Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 172 - January 2015





Kimber's Men were formed in the summer of 2001.  June 17th to be precise.  The band consists of Neil Kimber (Ship's Bosun); John Bromley (Ship's Cook); Joe Stead (Ship's Doctor); Gareth Scott (Powder Monkey) and Michael Beeke (Cabin Boy).  In those 13 years, apart from appearing at festivals in nearly every European country, they've always been firm favourites at The Square Chapel Theatre in their home town of Halifax.  Indeed the Square Chapel was the first theatre to ever book them.  For a great number of years they were accompanied by many schools from the Calderdale area performing 'Valparaiso round the Horn' a folk opera style production that over the years both attracted and introduced thousands to the theatre.  When it was mooted last year that the theatre badly needed funds for improvements the subject of a fund raising concert was raised at a rehearsal and the immediate vote was yes by all 5 members.  The theatre has done a lot for us over the years; now it's time to repay.


If you live within a sensible traveling distance please book your tickets as soon as possible.  Every town in Britain needs a theatre.  We must not let live entertainment become a thing of the past.  There are times when we all need to get away from that box in the corner of the room.  Kimber's Men are giving their services completely free of any charge whatsoever.  All ticket sales go to the upkeep of the theatre.  A theatre that has been most kind to us in the past.  It is our way of saying thank you.  We need two hundred people to say thank you with us.  So if you live within a sensible driving distance please book your tickets today.  Thank you.



I suppose we should really be looking forward to this oncoming year with optimism; but in truth I find it hard to find it in any great abundance.  Last year was the warmest on record in Great Britain.  In fact the last decade was the warmest decade on record and by a very large margin.  George W Bush when in residence said Global Warming was rubbish.  Well most of what he said was rubbish and only endorses the comment I've made more than once that the majority of Americans are loony.  Of course that means there is a minority of Americans who are actually quite normal; so please don't take offense if you fit into the latter category; there are a lot of you too - but unfortunately not enough.  You know who you are.  And so it came to pass that Americans voted Bush into the ultimate position of president to prove my point without doubt.  So in the year's long run I deeply fear that our friends on t'other side of pond will again stick heads up proverbial bottoms and again put a Republican in charge.  Well that's enough to put a downer on the year for a start.  What amazed me about one very sane American was that for 94 years he remained positive and optimistic even throughout the turbulent 1950's and 60's when at times he must have thought the whole of America was against him.  In 1969 he wrote the following song; and of course whilst a lot of people loved and listened to Pete Seeger, those who ran the governments, those in positions of power continued to line their own pockets at the expense of the rest of the world.  (Tony Blair another prime example).  Pete kindly allowed me to change a few words of the following song to bring it into line with a ship crossing the turbulent oceans of the life we live today and Kimber's Men recorded the song on our album 'In Port'.  I renamed it, with Pete's permission, as 'Darkest before the dawn'.  Regrettably we never sing it in concert as nobody else in the group likes the song.  I don't think they have the slightest idea what it is about.  Perhaps it is too intelligent for them or perhaps as suggested at rehearsals on more than one occasion it is simply a lump of nonsense with a lousy tune.  But we all live our lives on different levels, different wavelengths, so I simply put up with it with the knowledge that it's out there on the CD where people who want to understand the song can listen and enjoy it.  It has been requested by members of the audience on more than one occasion, but we never sing anything that has not been properly rehearsed.  The original words are simple to understand all you need is a little intelligence of which regrettably world leaders since 1969 seem to have been bereft. 


Don't you know it's darkest before the dawn
And it's this thought keeps me moving on
If we could heed these early warnings
The time is now quite early morning
If we could heed these early warnings
The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won't long endure
But what makes them so doggone sure?
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing
I know that you who hear my singing
Could make those freedom bells go ringing

And so keep on while we live
Until we have no, no more to give
And when these fingers can strum no longer
Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger
And when these fingers can strum no longer
Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

So though it's darkest before the dawn
These thoughts keep us moving on
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrows
Through all this world of joy and sorrow
We still can have singing tomorrows


The song is called 'Quite Early Morning.  There are numerous variations on You Tube, a lot by Pete himself.  Try looking at one version he made just before he died.  His singing is shot to pieces, his banjo playing however remarkably good considering he probably had arthritic fingers.  But he's still optimistic.  Why the man never received the Nobel Peace Prize is a mystery I will never fathom out.


A lot more people today want to halt global warming than those, like Pete, who foresaw it in 1969.  Unfortunately it's a bit too late to even slow it down.  So my optimism for 2015 and beyond is somewhat blunted.  I will be dead in twenty years, maybe 10.  But my children and even some members of Kimber's Men will be around for another 40 years; my grandchildren at least 60 with luck; so it would be nice to sing 'Darkest before the dawn' on stage;  but we don't.  It goes like this...........


They say it’s darkest before the dawn

This thought keeps us moving on

If we can heed these early warnings

We should make port before the morning

If we can heed these early warnings

We should make port before the morning


Some say this old ship won’t long endure

We ask what makes them feel so sure?

For there are those who hear our singing

Will keep our sails high in the rigging

For there are those who hear our singing

Will keep our sails high in the rigging


So we keep on while we live

Until we have no more to give

And when our voices can sing no longer

There will be others, younger, stronger

And when our voices can sing no longer

There will be others, younger, stronger


We’ll plot our charts, we’ll trim our sails

Through heavy seas and mighty gales

Until we reach that safer landing

Where there is peace and understanding.

Until we reach that safer landing

Where there is peace and understanding.


Don’t you know, it’s darkest before the dawn

This thought keeps us moving on

If we can heed these early warnings

We will make port before the morning

If we can heed these early warnings

We will make port before the morning


Melody – Pete Seeger – Used by permission – Royalty Network, 224 West 30th Street, New York. NY1001. USA



I suppose the most important verse is the fourth one.  Of course I would never have written/changed the song at all without Pete's inspiration, and we would never have recorded it without his permission.  If anybody wants to sing it......... well it's out there in the public domain.  All you need is a voice and Seeger himself approved.


I'm not what you might classify as a prolific songwriter.  Most of the stuff I've penned I'm reasonably proud of.  I wrote a song when in hospital in Israel about my hosts at that time, a time I would add when Israel was behaving itself, that for a while became immensely popular (on the scale of Stead mind you) in America and I sold numerous CD's at concerts on the strength of it.  I dropped it from my repertoire when Israel became ever more aggressive towards the Palestinians.  Paul Downes threatened to sing it at one time but lost interest I suspect for the same reason.  The song is called Schindler's Children.


However 2015 will see the publication of my song 'Just another folk singer' in the New York Folk Song Society journal.  It will be the greatest tribute ever paid to my song writing and I'm especially proud that I'm being recognised in America a country I'm exceedingly fond of insofar as they have a minority of the population who seem to like me.  I've often joked that I have more fans in Philadelphia than I do in Great Britain.  Which is a sad old joke - because its true!!!


Whilst chatting in my local boozer (a pub that helped to inspire my song 'Where millionaires and paupers are drinking side by side') I, by complete chance, whilst discussing the length of my hair in 1979, came upon reference to a song on my friends laptop that I wrote sometime way back in the early 1970's. (The connection here was brought about by looking at pictures on the web).  Suddenly I found reference to a song called 'The loneliness of the long distance folk singer'.  I remember to this day writing it, in a very drab hotel bedroom immediately after a booking somewhere in the north of England miles and miles away from Erith in Kent where I resided at that time.  The audience had all gone home, it had been an exciting funny evening and I had been in good form.  I suddenly felt very lonely and saddened I suppose that having been in the company of a hundred or so people all singing along I was suddenly in the quiet of a hotel bedroom completely on my own.  The song and the tune were both penned before I went to sleep that night.  So it can't have taken very long to compose.  But here on the laptop was a reference by someone I've never met (Little Jimmy Oddman) implying that I had set a precedent.  A chart of songs about the loneliness of long distance folk singers.  Jimmy Oddman (God bless him) had this to say.............

1.    DefaultThe Loneliness of the Long Distance Folk Singer

I’ve been listening to Numero Group’s fine Wayfaring Strangers compilation a lot recently. In its own humble way, this chart is something of an homage from the other side of the Atlantic. Whereas that was full of 17 American male singer-songwriters recorded in regional custom studios, this is full of 17 of their British equivalents. They mostly come from the loose network of folk clubs up and down the UK, as described in the Joe Stead track that gave this chart its title.


Joe Stead – The Loneliness of a Long Distance Folk Singer (from Live At The Whittlebury Folk Club, Sweet Folk and Country, 1977)
As you can see from some of the mentions above, Joe Stead was crucial to the folk community during the 1970s. He owned Sweet Folk and Country Records (which is also known as Sweet Folk All) and recorded numerous other folkies.  In the eighties, he set up Greenwich Village Records and released music by Martin Carthy and even Pete Seeger.

Last edited by Little Jimmy Oddman; 17-04-2011 at 01:13 AM.



Amazing what you can find on the web sometimes by complete chance.  That was posted nearly four years ago.  I wonder where Jimmy Oddman is today?  Well wherever you are Jimmy - thank you for setting up a chart of songs based on the title of a song I wrote in 20 minutes in a drab hotel bedroom nearly 40 years ago.   As Seeger so often said "You just never know"


Oh yes!  And something else we didn't know, until this Sunday just gone, was that Kimber's Men were voted one of the most popular acts on Sunday Brunch during the whole of 2014 and as a consequence an edited section of our October appearance was shown again. (Sunday 28th December 2014).



Fixture List for Kimber's Men and Joe Stead




Jan 11th (KM) BBC RADIO LEEDS. Durbervilles - 8pm.

Jan 17th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.

Jan 30th (KM) The Fleece, Boxford, Suffolk

Jan 31st (KM) White Lion, Heptonstall, West Yorkshire

Feb 7th (KM) Coronation Hall, County Square, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 7LZ

Feb 20th (KM) St Barnabas School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2EY

Feb 21st (KM) Camden Road Education Arts & Theatre Enterprise Workshop.

Feb 21st (KM) Catsfield Village Hall, East Sussex TN33 9DP

Feb 27th (KM) The Pound, Corsham, Wiltshire.

Feb 28th (KM) Village Hall, North Bradley, Wiltshire.

Mar 13th (KM) The David Hall, South Petherton.

Mar 14th (KM) Spring Arts Centre, East Street, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1BS

Mar 21st (KM) Heron Theatre, Stanley Street, Beetham, Cumbria LA7 7AS

Apr 25th (KM) Recording Studio

Apr 26th (KM) Recording Studio

May 11th (KM) Beverley Folk Club, Rose and Crown, Beverley, East Yorkshire

May 15th (KM) Shepley Festival

May 16th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Northumberland.

May 17th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Northumberland.

May 23rd (KM) Met Studio, Gatehouse Theatre, Eastgate Street, Stafford.

May 28th (KM) Ostend Festival

May 29th (KM) Ostend Festival

May 30th (KM) Ostend Festival

May 31st (KM) Ostend Festival

Jun 12th (KM) Mylor - Venue to be confirmed

Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea

Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea.

Jul 22nd (Joe) Leeds - Lecture on Paul Robeson.

Jul 24th (KM) Penarth Pier Pavilion, South Wales

Jul 25th (KM) Shammick Acoustic’ Pack o’ Cards, Combe Martin. EX34 0ET

Jul 26th (KM) Village Pump Festival, Westbury, Wiltshire - Provisional

Aug 1st (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 2nd (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 3rd (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 4th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 5th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 6th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 7th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 8th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 9th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 10th(KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 11th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 12th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 13th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 14th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 15th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Aug 16th (KM) France - Festivals. Clubs. Other venues. - Provisional

Sep 1st (Joe) Rochdale Masonic Buildings. Richard Street, Rochdale 2pm - Robeson.

Nov 20th (KM) Market Theatre, Market St, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2AQ

Nov 21st (KM) Rhosygilwen, Rhoshill, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire. SA43 2TW

Nov 28th (KM) Hepworth Live, Hepworth Village Hall, Towngate, HD9 1TE.

Dec 6th (KM) The Bothy Folk Club, Park Golf Club, Park Rd West, Southport


Kimber's Men were booked in to two village halls in Lancashire at the end of November.  Here are some of the comments collected by the two venues

Very good - bringing excellent artists to a rural area

A source of entertainment to the village, something new. Come again!

Brought ten people to the event and they really enjoyed it.

Can't beat live entertainment with masters of their art.

This was an excellent show in a perfect venue. We will be back for more and hope this service will continue to flourish.

A memorable performance from a fine group of singers.

Brilliant - entertaining, educational and wonderful experience.

Excellent show and venue

Excellent show

Very entertaining

Kimber's Men were excellent

It was an excellent evening and great to be able to join in with the singing.

Great to have a live show - jolly, tuneful, responsive and great fun!

Utterly fabulous! Super venue, really excellent community event! Keep em coming!


Very good


Excellent, impressed by the harmonies

Very good.

True, honest music reflecting England's rich sea-faring past.



Brilliant evening - very awe inspiring.

Brilliant harmonies. Excellent songs and lyrics.

Very good entertainment. Good night, lovely bass voice! Good friendly venue.

All our group really enjoyed the show!

Epic, cool.

Excellent show, excellent venue, friendly and intimate. Excellent acoustics too.









You're right! It's in the Bible! John's Gospel in most versions as the passage moves around in the manuscripts (not joking).


It's normally thought that there was some distaste in that the man wasn't brought along with the woman who was caught 'in the very act' (so they knew who he was) because the Law says that both should be judged.


So, the passage becomes about 'equal justice'. But Jesus' statement goes further as you have rightly pointed out.


But forgiveness can only be given by someone if that someone genuinely wants forgiveness.  And Jesus gives that forgiveness but also tells the woman not to continue in her sin.


I do believe you may yet become a Biblical Theologian given a decade or so.


Lee Smith





So pleased you're going to Falmouth !

Will get our accommodation booked .

Saw you on Antiques Roadshow at the weekend, getting quite a regular on T.V Cheers ,

Anne and John Marshall











Happy Thanksgiving,

Matt Rucins

Lincoln Hall – Schubas
Talent Buyer & Promoter
3159 N. Southport - Chicago, IL 60657





I have to confess I'm completely out of Funnies.  I did have quite a large collection in a file which I mistakenly binned a couple of months back.  So any good jokes you might be able to forward would be greatly appreciated.  But please try to avoid overtly sexist or racist jokes as they tend to offend even me.  Jokes about French people offend Tim Broadbent; but he cancelled his subscription at least 12 months ago, so I would be happy to read them even if I don't print them.  There is one gentleman residing in Sussex who is offended by all jokes, but he too is off limits so there is absolutely no chance you will offend him either, although he is very easily offended.


The following, apart from one small obvious inclusion, has been plagiarised from Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times.  If you don't already purchase the Sunday Times on a regular basis, then it's far time you did.   I always buy it.  There.  That might help to excuse me from any forthcoming copyright claims; or at least reduce them a bit if nothing else.





   The UN decrees 2015 to be International Year of Solidarity with the exciting Nigerian Muslim organisation Boko Haram — following on from the previous year, which was dedicated to Palestine.

   A UKIP candidate is heard referring to black people as “jungle bunnies”, but the party’s press office insists he meant it in a nice way, bunnies being agreeable creatures and jungles being eco-friendly.

   A geographical survey discovers that the north of England has sunk 1½ inches and may soon be inundated with water, as a consequence of its morbidly obese inhabitants.

   Rosetta’s Philae probe at last awakes and leaves comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for somewhere still more remote and unpleasant, many light years distant.



   Richard Dawkins announces that, contrary to his previous belief, God does indeed exist, but that he is an idiot.

   The Royal Family comes under fire for a fancy dress party at which Prince George is dressed as the late Cambodian politician, Pol Pot.

   The leader of the Scottish National Party; Nicola Sturgeon, and the former leader Alex Salmond, push through an act that confines future leaders of Scotland to people whose names sound a bit like fish.

   George Osborne, the chancellor, says that the British economy is on course to eclipse those of China and America.



   The Russian leader Vladimir Putin delivers a stirring denunciation of homosexuality, while dressed in a leather basque, wrestling a bear and listening to a CD of Judy Garland's greatest hits.

   The BBC's last remaining disc jockey is arrested by Operation Yewtree.

   A UKIP candidate is filmed narrowing his eyes and screaming "Banzai Banzai" when he is introduced to a Japanese dignitary.  He then attempts to disembowel himself with a butter knife.  A party spokesman said it was all meant in good fun and anyway, remember the Burma Road!



   One of the celebrity contestants in I'm a Celebrity...Get me out of Here! is named as Jihadi John, from Isis.

   Immigration to the UK stands at 750,000 so far this year.  In an effort to wrest back the anti-immigration agenda from UKIP, the home secretary, Theresa May, is filmed howling abuse at Poles and setting light to Roma encampments.

   The Philae probe at last touches down on Ed Milliband's cranium, whereupon the signal is immediately lost.



   The General Election results in a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, with Ed Milliband as prime minister and Nick Clegg as his deputy.  It is the first time in British history that an election has been won by parties  led by people  who have  favourability ratings  of -476%.  A Mori poll, taken the day after the count suggests that only two people in the country wanted Milliband to be prime minister - Mr and Mrs Graham Stokes, of Sunderland.

   There are terrible queues at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

   Jihadi John decapitates the singer Peter Andre on I'm a Celebrity and is now the favourite to win.

  Joe Stead, member of parliament for Calderdale, says it is still not clear to him how he managed to win with only nine votes.



   A signal from Philae!  It reports that its latest destination is devoid not merely of life but also even of a vacuum.  This defies the current paradigms of physics.  What could be less than a vacuum?

   Britain's fattest woman is taken to hospital after her house in Mansfield, is demolished to get her out.  She persuades the driver of the pantechnicon conveying her to stop so she can have a snack at the Little Chef in Doncaster.



   It is revealed that Tony Blair is advising the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, on such stuff as haircuts and how to smirk.

   Jihadi John wins I'm a celebrity and in triumph decapitates Ant and Dec.

   The Lab-Lib coalition outlaws injurious eco-unfriendly habits such as central heating, driving a car, cooking etc.

   The Philae probe gets the hell out of Ed Milliband, tweeting its immense relief.



   An unusually hot month brings claims of "climate change" from climate change scientists and BBC weather forecasters.  The stunningly mediocre July was likewise described by the same people.

   A US company has begun exploratory fracking on the Duchess of York's thorax, provoking fury from green protesters.



   The Ebola virus makes it into the UK, having lied to border officials and worn a cunning disguise for its passport photo.

   Ed Milliband is hospitalised after trying to eat a triangle of Toblerone and getting terribly confused in the process.



   There are now a total of 87 people left in Britain who were born in Britain, and 76m people who weren't.  But they are not happy either according to the polls.

   The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams insists that the Ebola virus has a right to live a free life in the UK as a member of "God's Kingdom".



   Jihadi John is now hosting a chat show on ITV under the name of "Choppy Man".

   The Lab-Lib coalition demands that women who don't do any work should be paid as much as men. "And arguably more" says Rachel Reeves, the new home secretary.



   The Ebola virus is discovered, by the Daily Mail, to be living in a small flat in Keighley and claiming benefits for its exponentially expanding offspring currently numbering several trillion.

   Hackers based in North Korea have disrupted the BBC's Sports Personality of the year.  Christmas, too, is disrupted, because all the turkeys have fled the country

Rod Liddle - Sunday Times - December 28th 2014.



Keep smiling, keep singing.



Joe Stead.