Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 68 – May 2006

I start with a lot of news about Kimber’s Men.!

We are a four piece outfit again. We’ve been joined by David Buckley, who apart from being a right nice bloke, is a member of The Halifax Choral Society, an actor at The Halifax Playhouse which produces quite excellent amateur productions, and a director of plays as well. He has been around the northern music scene for more years than he cares to remember. He started after leaving school with a local band and after a few years turned pro, touring all the night clubs/dance halls in this country and then latterly, Europe, touring all the American air bases. He played in a country rock band for many years interspersed with folk club gigs with a number of friends and different outfits and even played Flugel horn with a local brass band. Of course his main attribute as far as we are concerned is that he can sing tenor harmony; which of course we’ve been missing ever since the demise of Roger. We found David playing the part of Captain Smith in ‘Titanic the Musical’. He went down with the ship but we managed to grab him by his shirt tails before he disappeared completely beneath the waves. We think you are going top like him. We do!

The new Kimber’s Men CD is now on release; and we are awaiting the reviews to come in. The CD came onto the market just before Easter and features the following 25 tracks> Haul away Joe, La Pique, Don’t take the heroes, Yellow girls, Frobisher Bay, Northwest Passage, Harry Eddom, Bold Riley, Blow the man down, Lovely Nancy, South Australia, Death of Nelson, Maryport, Tom’s gone to Hilo, Sam’s gone away, General Taylor, Get along down buddy, No more auction block, Quiet as the grave, Johnson girls, Amphitrite, Rolling home, Go to sea no more, Roseanna and Leave her Johnny leave her. It lasts for over 70 minutes and is obtainable direct from the Ship’s Doctor (me) for the incredibly reasonable knockdown price of £10. (Simply write to or directly to: Providence Place, Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire, HX6 1BA and enclose a cheque for £10 made payable to Joe Stead. Initially we will stand the cost of all postage and packing. Remember £1 goes to the RNLI who are again distributing the CD through their chain of shops and through their catalogue outlets. (The RNLI sell the CD at the recommended retail price of £12). If you live in America you can always contact Bud Manning at > The catalogue number is APL11 and the CD is called ‘Don’t take the heroes’.

We have already received one review which will be printed in Taplas in South Wales and also in the Mari Arts website ( which publishes CD reviews. The Mari Arts website is informative, and there are calendar listings for folk events for Wales and the borders of England with the whole world logging on. This review is shown below.

Incidentally many people have suggested that we release the song ‘Don’t take the heroes’ as a single. Although I’m not sure these days how one would go about it; but written by Neil and Roz Kimber it certainly is becoming a favourite at all our concerts. We’ll have to wait and see if any radio programmes take it up.

Kimber’s Men are going on a trip. On Friday June 23rd we set sail from Portsmouth aboard the two masted Brig "Prince William", one of a match pair of "square riggers" (the other being "Stavros S Niarchos") bound eventually for Torbay and Brixham harbour calling in at ports in France, Channel Islands and Ireland depending on wind direction.
The voyage is to start the celebrations of 50 years of the Sail Training Association / Tall Ships Youth Trust who first made trips with the schooners "Sir Winston Churchill” and "Malcolm Miller" and culminates in the meeting of both Prince William and Stavros S Niarchos in Torbay for a great party ashore involving a concert given by Kimber’s Men and the ships crew. The subsequent two days will be taken up with Brig racing in Torbay - a fantastic spectacle not to be missed.
The Tall Ships Youth trust is a registered charity whose aim is to further the development of young people, 16-25, through training and to develop life-long skills such as teamwork, communication, leadership and dealing with challenging situations. Many of these youths are from difficult or underprivileged backgrounds and need assistance with the costs of paying for a voyage. Adult voyages, such as this one, help to raise badly needed funds to provide sponsorship for the not so well off, enabling them to participate in these exhilarating and inspirational voyages.
Kimber’s Men are very honoured to be asked to be involved with this worthy charity and feel very exited at the prospect of crewing a tall ship and singing shanties in the traditional way as the remainder of the crew haul on halyards and warps.
For further information please see or contact Jo Wheeler (promotions manager) on 023 9283 2055 or

After this we get our land legs back and quickly high tail it to Sussex where we are singing at The Crawley Folk Festival. (See gig list).

With the local elections looming I’m tempted to say something about the government. But frankly they’ve left me speechless these last few days. We’ve known they are a bunch of liars ever since they attacked Iraq; they’ve really hit the jackpot now however and it’s pointless me talking about the health service, escaped convicts and the rest of it because the media has already highlighted these incredible lapses of judgment and governmental procedure. If you are American of course you will only know about our problems if you read the right newspapers; your own media (especially television) only talks about things within your own borders; but suffice to tell you – if you think you’ve got problems; well you sure ain’t on your own guys.

What will I vote next week? Well until recently I would have backed the Lib-Dems. But their leadership seems as doomed as the rest. I think I might just go and hang myself! One thing is certain we can expect a bumper new crop of BNP councilors. I’d put my shirt on it.

Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

Apr 29th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester.
Apr 30th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester.
May 1st (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester.
May 10th (Joe) Spen Valley Historical Society. Life and times of Paul Robeson..
Jun 7th (Joe) Baptist Church, Oakes, Huddersfield 1.30pm - Valparaiso
Jun 7th (Joe) The Cross Keys Folk Club, Uppermill.
Jun 8th (Joe) Luddendenfoot Women’s Institute 8pm Life/times of Paul Robeson
Jun 22nd (KM) Prince William Tall Ship, Portsmouth
Jun 23rd (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 24th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 25th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 26th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 27th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 28th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 29th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship, Brixham Harbour
July 1st (KM) Crawley Folk Festival
July 2nd (KM) Crawley Folk Festival
July 3rd (Joe) Bacup Folk Club at The Conservative Club, middle of town
July 5th (Joe) Sowerby Bridge Probus Club 10am – Valparaiso round the Horn
July 22nd (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest
July 23rd (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest
July 30th (KM) The Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. 4pm
Aug 25th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 26th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 26th (Joe) Bilton Men’s Forum. 2pm – Valparaiso round the Horn
Sep 27th (KM) The Cross Keys Folk Club, Uppermill.
Sep 28th (Joe) Cleckheaton Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Sep 30th (KM) Halifax Traditions Festival
Oct 3rd (Joe) Hove Edge 65 Club. 2pm – Valparaiso round the Horn
Oct 4th (Joe) Garforth Probus Club 10am – Valparaiso round the Horn
Oct 6th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 7th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 8th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 13th (KM) Minstead Village Hall, New Forest, Hampshire.
Dec 2nd (KM) The Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.
Dec 14th (Joe) St Paul’s Church, Harrogate Men’s Forum. - Valparaiso
May 11th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park – Prov
May 12th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park - Prov
Aug 12th (KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival – Provisional
Aug 13th (KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival – Provisional


KIMBER’S MEN - Don’t take the Heroes - A Private Label APL11 - (73 minutes)

You’ve got to hand it to Kimber’s Men. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution have adopted Neil Kimber, John Bromley and Joe Stead, and Don’t Take The Heroes is the third CD which the RNLI distribute in their shops and sales outlets nationwide, taking a percentage of the profits to fund their lifeboats and the vital job of saving lives at sea. Heroes, as do all the CDs, contains a thick track-by-track booklet which is packed with knowledge, information and anecdotes. The 25 tracks last a good, solid hour and a quarter, enough to satisfy the mums and dads (and interested enthusiasts) that they’ve got a certain bargain.
Kimber’s Men sing shanties from the days when sail was King, but, like the maritime tradition into which shanties were born, they focus on other interesting aspects too - Northwest Passage is the Stan Rogers anthem which contrasts Canada’s history and her hardiest explorers, like Kelso, McKenzie and Franklin, compared to the modern-day folk-singer. Maryport seizes on the bitterness of a genuine unemployed fisherman in this tragic and shameful sharp decline of our fishing industry, while Harry Eddom is the true story of a 1968 fisherman who miraculously survived the sinking of his vessel in the icy-cold seas of the North Atlantic. There are lots of true stories - The title track tells of the 1981 tragedy when the Cornish lifeboat from Mousehole, in attempting to save the stricken vessel Union Star, was lost with all hands in the teeth of a hurricane. The Union Star perished with all hands, too.
The CD salutes Roger ‘Tonky’ Hepworth, group member and Mayor of Luddenden, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and died in April 2005. Kimber’s Men recorded part of the CD in March 2004, but it remained unfinished for nearly two years before the completion of the tracks in January 2006. Roger’s superb harmonies and guitar playing can still be heard on seven of the old tracks – it’s a fitting tribute to him and one on which he will be remembered for a very long time.
Mick Tems - Taplas in South Wales and Mari Arts website (


Dear Joe,
Many thanks for the CD “Don’t take the heroes”, and thanks for including “Harry Eddom”. I’m flattered that you thought it worth including among so many fine songs. The CD is beautifully produced, and how nice to have a comprehensive booklet included – most impressive.
I was glad to hear “Northwest Passage” – a song we did a lot in the 80’s – the songs of Stan Rogers deserve much wider currency in this country, and its sad to think also of the songs he might have written.
I don’t find too much “modern folk” attractive these days, but I have genuinely enjoyed good voices in excellent harmony singing good songs – I’m most grateful for a fine ‘record’.
All good wishes and please keep singing.
Bill Meek

Hi Joe,
Thank you for your Ramblings. As always, well written and provocative.
I don't know whether (I forget his name) was kidding, but you were correct about the apostrophe-s business.
It is generally frowned upon (linguists would hesitate about "incorrect") to use the apostrophe-s to designate a plural. So if in your Ramblings you had wished there had been more people named Seeger on the BBC special, "Seeger's" would have been inappropriate.
But, you really meant you wished more people like Seeger had been represented on the broadcast. Accordingly, the apostrophe-s is grammatically correct because it signals to the reader that you are referring to "Seeger" in a special sense.
On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone who enjoys Ramblings would give a phlying phuck (GREAT joke!) about apostrophe-s's.
So thank you again for the pleasure and intellectual stimulation your Ramblings always bring. I hope you are in good health and spirits. Congratulations on your continuing success and the continuingly fascinating developments in your career. As always, my regard to Emily (Bronte) and your other Yorkshire pals,
Charlie Reilley (Philadelphia).

Thanks Joe,
I have now received two of your rants, the review of the British folk scene being particularly informative as I didn't see it, but heard a lot about it. I haven't written before because I didn't have the time.
An avid folk fan since I was 15 [the product of my limited education in Ellesmere Port], I can only add that I first heard Dylan when a mate at Chester Art School had his first record sent from EMI in 1961 along with a few other US releases [they had been doing it because, being well-off, he had recorded Eddie Cochrane's last concert before his tragic accident and sent a copy to EMI], so was very probably one of the first people to hear him in this country. I know I was blown away never having heard anything so urgent, nor political, since my education hadn't stretched that far at that time, mostly being taken up with travelling to Liverpool to visit the Cavern, etc.
Anyway, that wasn't to boast, but simply to put Donavan in context. I used to visit the Duke of York in Rathbone Place and Finch’s [Three Tuns] in Goodge St when I first came down to London in 1963 and got to know many of the Beatniks of the time who frequented those bars, and, later in 1964 Donavan used to come in with his sleeping bag and guitar and they all referred to him as having arrived on the tube from his mothers house in Edgware or somewhere and was a wannabe Bob Dylan. He was and remains a bit of a joke. Still, everybody had to start somewhere.
As for your other comments, I agree about the folk comedians, they have contributed towards working class culture, never mind the history of folk music, bringing it closer to people who wouldn't otherwise listen to such people, never mind their music.
I also have memories of Ewan and Peggy, even taking photographs of them for the Coop as they sponsored the Singers Club. Anyway, I have rambled on for too long, thanks for your communiqués, they are welcome, and I will send them on. By the way, Karl Dallas is a friend and also lived in Camden before his sojourn north and was fortunate to speak on the same platform with Dick Gaughan at the Communist University this year, he being a friend for many years. Sorry, I won’t do a roll-call, it's simply you mentioning them.
Would like to hear your Paul Robeson lecture, especially since you allege he had a misguided affection for the SU, the reason he was so hated by the US, the reason why they blackened his name, with Hoover/CIA even inviting King and Malcolm X to a meeting where they explained that if the two didn't patch up their differences, they would be handing the baton to Robeson the Communist, and at that time, they were as susceptible as most to anti-communist propaganda. Significantly, they were both assassinated when they widened their political perspective and started talking about working with the trades unions, developing alliances across the racial divide and, worst of all, started to suggest socialism as a solution, the other word you whisper in the US lest you be accused of being a RED.
Jeff Sawtell


A trip with a dentist
A guy and a girl meet at a bar. They get along so well that they decide to go to the girl's place. A few drinks later, the guy takes off his shirt and then washes his hands. He then takes off his trousers and washes his hands again.
The girl has been watching him and says, "You must be a dentist."
The guy, surprised, says " did you figure that out
"Easy," she replied, "you keep washing your hands."
One thing led to another and they make love.
After they are done, the girl says, "You must be a good dentist."
The guy, now with a boosted ego says, "Sure, I'm a good dentist, how did you figure that out?"

"Didn't feel a thing."


Oh. Oh! An Irish joke!
Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary's apartment when Paddy Murphy loses $500 on a single hand, clutching his chest he drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen friend, the other five continue playing standing up.
Michael O'Connor looks around and asks, "Oh, me boys, someone’s got to tell Paddy's wife. Who will it be?"
They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one. They tell him “Be discreet and gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse”.
"Discreet? I'm the most discreet Irishman you'll ever meet. Discretion is me middle name. Leave it to me."
Gallagher goes over to Murphy's house and knocks on the door. Mrs. Murphy answers and asks what he wants. Gallagher declares: "Your husband just lost $500 and is afraid to come home."
"Tell him to drop dead!" says Murphy's wife.
"I'll go tell him." says Gallagher.


The ballerina
A large woman, wearing a sleeveless sun dress, walked into a Bar in Dublin. She raised her right arm, revealing a huge, hairy armpit as she pointed to all the people sitting at the bar and asked, "What man here will buy a lady a drink?"
The bar went silent as the patrons tried to ignore her. But down at the end of the bar, a drunk slammed his hand down on the counter and bellowed, "Give the ballerina a drink!"
The bartender poured the drink and the woman chugged it down. She turned to the patrons and again pointed around at all of them, revealing the same hairy armpit, and asked, "What man here will buy a lady a drink?"
Once again, the same little drunk slapped his money down on the bar and said, "Give the ballerina another drink!"
The bartender approached the little drunk and said, "Tell me, Paddy, it's your business if you want to buy the lady a drink, but why do you keep calling her the ballerina?"
The drunk replied, "Any woman who can lift her leg that high has got to be a ballerina!"


Home is where your friends are.
Ethel was a bit of a demon in her wheelchair, and loved to charge around the nursing home, taking corners on one wheel and getting up to maximum speed on the long corridors.
Because the poor woman was one sandwich short of a picnic, the other residents tolerated her, and some of the males actually joined in.
One day, Ethel was speeding up one corridor when a door opened and Kooky Clarence stepped out with his arm outstretched.
"STOP!" he shouted in a firm voice. "Have you got a license for that thing?"
Ethel fished around in her handbag and pulled out a Kit Kat wrapper and held it up to him.
"OK" he said, and away Ethel sped down the hall.
As she took the corner near the TV lounge on one wheel, Weird Harold popped out in front of her and shouted
"STOP! Have you got proof of insurance?"
Ethel dug into her handbag, pulled out a drink coaster and held it up to him.
Harold nodded and said "Carry on, ma'am."
As Ethel neared the final corridor before the front door, Crazy Craig stepped out in front of her, stark naked, holding Captain Happy in his hand.
"Oh, good grief," said Ethel, "Not the Breathalyzer again!"


Oh. Oh. A blond joke
Three blondes were all applying for the last available position on the Texas Highway Patrol. The detective conducting the interview looked at the three of them and said, "So y'all want to be c“ps, ’uh?"
The blondes all nod”ed.
The detective got up, opened a file drawer and pulled out a folder. Sitting back down, he opened it and pulled out a picture, and said, "To be a detective, yo“ have to be able to detect. You must be able to notice things such as distinguishing features and oddities such as scars and so forth."
So saying, he stuc” the photo in the face of the first blonde and withdrew it after about two seconds. "Now," he said, "did y“u no”ice any di“tinguishing features about this man?"
The blonde immediat”ly said, "Yes, I did. He has o“ly one eye!"
The detective shook”his head and said, "Of course he has only“one eye in this picture! It's a profile of his fa’e! You're dismissed!"
The d’tective then ”urned to the second blonde, stuck the photo in her face for two seconds, pulled it back and said, "What about you? Notic“ anything unusual or outstanding about this man?"
"Yes! He only has o”e “ar!"
The detective put h”s head in his hands and exclaimed, "Didn't you hear what “ jus’ told the other lady? This is a profile of the man's face! Of course you’can only see one ear!! You're excused too!"
The’detective turne” his attention to the third and last blonde and said, "This is probably a wa“te of time, but . . "
He flashed the phot“ in her face for a couple of seconds and withdrew it, saying, "All right, did you no“ice anything distinguishing or unusual about this man?"
The blonde said, "I ”ure did. This man “ears contact lenses."
The detective frown”d, took another look at the picture and began looking at some of the papers in the folder. He looked up at the blonde with a puzzled expression and said, "You're absolutely rig“t! ’His bio says he wears contacts! How in the world could you tell that by looking at his picture?"
The blonde rolled h”r eyes and said, "Well, with only one eye and one ear, he certainly can't wear glasses.


Oh. Oh – another blond joke!
A blonde lady motorist was about two hours from San Diego when she was flagged down by a man whose truck had broken down. The man walked up to the car and asked, "Are you going to San Diego?"
"Sure," answered the blonde, "do you need a lift?"
"Not for me. I'll be spending the next three hours fixing my truck. My problem is I've got two chimpanzees in the back which have to be taken to the San Diego Zoo. They're a bit stressed already so I don't want to keep them on the road all day. Could you possibly take them to the zoo for me? I'll give you $500 for your trouble."
"I'd be happy to," said the blonde. So the two chimpanzees were ushered into the back seat of the blonde's car and carefully strapped into their seat belts. Off they went. Five hours later, the truck driver was driving through the heart of San Diego when suddenly he was horrified!! There was the blonde walking down the street and holding hands with the two chimps, much to the amusement of a big crowd.
With a screech of brakes he pulled off the road and ran over to the blonde. "What the heck are you doing here?" he demanded, "I gave you $500 to take these chimpanzees to the zoo."
Yes, I know you did," said the blonde, "but we had money left over---so now we're going to Sea World,"


A Rangers Fan, 3 Celtic fans and the Queen!
On a tour of Scotland, the Queen took a couple of days off to visit the west coast. Her Range Rover was driving along the golden sands when there was an enormous commotion.
They rushed to see what it was and upon approaching the scene the Queen noticed just outside the surf, a hapless man wearing a Glasgow Rangers jersey, struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 20 foot shark
At that moment a speedboat containing three men wearing Glasgow Celtic tops sped into view. One of the men took aim at the shark and fired a harpoon into its ribs, immobilising it instantly. The other two reached out and pulled the Rangers fan from the water and using long clubs beat the shark to death.
They bundled the bleeding, semi-conscious man into the speedboat along with the dead shark and prepared for a hasty retreat, when they heard frantic calling from the shore...... It was the Queen calling them to the beach.
On reaching land the Queen went into raptures about the rescue and said, "I'll give you a knighthood for your brave actions. I heard that the people of Scotland were bigoted and trying to divide the country in two, but now I see this is a truly enlightened example of tribal harmony which could serve as a model for other nations."
She knighted them and drove off. As she departed the harpoonist asked the others, "Who was that?!
"That," one answered, "was the Queen. She rules Britain and knows everything about our country."
"Well," the harpooner replied, "she knows bugger all about shark fishing. How's the bait holding up? Do we need to get another one?"


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Finally if you don’t know how to vote next week you really should check out the following web site (and if it doesn’t take you directly there go to the alternative address)

I’ll tell you what – I’m going to vote for the man in this news clip; I trust him more than Blair, Cameron and that bloke from the Lib Dems any day.

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead