We have also collected information about most of our songs. Some examples are:
Elsie Marley. This is a humorous song about an inn-keeper's wife, supposedly based on a real life person. Unfortunately, she was lazy, and was renowned for sleeping-in late most mornings, and avoiding her work at the inn. She also liked to consume a lot of alcohol, and she liked the company of other men. Unfortunately this got her into trouble, as one day her money was stolen, "back of the bush in the garden".
The Fair Flower of Northumberland. A lovely ballad about a daughter of an Earl of Northumberland. She was beguiled by a Scottish Knight, who was being held captive by the fair flower's father, with promises of wealth and marriage. After escaping the Knight spurned the fair flower, as he was already married and was not rich. However, the story has a happy ending, as she was welcomed back again by her family, and she is still the Fair Flower of Northumberland.
Derwentwater’s Farewell. This is a lament for James Derwentwater, the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater. He was beheaded in 1716 for his part in the Jacobite rebellion. Supposedly written by him, while awaiting his execution in a London prison, as he recalls his life and times in his beloved Northumberland, and his Dilston Hall home. Stones from the demolished hall were used to build some houses and hotels in Corbridge, which can still be seen today.
Cushie Butterfield. A comedy song about a young man who falls in love with a larger than life lady, who likes drinking beer. Written in the 1860's by Geordie Ridley, it was apparently based on a real person. So the story goes, he had to temporarily leave the area after its first performance, as he was threatened with bodily harm by Cushie, as she didn't like the song. She was quite a character. The "yellow clay" referred to was used to clean and polish stone front door steps, a common feature at the time.
Bonny at Morn. This a beautiful song with a wonderful melody and harmonies, the latter coming from Frank's fiddle. It's a simple story about a Northumbrian farming family, with the mother finding difficulty in getting her teenage children out of bed to work on the farm. Oh, well, they say not much changes over the years!
Caller Herrin'. This is a Scottish song that has found its way into the Northumbrian genre. It's about the Newhaven fishwives calling to passers-by in the street to sell their newly caught fish. The song also reflects the dangers of the fishing industry at the time, and the risks that their men folk took to catch the herrin', especially in the Scottish North Sea.
Bobby Shaftoe. A famous song that tells the story of a young lad who goes to sea to seek his fortune, and promises that he will marry his girlfriend when he returns. One of the best known Northumbrian tunes/songs outside of the North East. In the mid 1700’s the MP for Durham was called Bobby Shaftoe, but it's likely that they were two different people.