Carols from the Coalfields

List of Songs

(Please click on titles as indicated to listen to samples)


Annie (CD2, track 9) - a song praising the attributes of a young woman.    Read more

Barbara Bell  (CD1, track 4) – a song in praise of a young woman, the centre of attention during an outing to Ryton.  Read more
You can watch a performance of this song on GFMA TV here (it's the second song in the compilation)

The Collier Lad  (CD1, track 6) - set in a music hall style, describing the prowess of the collier.  Read more

Cuthbert (CD3) - a song I wrote to describe the events surrounding the death of Joseph Skipsey's father, Cuthbert, during the miners' strike of 1832. Read more

The Dewdrop (CD2, track 3) - a meditation on vanity, pride and the nature of beauty.   Read more

Dora Dee – a song in praise of a local girl.  Read more

Epistle to Joseph Skipsey (CD3) - a poem by Willie Reay (see To W.R. below) reminiscing over their time together. Read more

The Fall of King Gold (CD3) - a combination of two poems, describing firstly a society consumed by greed, followed by a vision of a better future.  Read more

Get Up (CD1, track 7) - reminding us of the dangerous nature of work in the mines. Read more 
You can watch a performance of the song on GFMA TV here (it's the third song in the compilation)

A Golden Lot  (CD1, track 9) - describes how poetry helped him to keep going.  Read more

The Hartley Calamity  (CD1, track 8) - a moving description of the events of January 1862, when over 200 miners were trapped in the Hartley Colliery and suffocated before they could be rescued.  Read more
You can watch a performance of the song on GFMA TV here (it's the last song in the compilation)

Hey Robin (CD2, track 2) - based on a 16th-century ballad used by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night.   Read more


The Lad of Bebside (CD1, track 2) - as seen by the Lass of Bebside, who has her sights on him.  Read more

Lotty Hay (CD2, track 1) -  in praise of a young woman who is often wrongly maligned.  Read more
You can watch a performance of this song on GFMA TV here

Lullaby – inspired by the Elizabethan poem Golden Slumbers.  Read more

O Sleep (CD2, track 7)  - another lullaby.  Read more

Mary of Crofton (CD3) - a tribute to a woman who died while still young

Polly and Harry (CD2, track 4) – a story of a young girl let down by a feckless lover, who later regrets his actions.   Read more

The Ring (CD3) - a ballad relating a story about Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex.    Read more

The Seaton Terrace Lass (CD1, track 3)  - in praise of a young woman   Read more

Slighted (CD2, track 5) - the song of a woman who has been been deserted for another     Read more

The Singer (CD3) - a brief self-portrait of the miner-poet

The Social Glass (CD2, track 6) - a drinking song  Read more

The Stars are Twinkling (CD2, track 8) - describes the contrast between the night sky and the mine.    Read more

To W.R. (CD2, track 10)– a poem for a friend in Australia, describing what they will do together when he returns. Read more

Willy to Jinny (CD1, track 1) – a short love-song, describing the feelings of the collier and his girl friend.  Read more

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