The Barn Dance


The last place to have a barn dance would be on a narrowboat as you’ll readily appreciate. Here are a couple of tunes from my huge folk music archive that I haven’t aired before. I’m afraid I don’t remember their names.

The header photo is from ABC Boat Hire.

Canal boating has come a very long way since our first three-day trip one chilly February in 1974 in a 70 foot slightly converted coal boat with metal bunk beds and a tarpaulin cover. “Aye, folk today they don’t know they’re born…”

The Bootblack’s Lament



The song was written by Dave Cutler. I saw ‘The Last Bootblack in London’, as he styled himself, in the 1980s and wish I’d given him my custom and taken a photo. The top picture is the earliest reliably dated photograph of a person, taken in spring 1838 by Louis Daguerre. You’ll have to look hard to see the people at tables outside the cafés and find the bootblack. From The Photography Book, Phaidon Press, London, 1997.

A Hundred Miles


From “An Old-Fashioned Bicycle”, a unique album of veteran songs of the wheeling life compiled from early publications and folk tradition. Words by William Carleton, music by Song Shepherd.

The photo is from Le Tour de France 2016 web page, which also has videos of the highlights of each stage in the race.