Timeless Street [Bonus Track Edition]

by The Whisky Priests

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about

16-track reissue version first released in 1994. The original 12-track version (released in1992) was the band's second studio album.

This version adds 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks from the same recording sessions as the rest of the album, presenting the recording sessions in their entirety. These 4 tracks had originally been lined up for release on the abandoned 'Easington' EP.


Original CD liner notes (1994 reissue):

Together, the two of us formed The Whisky Priests in August 1985, after our final year at Gilesgate Comprehensive School in Durham, playing our first gig on 4th October 1985 at Fowlers Yard, Durham City.
Our mutual interest in music and our native North East England formed the initial basic template for our ideas and, in the years since, we have had to battle against a variety of set-backs just to keep that basic idea alive and kicking. Constant line-up changes have led to over thirty different members along the way, which has made things far from easy for us, plus we make no secret of the endless recording and publishing agreement disputes and the overall music media and industry apathy towards our cause. This has only made us more determined in the pursuance of our vision to its ultimate conclusion, through good times or bad, for better or worse. Perhaps one of the largest obstacles we have had to overcome has been the fact that we have been somehow forced into the position of achieving our goals almost totally unaided. It would have seemed inconceivable at the start that all these years down the line we would be running the band as a self-managed, self-financed, self-motivated and self-contained business, making all our own decisions as well as running our own fan club and mailing list, plus much more. And yet, here we are! And in spite of everything, we firmly believe we have got to this stage with our integrity and self-esteem intact.
Now that our four-year term with Celtic Music is finally at an end and ownership of all our own material has reverted back to us, we are proud to be able to reissue our first three albums on our own Whippet Records label, in special new editions, with repackaged booklets and bonus tracks.
We have always prided ourselves in our independence, as well as the special relationship we seem to share with our following. It is difficult to imagine that we could have reached this far without the enthusiasm and sheer loyalty of those who have stuck with us through it all and helped drive us on through all the difficult times. You have left us with many truly wonderful memories and experiences – long may they continue!
This special reissue is dedicated to you…

The intervening years between the recording of our debut album, ‘Nee Gud Luck’, and our second studio album, ‘Timeless Street’, proved to be an extremely turbulent period for the band, due largely to the beginning of our four-year (on and off) legal dispute with Celtic Music, which initially lasted for 18 months, during which time we were unable to record any new material, plus the constant and highly frustrating line-up changes we underwent at this time.
It seemed as though we were constantly taking one step forward and two steps back all the way along the line, and we experienced a number of stressful low points and periods of virtual inactivity, during which time our creativity, progress and morale suffered. The ‘Aal Faal Doon’ Tour of 1990 in fact marked an all-time low for us, with what turned out to be the most disastrous and ill-conceived line-ups we had ever had. Bass player, Mick Tyas, had actually temporarily left the band for the period of this particular tour and there was a severe personality clash between various band members, with the two of us stuck in the middle of it all. This was probably the closest we ever came to actually packing it all in, due to the extreme pressure relating to the internal line-up problems, but we managed to turn things around and come back stronger than ever, with a fresh determination.
The first step in this latest rebirth of the band was the recruiting of Kevin Wilson on Mandolin and Bouzouki. Our previous mandolin player, Gary Price, had announced in the middle of the ‘Aal Faal Doon’ tour, his intention to leave the band immediately the tour was over. We therefore made the spontaneous decision, in the middle of the tour, to telephone Kev, who we knew as a decent chap and capable guitarist, at the musical instrument shop where he worked back home in Durham, from our hotel room in Vienna. We explained our dilemma to Kev, asked him if he fancied ‘joining-up’ he immediately answered in the affirmative, and handed in his notice at the music shop, before heading off to purchase all our recordings from the local record shop, in order to learn the songs at home, while we completed the tour. Kev was a guitar player, who had never played mandolin before in his life, but none of us gave that any thought at the time! Anyway, as soon as we returned home, Kev was drafted in for the UK leg of the tour, learning the set as he went along. Apart from the original line-up, of course, Kev was, with the exception of current member Paul Carless, the only band member we knew personally prior to him joining the band, through his work in part-time local Durham bands and his ‘day job’ in the local Durham music shop where we bought our tour spares. Kev was with the band for almost two years but sadly ‘Timeless Street’ was the only recording he made with us. He was a lively character and was very popular with the fans. We felt quite sad in the end when he finally left the band.
Shortly after Kev joined us, Mick came back and then, in a surprising move, ‘Nee Gud Luck’ members Pete French and Steve Green also returned to the fold together, for a brief second spell, and just in time to help us out for our completely unrehearsed, yet now legendary, show-stealing performances at the 1990 Cambridge Folk Festival, where we were described by Colin Irwin, writing for ‘The Guardian’, as the ‘stars of the weekend’. It seems remarkable in hindsight that we managed to be so successful at Cambridge Folk Festival, considering that the line-up of the band, which also included Clive Cavanagh on harmonica and washboard, making this our first ever seven-piece line-up, had been hurriedly put together at virtually the last minute, with no time at all in which to rehearse a set.
Before the ‘Timeless Street’ line-up was established, however, a few more personnel changes occurred over the next couple of years, which included a spell in the band from the eccentric Mark Robertson, son of Morning TV personality, ‘agony aunt’ Denise Robertson, on drums. During this time, we kept up a continual assault on Europe, with countless tours to the Continent, particularly to Germany. The unfortunate, yet inevitable, result of this, however, was that although the band’s profile was now expanding considerably, on an underground cult level throughout various European countries, we were tending to neglect the UK, a fact that we are now coming to terms with, having realised the enormous damage caused to our profile on home soil over a number of years, through lack of attention.
Towards the end of 1991, we had, in fact, reconciled our differences with Celtic Music, in an attempt to save our floundering careers, after an 18-month nightmare of legal wrangling, during which we recorded note one note. This led, first of all, to Celtic Music re-releasing our 1988 EP’s ‘No Chance’ and ‘Grandfatha’s Fatha’, in the form of a compilation album package, imaginatively titled ‘The First Few Drops’ by Mick Tyas. By this time, Simon ‘Boy’ Chantler and Piers Burgoyne had joined the band, and we had the line-up which would record our second full-length studio album ‘Timeless Street’, more than two years after our debut album, ‘Nee Gud Luck’.
‘Timeless Street’ was the first recording we made with Fred Purser at Trinity Heights, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where we would later mix ‘Bloody Well Live!’ (1993) and record and mix ‘The Power and The Glory (1994). All sixteen tracks from the session were recorded and mixed in ten days for £2000. This admittedly miniscule sum was the largest budget we had had up until then for a studio recording. It was the second time we had used the brass sound courtesy of members of ‘Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band’, who had previously appeared on ‘Nee Gud Luck’, and who we would use again on ‘The Power and The Glory’.
‘Timeless Street’ also marks the first recording appearance with the band of current member Paul Carless, appearing here as a guest musician, being then a casual part-time member of the band on and off since 1989.
Despite our efforts at the time, there are a number of glaring technical imperfections on this album, as a result of poor performance technique in places, particularly regarding the drums. At the beginning of ‘Perfect Time’, for example, the drums are drastically out of time, but by the time we all noticed, it was too late to do anything about it, so we had to ‘make do and mend’ and compromise all the other instruments around it. We were still, even at this stage, very naïve and inexperienced at studio work, as the above example shows, but ‘Timeless Street’ proved to be a good learning process for us and the lessons we learned would stand us in good stead for when we would come to record and mix ‘The Power and The Glory’ at Trinity Heights in 1994.
The four extra tracks, available for the first time on this special reissue, were recorded at the same session as the rest of the album. A total of sixteen tracks were recorded, all of which are included here as a complete package for the first time. Our intention at the time of the recording was to release a single, ‘Easington’, from the album, which would include the four album tracks. Everything was prepared for the single’s release, including the artwork, when, at the last minute, Celtic Music inexplicably changed their minds, and the single was never released.
Being our first new album for some time, we had reasonable high hopes for ‘Timeless Street’. Unfortunately, however, the album did not receive the promotion and backing we had been hoping for and, as a result, the album was largely ignored, despite some notable praises in ‘Dirty Linen’, ‘Folk Roots’ and ‘Rock ‘N’ Reel’ magazines, among others. At the end of 1993, we would regain recording and publishing rights to our entire catalogue, allowing us to reissue ‘Timeless Street’ in this specially repackaged format.
When we were sitting in the studio at Trinity Heights, listening to the various master tapes available for the re-mastering of this album, to include additional tracks, the first thing that struck us was the sheer difference in the quality between the original studio master and the Celtic Music production master, which the Celtic Music engineers had mastered from the original D.A.T. master using analogue output. This is most definitely not the best method to employ in transferring masters, in order to obtain the highest quality pressing, as this is certain to cause a sharp deterioration in sound quality from the original. We therefore made the obvious decision to work from the original studio master, in mastering this reissue, and as a result the pressing available with this reissue is of superior sound quality to the original issue, and finally presents ‘Timeless Street’ to the standard it should have been, but wasn’t, first time round. Also, unlike ‘Nee Gud Luck’, for which the original 24-track masters no longer exist (see ‘Nee Gud Luck reissue), and like all other Whisky Priests albums since, the 24-track masters for all sixteen tracks from the ‘Timeless Street’ session still exist, which means, for future reference, they can all be remixed at any time, for potential future reissues. Please note, however, that to maintain the historical context of this particular reissue, a conscious decision was made by us not to remix the tracks or alter the original running order in any way (although we did initially consider it), apart from adding the four bonus tracks at the end.
Those of you who missed it the first time round now have the benefit of hindsight with which to judge it this second time round.

(Gary Miller & Glenn Miller, August 1994)


Media Reviews (reissue 1994 version):

“For those of us who have become addicted to the Priests’ own particular brand of entertainment, and have followed the band’s story, this album is a real treat. This was the band’s first [sic] studio-recorded offering and it has now been re-released for all to enjoy. There is a story behind the re-release and after reading it you will see that it has been put out as a sort of raspberry to ‘Celtic Music’ who must surely now regret their past treatment of the band.
‘Timeless Street’ is pure Whisky Priests with lead vocalist Gary Miller bringing his own style to the lyrics and combine this with brother Glenn & co backing him with such wonderfully strong accompaniment and the result is powerful exhilaration.
The unmistakable blend is there for all to see and hear, with the coal-mining theme running strongly through each track, convincing you that despite all the hardships and difficulty they will still shine through.
The tracks on the album are a collection of loud rip-roarers, soft ballads and bouncing instrumentals, which help display the wide repertoire of the band.
If you can listen to this and not end up tapping your feet at the very least then you must have had an enjoyment by-pass!!”
Check it out, you will not be disappointed!”
(Reissue 1994 version), Martin Holden, ‘Folk North West’, UK, Summer 1995.


“After a resolvement of their legal dispute with their label, which had meant no recording at all for eighteen months the band went into the studio to record ‘Timeless Street’. Although extremely frustrated by what had happened, they managed to record their best album to date. The energy has been slightly reigned in without being diminished and Gary’s songs have gained more depth. His voice is stronger and overall there is the feeling of a band in total control, knowing exactly what they wanted to achieve. It is also the first time that an electric guitar had been added to the proceedings.
This is a wonderful album in all respects, from the blinding instrumental ‘Goblins’, the accordion-led ‘Aal Faal Doon’ or the dramatic ‘The Raven’. The last of these starts with an atmospheric vocal from bassist Mick Tyas (along with the Miller brothers the longest surviving member) with just some keyboards, but it changes into a more pacy number altogether as Gary takes the lead and the rest of the band join in. There is not a weak point on this record.”
(From joint review of ‘Nee Gud Luck, ‘The First Few Drops’, ‘Timeless Street’, reissue 1994 versions), Kevin Rowland, ‘Feedback’, UK, Issue 29, 8th June 1995.


“This has been re-released with four bonus tracks. This album is perhaps one of their halcyon days type albums, as underlined by the front CD cover (a black and white busy street scene). By the way, Halcyon Days can mean both good or bad, depends on which side of the political and social fence you’re sat on. As you will now expect, the Priests show that either side of the fence has its faults. There are quite a few brass additions on here, which adds no end to the atmosphere invoked. Again, the lyrics are printed in all their glory – plus there are some striking piccys. I especially like the one with the lads down a back allotment lane.
To be fair, I can’t really recommend any of their albums as they are all pretty damn fine. They, like folk music should, puts down life as it was/is and Gary Miller has a special quality in that he has a superb set of brushes from which he paints many a picture. What I will say is that you get yourself down to your local record shop, and get a coating of listening to. Then you can choose whatever you like. It really is pretty fine stuff – the audio equivalent of a contour map.”
(From joint review of ‘Bloody Well Live!’, ‘The Power And The Glory’, ‘When The Wind Blows, Billy Boy’, ‘The First Few Drops’, Nee Gud Luck’, ‘Timeless Street’, reissue 1994 versions), Dave W. Hughes, ‘The Modern Dance’, UK.


“The Whisky Priests now have their entire catalogue under their own control and these re-issues are a confident celebration of 9 years of hard work and determination to keep Gary and Glenn Miller’s basic idea of an English Northeast band on the road. So far there have been over 30 different band members as line-ups have changed and changed again. Gary Miller has written 32 of the recorded tracks, plus 4 further collaborations with Glenn Miller and one with Mick Tyas, and Glenn has written a further two. Also included are well-known ‘Trad’ songs and tunes from the N.E., which have been part of their repertoire from the beginning. They have also written many more songs, which are as yet unrecorded – a prolific outpouring of energy and creativity, which also characterises their live performances. All 3 re-issues include a 16-page insert booklet with words for all the songs, the story of The Whisky Priests so far, in three instalments, and a selection of archive photographs.
The twin ‘likely lads’ from Durham with a schoolboy vision in 1985 are now independent businessmen without losing their integrity and self esteem. An inspiration to all of us who attempt to create our own contribution to the global ceilidh. Enjoy the fruits of their labour at a bargain price!”
(Joint review of ‘The First Few Drops’, ‘Nee Gud Luck’, ‘Timeless Street’, reissue 1994 versions), Jenny Coxon, ‘Folk Buzz’, UK, Spring 1995.


“Reading the sleeve-notes of these reissued early Priests albums, you find a tale of indie tenacity of the first order. To say that that tenacity and clarity of purpose fuels the music puts it mildly. Whether you like them or not, you have to admit that without the likes of this band, music would be a weaker-kneed constituency altogether.”
(Joint review of ‘The First Few Drops’, ‘Nee Gud Luck’, ‘Timeless Street’, reissue 1994 versions), Steve Morris, ‘Brumbeat’, UK, 1995.


“Passionate in your face from the start to the finish, these CD’s show the early development and unique Priest style taking form. All three feature bonus tracks, sleeve notes and lyrics, making each excellent value for money. Hard driven folk rock with rare verve, it’s honest, hard music and ideal for foot to the floor motorway driving.”
(Joint review of ‘The First Few Drops’, ‘Nee Gud Luck’, ‘Timeless Street’, reissue 1994 versions), Mark Hughes, ‘First Hearing’, UK, 1995.


Media Reviews (original 1992 version):

“Also in Britain, The Whisky Priests have put out a new full-length album called ‘Timeless Street’. This folk-rock band hails from Durham, the county between North Yorkshire and Northumberland in England’s northeast. Their music sounds a lot like the Pogues used to, back when traditional music was their main influence. The regular line-up of The Whisky Priests includes bouzouki, mandolin, fiddle and accordion along with guitar, bass, drums and keyboards, for a well-balanced traditional / rock ‘n’ roll combination. They don’t have the instrumental virtuosity you’ll find in many Celtic and northern English folk bands, but they do have energy, skill, and a good melodic sense that makes their original tunes and songs appealing. The driving backbeat will keep your foot tapping while the catchy melodies are being spun out.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to understand the gargle of Gary Miller’s voice. Lucky, because his original lyrics are as appealing as the melodies to which they’re set. The geographic and economic realities of northern life, coalmining and poverty, are constant presences in Gary Miller’s haunting songs, written in local dialect about local people with universal problems. His songs talk about mothers abandoned by the fathers of their children, about old men retired from the mines with no support, about lay-offs, lockouts and strikes, about wars, solidarity, love and hope. The two traditional songs are equally enjoyable, particularly ‘Bonnie Gateshead Lass’, a light-hearted song that really captures the way teenagers talk about love: “I’ll warrant you’ve never seen me lass her name I cannot mention / For fear you’ll gan and tell her how I like her, so I de…” No question, if you like the sound of folk/punkers like the Pogues, along with social commentary and honest, insightful songs, you’ll get a kick out of this one.”
(Original 1992 version), ‘Dirty Linen’, U.S.A., Issue 41, August/September 1992.


“If you’re the kind of person who reckons folk music is all finger-in-the-ear Arran sweaters and sing-a-longs then get your listening gear round this, missus.
The Whisky Priests are folk hewn from the coalfields of County Durham, taking traditional instruments, tunes and subjects and injecting them with the fires and passion of a down-trodden people waiting to rise up.
In their third album, their second ‘proper one’ after the compilation LP ‘The First Few Drops’, the Priests continue to chart their progress as a great songwriting band.
Anyone fortunate enough to have caught the band at the Met last year (or in Manchester recently) will know they are truly great live. Their energy and passion defy an audience to sit down, and their shows have had the punters raving from Beamish to Bremen.
On record, none of the passion of the gigs is missing, but in the studio environment and without the fervour of the gig situation you can sit back and realise just how good a songwriter Gary Miller is, and how good musicians the rest of the band are.
The twelve racks on ‘Timeless Street’ give you the benefit of a fine production, and a chance to hear the tunes without bouncing round a dance-floor or subject to the vagaries of venue acoustics.
There are ten originals on the album, and two traditional tunes given the full Priests treatment.
The album gets off to a subdued, melancholy start, with Gary Miller’s distinctive baritone filling the haunting ‘Susan’s Song’, but this by way of easing you into the album.
High-energy folk is the order of the day, with standout tracks including perennial favourite ‘Aall Faall Doon’ and the accordion-led instrumental dance-floor filler ‘Goblins’.
Bassist Mick Tyas’ booming tones are also brought into play on ‘Bonnie Gateshead Lass’, one of the two traditional songs, and the haunting start of ‘The Raven’, which blasts into a veritable orgy of get-off-your-backside dancing music.
‘Perfect Time’, which closes what used to be side one, is a perfect centrepiece to the album, and the power and hope behind ‘Easington’ give a true flavour of the North East.
All the instrumentalists are given full effect by the production, with Glenn Miller’s skilful accordion given best effect on ‘Goblins’. The fuller sound given by Simon Chantler’s fiddle and Kevin Wilson’s mandolin are well used, and Piers Burgoyne’s drumming is nigh on perfect throughout.
Comparisons with The Pogues and others are inevitable and misplaced. The Whisky Priests are something different, and although both bands are in the folk tradition, you can’t really see the Priests coming out with something like ‘Honky Tonk Women’ or decrying the plight of the Irish immigrant from the comfort of Kilburn.
The Priests have the coal and the yards of Durham in their blood, and it comes through in their music, which is vital, passionate, powerful and real.
They are huge on the live circuit, they are huge in Europe. Hopefully ‘Timeless Street’ will establish them fully in the hearts of the record-buying public. This band deserves all the success they can get. (9)”
(Original 1992 version), Richard Lewis, ‘Bury Times’, UK, 7th July 1992.


“Thankfully The Whisky Priests have made no great changes (barring line-ups) since their debut album ‘Nee Gud Luck’. The advances that have occurred have been subtler than the progression of their contemporaries. No sudden leaps into the realms of electric folk rock, no overnight policy changes in the vain hope of attracting a bigger audience. Due to self-containment in the form of Whippet Records they need not pander to the wishes and desires of the mainstream music press.
Although the messages remain the same – a combination of working class history and social politics – the delivery on the new album, ‘Timeless Street’, is somewhat different. The bulk of Gary Miller’s songs are much more tranquil than ‘Nee Gud Luck’, more wistful and evening melancholic. Not as reliant on harshness and raw anger to carry the songs.
If you visit the Duchess on June 28th you can catch The Whisky Priests at their best. I doubt that even three months hard touring – taking in most of Europe in the process – has drained them at all. If you’re lucky you may get a rendition of ‘The Raven’, possibly the most dramatic Whisky Priests song to date; bass player Mick Tyas taking a rare turn at the mic for a spine-tingling introduction. Mix in a good helping of traditional Whisky Priests anger – maybe ‘Aall Faall Doon’ – and the odd instrumental, perhaps the maniacal ‘Goblins’, and you have all you need for a great, no doubt hot and sweaty gig.”
(Original 1992 version), John Sanders, ‘Northern Star’, UK, 25th June – 2nd July 1992.


“The Whisky Priests are a snapping, snarling Rottweiler-cum-pit-bull terrier of a band from County Durham. Having just got over a lengthy records company dispute (it isn’t just the Stone Roses that get that sort of problem, y’ know), they’ve finally released their second LP ‘Timeless Street’, which builds well on their debut, with its combination of original material and traditional north-eastern songs. Vocalist Gary Miller is developing into a fine songwriter, offering skilfully drawn portraits of characters and life in his world.”
(Original 1992 version), Pete Fruin, ‘Outlook’, UK, 1992.


“The thing about The Whisky Priests is, despite your better judgement, once you’ve seen them live you just won’t be able to resist them.
They are as unique as a band who are really unique can be – flat caps, 1930’s suits and urban folk tunes raunchy enough to make your ears bleed – you’ll never see another live band to touch them.
I suppose Folk Thrash is the only tag that comes close to describing their musical antics – and though their tunes are memorable and instantly catchy, not surprisingly they don’t quite live up to the treatment they are given on the live circuit when put onto disc.
There can be few artists to have emerged upon the scene that have created as much panic in promoters and audiences alike as Durham’s Whisky Priests.
“Basically, we’re a live band and that’s where our material is strongest. The whole idea behind the band is that we enjoy playing it live. We are actually a lot better than people give us credit for. We don’t just go out to play and get it tip-top, we go out to perform it and sometimes the music doesn’t come off dead on, but we perform it so intensely that it’s the sort of feel that comes across more than anything”, said Gary Miller, one of the Miller brothers, the inspiration behind the band.
They have been compared, not surprisingly to The Pogues, Billy Bragg et al – an easy pigeonhole to file them under for music hacks – but The Whisky Priests are much more than carbon copies of those who have previously quenched our thirst for something a little left of rootsy.
How long can the national press and major record companies afford to divert their attention for?”
(Original 1992 version), Adam Moss, ‘Manchester Evening News’, June 1992.


“Lock up your coal scuttles The Whisky Priests are coming to town and they mean business.
Promoting their new album ‘Timeless Street’ The Whisky Priests are a folk/rock group with a line in gritty North Easternism hewn from the colliery face.
They take traditional folk tunes linked with the now extinct labour intensive industries of a bygone age and breathe fresh life into them with their music.
And to top up their working class credentials the band even dress in full 1930’s flat cap and braces regalia.
Song subjects include The Jarrow March, mining, of course, drinking, more drinking and general ‘it’s-grim-up-North’ material.
But miserable they are not and they have built up an awesome live reputation, which has brought comparisons to raucous Irish hell-raisers The Pogues.
Like The Pogues, The Whisky Priests write their own tunes as well as performing electrified traditional folk songs. And, their new album contains only two traditional tunes out of a track listing of twelve compositions.
Hailing from Durham, the band is a seven-piece outfit centred on the talents of Gary and Glenn Miller, no relation to the disappeared bandleader.
They mix mandolin, fiddle and accordion, along with bass guitar and drums, to fire up the authentic traditional sounds and play them with a fury that brings the songs right up to date.
Once on the stage, they charge around in hobnail boots, stamping to the rhythm of the tunes, pausing to puff on cigarettes and swill from beer cans.”
(Original 1992 version), Andy Clark, ‘?’, UK, 1992.

credits

released October 3, 1994

The Whisky Priests line-up on this recording:

Gary Miller – Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Bouzouki, Mandolin
Glenn Miller – Accordion, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Mick Tyas – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Wilson – Mandolin, Bouzouki, Backing Vocals
Simon Chantler – Fiddle
Piers Burgoyne – Drums


Guest Musicians:

Paul Carless – Harmonicas

Members of Bearpark & Esh Colliery Band – Brass:
Conducted & arranged by Dave Young
Michael Evans – Cornet
Garry Mitchell – Cornet
David Patterson – Cornet
Ray Evans – Flugel Horn
Gareth Young – Tenor Trombone
Martin O’Connelley – Bass Trombone
Alun Young – Tuba


Original album ℗ & © 1992 Whippet Records
This Compilation ℗ & © 1994 & 2016 Whippet Records

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The Whisky Priests Durham, UK

The Whisky Priests (1985-2002) was founded by twin brothers, Gary & Glenn Miller (“the Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of Folk Music”). The band was internationally renowned for its energetic live shows, released a number of critically acclaimed albums, toured extensively and developed a worldwide cult following. ... more

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Track Name: Susan's Song
SUSAN'S SONG

Susan lived in Sherburn Hill
Where the grass smells sweet and the air is still
But she would still be taken ill
When she swallowed life's most bitter pill
She met with Jacky Coates who stole her
Heart at the Durham Fair one October
And he swore that he would always love her
And that they would never part

And in the sweaty summer haze
They frolicked through the endless days
And on the beach at Whitley Bay
They swore to swear their lives away
With words of silver and rings of gold
And promises to have and hold
But when her secret had been sold
She never ever saw her Jack again

She sang a song called 'Mally Dunn'
As the tears welled in her eyes
"I'll never see young Jacky Coates again"
She said "I love thee little lamb
Hush your crying bonnie
You'll never know your father Johnny lad"

He left her bonnie eyes of blue
He left her with her heart in two
She lost all that she ever knew
And all the beliefs that she held true
Now the eyes all sit and watch her
And visually rape her she's theirs to slaughter
She's left to reflect on what life has taught her
If she picks up the pieces it all falls apart again

(Gary Miller)


incorporating MALLY DUNN

Twas at the last October Fair I first saw Mally Dunn
Her bright blue eyes and yellow hair
My fortune fairly won
She looked the queen of all the queens
So happy to be there
I was over head and heels in love
With Mally at the fair

Such a bonnie lass I couldn't pass
As Mally at the fair
Oh happy night if I should meet
My comely sweetheart there

(Trad. arr. The Whisky Priests)
Track Name: Old Man Forgotten
OLD MAN FORGOTTEN

As the waves come rolling in
Across the blackened shale
An old man stands alone
And carves an image of nostalgia
In the dying sunlight you know

And the features on his wondrous face
Once shined like a million stars
Now they are cracked and worn
His life is tattered and torn
And he's filled with grief you know

And as the day comes down
He feels the years come down
As the sands of time slip through his hands
Like a burdened weary old pack horse
Waiting for the slaughterman

And he's spent all his life in the area
Working for the area
But what recognition do they send his way
But so long Joe it's time to go

And as the day comes down
He feels the years come down
There is a weight upon this man
Like a burdened weary old pack horse
Waiting for the slaughterman

And as the day comes down
He feels the years come down
Like a weight across the land
Like a burdened weary old pack horse
Waiting for the slaughterman

And as the day comes down
He feels the years come down
"I toiled in this place" he says
As the tears roll down his face
For the family that has forgotten him
And the land that has forgotten him

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: Easington
EASINGTON

We prayed for a new day dawning
On a village shrouded in grey
Where people spend their dole lives
Waiting day by day
Waiting oh so patiently
For good luck to come along
But that would be like finding gold
On the streets of Easington

Little bairns with mucky faces
Playing in the colliery streets
Reminds us of our childhood years
Oh they were so sweet
Me and Mary Walker
Were going to be wed
But you lose all hope and love
When all your dreams are dead

But let us not hang our sorrows
On the gates of misery
We'll get the bairns up laughing
And we'll sing
We'll show there is joy in Easington

From the outer villages
To the beaches by the rocks
The old men who degrade themselves
Stoop to pick the black
For what was once their livelihood
Has laid their land to waste
But there are no inner cities here
Where the slag surrounds the coast

But let us not drown our sorrows
On the dregs of misery
We'll get the lasses drinking
And we'll sing
We'll show there is joy in Easington

From the broken windows
Of the houses in the night
You can see the pit-head pulley wheel
In the lamplight burning bright
But what about the young lad
Who must leave the town where he was born
It never can be easy
When your heart is in that town

But let us not dwell on sorrow
Nor think of misery
We'll get the old folks dancing
And we'll sing
We'll show there is joy in Easington

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: Jim Jones
JIM JONES

Come listen for a moment lads
And hear me tell my tell
How over the seas from England
I was condemned to sale
The jury found me guilty
And says the judge says he
For life Jim Jones I'm sending you
Across the stormy sea

You'll have no time for mischief then
Remember what I say
They'll flog the poaching out of you
When you come to Botany Bay
And you'll labour long among the swamps
No-one will hear your tales
And no more you'll take the dog and gun
When you come to New South Wales

And take this tip before you ship
To join the iron gang
Don't get to go to Botany Bay
Or else you'll surely hang
Or else you'll hang and slowly lad
Then after that Jim Jones
It's high upon the gallows tree
The crows will pick your bones

All day and night the irons clang
And like poor galley slaves
We toil and toil and when we die
Will fill dishonest graves
But by and by I'll break my chains
Into the bush I'll go
And I'll join the brave bush rangers there
Jack Donaghue and co

On some dark night
When everything is silent in the town
I'll kill the tyrants one by one
I'll shoot the floggers down
I'll give the law a little shock
Remember what I say
They will yet regret they sebt Jim Jones
In chains to Botany Bay

(Trad. arr. The Whisky Priests)
Track Name: Perfect Time
PERFECT TIME

Down the row where the ice men grow
There dwelt a caring man
His body seemed cold but his heart was warm
Though he had always felt so alone
Down the way where hearts seem clay
There came a bonnie lass
And it seemed that Heaven opened its arms
And blew away all of the past

They walked together down Timeless Street
Together they were in perfect time
But only time would tell if a perfect tale
Like the ones in fairy tales and dreams
Would be told in perfect time

Time took on a different role
For it seemed the perfect time
To cast away all past fears
And look towards a brand new life
But life is cruel at imperfect times
And fate is more cruel still
And fate caught up like it always does
And in a short time things turned ill

He walked across the lonely moors
He was in a timeless zone
And the eerie mist cast ghostly shapes
Amongst the trees and stones
He fell into the mystic spell
As he felt for Mary's hand
But it wasn't there it never was
For he had failed to understand

Now he sits alone in a smoke-filled room
And he feels too weak to stand
He sits alone for he is all alone
Clutching his life in his hands
And in the corner the smallpipes play
The hauntingly beautiful 'Sweet Hesleyside'
Then he staggers home where he is all alone
To be haunted forever by the broken dreams
Which the darkness cannot hide

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: Aall Faall Doon
AALL FAALL DOON

There's a rumbling started underground
But it's falling on deaf ears
But who gives a shite what you think about it
We'll just grab ourselves some more beers
And someone said “If we close our eyes
It might just go away”
But we sang a song for collier lads
And one for the lass down on the quay
But still you never came down the waggon way

And in your town the land of clowns
It's just another day
You are still afraid you run and hide
You won't come out to play
And you've misunderstood everything we've ever said
And every point we've ever tried to make
But if I see you dancing on Mr Armstrong's grave
I'll come and give you a bloody good smack
Just to let you know that you don't know the crack

You stick your head in a hole in the ground
And wait for a time when we'll all fall down
But had away you stupid clown
We'll never go away

And in the land of fantasy
Where you seem to live
The ugly frog will become a handsome prince
But it will be too late then to forgive
And your writer's pen is spilling bad ink
Your mouth doesn't know what it's saying
It's in the place where your arse should be
So kiss yourself goodbye and be on your way
I never want to see you for the rest of my days

There's a rumbling started underground
But it's falling on deaf ears
And if you try to stop it
It will only end in tears
And someone said “If we close our eyes
It might just go away”
But we sang a song; we’ve just begun!
And then we headed back down the waggon way
The bonnie pit laddie is here to stay

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: Poor Johnny Coal
POOR JOHNNY COAL

I stood down in the valley
Gazing up to the top of the hill
Where I saw the lines of marching men
With faces black and grim
But the vision quickly faded
Before my burning eyes
And I came back to reality
As the thunder rent the skies

But we will wait until a new bairn is born
And raise our glasses to herald a new dawn
We’ll toast a new saviour but at the same time mourn
Poor Johnny Coal

I stumbled into the old village
Rubbed the tiredness out of my eyes
And gazing up into the dawn light
Saw young birds high up in the skies
And from the rows of houses
Came women collecting their milk
Clutching the bottles to their breasts
Like a bairn who’s belly’s been filled

Three wise men came bearing gifts
They were following a star
It lit up all their hopes and dreams
As they journeyed from afar
Are they three wise monkeys
Or really three wise men
Just turn your back and walk away
Keep counting up to ten

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: The Raven
THE RAVEN

You were born a handsome lad
There was never one more bonnie
The apple of your father's eye
His fine and dashing Johnny
Your mother she was proud of you
She swore there was none better
And your father taught you all he knew
For better or for worse
But when they come to lay him down
After his final blessing oh
Will he depart in peace and pride
Or will his shame lay him down low

The clouds hung low and the sleet and snow
Spewed forth like a plague across the earth
The thunder rolled while the north wind moaned
And the lightning witnessed the birth

At six a.m. the bastard was born
And blessed with the warm blood of God
His parents loved and doted upon
And bred the miserable sod

His heart was made like an evil blade
Hard steel with a thirsty lust for blood
His soul dwelt on the dark side of the grave
And his body held no love

Anger was his bliss and suffering got him pissed
And he feasted on the food of human hate
When darkness came he played the lycanthrope game
When his body and his ego would inflate

He could have been such a dashing blade
With a heart full of goodness and love
But all around the world he'd heard it said
That the raven is stronger than the dove

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: Pride
PRIDE

I remember working winters
That were cold and filled with strife
But the winters of my winter years
Are the coldest of my life
But we’ll keep the fires burning
With the anger in our souls
And pray to God in Heaven
For the men who dig for coal

My youngest son called Terry
Was a shipbuilder by trade
And he told me he was proud to work
For a good and honest wage
Then his boss said, “Son we’re paying you off
With involuntary redundancy pay
Though you’ve built ships that have sailed
Down South America way”

When you’re faced with a crisis
We will never let you down
We’ll do just what’s required to a man
You can lead sheep to the slaughter
And we’ll follow every one
But you can’t destroy the pride
Of a hard working man

Sitting round with beers
With the lads who’ve never worked
And telling them all stories
Of the times when we worked hard
Then we’ll doff our caps in honour
To the old days long gone by
And drink to a good future
When we’ll never lay down and die

The fighters throughout history
Have never been put down
And they’ll always keep on fighting
Though they’re stamped into the ground
And the marchers keep on marching
Though the blood drips from their feet
And the pride of a whole nation
Reaps a victory from defeat

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: William's Tale
WILLIAM'S TALE

Now this is the town where I was born
It's the town where I live now
There is many a tale to be told of this place
I will tell one to you now
In Nineteen-O-One I entered the world
The year that Victoria died
My mother died delivering me
How my father must have cried

As a young lad of twelve fresh out of school
I spent my first day down the mine
And it seemed like the hell of a dark prison cell
But Lord knows I'd committed no crime
The West Stanley Disaster I remember it well
A hundred and sixty-eight lost their lives
We were little more than slaves then
Growing old before our time

When the Fourteen-Eighteen Great War came
My father was among the first to go
He joined the Durham Light Infantry
And we were proud of the medals he won
Pozzieres, Mons, Ypres (Wipers), Cambrai and the Somme
He fought in all the major campaigns
But when they shipped him back home at the end of it
He wasn't the father that we had once known

In Twenty-Six the General Strike
Saw all the men out on the streets
From Jarrow they marched in Thirty-Six
But all they got was blood on their feet
Half a century on it all happened again
It seems that some things never change
Back then Jarrow cried now Sunderland has died
And strikes are still all the rage

When the Second World War came along
In Nineteen-Thirty-Nine
My son got a note from the government
Saying "We need your services son for a while"
Then they sent me a note at the end of it all
Saying "Sir your son did fine
Now he's buried in North Africa
You can visit him from time to time"

Now I sit here at home with my plaque on the wall
It's not much to show for my life
Of fifty-odd years of toil down the mine
It's been a long haul of struggle and strife
And if the Tories get back into power again
It's going to drive me insane
And now that the Eighties have become the 'Haties'
There's no future left for the bairns of today

(Gary Miller)
Track Name: Rio Grande [Bonus Track]
RIO GRANDE

A ship went sailing out over the bar
Away for Rio
She pointed her bow at a southern star
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

Oh was you ever down Rio Grande
Away for Rio
Them smart Senoritas can sure burn the band
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

And away boys away
Away for Rio
Sing fare thee well you Liverpool girls
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

We were sick of the beach when our money was gone
Away for Rio
We signed on this packet to help her along
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

We're a deepwater ship and a deepwater crew
Away for Rio
Some steer by the shore but we're damned if we do
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

And it's pack up you're donkeys let's be on our way
Away for Rio
Them Liverpool Judies will get our half pay
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

Sing only one chorus vast heaving my sons
Away for Rio
Sing only one chorus it's blowing big guns
And we're bound for the Rio Grande

(Trad. arr. The Whisky Priests)
Track Name: The Recruited Collier [Bonus Track]
THE RECRUITED COLLIER

What's the matter with you my lass
And where's your dashing Jimmy
The soldier boys have picked him up
And sent him far from me
Last payday he went off to town
And them red-coated fellows
Enticed him in and made him drunk
He would have better gone to the gallows

The very sight of his cockade
Sets me all a-crying
And me I nearly fainted twice
I thought that I was dying
My father he would have paid the smart
And he ran for the golden guinea
But the sergeant swore he'd kissed the book
So now they've got young Jimmy

When Jimmy talks about the war
It's worse than death to hear him
I have to run and hide my tears
Because I can never bear him
A brigadier or grenadier
He says they're going to make him
But aye he jibes and cracks his jokes
And bids me not forsake him

As I walked over the stubble field
Below it runs the seam
I thought of Jimmy standing there
But it was all a dream
He hewed the very coals we burn
And when the fire I'm lighting
To think the coals were in his hands
Sets my heart a-beating

So break my heart and then it's over
So break my heart my dearie
And lay me in the cold cold ground
For of single life I'm weary

(Trad. arr. The Whisky Priests)
Track Name: The Waggoner [Bonus Track]
THE WAGGONER

I saw you out with my lad
Going down the waggon way
With his bag full of money
And his poke full of hay

My lad's a canny lad
The canniest I see
He's sair frowsy freckled
And he's blind of an eye

There's never a lad like my lad
Drives to the staithes on Tyne
He's coaly black on work days
But on holidays he's fine

My lad's a canny lad
The canniest I see
And never a one there is I say
Could black him of his eye

With his siller in his hand
And his love in his eye
Yonder I see my canny lad
Coming home to me

My lad's a canny lad
The canniest I see
He's sair pock-brokken
And he's blind of an eye

(Trad. arr. The Whisky Priests)