Devils Water | Small Pictures: Tall Tales

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Small Pictures: Tall Tales

by Devils Water

Devils Water hail from the border regions of Northern England. This hardy bunch of Northumbrians play an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary folk
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Get 'em in Geordie / Gigue De La Bolduc
4:27 $0.99
2. The Girl from the Hiring Fair
5:53 $0.99
3. Old Man Dan
5:00 $0.99
4. Me Lad Is Ower Bonny / Me Lad's Ower Bonny for the Coal Trade
6:23 $0.99
5. Cushie Butterfield / The Keel Row
5:57 $0.99
6. Small Pictures / The Hesleyside Reel
4:58 $0.99
7. Roll On the Ocean
5:35 $0.99
8. Rain, Steam & Speed
3:20 $0.99
9. The Reach
4:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
1) Get ‘Em In Geordie/ Gigue De La Bolduc Richard Ridley/ trad. arr. Frank Lee
Richard was inspecting welds on a pipe support bridge at Sellarfield in Cumbria when he noticed the work force, on the ground way below downing tools and leaving site. He was told that a worker had been killed in an accident on site so the men had gone to the pub to have a drink in memory of their deceased workmate and have a collection for his widow. By leaving site they would lose a day’s pay. He suggested it may have been a better to stay at work and donate the whole day’s pay to the widow. The informant said “What? And spoil a good excuse to go down the pub!” When Richard worked at Swan Hunters in Wallsend he and workmates didn’t need such dramatic excuses. The ‘Ex’ at the Coronation Club was divine, especially on a Friday afternoon when they escaped from the yard at lunch time. The tune is French Canadian was donated by Frank. Not very ‘Geordie’ but fits really well.

2) The Girl From The Hiring Fair Ralph McTell
Ralph McTell’s evocative lyrics are so descriptive it’s easy to close your eyes and see this love story unfold like a movie in your mind.

3) 0ld Man Dan Richard Ridley
The story is true. ‘Dan’ was a real character actually called ‘Kit’ who lived in the house over the hedge at the top of young Richard’s garden. He nearly called the song ‘Old Man Kit’. “Old Man Kit Was A Mean Old ----“. He had number of suggestions for rhymes with ‘Kit’ hence the fictional ‘Dan’.

4) Me Lad Is Ower Bonny/ Me Lad’s Ower Bonny For The Coal Trade –Richard Ridley/ trad arr. Frank Lee
In years gone by the only career for lads in the Tyne Valley was mining. Seven generations of Richard’s family worked down the pit. He was the first to avoid that and became a merchant seaman instead. The song was inspired by Frank’s lovely playing of the tune which was widespread throughout the NE of England in the 18th and 19th centuries.

5) Cushie Butterfield / Weel May The Keel Row Geordie Ridley-trad / trad
Richard had never taken much interest in the song until he noticed that most of the words are quite sad, in fact, it’s a bit of a lament with some humour added to lighten the mood. Then he heard the story, can’t remember where, that Geordie Ridley, a Music Hall entertainer ‘had fell so deep in love with’…… Cushie Butterfield! Unfortunately for poor Geordie, Elizabeth Butterfield was the daughter of a rich coal barge owner on the Tyne. The family wouldn’t entertain the idea of their daughter consorting with a common Music Hall singer. Maybe what Geordie wrote about was a heartfelt poke at his rebuttal by ‘Cushie’. Myth or truth it makes a good ballad.
He discovered the rarely sung last verse in a Frank Graham book of ‘Songs of Tyneside’ and thought it added some weight to the unrequited love angle. “Weel May The Keel Row” is traditionally linked to ‘Cushie’. We always felt that Keel Row was Cushie’s tune.

6) Small Pictures/ Tune: Hesleyside Reel Richard Ridley/ trad
Richard wrote this song in 1987 after a talk at Cherryburn by Frank Atkinson the former Director of Beamish Museum. Cherryburn was Thomas Bewick’s childhood home and is now the Thomas Bewick museum. The scenery depicted in Bewick’s ‘vignettes’ seemed very familiar. When Richard was young he walked the same river banks and fields with his Great Uncle Tucker, a Pit Deputy from Mickley. Richard was introduced to the tune by Raymond many years ago. It’s been his favourite folk tune ever since.

7) Roll On The Ocean Richard Ridley
The Steam Tanker SS Kayson, was sat at anchor just off Galveston, Texas. They were carrying too much oil to get over the bar so had to wait 10 hours until high tide. Richard and Bill, the two Geordie engineers, were on watch together in the engine room waiting to dock in Corpus Christie willing the tide to come in faster, then they would be flying back from Houston to Tyneside after an arduous 6 month trip. During the long wait they sang every Glen Campbell/Jimmy Webb song appropriate to the occasion. It was to be Richards’s last trip to sea, he wrote this shortly after his return to Blighty in 1974.

8) Rain, Steam & Speed lyrics: Paul Simmonds, Music: The Men They Couldn’t Hang
A very powerful song about the dangerous business of mining deep tunnels. It was written by Paul Simmonds & ‘The Men They Couldn’t Hang’ before the Channel Tunnel was built. The song tells of great British engineering feats and the great achievements of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

9) The Reach Dan Fogelburg
Whilst Richard was an engineer on a the tanker SS Kayson in the bay of Portland Maine, USA they had an oil spill, not his fault, but the DJ on Bay FM severely chastised the Brits for contaminating their beautiful beaches and countryside. Richard heard Dan Fogelburg’s song shortly after that and felt a pang of guilt hearing this lovely description of lobster fishing in Maine.



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