CD Graphic Design by Robert Brooks

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A Song for Beds, Herts and Bucks

CD cover image


That's how the human species has evolved to retain and pass-on important information, long before early writing methods emerged. They were passed on in narratives, sagas and, arguably with most effect, in songs.

From their traditional tales the remote Andaman Islanders knew to run to the hills when the sea drew back before the 2004 tsunami. It killed a quarter of a million people around the Indonesian, Sumatran and Indian coasts on Boxing Day 2004. Their beach-built huts were washed away, but the tribe survived through cultural knowledge which the rest of the nearby world (apart from a few specialists) had 'lost'. The most recent predecessor to this tsunami probably occurred between A.D. 1300 and 1450!

When the Watford Folk Club announced their competition 'A song for Beds, Herts and Bucks', twenty-six people dug into the wealth of tales around them - some old, some new, some personal, some far-reaching - and told those stories again in song form. I attended the final, enjoyed the songs, and wanted to ensure that they continued to have life beyond the competition, perhaps inspiring listeners to find out more about the stories behind the songs themselves.

So here are the ten finalists and one of the runners-up, performing their own compositions. Enjoy these songs - and the stories they tell

Tim Brooks August 2013

This CD - containing the songs of the ten finalists and the two reserves - and can be purchased at the Watford Folk club or from any of the song-writers/performers themselves,

Click on the song title to find lyrics, background, and info about the author and performers,

Track Song Title Author Performed by Subject
1 Way to Go Sally Barnes Sally Barnes The plans for the HS2 High speed railway
2 The Banks of the Beane Phil Hewett and Jim Coombes Blue Harbour The disappearance of the water flow from the River Beane over the last 50 years
3 The Great Ouse and the Colne David White David White The story of the White family over 3 generations and their relationship with the three counties
4 The Hatter Girls Bob Hines Floyd, Hartwell and Hines Characters from the Luton Hatting Industry
5 The Hertfordshire Guards Ray Owen Ray Owen The fate of the Hertfordshire Regiment at Ypres
6 Chartists Ballot 1846 Linda Birmingham and David Silver Linda Birmingham and David Silver The Chartists Ballot in 1846
7 James Snooks Hamish Currie Hamish Currie The story of James ("Robert") Snooks - the last highwayman to be hanged in England
8 Begone (The Witch of Walkern) Daria Kulesh Daria Kulesh and Jason Emberton The story of Jane Wenham,tried for Witchcraft in 1712
9 The Headless Horseman Julie Dawson Julie Dawson The Cavalier ghost who haunts Pirton!
10 Destined to lie with the King Elaine Lavery Elaine Lavery The story of William Dormer of Wing, who as a teenager was engaged to Jane Seymour (future wife of Henry V111)
11 St Alban Chris Flegg Chris Flegg St Alban - martyred 22 June c250

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