Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger. Volume Thirty Two – May 2003.

The Ramblings are late this month due to problems experienced with the computer – but fortunately these problems are now behind me. Ditto two really enjoyable months on the road that took me from Sowerby Bridge to Darlington, to Huddersfield, to Southampton, to Reading, to Gillingham, to Bollington, to Boscastle, to Kingsand, to Braunton, to Axminster, to Pontyclun, to Bristol and finally back to the recording studios at Llanfair Caereinion. Along the way I shared a pint, a chat, and the odd meal or two with Tom Hughes, Flossie, Brian Hooper, Bob Watson, Doug Hudson, The Amazing Mr Smith, Arthur Wakefield, Fishermen’s Friends, Bob and Sandie Bulgin, Nigel Mazlyn Jones, Brian Williams, Hearts of Oak, Paul Downes, Cliff Whelan, Mick Tems, Pat Smith, Tim Nikolai, Namaste Lochrie and finally (but not least) Dave Anderson. Incidentally Dave Anderson is back on the road again, not only with The Ground Hogs but also (amazingly) Hawkwind. It’s months like this when you meet so many good and old friends that you realise just what a good and precious scene the folk movement is. It is quite remarkable when people like Cliff Whelan come out of the woodwork. It is nearly 20 years since we last met.

I also spent a day in April on the ‘set’ with Amanda Redman filming for a TV drama called ‘Suspicion’ which is due to be screened sometime in the autumn.

The autumn, by the way, is looking very interesting. My proposed tour of the Eastern Seaboard of USA is taking shape and I am still in discussion with Luis in Valparaiso regarding the extension of the American tour to take in both ends of that huge continent. Spending a part of November in Chile is a dream that will very possibly come true.

Now I’m also dreaming about extending the trip to take in the Falklands. As they say “Watch this space!”

Now what was it that Dave “Harry” Bassett of Leicester City Football Club said only a couple of weeks ago? I remember …… “If you don’t enjoy the good times you certainly remember it when you have your bad times”.

Well that almost made sense Dave!

So the future gig list currently looks like this

June 1st (KM) Maryport Festival of the Sea.
June 6th (Joe) Jersey Festival of the Sea
June 7th (KM) Jersey Festival of the Sea
June 8th (KM) Jersey Festival of the Sea
June 15th (KM) The Bulls Head, Oldham Rd,Failsworth, Manchester.
June 20th (KM) The Dog and Partridge, Bollington, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Sep 10th (Joe) The Cross Keys - Uppermill.
Oct 3rd (Joe) The Wellington, Seaford.
Oct 4th (Joe) Tenterden Folk Festival, Kent.
Oct 5th (Joe) Tenterden Folk Festival, Kent.
Oct 10th (Joe) The Grove, Holbeck, Leeds
Nov 27th (Joe) All Saints Church, Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire.
Dec 1st (Joe) The Three Tuns, Staines, Middlesex
Dec 3rd (Joe) The Gordon Hotel, Rochester
Jan 23rd (Joe) General Ludd Folk Club, Huddersfield.
Jan 24th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre Halifax with pupils of Holy Trinity School
Jan 30th (Joe) Kingswinford Folk Club
May 1st (KM) Sweeps Festival - Rochester. (Agreed awaiting confirmation)
May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival - Rochester. (Agreed awaiting confirmation)
May 14th (KM) The Grove, Holbeck, Leeds. (Agreed awaiting confirmation)


Here are reviews of two disks by Joe Stead. If the club members are not familiar with him by now they should be. I have been a "folkie" since the late 50s and did not hear of him until I received his recordings from the club. I presume that he did not come out west much.

JOE STEAD: Valparaiso Round the Horn; A Private Label, Providence Place, Sowerby Place, Yorkshire, UK, HX61BA,
The following are parts of two reviews quoted on Joe Stead’s website. I agree with them and cannot improve on them.
”The collection is based on the songs of Stan Hugill, the last authentic shanty singer who worked undersail at the beginning of the twentieth century . . . and this cd is drawn from Joe Stead’s own personal relationship with Stan, and from (Stan’s) publications and recordings…. Perhaps the most fascinating part about this album is the commentary. Joe Stead ‘talks’ the listener through a four-month sea voyage, explaining the strict code determining which songs would have been sung when. This is an intriguing mine of information about the origin of terms like ‘Davy Jones’ Locker’ and ‘Mother Carey’s Chickens’ as well as giving snippets of folklore and tradition”.– Beth Webb. “

“. . . this is a dramatically written and performed description of a clipper ship voyage from Liverpool to Valparaiso in the 1860’s. Joe sings appropriate shanties for every stage of the trip, joined by a large crew of singers, mercifully free on unnecessary harmonies or fancy arrangements. This is a splendid production, well suited to educational purposes, but worthy of a place on anyone’s shelf for sheer entertainment value”. Roy Harris – Taplas

JOE STEAD: Miles from Halifax; A Private Label, Providence Place, Sowerby Place, Yorkshire, UK, HX61BA,
First, I must say that one of my favourite folksingers is Tom Paxton. That said, if Tom Paxton were British and had more hair, he would be Joe Stead. The similarities are amazing. Both write topical pieces, mostly from a liberal perspective, and both do so with style and wit, although one of them does it with what we Yanks might call a British accent. Both accompany their singing with talented instrumental work, although Joe Stead uses a banjo more than Tom Paxton does. And, both have been singing since the fifties.
Some examples of the 16 marvellous songs that may be found on this recording are:
• Schindler’s Children a haunting song of the Holocaust ;
• Miles From Halifax, about textile workers there who say “if we ever live again, be it miles from Halifax”;
• A song and a poem about Princess Di, one lauding her work in Angola the other asking: “Who killed Princess Di, how come she’s gone and where’s the reason why?”;
• Just Another Folk Singer, A Tribute To Pete Seeger, who Stead has known since 1955;
• It Used To Be A Lovely Little Township, one of the cutest statements about how everything seem to be going to hell in a handbasket. This one I would like to learn and perform for my friends and, alas, Mr. Stead has not posted it on his website (C’mon Joe, pleeeeeze?);
• Like A New Moon Rising, the story of Eva Peron, less glamorized than the Evita.

Support the Brits, they have been staunch allies, and buy this CD.
Steven R. Sproger, LCSW, PhD
Public Health Social Work Consultant
Children's Medical Services
PO Box 942732-1515 K Street #400
Sacramento, CA 94234-7320
Phone (916) 323-8064 FAX (916) 327-5743


Subject: SAVE AMINA.
I have brought to your notice on more than one occasion the plight of several women in Nigeria condemned to death by stoning for having an illegitimate baby. Something we in the West find totally abhorrent, but which certain Muslims find to be an every day event. I have received the following letter from John Tolan, Professeur d'Histoire
at Medievale Universite in Nantes via Louise Eaton in Bradford. Please read, digest, and pass on to everyone in your address book. This is an official petition, so you are not wasting other people’s time by sending it as an email petition. Email petitions are as I’ve explained before a complete waste of time, energy etc.

“The Nigerian supreme court has upheld the death sentence for Amina condemned, for the crime of adultery, to be buried up to her neck and stoned to death. Her death has been postponed for one month so that she can continue to nurse her baby. Amina's case is being handled by the Spanish branch of Amnesty International, which is attempting to put together enough signatures to make the Nigerian government rescind the death sentence. A similar campaign saved another Nigerian woman, Safiya, condemned in similar circumstances. The petition has so far (as of April 11th) amassed over 4,246,757 signatures when I signed on line. It will take you only two minutes to sign Amnesty's online petition.
Go to the web page and enter your first name (in the space marked "nombre"), last name ("apellidos"), state or province ("provincia"), and country. {UK is Reino Unido I decided!}
Then click on "Seguir" and go to the second page. There you have the option of entering your email address if you wish to receive follow-up information.
In any case, be sure then to click on "aceptar" to have your name added to the petition/list. Please sign the petition now, then forward this message to everyone in your address book”.
Thank you.
John Tolan
Professeur d'Histoire
Medievale Universite de Nantes
BP 8122744312 Nantes, France.

Hi Joe ...
Nice one - Your singing at the funeral of your old pal brought to mind the moment Stortfolk said goodbye to one of it's long time members - Andy Mitchenson - a year ago last Christmas. Andy came Wassailing with us Hell, High-water, Sickness and Health for over twelve years - and at his funeral his Mum asked that we all wore our tatters at the service - and maybe contribute if we would. When the moment came bright tatters covered the grey suits and black ties and 15 - 20 of us went forward, stood around the coffin and sang Andy his favourite song - "The King" -
"Joy, health, love and Peace
Be all here in this place - etc.
It was a great joy in such sadness to be part of such singing - and a great privilege – it also gave us all a great deal of peace ... And you know - to this day I am certain he joined in with the singing!
After the service a very serious man came up to me and said "that was the most touching moment I've ever witnessed at a funeral – it brought tears to my eyes" - which was a nice compliment until I found out he was the funeral director! And had been one for more than 20 years!
How those old songs do hold their meanings Eh?
No real reason to tell you this - just seemed apt!
Good to hear you are back on your feet (foot?) again - looking forward to seeing you at the folk club in late November ...
Kind regards
Jon McNamara

Thought you might enjoy this one...

How to Impress....... A Woman
Compliment her,
Cuddle her,
Kiss her,
Caress her,
Love her,
Stroke her,
Tease her,
Comfort her,
Protect her,
Hug her,
Hold her,
Spend money on her,
Wine & dine her,
Buy things for her,
Dance with her,
Listen to her,
Care for her,
Stand by her,
Support her,
Go to the ends of the earth for her

How to impress a Man
Show up naked.
Bring Beer.

From Sky News....
"Umm Qasr is a city similar to Southampton," UK defence minister Geoff Hoon said in the Commons yesterday.
"He's either never been to Southampton, or he's never been to Umm Qasr" says a British squaddie patrolling Umm Qasr.
Another soldier added: "There's no beer, no prostitutes and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth".

Finally I was driving through South East London last weekend with my granddaughter Angel who is nearly four years old. I was singing a foolish song to amuse her. My bit went like this …

“I love my Daddy his name is Kevan
I think he’s lovely, he comes from Heaven”.

She replied “No he doesn’t, he comes from Catford!”

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead.