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One of my own songs.. Ken's World. Ken didn't actually exist but he is an amalgamation of a few men I worked with down the pit. When I was an apprentice, the old men near retirement fell into two distinct camps that were obvious. Those who worked down the pit during the war and those who went off to see the world and ended up back where they started... I was originally asked to write this for a history documentary a university was planning but it never got funded so the song was returned. I'll raise it to the giddy heights of obscurity myself.....

More bits of music

Youtube bits...


Around lockdown I started producing videos of favourite songs, not just traditional ones, but some of my own and songs written by others that I have enjoyed over the years.  ​

Here's a few of them, and a full set is available on my Youtube channel, the further back you go, the more you see how I was "learning" how to make them!  


Sir Patrick Spens, a great Child ballad.  This is a shortened version of this medieval poem, a fictitious story (and main protagonist) but based on real events.  

This is a Yorkshire version of the traditional song Rambleaway. I had already put this on my Youtube channel using my baritone guitar but to be honest, I prefer singing it with a normally tuned guitar... I got these words from Norma Waterson but she used a very different tune, whereas I still like the well used Rambleaway tune that Shirley and Dolly Collins made their own, albeit with slighty different words.

Written by Ewan MacColl for the 1957 BBC documentary In Prison, which looked at life in Strangeways Prison, Manchester. It was used as the theme song for the programme, which was produced by Denis Mitchell and directed by Roy Harris. The song has subsequently been recorded for Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger albums, notably "Chorus from the Gallows" (1959) and "Freeborn Man." (1983) MacColl could always craft his words and this song is a great example of the claim to call him the c20 Bard. He also wrote the music for this one, Peggy Seeger having written most of the music for their songs subsequently.

Another one of mine.

I used to work down the pit and attended many courses at Coal Board regional training centres, including the one at Manvers near Rotherham. I heard it was now a call centre.. Provoked me into writing this.

Dave Allison and I recorded a few songs that never made our album "Ballads" and The Recruited Collier is one of my favourite traditional songs.  Still, we couldn't fit everything on it!

We started out the album "Ballads" by it being just songs from The BBC Radio Ballads.  When we decided to open it out to other songs, there were quite a few songs from the radio ballads that we had to drop.

This was from a live recording of us singing Shoals of Herring.  Perhaps the most well known song from a radio ballad, this is from Singing the Fishing, all about the North Sea trawler fleet and is also a biographical song of the life of Sam Larner, a fisherman and a treasure trove of traditional songs.

when Dave and I were trying out different sound combinations for studio recordings, we didn't just use the songs we had in mind, we played around with all sorts of songs.  This stunningly wonderful song from Blood on the Tracks is Dylan at his best and we occasionally play it at our local folk club in Epworth UK. 

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