A Good Old Geordie Song

Ye cannit beat a good old Geordie song
That ev’rybody knows and sings along
Songs from Newcastle where we all belong
Ye cannit beat a good old Geordie song

When I was just a baby in me pram
I mind I used to listen to me Mam
Singing “Bobby Shaftoe’s gone to sea” about a sailor man
I guess for me that’s when it all began

I mind when sittin’ on me Granda’s knee
Geordie songs he would sing to me
Like “Dance to ya Daddy” and “The lass doon on the quay”
And “Ha ye seen wor Jimmy” my hinney

At school we used to sing “The Lambton Worm”
At music lessons on a Monday morn
“Adam Buckham” and “The Herrin’s Heed” both went doon a storm
And sometimes “Billy Boy” we would perform

I still like those Geordie songs today
“Keep ya feet still Geordie hinney” we often play
When singing “Cushy Butterfield” and “Doon the waggon way”
Ev’rybody joins in straight away

We like to sing those songs that you all know
Like “The Sandgate girl’s lament” from long ago
“The Waters of Tyne” and the famous “Keel Row”
And “The Blaydon Races” always ends the show

Words & music by Wilf Mitford

Credits: Recorded and Produced by Mick Sweeney at the Cluny Studio, Newcastle upon Tyne in April 1992.  Julia Mitford, Lead Vocals; Pamela Mitford,Penny Whistle; Wilf Mitford, Guitar.

I’ve decided to share this particular song this week as I was preparing some Geordie songs to introduce to my Ozzie choir.  I was reminded of the wonderful resource that is the FARNE Archive (Folk Archive Resource North East) where you can find recordings and lyrics for many of the songs mentioned above.  You’ll also find descriptions of the songs or recordings and in some cases an explanation of their meanings].

A Good Old Geordie Song has long been a favourite of mine when it comes to Dad’s compositions.  It has a catchy tune and I love how it summarises some of our favourite traditional songs.  It became one of our finale tunes and was equally popular with our audiences. 

Julia, Pamela & Wilf at Cluny Studios
Julia, Pamela, Wilf & Mick Sweeney at Cluny Studios, Newcastle

In 1992 we recorded the first of our Geordie Greats trilogy.  A Good Old Geordie Song was the first track on the first album as it very much inspired the three albums.  It was a cracking opener.  The album features 10 of Wilf’s original compositions as well as plenty of those traditional numbers. 

This album was a particularly special one for Wilf as it was recorded at Cluny Studios with Mick Sweeney as engineer.  Mick was the engineer for popular Geordie band Lindisfarne and Wilf was a big fan of their music and inspired by their songs.  It stands out as one of our better quality recording sessions.

If you’re not a Geordie you might be interested to know that ‘I mind…’ means ‘I remember’.  It turns out that ‘mind’ is used in various contexts in the Geordie dialect.  You can read more about common Geordie words on the British Library’s website http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/case-studies/geordie/lexis/

Creative Commons License
A Good Old Geordie Song by Wilf Mitford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://mitfordmusic.wordpress.com/.

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