To read the lyrics to any of the songs on Umpteen, click on the title.
Back to early 1985. Moonpennies are those big white daisies that cluster in summers of solidarity and sisterhood.
The Parkgate street I was brought up on, encircled by enormous chimneys mouthing off without cease, morning, noon and night.
Kids love portals. We built one, to the tune of ‘A Motty Down,’ with the kids of St Joseph’s Rawmarsh to travel through their own local history, landscape and environment.
A tune borrowed from the singing of Ciaran Boyle. He calls it the Greymoor Hare, stunningly coaxed into melody here by Belinda O’Hooley.
Last seen leaving Essex University in 1978. Can you hear me brother?
For Private Stanley Hale of Rotherham and his thousands of slaughtered brothers, with apologies to Willie O’ Winsbury, and humble thanks to Jude Abbott for sumptuous layers of brass.
On holiday in Brittany in 2003 we’d sit with lollies and wine opposite Les Halles aux Poissons. Later I learned that 15,000 people had died in that summer’s heatwave.
Homeric heroes from my youth at the Miners. I borrowed the tune from the much lamented Maggie Boyle’s version of Lord Gregory.
The class system humbled momentarily once more by art, and a traditional Scottish tune, on his lordship’s ice at Wentworth.
Sheffield in 2003. Barbarities to the exquisite melody of Slieve Gallen Brae.
The kids at St Helen’s, Hoyland Common, told me every word of it. Now the ship is a museum you can visit at Hartlepool. Tune: O Little Town of Bethlehem.
So few words come.
At school we sang The Streets of Laredo, a great song about cowboys. I wrote this one to mark the passing of Pete Seeger.
For the lasses and lads who made the steel communities. Occasioned by the Women of Steel campaign in Sheffield to commemorate the parts played by women in the history of steel-making in these parts.