THE FOOT O WOR STAIRS - CROOKED OAK
1979


Side 1:

1. Bonny Woodhall
First heard sung by Dick Gaughan. This particular version is from Bell's Rhymes of Northern Bards.

2. The Pipers Chair/The Legacy Jig
These two Irish jigs from O'Neils Collection are often found to be played around sessions on Tyneside.

3. The Band o Shearers/Small Coals and Little Money/Felix The Wrestler
A Scots song from the borders "The Shearing" referred to is that of corn and not sheep. The tune that follows is a Northumbrian pipe tune from Bruce & Stokoe's "Northumbrian Minstrelsy". The second tune is an Irish tune from O'Neil's 1001 Irish Tunes.

4. The Lowlands of Holland
A Scots version of a popular song, the text for this version from Galloway is from Noran Buchan's 101 Scottish Songs except for the first verse which is from "The Scottish Minstrelsy".

5. A U (Me) Hinny Burd?/Mr. Kennedy North
A song about places up and down the River Tyne and N.E. coast. A "hinny burd" is a pregnant mare. The song is again from the "Northumbrian Minstrelsy". The tune 'Mr. Kennedy North' is a recently discovered tune written by the late Tom Clough, who was probably the finest exponent of the small pipes that ever lived. Keith found the tune in some manuscripts at Beanish Museum.

Side 2:

1. Lucy Grey of Allendale
The greater part of the poem by the same name from Bell's Rhymes of Northern Bards. The tune, basically Scots, was put to it by Steve.

2. The Humours of Tulla/ Cois an Ghiorria/Marquis of Tullibardine
Three tunes; the first of Irish origin from O'Neil's Collection. The second is from "To ne mair breathnach ceol rince na h'Eireann Book 1". The third tune is Scots; Alan heard it from the playing of Dave Swarbrick.

3. Will Jobling/Ill Never Gan Tae The Dark Cellar Nee Mer
Will Jobling was one of the founders of the Miner's Union in 1832. One evening, whilst on strike, he and Ralph Armstrong encountered Judge Nicholas Fairless from South Shields. The Judge refused Jobling's plea for some money so Armstrong killed him. On 1-8-1832 Jobling was unjustly found guilty of the judge's murder and he was sentenced to be hanged and gibbeted. He hung on the gibbet 100 yards from his own home on Jarrow Slake for 25 days before he was buried. Will Jobling was the last man in Britain to be gibbeted. Keith found the tune that follows from the John Bell Manuscripts at Beamish Museum.

4. Sir John Fenwick( The Flower among them all)/Salmon Tails Up The Water
Two Northumbrian tunes; the first, from the Northumbrian Minstrelsy was usded as a gathering tune by the followers of James II during the Jacobite Uprisings of 1745. Sir John Fenwick was one of the followers of James II and he was hung in 1747 for his treachery. 'Salmon tails up the water' is from The Piper's Tune Book.

5. The McGregors
A song about the sons of Rob Roy McGregor after his death and to the tune of 'The Haughs of Cromdale'.

Crooked Oak are:
Steve Evans - vocals & guitar
Keith Davidson - Northumbrian small pipes, Irish pipes and whistle
Alan Green - Whistle, cittern, fiddle, banjo & vocals

All titles traditional arranged by Crooked Oak except "Will Jobling" (Dutfield/Evans)
Song notes by Crooked Oak
Recorded at Soundlink Studios, Shieldfield, Newcastle on Tyne
Engineered by Ian Craig
Produced by Stu Lucky
Sleeve concept, design and snaps by: Rae Curry
Disc mastered by Raymond Staff, Trident Recording Studios Ltd., London.

Sleeve Notes:

Since the formation of the group in 1971 i have listened with interest to the many vocal and instrumental combinations that have appeared under the Crooked Oak banner. In the folk world personnel changes invariably mean policy changes but with Crooked Oak this has not been the case. Traditional music and songs, coupled with recently written material in the traditional idiom, has formed the basic foundation on which the group has built a substantial repertoire.

Over the years I have seen the group develop as each musician came and went, leaving his mark on their music, absorbing or rejecting as the case might be. With such a galaxy of instrumental and vocal talent in the line-up here it is often hard to strike a balance: this album has a very strong instrumental bias which utilises fully the musical skills within the group.

Their choice of music has been consistently of a high quality: beautiful melody lines and strong, innovative, rhythmic instrumentals. This album is in keeping with those standards.
Ray Fisher

It is noted in Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide 2010 that a mint copy of this LP is worth 25 though sells for considerably more on ebay. Last copy to sell was 28 June 2009 at 17 (+7 post).