Monthly Archives: June 2020

The Pleasant Ohio

Printed song sheets of such songs as The Pleasant Ohio were hawked about the countryside and towns for centuries. The sellers would sing their songs for prospective buyers to hear and the ‘latest’ news was carried from one community to … Continue reading

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The Milk Maid

It’s a great pity I didn’t take a single photograph of children playing traditional games when I was visiting schools as a young man in the sixties or later when I was teaching. I took it for granted that the … Continue reading

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How I’m Longing To Marry

Being ‘left on the shelf’ as we used to say, was no laughing matter in the old days. There were few decent ways for a single woman to support herself safely, in towns particularly, and as time went on they … Continue reading

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The Month Of Liverpool

The Month Of Liverpool was assembled from rhymes given to me by several children I taught and are of the ‘I went to the pictures tomorrow’ school of poetry. The photos are all of Liverpool, even the morris sides.

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The Gablory Man

A gablory or gaberlunzie man was a strolling, some say licensed, beggar. Why anyone should want to follow one is a mystery, but each to their own. The word is all but unknown south of the border, except among the … Continue reading

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The Cuckoo

The Cuckoo is the harbinger of spring, love and new life but, because she lays her eggs in another’s nest, to country folk she also represented unfaithfulness. Incidentally, it’s the male who ‘sings’ cuckoo. The superb photograph is by Alan … Continue reading

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23rd of June

To celebrate the day here’s a favourite version of an Irish song, great fun to sing, that I learned from Pete Cunningham when we teamed up in 1966. His father had a large collection of Irish music.

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Carolan’s Welcome

Turlough Carolan was a blind Irish harper and prolific composer much celebrated in his lifetime (1670 – 1738) and even more widely today. The photograph is of Catherine FitzGerald at home in Glin Castle, Ireland, where Carolan’s harp stands by a … Continue reading

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Bricks and Mortar

In c.1990 I heard a girl of nine or ten singing Bricks & Mortar to herself when I was teaching in a Stevenage school. I asked her where the song came from and she said, ‘That man with the guitar … Continue reading

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Somewhere Safe

In my professional folk days I once sang at a folk club in Benfleet named The Hoy At Anchor. Tony Prior was resident singer then and still sings at the club today. I’m forty years older now, so I imagine … Continue reading

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