Local Song CDs
Reviews, comment and CD details

'Roly resolutely cranks down the volume in his characteristic style, has adapted the songs with sensitivity, wit and an unforced Blaydon dialect. He sheds new light on old tunes'.
Judith Murphy - Northern Review, volume 14/2004

'He has a warm voice that really puts over the passion and humour in the songs'
The Crack Magazine - March 2016

'Roly is dedicated to his Tyneside roots, presenting the songs as they should be sung'
Living Tradition Magazine - Issue 113, April/May 2016

'We've always felt there's a subtler, gentler, sadder side to these songs, and a wittier one too, that didn't quite find it's place. Now we have a recording that really satisfies us. It has the wit; it also has that more haunting, delicate side we've never found before in a collection of Tyneside songs'
UA Fanthorpe & Dr RV Bailey (UA chose my song 'Keep your feet still' (Canny Tyneside CD) as one of her selection on Radio 4 Desert Island Discs in 2004)

'A new venture in performing the folk songs of the North East comes from Roly Veitch, native of Blaydon. The result is a gentle sound, his own warm singing voice accompanied by expert, light guitar playing. What is distinctive about his style is the new settings for the tunes, more harmonically adventurous than the usual chord patterns, but sounding a treat'
Bill Griffiths of the Durham & Tyneside Dialect Research Group

'Roly gives us a gentle, homely take on these songs that we think we know, presented with excellent musicianship'
Ann Alex - BSH Blog December 2015

'A lovely recording with many old favourites on it'
Kathy Secker - BBC Radio Newcastle

'As a broadcaster I have played many tracks from Roly's albums and they always bring a positive response from listeners at home and abroad. His deep affection for the North East and its people shows in everything he does'
Gary Hogg - Radio Tyneside

'My Folk record of the year'
Lance Liddle - BSH Blog, November 2017

A CANNY TALE by CROWLEY'S CREW (released November 2017)
Available for purchase from Amazon - click here.

Roly Veitch - vocals, guitar, banjo, uke (with overdubs)
Stewart Hardy - fiddle (tracks 4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 16)

The song 'Blaydon Races' is known worldwide but what, when and where were they exactly? And who was Coffee Johnny? Where did North East coal mining begin? Just who were the keelmen? Where did the Industrial Revolution really begin? Which UK businessman, politician and working class leader was a devout left wing republican and radical who clandestinely supported those of similar persuasion across Europe? Which North East town was the first to have a Co-operative Society, located at what was said to be one of the most distinctive Co-op buildings in the entire UK? If you would like to find out some answers to these matters you might enjoy this CD. The songs on it tell of some of the history of one small but significant area of Tyneside and of the miners, keelmen, blacksmiths and industrialists who created their own remarkable legend here.
Blaydon, Winlaton & Stella together have a rich history ranging from very early coal mining at the very beginnings of North East mining to Crowley's Ironworks, which was, by the early 1700s, probably the biggest integrated industrial operation in Europe with 1500 blacksmith workers. It was a forerunner of the Industrial Revolution and a model for possible future social welfare schemes. Then came industrialists Joseph and son Joe Cowen, both businessmen but committed leaders of working men and Joe (The Blaydon Brick) became an internationally known left wing radical, republican and activist with unwavering conviction. Then of course Blaydon had its famous horse race meeting leading to the song 'Blaydon Races', THE Tyneside anthem, which is known worldwide. The races ended their days at Stella Haugh, site of a great battle between the English and Scots back in 1640. Finally there was the modernisation of Canny Old Blaydon in the late 1960s/early 1970s when the Victorian era shops and terraces were replaced by a modern town. The older residents remember the old town with great fondness. All in all its quite a canny tale.
The songs on the CD tell individual stories but listened to in running order give an evolving story of some of this history and the insert booklet with the CD gives a potted history as related to the songs. Because of the exceptional nature of the history the album may be of interest to people beyond the local area that it relates to.
Composers - Winlaton Hopping (John Leonard) & Blaydon Races (George Ridley). The other songs and lyrics are all composed by Roly Veitch except Winlaton Rapper Song, Keel Row & Down by the Riverside (melody used on last chorus of The Spike) are traditional songs of unknown authorship.
My thanks to the great folk fiddle player Stewart Hardy who came in on the recording session and played on six of the songs.
PS. The song 'Canny Old Blaydon' was first recorded on my 'Gan Canny' CD but this version has a new melody, a quicker tempo and revised lyrics.


Review from The Crack magazine December 2017
The latest project from the estimable Roly Veitch is a concept album of sorts, which tells the tale, in song, of the Blaydon/Winlaton/Stella area of the region. Of the 16 tracks all but four of them are originals played on banjo/ukulele/guitars – with maybe a fiddle accompaniment – and are in the best folk tradition, with the good people of those particular areas shown at work and play. Veitch has the kind of storytelling voice that draws you into the nitty gritty of what makes these towns and villages tick, and the inclusion of local standards – such as 'The Keel Row' and 'Blaydon Races' – are an absolute perfect fit. 

Review from BSH Blog, Lance Liddle, November 2017
Roly Veitch has removed his jazz hat and replaced it with a cloth cap and muffler (or whatever the working man wore in Blaydon long long ago) to tell us in song and story of his hometown's industrial past. He does it with so much feeling that I imagined I was on backshift down the pit at Winlaton, working in Crowley's Ironworks or his Brickworks. Maybe smelting lead, having fun at the Winlaton Hoppings, going to the races on Blaydon Island - yes there was an island in the Tyne - fighting the Scots at Stella Haugh, meeting Coffee Johnny who wore a white top hat, shopping at 'The Store' (Coop) or maybe working as a keelman. I have cycled along the Keelman's Way past George Stephenson's Cottage across the river from Blaydon and my own hometown, Hebburn, actually has a Keelman's Way School.
Most of the songs are composed by Roly who sings then with the same laidback, wistful sound he applies to his jazz vocals. Close your eyes and you'd think Chet Baker lived in Blaydon - if he had a Geordie accent that is! No doubting Roly's accent and yet it's not so pronounced as to be incomprehensible in other parts of the country or, indeed, the English speaking world. Nor is it the pseudo-Geordie accent beloved of TV. As Roly says, "I'm a Tynesider and proudly must say 'Give me the language that's spoken my way'. And special mention of Neil Harland's mixing, Dave Kerr's artwork and (on 6 tracks) Stuart Hardy's fiddle playing. My Folk record of the year.


Track Listing - -
1 - Winlaton Coal
2 - Crowley's Crew
3 - A Keelman's Lament
4 - The Lead Road
5 - The Blaydon Brick
6 - Winlaton Hopping
7 - Winlaton Rapper Calling On Song
8 - A Legend Evermore
9 - Blaydon Races
10- Coffee Johnny Wore a White Top Hat
11- The Battle of Stella Haugh
12- The Spike (Down by the Riverside)
13- Canny Old Blaydon
14- Three Cheers for Blaydon Co-op
15- The Keelman's Way
16- The Keel Row


WHEREVER YE GAN by ROLY VEITCH (released 2015)
Available for purchase from Amazon - click here.

Roly Veitch - vocals, guitar, banjo & uke (with overdubs)

For this CD I went back to my own favourites of the well known Geordie repertoire. To some extent it is a reworking of my original 'Canny Tyneside' CD but with new recordings (all done during 2015), changes to some of the arrangements, more variation (some banjo & uke as well as guitars) and a few changes to the choice of songs.

Review from The Crack magazine in March 2016 - 'Roly Veitch gets his jaunt on for this collection of traditional local songs that take in everything from 'Wor Geordie’s Lost His Penker' to 'The Lambton Worm', along with one of my personal favourites, 'Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny'. Utilising guitar, banjo and ukulele he keeps the toe-tapping vibes turned up to the max, and he has a warm voice that really put over the passion and humour in the songs. Does 'The Blaydon Races' get another run out, though? But of course it does and it’s sounding as good as ever in Veitch’s capable hands.'

Review from BSH Blog, Ann Alex December 2015 - 'Have you finished your Christmas shopping? No? You’d do well to buy this lovely CD for someone. Here we have many typical Geordie songs such as The Keel Row and The Water Of Tyne, but what struck me is that we don’t listen carefully enough to these lyrics: for instance, the title track, Wherever Ye Gan You’re Sure To Find A Geordie, suggests that you’ll meet a Geordie even in the afterlife! How many of us could tell the story of the Lambton Worm in detail, or draw a timeline of the Blaydon Races journey? Roly gives us a gentle, homely take on these songs that we think we know, presented with excellent musicianship and touches of sly humour. The much-maligned banjo and ukulele come across as serious instruments in Roly’s hands, and the guitar fares well. Jazz and folk influences abound in the music. There’s one instrumental track, Morpeth Rant/Hesleyside Reel, so well played and arranged that I’d have welcomed more tunes. Cullercoats Bay is sung with gentle sincerity; Wor Nanny’s A Mazer, a sort-of love song, has jazzy guitar and train sounds to represent the journey which was prevented by drunkenness; Alang The Roman Wall is accompanied by a marching rhythm; the lullaby Bonny At Morn is done to slow steady guitar riffs; The Pitman’s Lament (new to me) isn’t about a mining disaster as you’d perhaps expect, but it’s a father’s lament that his grammar school son has become posh. The other tracks are: Wor Geordie’s Lost His Plenker; Ma Bonny Lad; I’ve got A Little Whippet; Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny; Bobby Shafto and the CD is well rounded off with a tribute to God’s own country, Canny Tyneside, followed by a few bars of There’s No Place Like Home on the ukulele.'

Track Listing - -
1 - Wherever ye gan you're sure to find a Geordie - MP Thornton/JG Robson
2 - Wor Geordie's Penker - trad.
3 - Cullercoats Bay - JG Robson
4 - Keel Row - trad.
5 - Ma Bonny Lad - trad.
6 - Wor Nanny's a Mazer - T Armstrong
7 - Water of Tyne - trad.
8 - Lambton Worm - CM Leumane
9 - Morpeth Rant / Hesleyside Reel - W Shield/T Elliot
10- Pitman's Lament - N Turnbull
11- Bonny at Morn - trad.
12- Alang the Roman Wall - N Turnbull
13- I've got a little whippet - E Boswell
14- Keep your feet still Geordie hinny - J Wilson
15- Bobby Shafto - trad.
16- Blaydon Races - G Ridley
17- Canny Tyneside - JG Robson


GAN CANNY by THE BLAYDON ACES (released 2012)
Available for purchase from Amazon - click here.

Roly Veitch - vocals/guitar/banjo
James Birkett - guitar/banjo (solo guitar features on Tr. 6 & 11)

This recording was made with my pal James Birkett, a fine guitarist. James has accompanied me at concerts. It features James with two gorgeous guitar solo pieces together with a few songs I've not recorded before plus fresh versions of some of my own favourites of the repertoire, for example a slower than usual version of 'Blaydon Races', a calypso version of 'Wor Geordie's lost his Penker'.

Review from The Crack magazine July 2012 - 'The Blaydon Aces have come up a glorious celebration of Tyneside with a selection of songs synonymous with the region. Veitch’s vocals really draw you in (augmented by some sterling guitar and banjo work from the pair) and the familiar nature of some of the songs are given impetus by some original arrangements. For example, ‘Wor Geordie’s Lost His Penker’ has a lovely calypso feel. Tremendous stuff.' GM

Track Listing - -
1 - Keep your feet still Geordie hinny - J Wilson
2 - Wor Geordie's lost his penker - trad.
3 - Sair fyeld hinny - trad.
4 - When this aad hat was new - trad.
5 - Wherever ye gan you're sure to find a Geordie - JG Robson
6 - *Bonny at Morn - trad.
7 - Bobby Shaftoe - trad.
8 - Canny old Blaydon - R Veitch
9 - Blaydon Races - G Ridley
10- Billy Boy - trad.
11- *Water of Tyne - trad.
12- The Lambton Worm - CM Leumane
13- Gan Canny - R Veitch
14- The row between the cages - T Armstrong
15- Big River - J Nail
16- Fog on the Tyne - A Hull
* - J Birkett guitar solo pieces

Note - one song on this CD, 'Canny old Blaydon', has been reworked on my new 'A Canny Tale' CD where I've given it a quicker tempo, a new melody and revised lyrics.


CANNY TYNESIDE by THE BLAYDON ACES (released 2002)
Available for purchase from Amazon - click here.

Roly Veitch - vocals/guitars (2nd guitar overdubbed)

Since my teenage years I've taken an interest in our local dialect songs. Being Blaydon born the song 'Blaydon Races' started it off, then I began to learn some of the well known repertoire just for my own interest. I listened to other artists such as Alex Glasgow and Denis Weatherley. Then in 2002 I recorded this CD using my own arrangements for two guitars plus voice. The CD received a lot of nice comment then quite a lot of local radio airplay (including some radio interviews about it). In 2004 one song, 'Keep your feet still Geordie hinny', was played on Radio 4 Desert Island Discs at the request of poet UA Fanthorpe. This was a total surprise. Then my version of 'Blaydon Races' was played for a short while at St. James' Park home of Newcastle United FC which was quite an honour. The encouragement from this experience spurred me on to do more with the repertoire, record further albums and do concerts (often helped by a long time pal James Birkett, a fine guitarist).

Track Listing - -
1 - Wherever ye gan you're sure to find a Geordie - MP Thornton/JG Robson
2 - Canny Tyneside - JG Robson
3 - Wor Nanny's a Mazer - T Armstrong
4 - Ma Bonny Lad - trad.
5 - Keep your feet still Geordie hinny - J Wilson
6 - Pitman's Lament - N Turnbull
7 - Cushie Butterfield - G Ridley
8 - The Ha'penny Woods at Bedlington - JG Robson
9 - Cullercoats Bay - JG Robson
10- Alang the Roman Wall - N Turnbull
11- Pot Pies and Puddens - JG Robson
12- The Weshin' Day - T Wilson
13- The Neighbours doon belaa - J Weams
14- My Cheviot Hills - JG Robson
15- The Lambton Worm - CM Leumane
16- The Howty Towty Lass - JG Robson
17- Water of Tyne - trad.
18- Blaydon Races - G Ridley


GEORDIE ROOTS by THE BLAYDON ACES (released 2003)
Currently unavailable

Roly Veitch - vocals/guitars (2nd guitar overdubbed)

Following on from my Canny Tyneside CD I began working on more of the local songs, some perhaps a little less well known.
I used the same formula again - voice with arrangements for two guitars. Also for the first time an instrumental medley - track 8.

Track Listing - -
1 - Tyneside's where I come from - E Boswell
2 - The Keel Row - trad.
3 - Cappy the Pitman's Dog - W Mitford
4 - Aa hope ye'll be kind te me dowter - J Wilson
5 - Geordie haad the bairn - J Wilson
6 - The row upon the stairs - J Wilson
7 - The Cliffs of old Tynemouth - DR Leitch
8 - Redesdale Hornpipe/Morpeth Rant/Hesleyside Reel - W Shield/T Elliot
9 - Wi me pit claes on - E Boswell
10- Dance ti thy Daddy- W Watson
11- The Paanshop bleezin' - JP Robson
12- I've got a little whippet - E Boswell
13- Not much left - R Veitch
14- The fiery clock fyece - R Nunn
15- Bonny at Morn - trad.
16- Blaydon Races - G Ridley


To listen to sample tracks from these CDs follow my YouTube channel click here.

Some songs are repeated on the CDs, particularly 'Blaydon Races' which is on all of them but there are no duplicated recordings anywhere. All song repeats are contrasting versions either with fresh arrangements, different instrumentation, varied tempos or re-recorded modifications of existing arrangements.
All the CDs are licenced with MCPS.


Back to Home Page