The Jolly Young Waterman

The Thames Wherries were illustrated by E W Cooke 1829.

The Stoutest Man In The Forty-Twa

I first heard this sung by Robin Hall & Jimmie MacGregor in the late 1950s.

The Christmas Child

Written by Graham Kendrick for Make Way for Christmas.

Oh Dreedle Me

At the height of a party someone decides they’ll sing a folksong. Unfortunately it’s the gloomiest of dismal ballads, accompanied by bagpipes.

From Sue Ashby’s book, Through the Knot-Hole, with my tune and running commentary. Sue is a musician, singer, artist, old friend and enthusiastic knitter.

Liberty For The Sailors

In the old days the wife or mother of a man sent to sea would never know when their son or husband might return. In the meantime the family would have no income to live on. When he did return he’d bring a measure of security once more, perhaps in ‘prize money’, and the whole community would celebrate.

What a long way we’ve come in looking after our Naval personnel and their families since our song first appeared in John Stokoe’s 1893 collection, Songs Of Northern England.


Dol-li-a is from John Stokoe’s 1893 collection, Songs Of Northern England. In case you miss the song’s story line the Black Cuffs and Green Cuffs (a description, not their official name) were Foreign Troops in British Service 1793–1802. The lasses are sorry the Back Cuffs are leaving so Dolly pawns her shirt to pay her expenses when she goes after them.

The image of Sandgate Street, Newcastle upon Tyne c.1900, is from Les Masterson.

The Rolling Sailor

This rather saucy song is from Songs Of Northern England by John Stokoe 1893. I sing a different tune first then play the one in the book. The charming sketch is by C E Brock.