Years of Spooner
Danny Spooner, DS009, 2007
A compilation of songs Danny has sung between 1965-2005
1. Noble Lord Hawkins 3'23" (from I got this one from ... )
2. Timothy Winters 1'47"
3. Battle of Alma 3'47"
4. I drew my ship 3'57"
5. Limbo 4'12" (on Danny Spooner and Friends )
6. The Gaberlunzie Man 3'37" (from Danny Spooner and Friends )
7. Bridges 3'11" (from Danny Spooner and Friends )
8. Hills of Isle au Haut 4'00"
9. Blood Red Roses 3'35" (from We'll Either Bend Or Break 'Er )
10. Rabbit Trapper 1'32"
11. The Flighty Tailor 3'37" (from When A Man's In Love )
12. Rambler from Clare 3'11" (from I got this one from ... )
13. Destitution Road 4'00"
14. Wish I could write a love song 3'35" (from When A Man's In Love )
Danny Spooner, vocals, concertina & guitar
The CD has been compiled, edited and remixed from previous material recorded over a number of years. I must especially thank Paul Petran for bringing this all together, Martin Lawrence for some pretty amazing technical wizardry in getting rid of extraneous noises on some of the old discs, and Dieter Bajzek for his tour de force with the look of the album. Thank you gentlemen.
Design & Artword: Dieter Bajzek, Bijou Music & Graphics, firstname.lastname@example.org
c 2007 Danny Spooner All rights reserved
For information & sales contact: email@example.com www.dannyspooner.com
1. Noble Lord Hawkins
I learned this from a wonderful old bloke named Arthur Phillips. Arthur was a lighterman (like a truck driver on water) when I was a boy and working out my apprenticeship on the River Thames in London. Arthur had a great sense of fun and fine collection of rural songs and always reminded me of Robert Newton as Long John Silver in the film Treasure Island. This song appeared on the 1985 Sandstock recording I got this one from ... .
2. Timothy Winters
(Words: Charles Causley, Music: Mike Ball)
This story of a Blitz baby is the work of English poet Charles Causley and appears in a collection entitled Union Street. Edith Sitwell said of these poems that they are "among the natural growths of our soil, like our sweet and exquisite folk songs, and our strange ballads." The tune was put to it by Mike Ball who spent a number of years in Australia during the later 70s and set a number of Causley's poems. Having grown up in London during the Second World War, I have a real affinity with this song and I sang it for Charles when he spent a brief residency at Melbourne University in the 1980s.
3. Battle of Alma
This song is about the first battle of the Crimean campaign, 20th September 1854, which cleared the way to Sevastopol. It is said that when the Heights were carried, at bayonet point, an officer leading the Cameron Highlanders roared, I"ll hae nane but Hieland bonnets here."
I heard it first from Pa Johnson with whom I was sent to stay briefly at the end of the Second World War. He had been an artillery man during the 1914-18 war and had some good songs.
It was recorded as part of a radio program I wrote called Soldiers of the Queen.
4. I drew my ship
One of the loveliest of the Night Visiting Songs where the spirit of the newly deceased comes to visit the loved one. I learned it from Martyn Wyndham Read in the 1960s and recorded it in 1978 for Ian Ball's Anthology recording Limbo. Mick Farrell is playing a practice chanter on this track.
This song is probably an 18th century broadside. Limbo was the name then given to the debtors prison in London, and the song can be found in the EFDSS publication Marrow Bones (1965), a great little collection of English songs from the Hammond and Gardiner Collections, selected and edited by Frank Purslow.
6. The Gaberlunzie Man
One of the many versions of The Jolly Beggar (Child 279) this was recorded on the Anthology record Danny Spooner and Friends (1974). It was said that James V of Scotland liked to dress up and pretend to be a beggar, to get to know the temper of his people. If this story has any truth to it I would imagine a few beggars used the ruse to their own ends.
The friend playing fiddle is Dr Peter Christoff, then a fiddle-toting student, now a highly regarded environmentalist.
(Words & Music Erik Gooding)
For a brief time in the 1970s Erik Gooding worked as a mathematics lecturer in Melbourne and used to visit Frank Traynor's Folk Club where I got to know him. As a student he had taken a job at the Dorman Long Steel Works at Ackland on Teeside, and wrote this song about his experiences. It's a bottler of a song which my brother Mick and his mate Pete nicked - and they do a great job with it too.
This recording was made for Ian Ball's Anthology record Danny Spooner and Friends.
8. Hills of Isle au Haut
(Words & Music: Gordon Bok)
This wonderful song is the work of Gordon Bok, and in the 1980s I got it from the master Drambuie drinker and chorus leader Dave Alexander. Dave is unfortunately no longer with us but I hear him every time I sing this song. My thanks then go both to Gordon for a great song and Dave for a great gift.
9. Blood Red Roses
I first learned this halyard shanty from Bob Roberts who was my skipper on a Thames sailing barge and had a welter of sea songs and shanties. We often used shanties on the barge to ease the work and make it a bit more enjoyable. It's a great one to rip into and I recorded it in 1988 with a few mates on a Sandstock record, We'll either bend or break 'er. It was great fun to do but it's no longer available.
10. Rabbit Trapper
I've always loved the laconic humour to be found in Australian folk songs, and this is a great example. The Aussie bushman was a law unto himself, proud, independent and capable. A man to be admired. I got this song from Alan Scott, a wonderful singer and folklorist, who inspired many a young singer and whose passing left a large gap in the Australian folk scene.
11. The Flighty Tailor
Translated from the Irish, the song evokes a range of responses to betrayal. Pride is certainly hurt but the loss of his love, his reason for living, also diminshes the blacksmith's skills. It should be remembered that wife would have been expected to work the blacksmith's bellows for her man while he worked.
I recorded this in 1987 on the Sandstock label, When a Man's in Love, and it was re-released as a CD in 2002. Declan Affley taught me this song early in the 1960s in Sydney.
12. Rambler from Clare
This is one of my favourite Irish songs and it's not sung enough for mine. I learned it from Brian Mooney in Melbourne in the late 1960s before he went to Ireland for an extended stay. He is now back in Tasmania and singing as well as ever. I recorded it in 1985 on the Sandstock record, I got this one from ... .
13. Destitution Road
(Words & Music: Alistair Hulett)
In his book The Highland Clearances, John Prebble tells how, after the defeat at Culloden (1745), the chieftains sold out the highlanders who had fought so valiantly by driving them off their lands so they could rent it to lowlanders and English sheep farmers in what became known as Blaidhna nan Caorach, the Year of the sheep. This awful time is magnificently summed up by Alistair Hulitt, a Scot who spent a number of years singing and writing in Australia.
Garry Gillard | New: 6 May, 2008 | Now: 9 August, 2016