I organised a “Song For Yorkshire Competition” in 2006 to be judged on BBC Radio York’s North Yorkshire Folk Program. It took so long to set up the competition that I began to worry about the length of time I had given entrants to write and record their songs. As a result I decided to write a song myself, just to prove it could be done. The subject I chose was Captain James Cook and his home Port of Whitby as it would have been in his day. The line “Further than any man ever before me” was a quote from Capt Cook which I adapted to fit into the chorus. My thanks to everyone who sings this song in clubs up and down the country and across the World, and to Martyn Wyndham-Read and Nelson’s Blood in Holland for their excellent recordings of this song.
I’ve always been an intuitive writer; I sit down and out comes a song, well sometimes! This is one such song and a change of mood and pace for me. It’s always a surprise when a song hits a spot with audiences and this one crept up on me. Thanks to Derek Sivers, CEO and founder of CD Baby for including this song on a CD which accompanies his forthcoming Biography. There are 150,000 artists on CD Baby, he chose 12 tracks from his favourite artists
OLIVE AND THE VINE
I wrote this song for my very good friend Martyn Wyndham-Read. He told me the story of Italian Immigrants, who in the 1940s-50s and 60s left their homes to start a new life in Australia. After years of struggle in Australia’s harsh landscape and now having succeeded, the Matriarchs of the families wanted to return to the country of their birth for one last time before they died. Martyn recorded this song and another of my songs “Old Whitby Harbour” on his excellent “Jackaroo” album in 2008. Radio Presenters in Australia and America voted this song as one of the “Folk Songs Of The Decade” in 2010.
THAT’S WHAT I BELIEVE
SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA
Somewhere In America Someone once commented that all my songs are the same pace, so I wrote this to prove them wrong. It was also written for my son Mark, who has always encouraged me to write and found the time to listen. We have always had adventures together and one of our dreams was to ride across America on Route 66 on two Harley Davisons. Mark this is for you! Since this was recorded I have added another verse with names of US cities in it.
I remember staring to write this song in a Sauna during a lunch break at Imphal Barracks in York. Some people thought that’s all I ever did when I was in the Army! On the way home that evening I kept stopping to write down more ideas, as soon as I got home I picked up the guitar and put it together. Alice is not a real girl, but represents and the handicapped children who need our love and understanding, not our pity. Although it’s not very PC, I stuck to the line which includes, “Deaf and Dumb” I hope it doesn’t offend anyone? It has been recorded in Australia by a wonderful family group called “The Poms From Aus”.