Karin Grandal-Park’s short album, Lives On The Line, is part of a series of community projects based in west Yorkshire. Karin concentrates on the history of three landmarks on the Settle & Carlisle line; the Shanty Batty Green, Blea Moor Tunnel and the famous Ribble Head viaduct. Six of the seven songs are written by Karin and we’ll come to the exception later.
The opening track is ‘Going On A Randy’ – a randy being a drinking session of monumental proportions. Inevitably it ends in a brawl as one gang of navvies confronts another but there is a surprise at the end. I won’t spoil it for you. The exception comes next: Alan Bell’s ‘Alice White’. It was suggested by Mike Harding who provides musical decorations throughout and it was this song that sparked Karin’s interest in the lives of the navigators. It tells the story of a young woman who leaves home for her man and lives a hard life but stays the course – several courses, in fact. Karin writes a prequel to her story with ‘In The Springtime’.
‘Oh To Be A Navvy’ tells of a young man you leaves the land to work on the railway. He learns the harsh realities of the life but makes good in the end – a song of triumph over adversity. ‘A Day Like Any Other’ tells of a disaster – there has to be one – but Karin ends Lives On The Line on a lighter note with ‘Hide From The Devil’.
Also supporting Karin are guitarist Allan Ideson and Rebecca Clare Douglas on violin, viola and piano laying a smooth foundation for the songs. Lyrics and notes on the songs can be found on Karin’s website and it’s well worth a visit.
Artist’s website: https://www.karingrandalpark.co.uk/
‘Alice White’ – official video: