The Horse and the Tractor- a Radio Ballad

by The Living Archive Band

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1.
2.
The Field Song Music: Rod Hall Words: Rod Hall & Kevin Adams Frost on the ground and a light in the sky Early to work in the fields go I Sounds from the farm drifting up to my ears Mist slowly lifting, the landscape appears A kestrel is hovering over Gib Ground, In Park’s Piece the cattle stand, making no sound Sheep in Big Meadow and cows on the Leys, Bushey Field, Middle Ground, fine land to graze. Rooks in the elms, looking down through the trees. As I plough Lower Woolans and Thistly Piece I’ve harrowed, I’ve sown, I have reaped and I’ve mown Days turn to years out here, all on my own. And still I can picture them in my mind’s eye Dream I am walking beneath that big sky I have grown old here, while they stay the same, I will walk out upon them, I will treasure their names.
3.
Master & Servants words & music K Adams A greener plot of land was never seen on earth Our Master owns it all, it was his right by birth. Every stick and stone, every brick and tile Every hedge and tree and every fence and stile, Every fence and stile. He tells us when to sow, he tells us when to reap He tells us when to plough and when to shear the sheep. And if he may be rich and though we may be poor This is the way it goes, of that you may be sure Of that you may be sure I pass him in the lane, politely raise my hat And if it isn’t raining stop to have a chat We talk about the weather, talk about the stock, Talk about our families, we’re his little flock We are his little flock And he will care for us, reward us with our pay And we’ll work hard for him, we know no other way Three cottages to hand, three families to house, Three men to work the land and herd the sheep and cows. ` Herd the sheep and cows. My name is Harold West, a shepherd, by and large, And Beachampton Hill Farm is mostly in my charge. Me, me name is Jones, strong as any horse The stockman on the farm, and known as Taff, of course, Known as Taff of course. And me I am the third, Robert Webb’s the name Though you can call me Bob, I’ll answer just the same. Answer just the same A greener plot of land was never seen on earth Our Master owns it all, it was his right by birth. Was his right by birth.
4.
Awake and Arise Rod Hall Awake and arise! The morning is here The hills and the valleys are bright, fresh and clear There’s a blue sky above us, o’er green grass we roam Through England’s meadows, our Calverton home My name is Bet, I’m eleven years of age Oh life is so hard on a farm labourer’s wage I will go into service when I am fourteen For a gentleman and lady who live on the green Our Bet is my sister, Dick Webb is my name Then there’s Molly and Judy, there’s John, Mick and Jane I can plough with a tractor, furrows straight as a pin Mister Fountaine he’s our Master, and George is our king My name it is Molly and I am just five I have lived on the bank here since I was alive I’m a good girl, a farm girl and I never complain Whatever be the weather come sunshine or rain Here we are all together, we have sung you our verse We’ll see many changes for better or worse But the land will endure as the seasons they turn Just as springtime follows winter and swallows return
5.
Snowflake Rod Hall & Kevin Adams Our old horse, she’s a good old mare In any kind of weather she will lead you there From Stratford in the summer sun, Beachampton in the snow- Taking the long way home. White as the snow, she’s a gentle soul. Farmer Fountaine says she’s worth her weight in gold Eighteen hands, a powerhouse of muscle and of bone… Taking the long way home Taking the long way home. Taking the long way, I know it’s not the wrong way, For Snowflake is the finest horse that ever I have known, Taking the long way home. We like to rise on a warm summer's day Early to the mowing and the sweet fresh hay An eye upon them thunder clouds, hope they keep away Taking the long way home. Harvest time, it's the crown of the year We've mowed and carted all the corn, the fields are clear Snowflake's earned her extra mash, the men have earned their beer- Taking the long way home.
6.
7.
8.
Rover 05:55
Rover words & music K Adams The ‘Dog’s Mouth’ in Cosgrove was locally famous The fellow that lived there was old Farmer Amos The breeding of farm dogs was his stock in trade If you want a dog, go to Amos. Mother had saved a few shillings to pay So father walked over to see him one day He picked out a puppy and brought him back home Everyone christened him Rover. You’re a good dog, now you’re our dog You’ll come to no harm- You’re a Calverton farm dog, you’re Rover. A farm dog’s a worker, he doesn’t need petting Worm him baccy, don’t get the vet in; He worked with the cattle, he worked with the sheep, Dad could rely upon Rover. During the war there was little to eat, Everything rationed, especially meat. Rover would contribute in his own way- Two rabbits for our Sunday dinner Caught them all on your own, boy, Now chew on the bones, You’ve a nose for a coney, old Rover. Rover was trusty and loyal and clever When dad told him stay he would sit there for ever Guarding the baby that lay in the pram No-one would tangle with Rover. ‘I won’t be long boy, so just you take care Watch over the children and just stay right there.’ Rover would lie with us down by the fire- Nothing could harm us with Rover. You’re a good dog, you’re a farm dog And we’ll come to no harm Watched over by faithful old Rover We cried when he died, Rover left us too soon But now we look forward to every full moon Some see a crab and some see an old man But we see the face of our Rover You’re a good dog, you’re a farm dog And we’ll come to no harm Watched over by faithful old Rover (Over by faithful old Rover.. etc)
9.
Who Could Want For Better? Words & Music : Kevin Adams We didn’t have much but we never felt the lack We’d a roof and a fire and a privy out the back Food on the table and the good fresh air Who could want for better than we had right there? I can smell cooking and the paraffin lamp I can smell the baby cos her nappy’s damp! But nobody’s grumbling and no one moans Who could want for better it is home sweet home. The cockerel’s crowing and we’re straight outdoors Everybody busy with their daily chores Bread and jam for breakfast as a general rule Now all our jobs are finished so it’s off to school Seven in the evening on a working day Pappy tells us, ‘Come on children, clear the way!’ Who could want for better as we say ‘Goodnight,’ In our tiny little bedroom in the candlelight? In the middle of the winter it can be so hard Washing at the tap in the cold back yard But who could want for better than a good hot scrub By the range in the kitchen in the old tin tub? Pappy’s in the scullery in braces and his vest Soaping up and shaving for his Sunday best He’s going into Stony for a pint or two Who could want for better, well I’m asking you? Sitting in the window is my special place Cos when we’re all together well there’s not much space Listen to the chopsin’ and the stale old jokes Who could want for better than your own dear folks? There’s Mum and Dad and Betty, there is Bob and Dick There’s Judy, John and Molly, there is Jane and Mick Who could want for better when we’re all crammed in A cottage full of Webbs like a sardine tin.
10.
Christmas Bells Rod Hall I can hear church bells row on row Ringing for sinners here below Telling us all our hearts are blest Christus natus est! All Saints Calverton on the hill Calling to Passenham by the mill Even Beachampton hearing the song Merrily joins the throng Oh, oh Christmas bells Ringing out on Christmas morning Oh, oh Christmas bells Ding dong ding-a-dong ding I think I heard angels’ heavenly sound Singing their anthems over Gib Ground Camels and carpenters, comets and kings Bringing their glad tidings Treble and tenor and baritone, bass Grandsire Triple over Higlin’s Piece A wondrous star that ever I’ve seen Is shining on Horsefair Green The Slaughtering Carol The Slaughtering Carol Words: Godfrey Yeomans & Kevin Adams Tune: traditional (‘Searching for Lambs’) We walked to Yardley for Christmas Day Four kids and Mum with the pram Six miles it seemed such a long, long way, To visit Grampy and Gran. On Christmas Morn in the slaughterhouse They took no day of rest The poleaxe blow, and the crimson flow It caused us no distress We helped them haul up the carcasses We watched them butcher and skin Saw piggies floating in the scalding tub To loosen hair from skin Each child was given a cattle hoof To scrape off all the hair The boiling water kept us warm In that cold wint’ry air No party games, no paper hats, No treats, no barrel of beer The bells rang out on_ Christmas Day, But we felt little cheerWords: Godfrey Yeomans & Kevin Adams Tune: traditional (‘Searching for Lambs’) We walked to Yardley for Christmas Day Four kids and Mum with the pram Six miles it seemed such a long, long way, To visit Grampy and Gran. On Christmas Morn in the slaughterhouse They took no day of rest The poleaxe blow, and the crimson flow It caused us no distress We helped them haul up the carcasses We watched them butcher and skin Saw piggies floating in the scalding tub To loosen hair from skin Each child was given a cattle hoof To scrape off all the hair The boiling water kept us warm In that cold wint’ry air No party games, no paper hats, No treats, no barrel of beer The bells rang out on_ Christmas Day, But we felt little cheer
11.
Smiler Words: Godfrey Yeomans & Kevin Adams Music: Brad Bradstock Of Calverton in wartime a story I shall tell About some plucky soldier-boys and Bob Webb’s horse as well. And of some brainy boffins who came from Bletchley Park They say these people won the war, though we were in the dark They built a new transmitter with aerials and all Underneath the row of elms behind our churchyard wall Sent squaddies down to guard it who found out in due course Our hero Bob had got there first and left his bloomin’ horse Oh Smiler you mad, bad horse! This horse was known as Smiler, a most deceptive name In fact he never smiled at all, ‘cos he was barely tame. When anyone came near him he’d give the evil eye And Bob knew well he’d bite and kick at any passer-by. Oh Smiler you mad, bad horse! These brave and noble soldiers would gladly face the Hun But weren’t no match for Smiler he soon had them on the run They came to Bob and pleaded, “Can you move that bloody horse?” Gladly he’d oblige, which was his crafty plan of course. The squaddies being grateful, ‘cos Bob had saved their day He’d make quite sure to show his face when he was down their way They’d call him to the public bar and stand him pints of beer And Bob would wink and raise his drink to Smiler, and say “Cheers!” Oh Smiler you mad, bad horse! Oh Smiler you mad, bad horse! Oh Smiler!
12.
When Dick Met Alma Rod Hall, Kevin Adams & Godfrey Yeomans First set my eyes upon the girl when we were stacking hay It was a job I’d rarely do, I’m glad I did that day She walked below me in the lane, I looked down from on high Such beauty I’d not seen before, she fairly took my eye. I asked around and I was told she’s here for seven days Visiting from Manchester, her name is Alma Gray I treasured all I’d learnt so far and vowed to find out more Our paths would cross, I’d speak to her, of that I’d make quite sure I didn’t have to wait too long, the chance was soon to come I met her walking down the street as I was cycling home We talked a bit, we laughed a bit, then brazen as you like To my surprise she hitched a ride on the crossbar of my bike Well, if you’ve ever been in love you’ll know how these things go When she went home we kept in touch, and so our love did grow Letters written, promises, and then one special day Asking her to marry me, I knew what she would say. Was something magic in the air? Well we could never tell… My brother Bob, her sister Glad were deep in love as well Me and Alma say it’s fate, things had to be this way Two brothers and two sisters, a double wedding day Two brothers and two sisters, a double wedding day
13.

about

Based on the recollections of four people who grew up and worked on the Manor Farm at Calverton, North Buckinghamshire, during the 1930's, 40's and 50's, 'The Horse & the Tractor' blends their recollections and anecdotes with music written especially to accompany them.

This radio ballad format was developed by Charles Parker and Ewan McColl at the BBC in the 1950's and the material collected here by Roger Kitchen lends itself admirably to this treament. We hear about farming with horses, about the lives of the farm workers and especially their children, about the war, and about the way the agricultural way of life changed with the arrival of mechanisation.

credits

released October 1, 2014

Interviews recorded by Roger Kitchen, with thanks to Richard Fountaine, Eric West, Bet Jones and Dick Webb.

Brad Bradstock – vocals, guitar
Dave Crawford – vocals, guitar
Marion Hill – vocals
Sue Malleson – vocals
Godfrey Yeomans – bass
Kevin Adams – vocals, guitar, mandolins, fiddle

With Peter Tales, melodeon; Sheena Masson, flute; Tom Hill, piano; the Choirs of Loughton Manor First and Middle Schools, directed by Lizzie Bancroft; and solos from Tania, Oliver and Tilly Gerra.

Music recorded by Kevin Adams, who also edited the programme at StudioBlend.
Produced by Roger Kitchen, Marion Hill & Kevin Adams

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The Living Archive Band Milton Keynes, UK

An acoustic quintet with an emphasis on strong vocals to deliver both songs and the spoken word depicting the experiences of the people of North Buckinghamshire past and present. The inhabitants of the towns of Wolverton, Stony Stratford and Bletchley and of course the new city of Milton Keynes all have had something to say, and the Living Archive Band gives them a voice. ... more

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