Hello - I hope you enjoy looking through my website. To browse it with the layout at its best, I recommend adjust the website border size to approx 12" wide (30 cms).
I'm interested in local songs, dialect and culture and particularly the social and natural history of the Blaydon locality, my home patch. I have some Blaydon area historical information on the website which I hope you might find interesting, even though I'm no expert. Check out the amazing stories of Sir Ambrose Crowley and Crowley's Crew, The Cowens, Blaydon Burn and last but not least, the checkered history of the legendary Blaydon Races.
The Blaydon Races anthem is the most famous of a quite astonishing and immensley varied repertoire of local song in dialect, a tradition of which Geordies worldwide are rightly proud. I think they uniquely encapsulate our culture, humour, history, emotions and language in a delightful way. This heritage of Tyneside and Northumbrian dialect songs goes back over centuries.
They range from old folk songs, handed down aurally, to Victorian Music Hall. From songs from the 1950s radio program 'What Cheor Geordie' to recent pop songs.
To perform this repertoire my friend and fellow guitarist James Birkett joins me, to play my 'voice + two guitar' arrangements (on a few songs voice/guitar/tenor banjo) as 'The Blaydon Aces'. Our versions are quite traditional in style but the accompaniments behind the vocals are original and I try to keep my dialect quite natural and unforced.
I have three CDs which cover a good range of the repertoire. All are self produced but have been professionally mixed and mastered.
The latest CD, 'Gan Canny' was released on 9th June 2012. The sleeve notes give a history of the races.
Click on the CD pictures to the left for more information on each one, including review comment and sound-bites. I've got quite a few song excerpts on YouTube also. There are no duplicated tracks - the small number of songs recorded more than once are contrasting versions with fresh ideas in the accompaniments. To purchase CDs see link below.
Click on the headings below for more information on the various topics. Click on 'Blaydon and Winlaton History' to access the sub-menu of essays on the history of Blaydon Races, Crowley's Crew, The Lead Road, Old Blaydon, The 'bad lads school', The Spike, Blaydon Burn and more.
Pictured left - the beautiful Path Head Watermill, Blaydon and underneath, a young Blaydon lad with his guitar.