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LYRICS AND BACKGROUND NOTES

Recorded songs and tunes are listed alphabetically - click the links for lyrics, mp3s, pictures, notes and/or notation.

Albums:

• The Whisper Whisper
• Island Stories
Stories
• Stolen Pigs Pigs
• Mixed Moss
Moss
• The Kelping
Kelping
• Downhill All The Way
Downhill
• The Silverlode
Silverlode
• The Slippery Slope
Slope

A

AUTUMN (Bliss) An old love song from TBs rockier days Moss

B

BLUE COCKADE (Trad) The Show of Hands version with a few ‘evolutions’ by TB Silverlode

BOAT TO BURHOU (Bliss/Fitzgerald) Lovelorn song about an uninhabited Channel island. Developed from an air by Iona Stories Pigs Slope

BRANSCOMBE BAY (Toller/Bliss) and sometimes THE NAPOLI (Ann Wooby - arr Bliss). At Sidmouth 07, I was asked to run a songwriting course on the theme of the beaching of The Napoli, which was still lying just off the town. On the Monday, two ladies from the Branscombe Oral History Society contributed this largely true story. On the Friday, Richard Toller presented this song Whisper

BRISTOL LADY (Bliss - from trad sources). A complete rewrite of The Discharged Drummer. Whisper

C

CAMPBELL THE ROVER (Trad) A wonderful April Fool - a bit like asking two people each to hold a piece of string round a corner Kelping Pigs

CASQUETS LIGHT (Bliss) Slip jig written to go on the end of Boat to Burhou Silverlode Stories

COLD COAST OF CATTERICK (Napper) Composed while marooned (locked in) in a friend's house in Catterick Kelping

CONVENIENCE REEL (THE KNOCK AT THE DOOR) / MORNING DEW (Masterson/Trad) Kelping

D

DEAD MEN BEAR NO WITNESS (Bliss) A folk tale from Inishmaan in the Aran islands Moss

F

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM (Bliss) True? story about the murder of Admiral Sir Cloudisley Shovell as the British fleet was decimated on The Isles of Scilly in 1707 Kelping

FOG ON THE DOGGER (Bliss) Singing for a living on a North Sea Ferry Moss

FOUR FOOT TRACK (Bliss). Song for one of the most important women in my life Whisper

FOXHANGER WOOD (Bliss) This scrap of ancient woodland still belongs to the Bliss family. 'Hanger' is the wealden word for a wood clinging to a scarp face, where archery could be practiced. This one also contains the remains of what is prossibly one of Gertrude Jekylls wild gardens.

G

GENTLE MAIDS ASHORE (Bliss) A cross-dressing song with a difference! Again, real people with deliberate references to trad songs of this genre Moss

GILL FIELD SUMP (Bliss) A true and magical ghost story from the Pennine lead mines - and it happened to TB's friend Granville's Great Grandfather! Moss

GOD SPEED (THE SNOW GOOSE) (Bliss) Tom's by no means the only songwriter to have been mesmerised by Paul Gallico's heart-stopping little book, The Snow Goose Kelping Whisper

GREY LADY (Bliss) How did a standing stone in the shape of a girl wrapped in a shawl come to be on Alderney's cliffs? Stories Downhill

H

HANDSOME CABIN BOY (Trad) One of those great cross-dressing ballads - and happy too! Whisper

HEDGEHOGS (Barker/Bliss) Tune to accompany Les Barker's wonderful poem Catnav

HERM (Bliss) - When Slide visited Alderney in 2002, TB took them to The Grey Lady to see the other Islands ranged along the horizon. He named them all one by one, and Neil said; “Herm? Couldn’t they decide what to call that one then?” (sorry no dots). Stories

HIGH PART OF THE ROAD (Trad) / THE CASTLE (Ryan) / CREEL OF TURF (Trad) Many thanks to Rod Taylor (of Slide) for this great jig set Silverlode

HOMECOMING DAY (Bliss) - True story of the exile and return of the people of Alderney 1939-45 Stories

HUMBER HORSE MARINE (Bliss) A life hauling the direct descendants of Viking longships - Humber Keels Slope

HUMOURS OF WEST MEATH (Trad tune) An Irish jig and a complementary tune by TB, played simultaneously Silverlode

I

IREBY HOBBLE (Bliss) This a trixy piece (with missing beats - originally intended as a Morris tune it would be impossible to dance to!) written for TB’s notorious BBC series “Cumbrian Tales“ - but never used. Also recorded by TB's sister Jane with the Oxford-based Skeleton Crew Silverlode

ISLE OF WIGHT HORNPIPE (Trad) From the Kidson collection Kelping

J

J’AI PERDU MA FEMME (TRAD) - A ribald song in Guernsey patois Stories Moss

JACK HALL (TRAD arr Bliss) The English version with Dublin overtones! Moss

JOHN RILEY (Trad) Whisper

K

KELPING (Bliss) Work song from a lost maritime industry - Scillies, Lihou, Arran etc. Pigs Kelping

KNOCK AT THE DOOR (CONVENIENCE REEL) / MORNING DEW (Masterson/Trad) Kelping

L

LES GAS DE LA MARINE (Hornpipe) Hornpipe collected in Jersey by Peter Kennedy, but, it emerges, written for the 1931 film Monte Carlo Madness, aka Captain Craddock

LADY IN THE EAST (Trad) Newfoundland song learned from Christina Smith and Jean Hewson Kelping

LEAVING LOCHBOISEDALE / THE STRONSAY WALTZ (J Wilson / J Chalmers) Lochboisedale is on South Uist in the Western Isles (Wilson was a world champion piper, despite having lost two fingers after picking up an unexploded WW1 grenade on Arthur's Seatt) - and Stronsay is in the Orkneys Whisper

LILY OF THE WEST (Trad) A lesser-known variation on the popular ballad Kelping

M

MAID ON THE SHORE (Trad) Almost the same story as the Handsome Cabin Boy Slope

MARK PURDEY (That's Just the Kind of Man He Was) (Bliss) Song for my school friend, who campaigned against agri-chemicals Whisper

MARY PROUT (Bliss). A tragic story of murder and redemption from 1864 Whisper

MERRY BELLS OF HELIER (Bliss) The last battle ever fought on British soil, and the last land battle between England and France Stories Kelping

MIDDLE ENGLISH AND WELSH PIE (Bliss) A Chaucerian recepie poem, made entirely of English and Welsh place names Whisper

MIGHTY MONTAGU True story of the loss of the Montagu on Lundy - skippered by Captain Adair, ancestor of my cousin Commodore Allan Adair (who has managed not to do the same thing with either HMS Excellent, HMS Brazon OR HMS Brilliant to date!) and also related to the Captain Adair who died at Nelson's feet at Trafalgar prompting Nelson's last words before being hit, “There goes poor Adair, I may be next to follow him.” Whisper

MILL POND / MIST ON THE MEADOW (Trad) Kelping

MIRANDA (Bliss) Dadgad guitar piece for TB's boat! Moss

MISS HAMILTON (Lyons) A lovely Irish air, mandocello and octave mandolin managing to sound like a harpsichord Silverlode

N

NAPOLI (The) (Ann Wooby - arr Bliss)

NEEDLE AND THREAD (Henry Clements) Moss

NEWRY HIGHWAYMAN (Trad / arr Bliss) Politically correct Irish highwayman comes to a sticky end Silverlode

NORTH AT NIGHT (Bliss) Tom was thinking of the Snow Goose, finally heading for the arctic at the end of the book. Whisper

O

OAK FOURTEEN (Bliss) When Foxhanger Wood was due to be cleared, the foresters numbered the trees before felling. But Oak 14 was spared because Tom (then a toddler) and his sisters enjoyed swinging on the low branches Kelping

ON LONGSTONE (GRACE DARLING) (Linley/Bliss) A complete rewrite of a contemporary broadsheet Kelping

P

PENDLE HILL (Bliss) The last English women to be burned as witches came from Pendle, and it was also on this hill that George Fox had the vision that led him to found the Quaker Movement. Tom was told this as a true story. Moss

PIE / PLACE NAMES POEM (Bliss) A Chaucerian recepie monologue, made entirely of English and Welsh place names Whisper

POOR LABOURERS (Trad/Tyrall) Five shillings a week? They were lucky! Silverlode

R

RACE (Bliss) An Alderney fisherman ponders his life working the Channel - and his own mortality Slope Stories Pigs

RAVEN QUEEN (Bliss) True story of the power behind Charles I's throne, Queen Henrietta Maria Kelping

RECYCLED JIG (Magee) TN was impressed by Derek Magee's tunesmithery when guesting on Slide's second album. Downhill

RUE (Trad/Humpreys - adapted by Bliss) TB's personal take on Mary Humphrey's reconstruction of various trad songs - which she calls Oh No My Love Not I. Moss

S

SALT (Trad) An old Irish song about condiments, oat cuisine - and cannibalism Silverlode

SARK DANCE (Trad) Polka collected in Sark by Peter Kennedy Stories

SILKEN LEATHER (Bliss) True story of the Bliss Tweed Mill in Chipping Norton Kelping

SILVERLODE OF SARK (Bliss) The fate of a Cornish miner in the Sark silvermines - based on supposedly true events Downhill Stories Pigs Silverlode

SIN OF MARY PROUT (Bliss). A tragic story of murder and redemption from 1864. Whisper

SNOW GOOSE (GOD SPEED) (Bliss) Tom's by no means the only songwriter to have been mesmersied by Paul Gallico's heart-stopping little book, The Snow Goose Kelping Whisper

SOMEONE UPSTAIRS (Bliss) Song about a WWII pilot’s narrow escape Silverlode

SOUND THE DRUM (Bliss). The true story of Long Preston Peg's adventure with Bonny Prince Charlie in the 1745 rebellion Whisper

SPIRIT OF ECSTASY The doomed love affair between John Montagu, 2nd Lord Beaulieu and his sectretary Eleanor Thornton - model for the famous mascot. Whisper

STAMFORD BRIDGE / SCARBOROUGH BEACH (Bliss) Two polkas composed on a fossilling expedition with TB's son Jack Silverlode

STELLA (Bliss) The true and tragic tale of 'The Guernsey Titanic' Downhill Pigs

STRANGER AND THE CRONE (Bliss/Magee) A cautionary shaggy dog story - never assume a man's a criminal just because he dresses in black Slope

SUNSET AT SAYE (Bliss) Originally written for the same documentary that inspired Boat to Burhou Stories Moss

SWINGE (Bliss) The Swinge is the tidal race that runs between Alderney and Burhou, and therefore features in the songs Boat To Burhou, The Stella, The Grey Lady and, of course, The Race (which refers to the water on the other side of the main island).Kelping Stories

T

THAT'S JUST THE KIND OF MAN (MARK PURDEY) (Bliss) Song for my school friend, who campaigned against agri-chemicals Whisper

TORCH! (Bliss/Fielding) A paean to lost love, in defiant jig time Slope

TOWER OF REFUGE (Bliss) Sir William Hilliary built at Tower of Refuge in Douglas Harbour (Isle of Man) having seen so many boats founder on Conister Rocks. He was also the founder of the RNLI Kelping Pigs

TUMBLEBUM TONGUE-TWISTER (Bliss) Whisper

TURN AND FACE THE WIND (Bliss) For Sacha Fu Fen Quayle (born Hunan, China) on her naming day Silverlode Stories

U

UNQUIET GRAVE (Trad) Moss

V

VIOLIN (Bliss) Tom’s fiddle tells its own story Silverlode Downhill

W

WALL (Bliss) A climbing, or rather, dangling, metaphor Moss

WAULKIN' O' THE FAULD / GALLAGHER'S FROLICS (Trad) / THE OLD FLAIL (Broderick) A Hebridean air followed by two Irish jigs Silverlode

WHERE STRANGERS STARE (Bliss) Is the ghost of an Elizabethan soldier trapped in Alderney Museum? Stories

WORKING CHAP (Trad) Not recorded)

WRECK OF THE STEAMSHIP STELLA (Bliss) The true and tragic tale of Guernsey’s own Titanic Downhill Pigs

 

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