Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 122 – November 2010

I met a chap, a farmer actually, at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival this year, I would guess he was about my age, who had decided it was time to see Britain for the first time. He was from the Falkland Islands and from what I could understand he had never left the islands before. He appeared to be on his own and I spent an enjoyable ten minutes chatting to him. I wanted to spend longer talking to him, but I was due on stage somewhere and had to cut our meeting short. By now he will be home again. I mention him because he made an impression on me. Very quiet in demeanour and fiercely loyal to Great Britain. I’m wondering now though what he is making of the defence cuts that his government is about to make; especially within the naval and air force ranks. Back in the nineteen eighties Argentina deemed it their right to take over the Falklands and now could not be a better time for them to repeat their actions. We are busy in Afghanistan fighting a war we can never win and this follows an illegal war we should never have started. I’m sure some of you will want to write to me to tell me the Falkland Islands should not belong to us in the first place, and I can understand the argument if you do. But the inhabitants do not want to be ousted or overtaken by a government they do not want. It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be if Argentina does decide to invade. Will our American allies take our side and send in their lads to defend these patriotic farmers, or will they make a secret pact with Argentina for a share in the oil fields that are supposed to surround this part of the southern Atlantic? I don’t think I need to ask that question a second time. And here comes another question I shouldn’t have to ask. When will mankind realise that wars not only cost human lives they also cost a great deal of money? Which is why we in Britain are in a similar situation following Iraq as we were after the second world war? Taxes going up, remember VAT will be 20% in the New Year, and this time defences going down. I suppose the biggest threat to our shores these days comes not from foreign armies but from terrorists and it is here that we must now invest huge sums to protect ourselves. Thank you W.C. Blair you were indeed a memorable prime minister. You will go down in history as the fool who made millions; and we the public are bigger fools for allowing it to happen. It’s odd though isn’t it? The number of people you meet these days who now claim they were against the Iraq war all the time seems to have greatly increased from those who actually opposed it at the onset. Even Ed Milliband declares it was a mistake. OK the leader of the Labour Party wasn’t even a Member of Parliament in those days, but can anyone anywhere find written proof that he was against the war? At least anyone bothered to investigate my views will be in little doubt as to my attitude in 2003. Attacking Iraq was indeed a mistake, we fuelled terrorism and we will pay financially and with lives for years to come.


Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
Do you suffer from shyness?
Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. It can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.

You will notice the benefits of Cabernet Sauvignon almost immediately and, with a regimen of regular doses, you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.

Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had.

Stop hiding and start living.

Cabernet Sauvignon may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use it. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:
Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.


* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to think you can sing.

* The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

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

Nov 12th (KM) St. Michael All Angels School, Meadow Close, Shelf, Halifax HX3
Nov 26th (Joe) HMP Huntercombe – Life and times of Paul Robeson. (residents only!)
Jan 11th (Joe) Burley in Wharfdale Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Jan 13th (KM) Trades Club, Hebden Bridge.
Feb 5th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 8th (Joe) Fox Pub, Main Street, Thorner, LS14 3DX. – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 26th (KM) The Market Theatre, Ledbury.
Mar 19th (KM) Rhos-y-gilwen, The Oak Hall, Nr Rhoshill, Pembrokeshire.
Apr 8th (KM) Oxford Folk Club – Provisional
April 9th (KM) The Quay Theatre, Sudbury, Suffolk - Provisional
May 1st (KM) Liverpool Shanty Festival
May 2nd (KM) Liverpool Shanty Festival
May 13th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 14th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 15th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
Jun 17th (KM) Falmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 18th (KM) Falmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 19th (KM) Falmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 25th (KM) Wirral Folk Festival
Jun 26th (KM) Wirral Folk Festival
Sep 14th (Joe) Barnsley Probus Club. – Life and times of Paul Robeson.


Kimber's Men - See you when the sun goes down £12.00p
by David Tubbs – Living Tradition.
Date Added: Friday 01 October, 2010

I first heard of the Kimber's Men via the Sea Shanties program hosted by Gareth Malone. They were singing a self penned tribute to a brave sea rescue called 'The Robert Whitworth'. Luckily, none of the 'liveness' of that performance has been lost while transferring to CD. There is always a danger with traditional music, especially a capella (which 90% of this recording is), that it sounds horribly sterile, but here, the fantastic richness of the men's voices has been preserved. I can imagine them all crowded round one mic and leaning in for their parts.
This is the sort of singing I love to listen to: it is strong and pure, and harmoniously spot on, without sounding like 'trained' voices, or Male voice choir, or Barbershop. I like both those styles too, but they don't work for all types of music. The Kimber's Men have the talent and the grit in good measure
What instrumentation there is is very tasteful, and interesting too, unlike so much accompanying guitar work that is often more of an afterthought than anything else.
It makes you wonder though, when the human voice can sound like this, why anyone thought to invent instruments in the first place! Great CD!
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]


Johnny Edgecombe.

I was proud, and still am, to have Johnny Edgecombe as a mate. I first met this notorious Londoner in The Richard The 1st pub in Greenwich – a pub better known even today as ‘The Tolly’. Johnny became a good friend and he often accompanied me on gigs, stopping of course on the way to score in Brixton. I am greatly saddened by his death. I have only seen him a couple of times since moving to Yorkshire in 1985.

A dope-dealing drifter he was the lover and minder of Christine Keeler, the young nightclub "hostess" who was also the mistress of John Profumo, Secretary of State for War. This irregular state of affairs might never have become public knowledge but for Johnny's decision to seek a showdown with Christine Keeler 10 days before Christmas in 1962, following her decision to end their live-in relationship.

Keeler had sought sanctuary at the Marylebone flat of her "mentor", the society osteopath Stephen Ward, where at lunchtime on December 14 in an agitated state he leapt out of a minicab clutching a pistol. When Keeler refused to see him, he attempted to charge down the front door, and then fired several shots at the lock.

He was only one claimant to her affections. As well as Profumo, Keeler was also sleeping with Yevgeny Ivanov, a spy based at the Russian embassy in London under diplomatic cover as assistant naval attaché. Furthermore she had become involved with a vicious Jamaican drug dealer called Aloysius "Lucky" Gordon, who was jealously infatuated with her. When she ended this last affair, Gordon had assaulted her in a London street and held her hostage for two days while wielding an axe.

As a result John confronted Gordon in a Soho club and sliced his face with a knife, inflicting a wound that needed 17 stitches. Fearful of reprisals from Gordon, he then asked Keeler to help him find a solicitor so he could surrender himself to police. But Keeler, jealous that John (the man she called "the Edge") had taken another lover, refused to help him and said she planned to give evidence against him in court. This decision led him to plot her murder, and thus to the exposure of the whole Profumo story.

When he arrived at Ward's Wimpole Mews flat and fired at the front door, it gave the still-deferential newspapers of the day the chance they had been looking for to dig deeper into rumours about Keeler and Profumo that had been circulating in Fleet Street for some time. An apparently motiveless shooting in a quiet London street would normally have attracted little attention; but Johnnys appearance in court the following day made the front page of The Daily Telegraph.

Three months later, when Keeler failed to turn up at Johnny Edgecombe's trial, the dam of press reticence about the case finally burst. On March 15 the Daily Express, signalling the extent of the gathering political storm, ran the banner headline "WAR MINISTER SHOCK" alongside a large picture of Keeler under the heading: "VANISHED".

John Arthur Alexander Edgecombe was born on October 22 1932 in St John's, the capital of Antigua, the youngest of eight children. His father, a sailor known as "Captain Johnny", owned a schooner running gasoline for Esso from Trinidad to Antigua, and his small son often accompanied him until, in 1942, his father took American citizenship and disappeared.

The 10-year-old Johnny junior stayed with an uncle in Trinidad, but ran away after only a few weeks, hustling for food and shelter. After returning to Antigua, he sailed as a pantry boy aboard HMS Prospector, carrying sugar to the Tate and Lyle refinery in Liverpool. From Liverpool he moved to Cardiff, where he slept at a seamen's mission in the Tiger Bay dock area and smoked his first joint. "Within days," he remembered, "I had a full time job smoking dope." He appeared to have had no formal education, and his teenage years floated past on a cloud of marijuana.

Determined to try to find his missing father, he hid on a ship bound for Galveston, Texas, but on arrival was arrested and put back on board for the return trip. When he docked at North Shields, magistrates jailed him for 28 days as a stowaway. Drifting to London on his release, Johnny found lodgings in Maida Vale, and – posing as an African prince – persuaded a series of jewelers to show him expensive rings which he and two accomplices proceeded to steal.

The scam soon landed him back in prison, and he served a three-month sentence. Putting his then girlfriend on the street, he combined the trade of pimp with that of running what he claimed was London's first shebeen, an illegal drinking and dope den, from a rented flat in Colville Terrace, Notting Hill, owned by the notorious 1950s slum landlord Peter Rachman.

There he met and first crossed "Lucky" Gordon, who threatened to tip off the police about the shebeen. Edgecombe closed it down, and drifted into the jazz scene, driving musicians like Tubby Hayes, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie to provincial gigs and back to London overnight. He moved on to dealing dope, mainly to black American GIs who arrived in London at weekends from their bases flush with cash. In September 1962 he met "a very foxy chick" called Christine Keeler and moved into her flat in Sheffield Terrace.

At the Old Bailey in March 1963, Johnny was acquitted of assaulting "Lucky" Gordon, but jailed for seven years on the charge of possession a firearm outside Wimpole Mews. During this period in jail he succumbed to frostbite in the toes! Blacks were badly treated in jail in those days and his problem was ‘overlooked’ until so bad certain toes needed amputating. He walked with a limp thereafter.

A week after Johnny started his prison sentence Profumo told Parliament that there had been no impropriety in his relationship with Christine Keeler; 10 weeks later however he admitted lying, and resigned from the government. For his part, Johnny complained of his "unjust" treatment at the hands of the Establishment.

He maintained his conviction had been racially motivated, and served more than five years of his sentence before being released. "The British people wouldn't wear a situation where a government minister was sleeping with the same chick as a black guy," he said.

On his release he became a jazz promoter, ran a club called Edges, and found work as a film and television extra. His memoirs, Black Scandal, appeared in 2002.

Johnny, who died on September 26, is survived by two daughters from his marriage to Vibeke Filtenborg, a Danish au pair, and by a daughter by his former partner, Jane Jones whom I also knew well.

He might have been a rogue, but to me he was a very loveable one. Not surprisingly he died of lung cancer.


Thought you might like to know that with all the problems in Pakistan with floods they have just spent several million pounds buying the TSYT Brig, Prince William. The trust has bought more yachts with the money moving further away from traditional sailboating. PITY.

The long protraction regarding the saving of the `City of Adelaide' composite clipper ship. She seems to have been saved and is being gifted to Australia. It is now just a matter of funding. So a small element of good news at last.
Chris Roche

Sorry, Joe, old mate, and I have no wish to offend you in any way but if you are going to continue to send me you Ramblings and I find something in it that I regard as inherantly racist then I will challenge it. You simply cannot draw on a selected range of personal experiences and then conclude that this makes one racial type different from another. There is no factual basis in what you say. To claim one racial group is more honest than another has no basis in academic study. In my own experiences of just under forty years in the classroom to say "White kids don’t do this" is simply laughable. There are honest and dishonest people in ALL racial groups, probably in very roughly equal proportions.
As I say, no wish to offend, but I must challenge what I see as an untruth.
Best wishes
Vic Smith

Funny thing about that NHS comment - the one about having a history of suicides...

We had a letter sent in to us this year that was copied and passed round the Office because, although wishing to appeal against a decision that had been made to his detriment, the evidence and statements he made were, well, what can I say?

I quote verbatim from the letter...

'And all my benefits...have been stopped...I have already borrowed money from my parents. Please note for my new application my illness has been changed and I have new circumstances. I have committed suicide. My entire medications have been changed...'

It was, if I'm honest, the first appeal we'd ever received from someone beyond the grave.
Lee and Kath

Hi Joe

Just a short note to thank you and the boys for all your hard work at the Harwich Shanty Festival.

Great performances from all of Kimbers Men - the greatest Shanty band in the world - resulting in a fantastic weekend!

Hope to see you again soon.


Pete and Mary

Hi Joe,
Yes I'm going to buy the live double album, it can be part of my Christmas present to me.
Will write by proper post next week when I've got a few days annual leave , and send the necessary.
I like your "Ramblings" !!!!! ramble on........
Sad to hear about Don Partridge - he must have lived just round the corner from me.
Once as my husband and I were shopping for groceries in the sadly run down tiny town centre of the port of Newhaven (just down the road), Don set up his one man band and played away very merrily for quite a while in spite of, I seem to remember a very chilly wind. My husband knew who he was and was quite moved ( I didn't know who he was and was also quite moved).
Jo Slaughter

Hi Joe
With reference to your item (bit of a rant) on overweight people. I did have my hip replacement delayed until I got my weight down to 10 stone. It's gone up again since then, and I'd better lose some weight before I need another op.
Sue Tuckey

Dear Joe,
Thanks for the sad news about Don Partridge - I hadn't heard. I have two memories of Don: around 1964, when Viv and I were courting, we went to a Jesse Fuller concert in Ealing Town Hall. Afterwards we bumped into Don and his mate Alan Young, who came back on the tube with us to Greenford for a coffee at Viv's mums. Viv knew Don a bit through college. I wonder to what extent Jesse's one-man-band show was Don's inspiration? Forty years later I stumbled across Don busking in Exmouth shopping centre. I went and got Viv from home - and Don said he remembered us! Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but what a thoroughly OK guy!
Tony Day

I'd guess the Downes & Beer photo is from 1977 !
Best wishes,
Mark Ringwood
Roots Around the World

The year of your photo was 1977.
I see you mention Jeff Dale , he was a great performer, amazing blues singer and 12 string guitarist.
I reckon youare wrong about white kids ,i knew plenty who were patholigical liars.
Dick Miles

Photo Competiion: 1976 ?
What do I win?
Dave Forshaw.


Ed and Dorothy met while on a singles cruise and Ed fell head over heels for her. When they discovered they lived in the same city only a few miles apart Ed was ecstatic. He immediately started asking her out when they got home.

Within a couple of weeks, Ed had taken Dorothy to dance clubs, restaurants, concerts, movies, and museums.

Ed became convinced that Dorothy was indeed his soul mate and true love. Every date seemed better than the last.

On the one-month anniversary of their first dinner on the cruise ship, Ed took Dorothy to a fine restaurant. While having cocktails and waiting for their salad, Ed said, "I guess you can tell I'm very much in love with you. I'd like a little serious talk before our relationship continues to the next stage. So, before I get a box out of my jacket and ask you a life changing question, it's only fair to warn you, I'm a total golf nut. I play golf. I read about golf. I watch golf on TV. In short, I eat, sleep, and breathe golf. If that's going to be a problem, for us, you'd better say so now!"

Dorothy took a deep breath and responded, "Ed, that certainly won't be a problem. I love you as you are and I love golf too; but, since we're being totally honest with each other, you need to know that about the last five years I've been a hooker."

"Oh wow! I see," Ed replied. He looked down at the table, and was quiet for a moment, deep in thought then he added. "You know, it's probably just because you're not keeping your wrists straight when you tee off."

Check these out:

Subject: Quotes on France

Some legendary quotes on France (nothing to do with me Vic)

'France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes.'
Mark Twain

'I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.'
General George S. Patton

'Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.'
Norman Schwarzkopf

'We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it.'
Marge Simpson

'As far as I'm concerned, war always means failure.'
Jacques Chirac, President of France

'The only time France wants us to go to war is when the German Army is sitting in Paris sipping coffee.'
Regis Philbin

'You know, the French remind me a little bit of an aging actress of the 1940s who was still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it.'
John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona

'The last time the French asked for 'more proof' it came marching into Paris under a German flag.'
David Letterman

'Only thing worse than a Frenchman is a Frenchman who lives in Canada.'
Ted Nugent

'It is important to remember that the French have always been there when they needed us.'
Alan Kent


A man in a London Tesco tries to buy half a cauliflower. The very young produce assistant tells him that they sell only whole cauliflowers. The man persists and asks to see the manager. The boy says he'll ask his manager about it.

Walking into the back room, the boy said to his manager 'Some prat out there wants to buy half a cauliflower.'

As he finished his sentence, he turned to find the man standing right behind him, so he added, 'And this gentleman has kindly offered to buy the other half.'

The manager approved the deal, and the man went on his way.

Later the manager said to the boy, 'I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of that situation earlier. We like people who think on their feet here. Where are you from, son?'

‘Liverpool, sir,' the boy replied.

'Well, why did you leave Liverpool?' the manager asked.

The boy said, 'Sir, there's nothing but whores and footballers up there.'

'Really?' said the manager. 'My wife is from Liverpool.'

'You're kidding?' replied the boy. 'Who did she play for?'

Was so depressed last night that I rang the Samaritans.

Got through to a call centre in Pakistan .

Told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could fly a plane......

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead.