A Pair of Clogs

The little pair of children’s clogs
looked so cute on the shelf.
They decided they just had to take them home
to show them off to their friends
just like a big doll’s shoes, but the soles were worn
and a little down at the heel
she began to wonder if their tongues could speak
what secrets they might reveal

Children need sunshine and laughter
children need learning and play
from the mills of the past,
to the sweatshops of Dhaka
and rubble of Gaza today

Her mother came for tea one day,
she saw the pair on display
my god she said just like my grandma wore
I’m glad we’re not in her day
the children heard and they asked their gran
to tell of those far off days
and as they listened they heard a tale
that they’d not read on the page.

Children need sunshine and laughter
children need learning and play
from the mills of the past,
to the sweatshops of Dhaka
and rubble of Gaza today

Mary Halliday from eight years old
rose at 5 each morn
put on her clogs, unlatched the door
started work before the dawn
In Swinton town, in the Albert Mill
cleaning under the mule
on all fours in the oil and dust
then two hours at school

Children need sunshine and laughter
children need learning and play
from the mills of the past,
to the sweatshops of Dhaka
and rubble of Gaza today

A plea to let children have a childhood free from drudgery, poverty and fear. My first recorded effort on the melodeon, I’ve a way to go but you’ve got to start somewhere!

Joseph Emidy

Joseph Emidy ‘D’

So now I am a Cornish man and Truro is my home
dear wife and many children here, I hope no more to roam
my voyages weren’t voluntary and I curse the gaoler sea
but now my music’s found an ear, the world will hear from me
I’m Joseph Emidy, and you will hear from me
I’m Joseph Emidy, oh yes you will hear from me

I was born and raised in Guinea, ah but there I was enslaved
transported by the Portuguese, the transatlantic trade
Brazilian days brought nothing more than hunger, fear and toil
until the owner heard me play and plucked me from the soil

I’m Joseph Emidy, and he heard me.
I’m Joseph Emidy, oh yes he heard me.

I was sent for fiddle lessons and to learn I did begin
and before long I’d changed the kora for the violin
in 1790 we set sail to Lisbon, we did go
the orchestra there asked if I would rosin up my bow
I’m Joseph Emidy, and Lisbon noticed me,
I’m Joseph Emidy, oh yes Lisbon noticed me,

One evening at the opera was Admiral Pellew
heard and liked my playing with the officers of his crew
A man who loved his music but disdained men’s liberty
so he set the press gang on me and they took me off to sea
I’m Joseph Emidy and Lisbon missed me,
I’m Joseph Emidy oh yes Lisbon missed me.

G D/F# Em A7 D
For seven years in that floating gaol I never touched the quay
I ate my meals in solitude no man would mess with me
at dusk I’d take my fiddle up for hornpipes, jigs and reels
the officers would listen while the men kicked up their heels
I’m Joseph Emidy, and they would dance for me
I’m Joseph Emidy, oh yes they would dance for me

At Falmouth as the century turned I finally made land
and music loving Cornish folk began to lend a hand
I found a room and started teaching people how to play
it made me smile to see the gentry do as I would say

I’m Joseph Emidy, and they learned from me
I’m Joseph Emidy, oh yes they learned from me

I’ve lead the local orchestra in Plymouth and Truro
in work by Hayden and by Gluck, the music you all know
conducted my concerto in the town to great acclaim
London liked my music, but they held my skin to blame

I’m Joseph Emidy, London rejected me
I’m Joseph Emidy, oh yes they rejected me.

So lets sing of Emidy of flute and clarinet
of cello and piano, and whose skin was black as jet
who taught, conducted and composed, respected in his town
let’s revive his reputation and lets pass his memory down
Joseph Emidy, we’ll tell the world of thee
Joseph Emidy oh yes, we’ll tell the world of thee. x2

The introduction to the tune quotes from the North Eastern press gang song “Here’s the Tender Coming’

Will Reed’s Barn – with Maurice Condy

Village Harvest Procession 1823

Village Harvest Procession 1823

I found a report of a harvest celebration  in a collection of cuttings from the Consett Chronicle in the Beamish Archive, and it gave me the idea for this song and the tune ‘Harvest home at Knitsley’; you can read the report under ‘Harvest Home at Knitsley’.  The Lancers was a popular dance in the mid 1800s, the Cushion Dance, involved all the men kissing all of the women in the course of the dance!  More information at http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Images/Davies_Gilbert/joan_sanderson_or_the_cushion_da.htm

 

Will Reed’s Barn, words and music by Michael Burns, Maurice Condy is on guitar.

There was wind and the threat of rain and hail
that harvest of eighty two
and if we’d get the crop safe in
but the Lord and the divil knew.
Well the lads and lasses and the horses
raced to beat the storm.
By the day’s last light t’was safe from harm
home to wash and feed and waarm.

What a neet we had in Will Reed’s barn
October of eighty two
we danced from seven ’till the early hours
we danced the whole neet through
there were jokes and songs, the company good,
the crack and music grand
three cheers for Will and Mary Reed,
Ted Parker and his band.

Our gaffer was canny William Reed
he’d the farm off Knitsley Lane
he was well relieved the crop was in
and safe from storm and rain.
We’d reaped the barley, oats and wheat
and picked the tatties reet
next day we made room in the barn
for a special harvest treat

What a neet we had in Will Reed’s barn
October of eighty two …

Well the spread was made by Mrs Slater, Mulligan and Reed,
there was tongue and pies and jugs of beer,
aye the food was grand indeed
pease pudding, ham and stotty cakes,
laughter and good cheer,
A feast for aal the company
for the friends from far and near,

What a neet we had in Will Reed’s barn
October of eighty two …

Ted Parker led his fine string band
& Frank Todd called the dance
Will Slater sang a canny song
when e’er he had the chance,
with song and dnace the neet soon went
until we saw the dawn
at 7.00 o’clock the cockerel crowed
to tell us it was morn

What a neet …

What a neet …

We danced Sir Rodger d’ Coverley,
Will and Mary showed us how,
We’d jigs and reels and the Cushion Dance,
The Lancers and Speed the Plough
and how we kept the dancing up
I couldn’t tell to thee
it was mebees the tunes or mebees the beer
or mebbes the company

What a neet …

Melangell

Melangell's Lambs by Lucas

Lucas Tyldesley’s picture of Melangell’s lambs

Maurice Condie is on guitar

Melangell was a 7th century Irish princess who went to Wales to avoid an arranged marriage and became a saint. Legend tells of a miraculous rescue of a hare by Melangell; she was deemed to be the patron saint of hares – Melangell’s Lambs. The song evokes Melangell’s memory to argue for better treatment of animals.
w&m Michael Burns 17 Nov 2014

From the Low Mown Meadows to Los Llanos

Here’s a song about a journey that started in Crook & ended in Colombia. Jack Greenwell, a Durham lad who was a true citizen of the world.

From the Low Mown Meadows to Los Llanos words & music copyright Michael Burns May 2015

From the Low Mown Meadows to Los ‘Jannos’
From Billy Row to Barca, Lima, Bogotá
From the Low Mown Meadows to Los Llanos
Jack Greenwell never dreamt he’d go so far

A lad from Crook whose legs were strong from putting,
invited by West Auckland to Turin
helped them win that World Cup in Italia
a score that made those Durham pitmen grin.

1912 sailed off to Barcelona
4 seasons as a wing half, watch him fly
2 years champions of Catalunya
Howay Jack, Bisca Barka was the cry

Jack was soon the manager of Barca
5 championships and dos Copa Del Rey
That Durham lad, the toast of Barcelona
Howay lads, Bisca Barca Jack would say

Jack soon mastered Catalan and Spanish
the food and culture of his new found land
but war clouds in north Africa were gathering
so Jack and Doris had to change the things they’d planned

Jack had to escape the threat of Franco
and soon was coaching football in Peru
his national team were champs of South America
and his club the national champions ‘La U’

In the 1940’s Jack was in Colombia
with Los Li-ones de Santa Fe
but he died on the 20th of Novemebr of October
and all of Barcelona wept that day

1847 (with BR) (w&m Michael Burns 2010)

Back in 1847, in the bitterest of winters,
when disease, death and starvation
drove the people from their homes                         
as they left their smoky cabins
they were looking for salvation.                                                                  
There was no one on the mountains
but the starving and the ghosts.

 So to the iron towns of Durham   
came the dispossessed of Ireland                    
Empty collier boats from ‘Haven  
brought them to the English shore 
from Armagh and Louth and Cavan 
with their bundles and their babies
from Tyrone and County Monaghan
and from many places more

And there they dug and cleaned the ironstone,
made the coke and filled the furnace
at Consett, Felling, Jarrow,
Stockton, Hartlepool, Tow Law,
Witton Park and then Port Clarence,
well, where ever mem made iron,
the Irish they were busy,
did their part and sometimes more. 

But these people were so foreign
they caused problems for the English
had their own priests and religion,
incense,candlesticks and more
they prayed in Latin, some spoke Gaelic,
you could hardly gresp their English
and they worked hard for low wages,
god, what brought them to our door?

Well nowadays we’re English,
but maybe still a little Irish
and our neighbours might be Polish,
Congolese, or from Darfur,
but in these days of drought and famine,
persecution, ethnic cleansing,
let’s remember how we came here
when the stranger’s at our door.


This is the first public outing for my whistle! 21/3/2014

 

 

               

Two Voyages words & music copyright Michael Burns Oct 2014

I came across the story of the William Brown recently. The Philadelphia vessel sailed from Liverpool for her home port on 14 March 1841, on board were 30 or so passengers, including the Patrick, Leyden & Corr families it seems from Dunamore Parish near Cookstown area (I have Corr ancestors, who I believe came from that area). The song links the fate of those would be immigrants with current events and attitudes to immigration.

Well I’m Owen Corr
sailed on the William Brown,
now in this new land alone
well my daddy told us
we couldn’t stay
we must find a better home
but spring seas rose rough
and the icebergs came
and the William Brown went down
and the crew and some
quick took t’ the boats
but all others in
my family drowned

As white horses reared
and boats wallowed low
they threw us passengers into the sea
some did sink straight down
some did float then freeze
all perished there but me
I held to the boat
underneath the bow
and at dawn our rescue came
and now I’m here
orphaned in this land
and here must make my hame .

Well I’m Michael Yonas
we left our home
for our faith was one day banned
so I walked ‘cross all
of Ethiopia,
Sudan & Libya’s sand.
Then we took a boat
for Italia,
from Trip’li we took flight
though the boat was full
and fuel was low
Lampedusa
was in sight

But the engine failed
and a signal flare
soon caused the boat to burn
as we fled the flames
fell into the sea,
there to bob and gag and churn
it was then my baby died.
and there I lost my wife
the floated near the rocks
but their lives were gone
now there’s darkness in my life

Well the boat Europa’s
Safe warm and green,
Free from famine & from drought
& some on this boat would patrol the decks armed to keep the needy out
but as wage wage hot
hunger stalks the world
Crops shrivel up and die
should we stamp on hands that reach out for help?
Block our ears against their cry?

Will Reed’s Barn – Song

Village Harvest Procession 1823

Village Harvest Procession 1823

I found a report of a harvest celebration  in a collection of cuttings from the Consett Chronicle in the Beamish Archive, and it gave me the idea for this song and the tune ‘Harvest home at Knitsley’; you can read the report under ‘Harvest Home at Knitsley’.  The Lancers was a popular dance in the mid 1800s, the Cushion Dance, involved all the men kissing all of the women in the course of the dance!  More information at http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Images/Davies_Gilbert/joan_sanderson_or_the_cushion_da.htm

 

Will Reed’s Barn, words and music by Michael Burns

There was wind and the threat of rain and hail
that harvest of eighty two
and if we’d get the crop safe in
but the Lord and the divil knew.
Well the lads and lasses and the horses
raced to beat the storm.
By the day’s last light t’was safe from harm
home to wash and feed and waarm.

What a neet we had in Will Reed’s barn
October of eighty two
we danced from seven ’till the early hours
we danced the whole neet through
there were jokes and songs, the company good,
the crack and music grand
three cheers for Will and Mary Reed,
Ted Parker and his band.

Our gaffer was canny William Reed
he’d the farm off Knitsley Lane
he was well relieved the crop was in
and safe from storm and rain.
We’d reaped the barley, oats and wheat
and picked the tatties reet
next day we made room in the barn
for a special harvest treat

What a neet we had in Will Reed’s barn
October of eighty two …

Well the spread was made by Mrs Slater, Mulligan and Reed,
there was tongue and pies and jugs of beer,
aye the food was grand indeed
pease pudding, ham and stotty cakes,
laughter and good cheer,
A feast for aal the company
for the friends from far and near,

What a neet we had in Will Reed’s barn
October of eighty two …

Ted Parker led his fine string band
& Frank Todd called the dance
Will Slater sang a canny song
when e’er he had the chance,
with song and dnace the neet soon went
until we saw the dawn
at 7.00 o’clock the cockerel crowed
to tell us it was morn

What a neet …

What a neet …

We danced Sir Rodger d’ Coverley,
Will and Mary showed us how,
We’d jigs and reels and the Cushion Dance,
The Lancers and Speed the Plough
and how we kept the dancing up
I couldn’t tell to thee
it was mebees the tunes or mebees the beer
or mebbes the company

What a neet …

Pease Pudding and Dhal

George Warren & Agnes Bowden (2)https://soundcloud.com/michael-burns-1/pease-pudding-and-dhal

This song tell the story of my gt gt uncle George Warren, a miner and former soldier who was called up to return to the ranks in 1914 and was wounded at Mons, in fact he was likely back at the front, (and I assume wounded a second time), before being posted to Indian in October 1915. India figured largely in George’s life, he was first posted there as a wide eyed young boy, and later saw out the last three years of the war there (which effectively saved his life). The song begins and ends with the melody of the Sufi devotional song,’ Lal Shabaz Qalandar’ celebrating Syed Usman Marwandi, a holy man who advocated religious tolerance, in his case between his fellow Muslims and Hindus, the sort of man we need now! George and Aggie wed in the local registry office, because their wedding was disapproved of, as he was a protestant and she was a catholic. ‘Lal Shabaz Qalandar’ – ‘the red noble Sufi saint’ has been performed by many singers, notably the late Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan, who came from Faislabad, where George had been a soldier, many years earlier. The piano accompaniment is by my friend Bruce Rafeek.

One sunny afternoon a young lad was sauntering in the toon,
when a man with shiny buttons came and laid some money doon
well he talked of distant lands, of wondrous sites and exotic scents
and next thing I had joined a group of men the Royal Scots Regiment.

Well the next 8 years I passed in lands of tiger & mongoose
in Faisalabad & Rangoon, tasting spice and mango juice,
The dhal was very canny, but pease pudding I sorely missed
so farewell Raj, I went back to Leadgate where dear Aggie I kissed.

So I wed me lovely Aggie without parson, or pomp or priest
and though back hewing coal, at last, from drill, I was released.
Then the war clouds started gathering and marching boots were heard
and all too soon the letter came to call up the reserve.

I was ordered down to Plymouth and from there we did sail for France
we got a hero’s welcome from the French with song and dance
August brought bravos and wine, blisters, and dusty miles
until we reached the town of Mons, and there rested for a while.

Next day they gave us breakfast, hot bangers served with lead,
I heard a crack, I was knocked down, at least I wasn’t dead,
so they sent me back to blighty to my family and my friends
to spent some time in my dear Durham home getting over from my wounds

But very soon a telegraph told me report at Glencorse,
and as me train, steamed from Leadgate, I pondered on the worst
but they sent me back, to spend the war, in the Punjab, and then Bombay
far from the bloody western front where hundreds died each day

And now I feel that bullet was a blessing and not a curse
& though I still walk with limp well things could be much worse
and as I think back to those times, and those far fabled places
I hear the call to prayer, the temple songs and the Blaydon Races.

Worde & music Michael Burns August 2014 All rights reserved