FTX-133 - THE SMACKSMAN

TOM BROWN -1-

In the first of two albums, TOM BROWN of Caister, gives the background story and songs of the East Anglian fishermen' There are many traditional ones, like CRUISING ROUND YARMOUTH, THE BARLEY STRAW, THE OYSTER GIRL and THE FAITHFUL SAILOR BOY, as well as Music Hall ballads, as well as contemporary songs, like that about gay-boy, CLARENCE. He tells of life on the herring boats and of the characters, "the old salts" including some sailor's rhymes & language.

1. Song: THE SMACKSMAN - 2.43

2. Talk about Winterton, Sam Larner, local traditional singer, other types of songs: Music Hall, the risky or "blue" - 0.42

3. Song: THE MAN WHO PLAYED THE TROMBONE - 2.12

4. Talk about next item - 0.30

5. Two ditties: BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS/ THE PARSON AND THE CURATE - 1.20

6. Talk about next item - 0.32

7. Song: CRUISING ROUND YARMOUTH - 4.17

8. Talk about previous item, when sung in the fo'c's'le, and in pubs, about young people writing songs today - 0.38

9. Song: CLARENCE (by John Mitchell) - 2.55

10. Talk about previous item - 0.15

11. Song: THE OYSTER GIRL - 2.42

12. Talk about how he became involved in folk clubs - 3.26

13. Song: THE BARLEY STRAW - 3.22

14. Talk about benefits gained from singing in folk clubs - 1.20

15. Talk about his father, mother and grandfather - 2.25

16. Song: THE FAITHFUL SAILOR BOY - 4.07

17. Further talk about family singing - 0.50

18. Song: MARY WENT TO A TEA-PARTY - 1.30

19. Further talk about mother's songs - 0.26

20. Song fragment & story of song: GIVE ME A TICKET TO HEAVEN - 1.50

21. Talk about his work, father lost at sea, railway in Norfolk, move to Nottingham, village idiot story, interest in singing, war-time in Hartlepool Working Men's Clubs, description of old sailors, story of jam-tins, The Big Meat Pie, Yorkie's post-cards, BBC gale warnings, change of language from ship to shore, rhymes for Rules of the Road at sea, Boxing the compass, the Cobbler's Compass, rhyme for entering Portsmouth harbour - 9.20

22. Song: WHEEL THE P'RAMBULATOR - 1.58

23. Talk about next item - 0.25

24. Song: ON THE DOLE - 2.01

35. His mother's final song at the end of a night of singing: THE OLD HOUSE - 1.53

Recorded by Peter Kennedy at Soundpost Studios 25th March 1979, with special thanks from Peter to Roy Harris for introducing Tom to him. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1979.

Known locally as "Jack Whampoo's boy, Tom", Thomas Harold William BROWN was born at Caister-on-sea, near Yarmouth, on 11th March, 1919. His father, Jack, was a fisherman with a skipper's ticket, and both his grandfathers were also skippers. His father lost his life in 1941 when the steam-drifter, "Helpmate", was blown up by a mine. His mother, Nellie Crane, was from Caister and Tom was the youngest of 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls). After school in Caister, at 14, he went on the steam-drifters, and, at 15, found himself on the Australian run as a deck-boy in the Merchant Service on S.S. "Port Caroline". The round trip then took 9 months.

1934, he was home fishing again as a net-stower, and in 1939 as a whalerman. During the war he served as a rigger, a leading hand-wire splicer, in the Royal Naval Supplementary Reserve. After the war, with his mother left on her own, he left the sea and worked for the Midland and Great Northern Railway at Stalham finishing up as a guard. When the line was closed he found work at Worksop in Nottinghamshire and it was here that he first attended a folk club and found himself in demand as a folksinger. This rediscovered interest he claims has lifted him "out of the doldrums" and Tom expresses his gratitude to all the Nottingham club members who have accepted him amongst them.

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