(Click on CD cover pic to access song list and soundbites)
'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
My interest in local dialect songs goes back to my birth place - Blaydon. You could view the site of the old racecourse from my grandmother's house, where I was born. Naturally the song Blaydon Races assumed a special significance. I later learned that my great-grandfather John Danskin (my father's mother's father) was a river keelman. The Danskins of Newburn were a family of river keelmen and miners. My father was James Danskin Veitch, Danskin being his mother Ellen's maiden name. Also some of my Veitch ancestors on my father's, father's side of the family, were watermen. The keelmen were the legendary river community, and subject of many folk songs, who used their keelboats to take coal from the many small wagonway loading jetties to load onto the bigger ships docked down river.
John Danskin was probably one of the last as in the second half of the nineteenth century the keelman trade had all but disappeared due to the rapid growth of the railway network, the use of staithes, tugs and improvements in the river depth due to dredging, the work of the Tyne Improvement Commission (under the stewardship of Winlaton's Sir Joseph Cowen (and for which he was knighted).
My teenage interest in pop music developed into a deeper passion for music as a keen guitarist and also I began to take an interest in the well known Geordie songs as performed by artists such as Owen Brannigan, Dennis Weatherley, Alex Glasgow and others. As I gradually got into playing , I also began to perform a few of these songs, just for fun.
I gradually began to evolve formal arrangements of some of these songs (written for voice + two acoustic guitars), with three main objectives. These were - to keep my dialect natural, to retain the original feel of the songs and yet try to add something fresh, both in the intimate vocal style and in the guitar arrangements.
During the Spring of 2002, I got down to recording these songs, with the 'two guitar' arrangements. I recorded first guitar then overdubbed second guitar/voice. The aim was to try to achieve an intimate, honest and natural sound (with no added reverb nor any other artificial enhancements) just as you would hear if listening at a live concert at an intimate venue, in very close proximity. The tracks were then professionally mixed and mastered by Axis Audio. The CD "Canny Tyneside" was the end product. I never imagined a track would be played on Desert Island Discs, on BBC Radio 4, but that's what happened, at the request of the eminent poet U A Fanthorpe. Also the CD has been much played by BBC Radio Newcastle and Radio Tyneside (Gary Hogg's Geordie Hour) and my 'Blaydon Races' was featured at Newcastle United's St James Park for a while, during 2004/2005 season.
For full track listing and to try some soundbites click on CD cover pic or - soundbites.
REVIEWS and COMMENT
UA Fanthorpe & Dr RV Bailey - "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 the CD that really satisfies us. It has the wit; it also has that more haunting, delicate side we've never found before in collections of Tyneside songs. What is it? It's Canny Tyneside by Roly Veitch and the Blaydon Aces. This is the definitive version you've been looking for too - buy it!"
Bill Griffiths of the Durham & Tyneside Dialect Research Group "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. There are many favourites included in the 18 tracks: 'Keep your feet still Geordie hinny', 'The Weshin' day', 'The Lambton worm', 'The Blaydon Races', and songs by Jack Robson and Norman Turnbull from the 20th century.
What is distinctive about this production is the new settings for the tunes, more harmonically adventurous than the usual chord patterns, but sounding a treat in this excellent recording."
Bill sadly passed away in 2007 - see 'Wor Dialect' page for more information about this remarkable man.
The North-Easterner - "..a lovely little collection of local dialect songs in Roly's dulcet tones - in all, a super collection - well produced and very cheap at the price."
John Harle on BBC Radio Newcastle - "I think that's brilliant!"
Ian Robinson on BBC Radio Newcastle - "The most unusual recording of Tyneside songs I've ever heard - just one man and his guitar - I think it's a stunner!"
Kathy Secker on BBC Radio Newcastle - "...a lovely recording with many old favourites on it!"
The Northumbrian - Recommended purchase for Christmas present ideas - Christmas 2002 to 2009.
Durham Town and Country - Recommended purchase for Christmas present ideas 2002 to 2007 (magazine now aborbed into The Northumbrian).