Includes Fire the Lines, written by David Fenner, and the great Common Ground, written by Mark Ashworth, as well as our arrangements of other varies material, traditional and contemporary, three-part a capella and band arrangements featuring duet concertina, guitar, melodeon, ukulele and bass guitar.
We Tell Stories
Our title track and a fine song. It has been said that a ballad is a story set to music and that we communicate, sometimes best, through stories and through song. We tell stories……and that is all.
A tender and moving song written by Mark Ashworth. A story of Polly, Billy, Johnny, dancing and the devastating impact war can have on our lives.
A song of hope. Whatever mistakes we may make in life, it’s not the end of the story, since life has a way of giving us another chance.
We Apologise For Any Inconvenience
A gentle dig at the state of our railways and the only song we know of to include the words ‘Haddenham and Thame Parkway’. Written by Jim Woodland for Mikron theatre, it was based around Northern railway stations. Jim gave us permission to change the station names to Southern railway stations except we couldn’t think of a station round here that rhymed with either York or Morecambe Bay so they remain in the song!
A song written from the perspective of an American civil war widow. It recalls the day when she watched her husband walk away to war and brings her story up to the time when, ten years later, she is still finding objects left behind when the soldiers passed through.
A Calling On Song
lyrics Hutchings/music Diegan
We first heard these lyrics on an early Steeleye Span album (1970) ‘Hark! The Village Wait’ and the lyrics clearly derived from the Earsdon Sword Dance Calling On song. We imagined the song would work well as part of a processional dance and so we set the words to new music. The folk process never stops!
The Spooky Men’s Chorale, of which Stephen Taberner is the choir leader, or Spookmeister, tell the best stories through their madrigal choir based performances. Singing from a wide range of genres, they occasionally wrong foot the audience expectation with a love song. The Sweetest Kick is but one.
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk together.
People tell stories to each other as they walk. It’s what you do. A wonderful song that tells of the pleasures of simply walking with your fellow humans, chatting, singing, seeing the countryside and feeling at one with the world.
The Year Turns Round Again
In the National Theatre production of Warhorse the Songman comes on stage and sings single verses of this song. The song was based on John Tams’ Snow Falls. We put the verses together (not necessarily in the right order!) to come up with our special version of this song.
Fire The Lines
The SS Rohilla became a hospital ship in the First World War. On 30th October 1914 the Rohilla ran aground in a storm near Whitby with the loss of 83 lives. Six lifeboats were launched to save as many as possible. Rockets were launched from the shore but could not secure a line to the ship. Many lives were lost, a few swam to safety but all the nurses and the captain (and the ship’s cat!) were saved.
We’re a sea-faring nation and many of our heritage songbooks have stories about the sea. Our sailors, ships, disasters, loves and losses. There are also many stories about William and Nancy where William has to go off to war and Nancy says “Hold on a minute, I’m with child” and William says “Sorry love, but I’ve been called up” so Nancy says “ Fine. I’m coming too. I’ll dress as a man to get on board the ship and then we can be together”. William says “Not one of your best ideas Nance.” And so it goes on…….. A three part a cappella.
Before her untimely and unlawful death in 2016 MP Jo Cox famously said: ‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.’ Mark Ashworth wrote this song with her words in mind. A song of our times.