 TRACKS, PLEASE CLICK HERE.