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Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs

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Ian Hendrie 15 Nov 07 - 03:53 AM
Joe Offer 15 Nov 07 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Gadaffi 15 Nov 07 - 05:12 AM
Dave Roberts 15 Nov 07 - 06:09 AM
Ian Hendrie 15 Nov 07 - 06:23 AM
Kenny B 15 Nov 07 - 08:16 PM
quantock 15 Nov 07 - 10:27 PM
Ron Davies 15 Nov 07 - 10:40 PM
Charley Noble 16 Nov 07 - 01:14 AM
Graham and Jo 16 Nov 07 - 11:00 AM
Jack Campin 16 Nov 07 - 12:51 PM
Ian Hendrie 16 Nov 07 - 04:32 PM
Ian Hendrie 17 Nov 07 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,Short Boat 17 Nov 07 - 04:33 PM
Fidjit 17 Nov 07 - 05:21 PM
Ian Hendrie 17 Nov 07 - 05:45 PM
Leadfingers 17 Nov 07 - 06:49 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 07 - 02:59 AM
Fidjit 18 Nov 07 - 07:24 AM
The Vulgar Boatman 18 Nov 07 - 11:13 AM
mg 18 Nov 07 - 02:55 PM
Ian Hendrie 14 Nov 10 - 01:06 PM
Charley Noble 14 Nov 10 - 01:42 PM
acegardener 14 Nov 10 - 03:15 PM
Steve Gardham 14 Nov 10 - 03:54 PM
Ian Hendrie 14 Nov 10 - 06:42 PM
GUEST 23 Nov 10 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Desi C 23 Nov 10 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 23 Nov 10 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Ian Hendrie 23 Nov 10 - 11:55 AM
Ian Hendrie 23 Nov 10 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Bob Orrell to Guest and Ian Hendrie 03 Dec 10 - 09:31 AM
Ian Hendrie 05 Jan 11 - 02:50 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 03:53 AM

I have been creating a web-site about songs of the British Waterway System and it now contains the lyrics for over 70 songs. (moonlightshadow.demon.co.uk). There are already some melodies (on-screen and audio files) but the next task is to add more. Unfortunately my musical skills when it comes to putting tadpoles on telegraph wires are limited. I would be very grateful for any contributions of melodies (any format) and/or chords for any of the canal songs on the web-site or additional song contributions.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 04:54 AM

Hi, Ian - it looks like a wonderful website. I see you did a very nice job of posting the notation for Birmingham Lads - how'd you do that?

I don't know how many of your canal songs will be in our Digital Tradition Folk Song Database, but it's worth checking. You can see the database here at Mudcat, or you can view our notation in various formats at Yet Another Digital Tradition.

Good luck to you.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 05:12 AM

Certainly Jon Raven was writing and recording songs in the Black Country in the 1970s. Roy Palmer published some of them, I think. John Kirkpatrick recorded a few more.

There was also the Mikron Theatre Company touring the south of England around then, and did a number of albums. I spent a pleasant evening at one of these at the Fox and Hounds at Fleet which backs onto the Basingstoke Canal.

Mick Bisiker also wrote a song about the Wey and Arun Canal, but I haven't heard from him for a long time.

Try googling for Canal Society trusts. I know the Basingstoke Canal used to have one, possibly still does.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 06:09 AM

An excellent site and resource.
I was interested to see the 'extra' verses in the story of 'The Rosemary'.
It always seemed obvious that part of the story was missing.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 06:23 AM

Thanks for comments. Notation is created using Harmony Assistant which also produces the sound files. I then cheat a bit by copying the screen, crop it and load it into Xara Xtreme Pro where I add the chords and words before saving it as a gif.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Kenny B
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 08:16 PM

Try this one when youve had a drink
Punters punting on the Union Canal

Kenny B


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: quantock
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 10:27 PM

Don't know if Irish is acceptable, but there is a great song that used to be performed by Seamus Ennis called "The Mary Ann McHugh". I believe I still have it on an old compilation LP called "A Jug of Punch". The song tells the story of a canal barge that went to sea to avoid capture by the police and ended up running aground. It is quite comical. If pressed, I might be able to remember the words. I used to sing it once in a while at Herga 35 or so years ago.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ron Davies
Date: 15 Nov 07 - 10:40 PM

Congratulations on that great idea! I've married an English lass who had a canal a few yards from her back door, in Bradford on Avon, and she and I wish you great success. She says she wishes she'd paid more attention to the songs she used to hear on the Kennet and Avon.   They called them canal songs and sang in a strong Wiltshire accent. She used to watch birds and listen to the old boys sing.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Nov 07 - 01:14 AM

Pleased to see that you've included "Telford's Bridge" by John Warner. It's a fine song which captures well a canal boat family cruising along in the nineteenth century.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, at large in Oz


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Graham and Jo
Date: 16 Nov 07 - 11:00 AM

There's a nice French tune called 'the Cananl in October' but we don't know of any words to it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Nov 07 - 12:51 PM

You haven't got "The Crinan Canal's for Me" (googlable, I think).


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 16 Nov 07 - 04:32 PM

Thanks Jack,
I found 'The Crinan Canals for Me' and it has now been added.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 04:41 AM

I have now added the beautiful Chrs While and Julie Matthews song '36 Miles Away from the Sea' nto the web-site. This came from a BBC 2 Radio Documentary called 'Tales from the Towpath'. Does anyone know anything about this or even have a recording? Long shot, I know, but worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST,Short Boat
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 04:33 PM

Looks like a worthwhile excercise. Do I win any prizes for playing 1-row melodeon on my boat whilst in Wigan Top Lock waiting for it to fill? The acoustics in the lock chamber were certainly interesting....


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 05:21 PM

Great stuff. Been looking for some canal songs as I live near to one of Swedens most famous ones. Dalslands canal, West Sweden.

Always enjoyed the Calibar. Didn't know there was three of them.
Don't know if you're up for related songs, but Robin Laing has a goody called "Punters" Describes a race along the canal

Chas


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 05:45 PM

Thanks Fidjit,

'Punters' has now been added.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Nov 07 - 06:49 PM

One point of interest is that there are NO Traditional Canal songs !
The Boaters worked far to hard to write any , and rarely got together to socialise , so all the 'Old' songs were composed (Like Birmingham Lads ) for a Canal opening , or are recent in the Traditional Idiom (As Jon Raven and David Blagrove) .


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:59 AM

Good point Leadfingers, though 'The Tommy Note' is suggested in many places to be the one and only traditional British Canal song. There were a few that featured on Broadsides or were written a long time ago and could be said to have entered the tradition. I hope to seek out some of these broadside sources when time permits and perhaps include images on the site.
There does seem to be a lot of modern canal songs which hark back to the times of canal building and what we imagine boating life to have been and perhaps some over romanticise the boaters' lifestyle. I have little time for modern songs which complain about the effect pleasure boaters have had on canal life. Canals were never going to compete commercially in the modern world. Pleasure boaters are providing much of the finances (thanks to British Waterways aggressive pricing policy) which should be keeping the canals in good condition - but that's another story. By definition, pleasure boaters are enjoying the canals and that is as it should be. I hope to discover more songs about the joys of modern canal boating.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Fidjit
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 07:24 AM

Ah. Ok Terry. I am all at sea. Thats why I can't find the buggers. Been looking in the wrong place.

Chas

ps. Got lots now.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 11:13 AM

So the songs we have now are a more or less modern attempt for whatever reason (including commercial) to set down a bit of otherwise oral history for the entertainment of canal enthusiasts. Isn't that how much of what we regard as folk music came into being? What isn't in doubt, at least from my conversations with ex working boatmen is that quite a number of the boatmen played instruments, melodeon and banjo (oh bugger) being apparent favourites, and what they played, again in the way of folk music, were the popular songs of the day. So when they say they sang "The Moon Shines Bright", forget folk carols and think Charlie Chaplin...I suspect that much of that died when carrying batteries and a wireless became more practicable. Also, they were one of the last bastions of step-dancing, including a combative variant that entailed holding on to opposite corners of a handkerchief and dancing on or near to your opponent's feet until one of you let go. I'm still trying to establish what tunes they used. Quite what pleasure boaters have got to sing about just now is beyond me.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: mg
Date: 18 Nov 07 - 02:55 PM

I would like to hear about American ones. I remember one Canadian TV show about the music of the canals. I am just finding out my great grandfather and his brothers worked on the canals, ..I am a bit hazy on details...something to do with West Virginia, definitely Ohio..they might have started in Buffalo...I think a cousin said they might have worked on the Erie but isn't that PA? There is an internet group I get stuff on..mostly the European canals..for genealogy..English I meant. I find it highly unlikely that a group of people would not have composed or altered songs..especially since so many workers in US and probably England as well were Irish... mg


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 01:06 PM

Rather late in the day I'd like to point out that the 'Songs of the Inland Waterways' website moved to www.waterwaysongs.co.uk some time ago. It has nearly 200 songs now and contributions or additional information is always welcome.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 01:42 PM

Ian-

Thanks for the update. It's a great website complete with lyrics and some MP3 files.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: acegardener
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 03:15 PM

This might be modern but I like hear it sung. NAVIGATOR


The canals and the bridges, the embankments and cuts,
They blasted and dug with their sweat and their guts
They never drank water but whiskey by pints
And the shanty towns rang with their songs and their fights.

Navigator, navigator rise up and be strong
The morning is here and there's work to be done.
Take your pick and your shovel and the bold dynamite
For to shift a few tons of this earthly delight
Yes to shift a few tons of this earthly delight.

They died in their hundreds with no sign to mark where
Save the brass in the pocket of the entrepreneur.
By landslide and rockblast they got buried so deep
That in death if not life they'll have peace while they sleep.

Navigator, navigator rise up and be strong
The morning is here and there's work to be done.
Take your pick and your shovel and the bold dynamite
For to shift a few tons of this earthly delight
Yes to shift a few tons of this earthly delight.

Their mark on this land is still seen and still laid
The way for a commerce where vast fortunes were made
The supply of an empire where the sun never set
Which is now deep in darkness, but the railway's there yet.

Navigator, navigator rise up and be strong
The morning is here and there's work to be done.
Take your pick and your shovel and the bold dynamite
For to shift a few tons of this earthly delight
Yes to shift a few tons of this earthly delight


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 03:54 PM

I believe there are English variants of the 'Cruise of the Calabar' family of songs. Ray Padgett recently recorded a Sheffield version sung locally in the tradition. There are various broadsides on the same theme of the daft description of a canal boat trip treating it as though it was an epic sea journey.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 14 Nov 10 - 06:42 PM

I already have 'Navigator' on the web-site but thanks anyway.

I also have a few versions of 'Cruise of the Calabar' but would welcome any others, particularly if they differ significantly from those which I already have.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 06:14 AM

I'm trying to trace the composer/copyright owner of the Crinal Canal Song - The Crinan Canal for me etc. Can anyone help.

Bob Orrell


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 07:19 AM

There's a very popular song here in The Black country written by a friend of mine Billy Spakemon, who performs as the duo Billy & Lozz, it's called odebury Mon (Oldbury Man) put the name and Title in You Tube to hear it. It's usually done in open tuning, though I do a version in standard tuning. If you like it and want my chords I'll gladly type them out for you, just mail me on crc778@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:54 AM

Hi

Sorry, Bob I don't know the composer of 'The Crinan Canal Song' but I will try to find out so that I can give them due credit on my web-site. If you find out perhaps you could let me know. I think it's on a CD which may have something to do with the Para Handy TV series but a quick Google didn't find it. I'll try again when I've kicked a few more brain cells into action.

Hi Desi, Thanks for info about Odebury Mon which I have tried to look at on YouTube but it won't go further than the first 20secs with me. I'll have another try later. I did also spot 'The Cut Diggers' by Billy and Lozz and listened to it on YouTube but the dialect is so strong I don't think I've much chance of transcribing it by ear. I presume it is canal related. Any help you can give me with the lyrics/music/chords for these songs would be very welcome. I'll e-mail you. Thanks for your offer.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST,Ian Hendrie
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 11:55 AM

Oops - that last guest was me!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 04:16 PM

I now believe 'The Crinan Canal' song to have been written by Alex Mackenzie who wrote a number of songs for the Para Handy crew. They featured on an lp called 'Highland Voyage' which is now released as a CD.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: GUEST,Bob Orrell to Guest and Ian Hendrie
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 09:31 AM

Many thanks for your reply to enquiry about composer of the Crinan Canal song. Next question! I need permission of the composer to use a few lines from the song in a book I'm working on. By any miracle have you any idea where Alex MacKenzie might be reached? I have written twice to the publishers of the LP/CD 'Highland Voyage' asking for information about the composer but not had a reply.

Regards

Bob Orrell


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: British Canal/Waterway Songs
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 02:50 PM

Sorry, I have no knowledge of Alex MacKenzie. A Google search came up with a number of possibilities, at least one, sadly, deceased.


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