Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 43 – April 2004


Free Reed have released the Peter Bellamy Boxed Set of ‘The Transports’ on CD. As usual, with Free Reed, it is a superbly packaged collector’s item which will surely sell well all around the world. Peter Bellamy, whose sudden and unexpected death in 1991 when on a September evening after spending the day learning the song Farewell to Hardburdy walked along the Leeds Liverpool canal to a spot where he could see across the valley to his home and there took his own life, is a folk icon who will be remembered not only for his tragic death, but also for his fine interpretation of traditional song. He was a friend to any human in need, always there to offer a helping hand. He had a fine turn of phrase that sometimes bordered on the sardonic but never insulted.

The Transports is the story of the first fleet of convicts transported to Australia in 1787, and of the classic Ballad Opera that it inspired Peter to write. The boxed set comprises two CD’s and a magnificent book which includes paintings of the first transportation fleet, pictures and biographies of all singers involved, detailed scripts about each song and much, much more.

The first CD is the original four sided double LP released in 1977 featuring Nic Jones, Dave Swarbrick, AL Lloyd, Norma Waterson, Martin Winsor, Martin Carthy, Vic Legg, The Watersons, Cyril Tawney, June Tabor and of course Pete himself. The second CD is a duplication of the same material performed by Cockersdale, Jim Lawton, Simon Nichol, Chris Leslie, David Jones, Joel Griffiths, Grace Notes, The Witches of Elswick, Chris Sugden, Laura Hockenhull, Pete Morton, Tim Moon, Chris Sugden, Damien Barber, John Kirkpatrick, The Wilson Family, Mal Jardine, Jamie O’Dwyer, John Roberts, Coope Boyes + Simpson, Steve Tilston, Tom McConville, Fairport Convention and last - but hopefully not least - by Kimber’s Men. Phew! What a cast.

Having never heard the original I was very interested to discover the differences between the two discs and whilst comparisons between a recording made 25 years ago and another made today with up to date recording equipment might not be exactly fair it is certainly worth making a few observations. Whilst the original recordings have been digitally re-mastered and are therefore of a high quality it is interesting to note the changes in traditional singing styles since the mid-nineteen seventies. With the new CD it is possible to understand every word, syllable and annunciation which regrettably is not always the case on the original. But having said that singers like Bellamy and AL Lloyd had a style of their own which the purists amongst us loved then and probably still do today. So this is just a personal problem and should not deter those who read this review from buying it. Martin Carthy, the Watersons, Cyril Tawney and Martin Winsor on the ‘original’ CD are performers of true quality and I had no problem understanding their phrasing. Indeed I would go so far as to say that my favourite track of all 42 is from the original LP by that old rogue Martin Winsor. The detailed sleeve notes explain how the late Martin Winsor was one of the most feared faces around Soho and it is therefore fitting that it should be he who was asked to perform Norwich Gaol because it is done with what can only be described as a wicked richness bordering on the uncouth. Nobody, not even Carthy, could have bettered it and that should be considered praise indeed. Martin Winsor was certainly not a folk singer who trod an easy road and I well remember, even though I considered him to be friend, that he made my balls run cold one evening when I inadvertently paid him ten pounds when his fee was apparently ten guineas. (Only men reading this will understand that phraseology properly, but I’m sure women will have a good idea what I mean). I also remember that same evening that he explained in great detail why I should own a guitar capo and keep it with me at all times even though I didn’t play the guitar. The old fashioned guitar capo slipped very easily over the first three fingers and was an excellent knuckle duster. Apparently I would never know when I might need one! So those of you who never had the pleasure of meeting Martin Winsor will now hopefully understand why he and Norwich Gaol make the most excellent of partnerships.
The standard of performance on the second CD is outstanding and to mention any name before another would be quite unfair. If I have a favourite track on the second CD it is The Green Fields of England by Coope Boyes and Simpson, but accolades go to every performer involved; and to Neil Wayne and Nigel Schofield – I take off my hat.
The recommended retail price is £29.99 and it’s worth every penny.

I’m not certain what to make of the new movie soon to be released in GB about the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ. I certainly will not be going to watch it and I have to say that I fail to understand how any sane person would feel inclined to pay money to watch what reviews indicate is little more than 2 hours of in-gratuitous violence. Apparently it is not a picture for the faint hearted and whilst my stomach is probably as strong as the next I fail to understand what can be enjoyable in seeing a human being flailed to within an inch of his life before being nailed to a tree. From what I have read and from the excerpts I have seen on television it is simply no more than another form of pornography. Especially so when you consider that the scriptures were written some 60/70 years after the event and what we are told actually happened is simply the figment of somebody’s vivid imagination, manifested and multiplied a couple of hundred times since. Now I’ve seen a few blue movies in my days and there is a chance that the moans of sexual pleasure are possibly exactly that and certainly more authentic than the cries of pain the Gibson film will portray. I would rather watch mankind make love than watch mankind make war. A penis is a thing of beauty, a whip is not.

I would imagine that a lot of moralists and certainly the Christians amongst my readers will be up in arms about this. But we all have our own standard of morals and enjoyment, so if you get pleasure from this movie – good luck to you.. Millions of viewers tune in to watch ‘Big Brother’ or ‘I’m a celebrity – get me out of here’, (two TV shows I always insist on missing), on the off chance that they might catch a quick glimpse of a bunk up, or the odd flash of genitalia, but throw up their arms in horror at the suggestion.

Recent events in Spain clearly demonstrate that the British attitude to sex and morals is completely at odds with the rest of the world. Until the Leicester City footballers are tried and found either guilty or innocent it would be unreasonable to comment specifically on their case. However it is interesting to note that some of the footballers have been charged with ‘failing to stop a crime’. That the Spanish consider doing nothing as a crime is a clear indication of the difference between our moral standards. We live in a society that happily tunes in to watch ‘Footballer’s Wives’ on television condoning and encouraging the public to continue misbehaving badly. If the average footballer is as stupid as the press make them out to be it is little wonder they misbehave with considerably more money in their pockets than brains in their heads.

Meanwhile if you are burgled in Britain it is a crime to take punitive action towards the burglar. The burglar gets off scot free whilst the homeowner goes to prison. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to me.

Another obscene atrocity or form of pornography to hit this planet is the bombing of trains in Spain by Al Qa’eda. Although frankly I am not the least surprised. My only surprise is that the terrorists chose Spain before Great Britain. America like Britain, as I have said countless times previously, can also expect a similar attack. My greatest fear for my own family, most of who live in London, is that when terrorists do attack they will use chemical weapons that will wipe out half if not more of London’s population. Because if the terrorists really want to bring the Western World to its knees they have only to send in a suicide attacker with a chemical weapon and it’s goodbye to scones and cream teas for the rest of us.

Please correct me if I am wrong!
Is it not true that one of the male members of Peter Paul and Mary was arrested, tried and sentenced to prison for pedophilia? If so I find it interesting that a folk festival should be proud to announce that they have booked the group. I appreciate that a prison sentence is considered just punishment and under normal circumstances the released person should be able to face the public as a forgiven person – but pedophilia is surely another matter? Do pedophiles get better? Is this a case of double standards? The Americans get their knickers in a twist because Janet Jackson bares a breast but welcome pedophiles to family audiences with open arms. Anyway I received the following e mail …………

2004 KERRVILLE FOLK FESTIVAL SCHEDULE POSTED!
The 2004 Kerrville Folk Festival schedule is now posted on our website. A few artists have yet to confirm so the schedule isn't quite complete, but rather than make you wait any longer, we decided to post what we have ready.

In addition to the rest of the wonderful line-up that Dalis has cooking, we are proud to announce the return of PETER PAUL & MARY who will be joining us on Day 2 - Friday, May 28. Check the website often at www.kerrvillefolkfestival.com/2004schedules.htm for frequent updates. We'll have lots more surprises in store for you!

So just where can you see Joe Stead or Kimber’s Men in the coming months. We probably won’t be baring our breasts at the following gigs ……….

GIGS and DATES 2004
Mar 27th (KM) Recording second CD
Mar 28th (KM) Recording second CD
Apr 19th (Joe) The Green Dragon, St Helens, Lancashire.
May 1st (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester
May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester
May 3rd (KM) Sweeps Festival – Rochester
May 12th (KM) The Cross Keys, Uppermill.
May 14th (KM) The Grove, Holbeck, Leeds
May 15th (Joe) Bradford Day/Dance – Life and Times of Paul Robeson (Lunchtime)
May 15th (KM) Stirk Bridge, Sowerby Bridge. (Evening)
May 22nd (Joe) Maryport Festival of the Sea
May 23rd (Joe) Maryport Festival of the Sea
Jun 2nd (Joe) Sowerby Bridge Concert Hall - Life and Times of Paul Robeson 10am!
Jun 9th (Joe) Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford - Life and Times of Paul Robeson
Jun 12th (Joe) Laycock Village Hall, Nr Keighley – Valparaiso round the Horn 2pm
Jul 10th (KM) The Norwegian Church, Cardiff.
Aug 28th (KM) Bridgenorth Folk Festival
Aug 28th (KM) Bridgenorth Folk Festival
Oct 16th (Joe) Shep Woolley’s 60th Birthday Party
Oct 18th (Joe) The Three Tuns, Staines
Oct 23rd (KM) The Open Door Folk Club Folk festival, Manchester (3pm)
Nov 11th (KM) Topic Folk Club, Bradford
Nov 20th (KM) The Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax
Nov 24th (Joe) Sandholme Fold Res Home, Hipperholme – Life +Times P Robeson
Dec 14th (Joe) Barwick in Elmet Probus Club- Valparaiso Round the Horn 10am!
2005
Feb 5th (KM) The Square Chapel Halifax
Feb 10th (Joe The Square Chapel Halifax – The life and times of Paul Robeson
Sep 2nd (KM) Hull Sea Fever Festival
Sep 3rd (KM) Hull Sea Fever Festival
Sep 4th (KM) Hull Sea Fever Festival

LETTERS
Dear Joe,
The US has just criticised several countries for breach of 'human rights'. This is rich coming from the country that runs a prison at Guantanamo Bay where prisoners have not been charged with a crime, have no access to legal advice and will be subjected to a trial that breaches international law. Further the Bush said yesterday that when prisoners were found not guilty by their illegal military tribunal they may still not be set free.
British intelligence bugging UN phone calls at request of CIA. What next? Old Proverb, A Blair in the hand is worth two for the Bush'. Old Greek Proverb : "It matters not to the egg whether the egg falls upon the stone or the stone falls upon the egg". Blair's duplicity is curiously uniting old Labour and Conservatives in their disgust at Blair's Presidential Premiership.
As a lifelong Tory I respected Wilson, Gaitskill, Callaghan; they were sincere men.
I exchange letters now with Tam Dalyell, Tony Benn, and others. I am amazed at our mutual agreement that Blair's Brood is corrupt. He is surrounded by rather amazing high levels of strange people. They must have a hold over him.
We have just finished recording another Shanty Album. We have also just released ‘Around The Harbour Town’ : Dick Miles. More soon.
Yours aye,
Eric Cowell

Hi Joe,
Billy here, nice to hear from you. The 'Death Row' ones are a bit hard to take for me but I still understand and sympathize. People out there seem to be on the job so that is a good thing. Great that you take time to get this kind of thing out to the public and make them aware. Keep it up and GOOD LUCK with all of your endevours.
Keep in touch, so long for now,
Billy Budd


FUNNIES

Number One
Tony Blair is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness. He greets the first patient and the patient replies:
"Fair fa' your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain of the puddin race,
Aboon them a you take your place,
As lang's my airm."

Tony is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient and greets him.
The patient responds:
"Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, but trying not to show it, Tony moves on to the next patient who immediately begins to chant:
"Wee sleekit, cowerin, timerous beasty,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie
Wi bickering brattle."

Now alarmed, Tony turns to the accompanying doctor and asks, "What kind of facility is this? Is it a mental ward?"
"No," replies the doctor. "This is a serious Burns unit".
From Mick Tems


Number Two
RESUME:
GEORGE W. BUSH
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
Law Enforcement
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

Military
I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

College:
I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.


PAST WORK EXPERIENCE
I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock. I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.
With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS:
1. I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
2. I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
3. I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
4. With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:
1. I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
2. I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
3. I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
4. I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
5. I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
6. I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
7. I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.
8. I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
9.I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.
10. I am the all-time U.S and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
11. My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.
12. My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the US. Supreme Court during my election decision.
13. I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip- offs in history.
14. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed. I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
15. I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
16. I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.
17. I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
18. I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
19. I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
20. I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
21. I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
22. I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).
23. I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
24. I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period.
25. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
26. I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
27. I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
28. I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community.
29. I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families -- in wartime.
30. In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq
and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
31. I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view
my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
32. I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.
33. I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.


RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.


PLEASE CONSIDER MY EXPERIENCE WHEN VOTING IN 2004.


Number Three
President George Bush is visiting an elementary school. They are in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings and the teacher asks the President if he would like to lead the class in the discussion of the word, "tragedy."
One little boy stands up and offers, "If my best friend, who lives next door, is playing in the street and a car comes along and runs him over, that would be a tragedy."
"No," says Bush, "that would be an ACCIDENT."
A little girl raises her hand: "If the school bus carrying 50 children drove off a cliff, killing everyone involved, that would be a tragedy."
"I'm afraid not," explains Mr. President. "That's what we would call a GREAT LOSS.”
Finally, way in the back of the room, a small boy raises his hand. In a quiet voice he says, "If Air Force One, carrying Mr. & Mrs. Bush, were struck by a missile and blown up to smithereens, by a terrorist like Osama bin Laden, that would be a tragedy."
"Fantastic," exclaims Bush, "that's right. And can you tell me WHY that would be a TRAGEDY?"

"Well," says the boy, "because it wouldn't be an accident, and it certainly wouldn't be a great loss."


Keep smiling, keep singing.


Joe Stead