The Pitmen Poets announce their farewell tour

Piitmen Poets

The Pitmen Poets celebrate the songs, humour, and culture of North East England’s Coal Mining tradition, bringing together four of the region’s leading champions of its musical heritage. Ex-Lindisfarne & Jack The Lad singer and writer Billy Mitchell, Song Man from London’s West End musical Warhorse, Bob Fox, leading exponent of Tyneside song Benny Graham, and much-covered BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee songwriter Jez Lowe – individually and collectively, The Pitmen Poets.

This is a journey through the centuries of a once-great industry, from the songs that saw it thrive and dominate, to those that saw its demise and the resulting aftermath.

Now, after two albums and several hugely successful tours, the band prepare to release their farewell album to accompany their twenty-three date farewell tour.

“The audience sang along, laughed and also shared moments of sadness as the combined talents of Billy Mitchell, Jez Lowe, Benny Graham and Bob Fox took them on an epic journey through the life and times of the Northumberland and Durham coalfields.  What a great night!” (Brian Coles – Rock of the North).

With every member coming from coal mining stock, this quartet represents the first generation of their families not to take up the tradition of working down the pit.

As Billy Mitchell explains: With every member coming from coal mining stock, they represent the first generation of their families not to take up the tradition of working down the pit. As Billy Mitchell explains:

“Our parents all said ‘you’re not going down the pit, get a good education and do something worthwhile with your lives’….so now we sing songs and tell stories…. about coal mining. It’s quite ironic really but it’s very important to keep the stories we all heard growing up in the form of songs for the next generation.

“Life working in the pit was tough and to reflect that, our songs aren’t all happy tunes as we look at the terrible tragedies that affected whole villages when disaster struck. But there’s also humour too in great doses in our songs as that’s how families got through the bad times.

“We’re playing a lot of former coal mining areas and the songs will resonate with many people there who made their living from coal.  Our music and the subject matter will entertain audiences from Berwick in the North, Croydon in the South, East to Canterbury and West to Blackwood in South Wales. We’re all looking forward to going out on our 2019 tour and meeting the public and literally taking our coals from the Newcastle area to the rest of the country.

Artists’ website: www.thepitmenpoets.co.uk

‘Black Leg Mining Man’ – live:

The Pitmen Poets Farewell Tour 2019

OCTOBER

16TH CANNOCK PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE 01543 578 762

17TH LEEK FOXLOWE ARTS CENTRE 01538 386 112

18TH CONSETT EMPIRE THEATRE 03000 262 400

20TH MANSFIELD PALACE THEATRE 01623 633 133

21ST NETTLEBED VILLAGE CLUB 01628 636 620

22ND CROYDON STANLEY HALLS 0208 251 0184

23RD MILTON KEYNES THE STABLES 01908 280 800

24TH WORCESTER HUNTINGDON HALL 01905 611 427

25TH BARNSLEY CIVIC 01226 327 000

26TH BUXTON OPERA HOUSE 0129 872 190

27TH KESWICK THEATRE BY THE LAKE 017687 74411

28TH LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC 0151 709 3789

29TH RUNCORN BRINDLEY THEATRE 0151 907 8360

30TH SHREWSBURY THEATRE SEVERN 01743 281 281

31ST SALE WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE 0161 912 5616

NOVEMBER

1ST LINCOLN NEW THEATRE ROYAL 01522 519 999

2ND MALTON MILTON ROOMS 01653 696 240

3RD BARNARD CASTLE WITHAM 01833 631 107

4TH SELBY TOWN HALL 01757 708 449

6TH SOUTH SHIELDS CUSTOMS HOUSE 0191 454 1234

7TH OTLEY COURTHOUSE 01943 467 466

8TH AMBLE DOVECOTE CENTRE 01665 713 655

9TH DURHAM GALA THEATRE 03000 266 600

12TH CHESTERFIELD WINDING WHEEL 01246 345 222

13TH SOLIHULL CORE THEATRE 0121 704 6962

14TH BLACKWOOD MINERS INSTITUTE 01495 227 206

15TH CHELTENHAM PUMP ROOM 0844 576 2210

16TH CANTERBURY GULBENKIAN THEATRE 01227 769 075

17TH BILLINGHAM FORUM THEATRE 01642 552 663

19TH BURY MET 0161 761 2216

20TH BERWICK MALTINGS 01289 330 999

22ND WHITLEY BAY PLAYHOUSE 0844 248 1588

23RD HEXHAM QUEENS HALL 01434 652 477

24TH GATESHEAD, SAGE 0191 443 4661

 

www.thepitmenpoets.co.uk

 

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Gannin’ To Blaydon Races: The Songs Of George Ridley

The unitary district of Northumberland is to be lauded for its musical contributions to the world including as it does Billy Mitchell, Lindisfarne and Jack The Lad etc and perhaps none more so than the unofficial anthem “Blaydon Races” written by George ‘Geordie’ Ridley. This 19th Century song captures the very essence of the community at the time and performed in glorious recitation by Benny Graham conveys the fun in the chorus with its extended holding on the word ‘roaaaaad’ (think Newcastle United supporters on a beery match afternoon!) joined by members of The Whole Hog Band. This recording of Ridley’s classic, along with the other 16 songs he penned in his short life should form a part of every ‘folk music’ lover’s

CD collection. On the album, the ‘music hall’ genre of which the song is a celebrated fixture also features Ridley’s other ‘hit’ “Cushey Butterfield” and less well-known gems “Joey Jones”, “Cabman” and “Harry Clasper” performed by artists including Jim Mageean, Johnny Handle, Brian Watson and Terry Conway. Credit must also go to the arranging skills of Vic Gammon and the wonderful team at Mawson-Wareham who have more or less single-handedly taken the reins in promoting the spirit of Northumberland. With an eye to capturing every ‘entertainment market’ there is an accompanying DVD on the story of Ridley (featuring actor Craig Conway) produced by Ray Raidlaw & Geoff Wonfor and, as if that wasn’t enough there is also a sumptuously packaged book by author Dave Harker providing the reader with everything you needed to know about this most colourful character and the hopefully never to be forgotten era of the music hall. Talking of which…I nearly forgot…if you’re looking for a good old fashioned sing-a-long then look no further, it’s a wonderful collection!

PETE FYFE

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Artist’s website: www.mawson-wareham.com

Catologue number: Mawson Wareham Music MWMCDSP107