Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger. Volume Twenty Eight – January 2003.

“Here we are dipping our toes in the Big Muddy and the Big Fool says to push on”

But……….First.

The important Kimber’s Men Halifax concert at The Square Chapel went off without a hitch. After two one hour spots the Ship’s Doctor was walking a bit like Long John Silver, but the full house went away very happy, and obviously so did we. The concert was important to us as a group because it was the first major show we had performed in our home town, so it was extra nice for us to have the local paper represented by Gordon Sampson. The poor man even had to pay to get in!

We’ve made some massive strides in the this our first year and we are grateful to the support and faith Shep Woolley had in booking us for two festivals. Of course we would not have cut the mustard had we not rehearsed whenever possible each Wednesday throughout 2002. Performing for four full days in Portsmouth at The Tall Ship’s Race was not only an honour and a pleasure it was also the first real chance we had had to perform together for an extended weekend and the concentrated effort improved us by leaps and bounds.

On a personal note I’m indebted too to Richard Grainger who booked me for four festivals in 2002 (including one as three quarters of Kimber’s Men) at Scarborough, Whitby, Middlesbrough and The North York Moors Festival.

In this coming year of 2003 KM are already booked for the Jersey Sea Festival, whilst I already have three tours for the Spring that take in Bough Beech, Southampton, Reading, Gillingham, Boscastle, Kingsand, Braunton, Axminster, Pontyclun, Bristol and Bishops Stortford. (More about them later).

SINGERS BRING TOUCH OF THE SEA (Halifax Evening Courier)
Harmony sea songs and shanties specialists Kimber’s Men clearly enjoyed the response they received on a first appearance at Square Chapel and will no doubt make a return in the not so distant future.
For a good deal of the time the quartet sang in unison unaccompanied, creating more of a feeling of sailors singing together at sea. When individuals took their turns, the others joined in the choruses with the audience encouraged to do likewise if they wished. An introduction was given to each offering, with humour where appropriate.
Kimber’s Men, probably Britain’s foremost shanty and sea song group, were formed in the summer of 2001 to celebrate the 60th birthday of Sowerby Bridge folk singer Joe Stead, the crew’s self-styled ship’s doctor.
Banjo player Stead sang occasional songs from his own repertoire to add variety to a programme consisting mainly of working songs based on fact.
Much of the material came from the quartet’s first album, “See you when the sun goes down” dedicated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’ which receives part of the proceeds from sales.
With this cause in mind “bosun” Neil Kimber, who with “cabin boy” Roger Hepworth have been singing as a duo in West Yorkshire since 1966, wrote “The Robert Whitworth” with his wife Roz.
This was dedicated to those involved in a heroic rescue near Whitby of six men in almost impossible conditions in 1881, by the lifeboat of the same name.
Most people at the concert would have been familiar from schooldays with “Donkey Riding”, led by “Tonky” Hepworth, who was full of fun and played some guitar with Neil. The beautiful resonant bass work of “cook” John Bromley, a chef by trade but also known in this area as a classical singer and member of Bradshaw Mummers, was a pleasure to listen to.
His style has been likened to that of Paul Robeson, so it was appropriate that he should round off an enjoyable evening with one of the best known capstan and windlass shanties, “Shenandoah”, which brought out the best from him.
GORDON SAMPSON – Halifax Evening Courier.


CD REVIEWS
Stirrings issue 114:
Kimber’s Men – SEE YOU WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN -A Private Label APL8
Ahoy me hearties! I’ll come clean, I’ve been press-ganged into doing this review! I’ve already covered the CD in some depth for a well-known mag that shall remain nameless, whose space restrictions may however cause that review never to see the light of day. The fact is that this release is too good to consign to the Davy Jones Locker of unpublished reviews. So… Well, the salient (or should that be saline?!) facts are these: Kimber’s Men is a four-strong (and I mean strong) shanty crew headed by self-styled Ship’s Doctor Joe Stead, and boasting among its ranks one of the finest bass voices on the scene (John Bromley) along with the Sumuvus duo (Neil Kimber and Roger Hepworth). The CD contains a mixture of shanties and sea-songs, roughly in the ratio of 3:1, a ratio which reflects the material’s impact too. That’s not to say the songs are unsuccessful, it’s just that the shanties are so very well done – the crew are right inside the idiom, and give renditions that are correctly gutsy and forthright, where most importantly, the integral rhythms of the shanties, as worksongs, are preserved. And unlike the performances of some shanty crews, those of Kimber’s Men remain musical, highly listenable and refreshingly devoid of silly and unnecessary vocal gimmicks. The dominant impression is of authenticity, and the icing on the cake is provided by Joe’s commendably informative booklet notes to the individual selections. Going back to the songs, these tend to feature limited instrumental accompaniment involving guitar; they range from the traditional (Trim-Rigged Doxy, Lord Franklin) to the more contemporary (Gordon Lightfoot’s Ode To Big Blue – though shame about the early fade – and, best of all, a première recording for Neil and Roz Kimber’s superb Robert Whitworth, which recounts the dramatic tale of that lifeboat’s rescue of the Whitby brig The Visitor in 1881). So far so good – but the artistic level is lowered somewhat by the unfortunate inclusion of a barely-pub-folk-standard rendition of the Mingulay Boat Song, and the crew deliver a rather fast-paced version of Bob Watson’s Mollymauk that for me completely misses the plaintive majesty and poetry of the lyric by treating it as a shanty (although I understand this reading has Bob’s approval, so who am I to argue?). Those two little gripes notwithstanding, this is still very probably one of the best maritime-based CDs to be released in recent years. The seasoned maritime music specialist is unlikely to be disappointed, while the relative newcomer to this fascinating repertoire will surely be captivated. And a percentage of the profits from the CD goes to the RNLI too. (Contact www.joestead.com)
David Kidman

The following review in Tykes News was interesting insofar as the author not only informs the reader in his last sentence that the album credits are incorrect, but starts with a sentence which on its own also makes little sense. In the review prior to our own he really pans a CD by Charlotte Peters Rock with comments such as …”Charlotte Peters Rock whose only innovative approach to melody makes one realise why lifeboatmen advise sailors to steer clear of prominent rocks” Anyway the connection (theme) to which he refers at the very start, which makes little sense on its own, is the connection both albums have with the RNLI. So here is an alternative view. Please make your own conclusions but rest assured we all do know who we are!

SEE YOU WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN – Kimber’s Men
Seems to me there is something of a theme emerging here, as this album is also issued with a dedication to the RNLI. Kimber’s Men were formed just over a year ago as a four-man vehicle for singing "sea songs and shanties” as the album subtitle subtly reminds us.
There are of course many similar collections currently available, from excellent volumes of source singers to sets by revivalists of varying ability. So what might tempt you to buy this one? First of all is the sheer bulk of songs included – 25 in all; secondly the style of production and performance is simple and basic, positively encouraging one to sing along (full lyrics are provided). Unlike some similar sets, this does take its subtitle literally, balancing shanties with big ballads and folksongs. Most of the material is traditional, though there are some surprises – Admiral Benbow refitted to the tune of Ben Hall, for example – but songs by Gordon Lightfoot and Peter Bellamy leaven the mix.
Each of Kimber’s Men (who incidentally include our very own Joe Stead) is given a crew role within the credits – shame they got the job description and the group mugshots confused. Fans of C’p’n Pugwash might also enjoy the fact that the Cabin Boy’s name is Roger.
Nigel Schofield – TYKES NEWS

FUTURE GIGS (Left knee permitting!).

Jan 29th (KM) The Cross Keys – Uppermill near Manchester
Jan 31st (Joe) The Dog and Partridge, Bollington
Mar 1st (Joe) The Railway Tavern, Hensall
Mar 6th (Joe) The Arts Centre, Darlington
Mar 7th (KM) The General Ludd Folk Club, Huddersfield.
Mar 19th (Joe) The Wheatsheaf, Bough Beech, Kent
Mar 21st (Joe) The Duke of Wellington, Southampton
Mar 23rd (Joe) The Clifton Arms, Reading
Mar 24th (Joe) The Barge, Gillingham
Apr 1st (Joe) The Napoleon, Boscastle
Apr 3rd (Joe) The Community Hall, Kingsand. RNLI GIG.
Apr 5th (Joe) The Heart of Oak Music Club, Braunton, Barnstaple
Apr 7th (Joe) The ie Theatre, Axminster.
Apr 23rd (Joe) The Windsor Hotel, Pontyclun
Apr 25th (Joe) The Ratepayers Arms, Filton, Bristol
May 1st (Joe) All Saints Church, Bishop Stortford

OBITUARY.
It is with much sadness that I announce the demise of Jessie at just fifteen and one half years. A much loved member of the family she slipped away just after 5 o’clock in the evening of Friday December 20th. Many tears have been shed at this end, especially by me, and I know that Shep Woolley, The Amazing Mr Smith and members of the Bishop Stortford Folk Club of my folky friends will also be extremely saddened with the news. Jessie suffered a stroke during the summer and whilst she appeared to have fully recovered it was obvious that senility was setting in. For the last few months she was confused to the whereabouts of the bathroom and therefore with an extremely heavy heart I took her to the vets where she slipped quietly to sleep in my arms.

OBITUARY
Jake Thackray died on Boxing Day (26th December for American readers) aged 63. I worked with Jake in the 1970’s and 80’s more times than I can recount. I fondly remember him coming to my birthday party at least once and to interesting evenings in such diverse places as a huge night club in Newmarket and a tram shed in Woolwich! Jake had a very British sense of humour. Years ago I remember an American friend whilst visiting me declared that she found Jake sexist and very unfunny. Fortunately we in the folk scene in Britain know better than that! He had seemed destined for a career as a teacher in secondary schools and began writing songs in those pre-Ofsted days as an educational tool for his pupils. He did a spot of moonlighting in local folk clubs around Leeds before catching the eye of the producer of Look North. He finally hit the big time when he regularly appeared on The Braden Beat, which is when he first made a real impression on me. This was followed by television residencies on The Frost Show, Frost over America and That’s Life. Deservedly there were some lucrative cover versions of his songs by the likes of Barron Knights –Sister Josephine (a song I still like to sing myself), and Fred Wedlock with Bantam Cock. Working with Jake was a real joy and I loved the way he never did an ‘encore’. At the end of the evening Jake would say “And that was my last song, so I’ll just do one more song now and walk off. It saves all this unnecessary shouting and me pretending to be surprised that you want another song”. He never did come back on stage and now he never will.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Whilst you lot celebrate another New Year I will (hopefully) be lying in Calderdale Hospital in Halifax with a new ‘plastic’ knee. Providing I don’t have a last minute cold I’m due to have my new knee fitted on New Year’s Eve. So I start a New Year with a new knee. (There must be a song there somewhere!). Many of my American readers are tea-total, but for those of you who are not, here’s a little article on hangovers that my daughter Dominique sent me just before Christmas.

Subject: Hangover ratings

Hangover Ratings
*1 star hangover
No pain. no real feeling of illness. You slept in your own bed and when you woke up there were no traffic cones in there with you. You are still able to function relatively well on the energy stored up from all those vodka redbulls. However, you can drink 10 bottles of water and still feel as parched as the Sahara. Even vegetarians are craving a Cheeseburger and a bag of fries.

** 2 star hangover
No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay but you have the attention span and mental capacity of a stapler. The coffee you hug to try and remain focused is only exacerbating your rumbling gut, which is craving a full English breakfast. Although you have a nice demeanour about the office, you are costing your employer valuable money because all you really can handle is some light filing, followed by aimlessly surfing the net and writing junk e-mails like this one!

***3 star hangover
Slight headache. Stomach feels crap. You are definitely a space cadet and not so productive. Anytime a girl or lad walks by you gag because the perfume/aftershave reminds you of the random gin shots you did with your alcoholic friends after the bouncer kicked you out at 1:45 am. Life would be better right now if you were in your bed with a dozen doughnuts and a litre of coke watching daytime TV. You've had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 2 Sausage Rolls and a litre of diet coke yet you haven't peed once.

****4 star hangover
You have lost the will to live. Your head is throbbing and you can't speak too quickly or else you might spew. Your boss has already lambasted you for being late and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze. You wore nice clothes, but you smell of socks, and you can't hide the fact that you (depending on your gender) either missed an oh-so crucial spot shaving, or, it looks like you put your make-up on while riding the dodgems. Your teeth have their own individual sweaters. Your eyes look like one big vein and your hairstyle makes you look like a reject from a second-grade class circa 1976. You would give a weeks pay for one of the following - home time, a doughnut and somewhere to be alone, or a Time Machine so you could go back and NOT have gone out the night before. You scare small children in the street just by walking past them.

*****5 star hangover
You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually annoying the employee who sits next to you. Vodka vapour is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy. You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth. Your body has lost the ability to generate saliva, so your tongue is suffocating you. You'd cry but that would take the last drop of moisture left in your body. Death seems pretty good right now. Your boss doesn't even get mad at you and your co-workers think that your dog just died because you look so pathetic. You should have called in sick because, let's face it, all you can manage to do is breathe ..... very gently.


******6 star hangover
You arrive home and climb into bed. Sleep comes instantly, as you were fighting it all the way home in the taxi. You get about 2 hours sleep until the noises inside your head wake you up. You notice that your bed has been cleared for take off and is flying relentlessly around the room. No matter what you do you now, you're going to chuck. You stumble out of bed and now find that your room is in a yacht under full sail. After walking along the skirting boards on alternating walls knocking off all the pictures, you find the toilet. If you are lucky you will remember to lift the lid before you spontaneously explode and wake the whole house up with your impersonation of walrus mating calls. You sit there on the floor in your undies, cuddling the only friend in the world you have left (the toilet), randomly continuing to make the walrus noises, spitting, and farting. Help usually comes at this stage, even if it is short lived. Tears stream down your face and your abdomen hurts. Help now turns into abuse and he/she usually goes back to bed leaving you there in the dark. With your stomach totally empty, your spontaneous eruptions have died back to 15-minute intervals, but your body won't relent. You are convinced that you are starting to turn yourself inside out and swear that you saw your tonsils shoot out of your mouth on the last occasion. It is now dawn and you pass your disgusted partner getting up for the day as you try to climb into bed. She/he abuses you again for trying to get into bed with lumpy bits of dried vomit in your hair. You reluctantly accept their advice and have a shower in exchange for them driving you to the hospital. Work is simply not an option. The whole day is spent trying to avoid anything that might make you sick again, like moving. You vow never to touch a drop again and who knows for the next two or three hours at least you might even succeed.

OK, now hands up all those who have never had a six star hangover!!

Thought so!!


LETTERS


Joe,
While a dedicated group of activists have been working hard to protect live music from the Public Entertainment Licence rules, the Performing Rights Society (PRS) have been amending their rules to make the life of a folk festival organiser more difficult. Until this year the venues have been responsible for PRS licences, now the Festival need a separate licence and must make it's own returns. In some ways that is only fair but the "fee" that we must pay the PRS for the licence is 3% of the gross receipts for such events as concerts, barn dances, etc. But what about all the free events such as sing-a-rounds and sessions? Well they now want a "fee" based on the capacity of the venues, £6.55 for the first 100 people plus extra for each additional 25 capacity (capacity, not actual attendance at an event). Multiply that out by the number of venues and events at even a small weekend Festival like Tenterden and you will come to quite a material additional cost. Where does this money come from when the sing-a-rounds, sessions, etc are free? Is it reasonable for PRS to be able to charge us (you) for playing traditional English folk music? How much of this money is eventually paid out to PRS members and how many of those members play our sort of music? Are we again subsidising other forms of music? Will this change in the rules effect the future of folk festivals? I do not yet know what effect it will have on our programme for Tenterden. It is just another unnecessary problem that we must plan for and will overcome some how! I accept the need to pay PRS fees for ticketed events where we the festival have control over the billing and to a certain the content of a concert type event, if only in term of who we book. However at a sing-a-round or session the event is free so we do not raise any income from it and have no control over who performs or what they perform. It would be impracticable to sit and fill in a PRS form and to pay a fee based on the capacity of a pub bar when it may be full or empty and people come and go is unfair on everybody. If we pay on capacity how do they decide who to pay money to? If it is distributed in a fair way to writers of folk music all well and good but I do not believe that it is.
Alan Castle Folk Spots and Tenterden Folk Festival.

Also Dougie Hudson writes
This might interest you. I am a member of PRS and twice a year we do a barn dance at the Woodville Halls in Gravesend. Big municipal venue with usually 150 people in attendance. I fill in my PRS return containing works that I have written - songs of mine that the Hot Rats play between dances. When I enquired why I had no record of any payment from these two gigs the PRS told me that barn dances did not qualify for PRS payouts as they were primarily dance events. I suggested to them that any major dance venue playing hip-hop, garage etc had to send in returns and the music played would be recorded for subsequent payouts, but they still told me I couldn't have payout for music played to a dedicated audience of people who wanted to hear this type of music.
Now they want to charge folk festivals?!"
Doug Hudson

So we are left with the crazy situation that the venues also hold PRS licences so the PRS are getting fees from them as well as the festivals. Meanwhile classical music is on the main exempt as it is out of copyright. But traditional folk music is not! Meanwhile Morris organisations have agreed a special deal with PRS as their music is in main traditional. Crazy!

Whilst we could discuss the pros and cons of this subject forever it does seem extremely unfair that festival organisers should not only have the burden of this additional work, but (and this is more to the point) that festivals should be expected to pay PRS money on free pub sing-arounds. This fee should be met by the publican.


Hiya Joe,
I don't have much to say this time except Thank you for all your 'Fun and Frolics and your ramblings during 2002.
I would also like to wish you, your family, and your family of readers A very Happy Christmas, as well as a Great New Year and may you, Joe, last long enough to come and see us down here in darkest Devon on 5th April next year as planned, and I really hope that you carry on long enough for another load of 'Old Ramblings' during 2003.
God bless you Joe, and the best of luck to you mate, as well as every unfortunate sod that becomes addicted to your wild and fanciful notations and insane ramblings during 2003.
Check out www,heartsofoak.net and find out who and what we really are.
See you soon Joe,
John


Hi Joe, and thank you for your mails!
Just wanted to tell you that STORM WEATHER SHANTY CHOIR are almost finished with album number two. Hopefully it will be out in mid December.
Also we are working with getting our homepage with an English version so that more people can see what we are doing.
I finished sailing onboard the SS Statsraad Lehmkuhl in end of September, and did a lot of shantying while working with marine cadets. They enjoyed it much, and after having them onboard for three weeks it became quite a good shantychoir.
Now I have one year left with my studies, and then I will probably go out sailing full season as quartermaster onboard the SS Statsraad Lehmkuhl.
This was short, but just a short updating from the Norwegian shanty guys!
Hopefully we will be able to come to some festivals in England next year, and anyway we are trying to raise money to travel over to Liverpool and do some pub singing in early spring!
If somebody wants us, please let us know! I think we would do good!
All the best, and may ye sail afore the gales!
Haakon Vartle


Dear Joe
I presume you have heard the bad news but just in case I thought I'd drop you a line to tell you that Brixton Bert has died. I am assuming that you, like all the rest of us that were around in the 60s and 70s, knew Bert. He thought he had had a stroke but it turned out to be a brain tumour. He refused all medical intervention and died quite quickly. A sad finish, but his choice.
Hope your knee op goes well. My dad loves his titanium knee.
Regards
Mary Barr


Joe,
Someone should point out to Caryl P. Weiss that there is a typing error in her comment about the middle name of the President of the USA. The letter “L” in Walker is obviously a mistake.
Ray Cooper


Hello Joe,
Just a short note to wish you and yours all the best for the festive season. Keep those ramblings coming - although I don't always agree with the views expressed I do look forward to receiving them. So, old son, have a good one and, oh yes, saw you on Coronation Street the other night - have had nightmares ever since!
Jonesy.

P.S. Here's a silly story for you:
When Jane initially met Tarzan of the jungle, she was attracted to him, and during her questions about his life, she asked him how he had sex.
"Tarzan not know sex," he replied.
Jane explained to him what sex was.
Tarzan said, "Oh,... Tarzan use hole in trunk of tree."
Horrified, she said, "Tarzan you have it all wrong, ... but I will show you how to do it properly."
She took off her clothes and lay down on the ground. "Here" she said," you must put it in here."
Tarzan removed his loincloth, stepped closer with his huge piece of manhood grasped tightly in his hand, and then gave her an almighty kick right in the crotch.
Jane rolled around in agony for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually she managed to gasp for air and screamed, "What did you do that for?"
"Check for bees" said Tarzan.
Jonesy (NZ)


Hey, Joe!
I'm surprised Tommy Smothers isn't making any money off his uncanny resemblance to our current president.....And we pronounce George Bush's middle initial "Dumber'n You." He makes a lot of noise, for a guy who's only got a temporary job!
Here's my favourite new protest song:

BOMB IRAQ
(Sung to the tune: "If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands")

If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi
And the bank takes back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy,
Bomb Iraq.

If the corporate scandal's growin', bomb Iraq.
And your ties to them are showin', bomb Iraq.
If the smoking gun ain't smokin'
We don't care, and we're not jokin'.
That Saddam will soon be croakin',
Bomb Iraq.

Even if we have no allies, bomb Iraq.
From the sand dunes to the valleys, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections;
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

While the globe is slowly warming, bomb Iraq.
Yea! the clouds of war are storming, bomb Iraq.
If the ozone hole is growing,
Some things we prefer not knowing.
(Though our ignorance is showing),
Bomb Iraq.

So here's one for dear old daddy, bomb Iraq,
From his favourite little laddy, bomb Iraq.
Saying no would look like treason.
It's the Hussein hunting season.
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

Love,
Daddy Dan Arcani (New Jersey)

And this brings me neatly back to the opening. Americans and students of Pete Seeger will already understand the significance of my opening line. But for those of you who do not follow the preaching of a man who should be sainted before too long…..

Well, let me tell you.

Pete wrote a simple little song in 1967 or thereabouts which turned out to be one of his masterpieces. (I refer to the song ‘Waste Deep in the Big Muddy’ in my own tribute song to Seeger ‘Just another folksinger’ which incidentally is available on no less than three of my CD’s!) America was at war in Vietnam. Pete had seen a photograph of troops in the Mekong Delta and the last line, words, tune, rhythm came to him all at once. He was unable to finish the song in one go, but the last line of each verse kept on taunting him. When the song was completed he sung it everywhere. The reaction in colleges was explosive. In the autumn of 1967 Pete got a telephone call from Tommy and Dick Smothers, who had started in clubs as comedians making fun of folk singers, who had a successful weekly national TV show in LA. Pete of course had done little television work due to his black-listing in the 1950’s. But CBS, overjoyed at the high ratings of the show, decided to take a chance on him. Pete sang a medley of songs on the show which included “The riflemen of Bennington (1778)”, “John Brown’s Body (1863)”, “The D Day Dodgers (1944)” and ended with “Big Muddy”. The tape was flown to New York but the top brass there asked him to amend the song leaving out the last two verses as people might think he was referring to President Johnson! Pete of course refused and the whole song was deleted from the show. (Due to public pressure the song was shown months later, and curiously enough Johnson resigned at much the same time!)
Like all magnificent songs this little masterpiece transcends time, races and cultures. As we speed into 2003, we all hope for peace and we all prey for the safety of our families and loved ones. Bombing Iraq into submission will not be the end, it will be the start of a long and endless stream of terrorist obscenities that will stretch across the world. Only a fool would think otherwise. So don’t let the Big Fool push on. Make as much noise as you can. World opinion can still prevent Bush and his American hawks from starting World War Three. Remember every little grain of sand on the balance weight of freedom helps. Your little bit will help and might just be enough to prevent Armageddon.

Waste deep in the Big Muddy
(Words and music by Pete Seeger – published in 1967 by Melody Trails).

It was back in nineteen forty two
I was the member of a good platoon
We were on manoeuvres in-a Loozianna (sic)
One night by the light of the Moon.
The Captain told us to ford a river
That’s how it all begun
We were knee deep in the Big Muddy
But the big fool said to push on

The Sergeant said, Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?
Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
‘Bout a mile above this place
It’ll be a little soggy but just keep slogging
We’ll soon be on dry ground
We were waist deep in the Big Muddy
But the big fool said to push on

The Sergeant said, Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim
Sergeant, don’t be a Nervous Nellie
The Captain said to him
All we need is a little determination
Men follow me I’ll lead on
We were neck deep in the Big Muddy
But the big fool said to push on

All at once the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry
A few seconds later the captain’s helmet
Was all that floated by
The sergeant said, Turn around men
I’m in charge from now on
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand
I guess he didn’t know that the water was deeper
Than the place he’d once before been
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
‘Bout a half mile from where we’d gone
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on

Well, I’m not going to point any moral
I’ll leave that for yourself
Maybe you’re still walking, you’re still talking
You’d like to keep your health
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on
We’re waist deep in the Big Muddy and the
Big fool says to push on

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on
Wait deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man’ll be over his head
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!

Keep smiling, keep singing and pray for a peaceful New Year.

Joe Stead