CD The Iron Muse (CD 1266833),
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The Iron Muse

  • 1. The Sandgate Girl's Lament / Elsie Marley - The High Level Ranters/John Handle
    2. Doon the Waggonway - The High Level Ranters/John Handle
    3. Miner's Life, A - Tommy Gilfellon
    4. Coal-Owner and the Pitman's Wife, The - Ewan MacColl/Peggy Seeger
    5. Trimdon Grange Explosion, The - Louis Killen
    6. Blackleg Miners, The - Louis Killen
    7. Auchengeich Disaster, The - Dick Gaughan/Alistair Anderson
    8. Ee Aye, AA Cud Hew - Ed Pickford
    9. Durham Lockout, The - Maureen Craik/Colin Ross
    10. Aa'm Glad the Strike's Done - The High Level Ranters/John Handle
    11. Weaver's March, The - The Celebrated Working Man's Band
    12. Spinner's Song, The - Ray Fisher
    13. Oh, Dear Me - Ewan MacColl/Peggy Seeger
    14. Doffing Mistress, The - Anne Briggs
    15. Little Piecer, The - Dave Brooks
    16. Hand-Loom Weaver's Lament, The - Harry Boardman/Lesley Boardman/Bob Diehl
    17. Dundee Lassie, The - Ray Fisher
    18. Success to the Weavers - The Oldham Tinkers/John Howarth
    19. Fourpence a Day - Ewan MacColl/Peggy Seeger
    20. Up the Raw - Louis Killen/Colin Ross
    21. Bonny Woodha' - Dick Gaughan
    22. Banks of the Dee, The - Louis Killen
    23. Row Between the Cages, The - Bob Davenport/The Celbrated Working Man's Band
    24. Aw Wish Pay Friday Would Come - Louis Killen/Colin Ross
    25. Keep Your Feet Still, George Hinny - Louis Kilen/Colin Ross
    26. Farewell to the Monty - Louis Kilen
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 465

  • Credits

    Includes liner notes by A.L. Lloyd.
    This 1993 Topic release is an expanded reissue of the label's original 1956 LP. Iron Muse was the first of its kind, a collection of folk music derived almost exclusively from the experiences of industrial workers in the north of England. The folk tradition of rural and historical Great Britain was well known and documented. But to think that the specific hardships and experiences of the country's industrial workers would be chronicled in a similar way -- through heartfelt lyrics and playing -- was at first a bit odd. It took the work of famous folklorist A.L. Lloyd to change that opinion. The work of miners, weavers, and the like had already become fertile ground for song. But Lloyd went inside blazing steel mills, onto hard iron railways, and into dank boiler rooms in search of the workers' music and their voices. What he found was Maureen Craik's stark, a cappella rendering of the strike lament "Durham Lockout" and Louis Killen's accented, fiddle-led (and still relevant) "Aw Wish Pay Friday Would Come." The hardscrabble life of a miner was described with unflinching detail in "Blackleg Miners," their frighteningly protracted existence recorded in the brief, powerful "Auchengeich Disaster." Much of the material on Iron Muse drew melody from the traditional canon. However, the songs were cast in a darker hue by the soot and bad lighting of the industrial towns. The countryside's music could be pastoral, but also very dark; the city folk seemed to dwell on the latter trait. Strikes, class warfare, worksite disasters, and the unending need (desire) for wages provided lyrical fodder for Iron Muse, but it was the humanity and emotions behind the daily grind that really drove the songs. The occasional reel (especially "Sandgate Girl's Lament/Elsie Marley") provided a respite as brief and wonderful as a Sunday night backroom dance, helping the album paint a vivid picture of life inside the industrial towns and add a new chapter to the history book of traditional folk music. ~ Johnny Loftus

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