Mudcat Café message #4006262 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2061   Message #4006262
Posted By: GUEST,Paul Lucas
28-Aug-19 - 04:42 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joe Peel (June Tabor)
Joe Peel was a real character from a small village called Flimby between Workington and Maryport on the Cumbrian coast, near the Solway estuary, in NW England. As a youngster he excelled at sports - and after a spell down the pit, he left the area to play Rugby League professionally - hence the reference to girls 'making forward passes', a move not allowed in the game of Rugby and a cheeky come on from the girls. There's a mention of another match turning peoples' heads - the Jarrow Lads V (abbreviation of versus) Ruling classes. This would be the mass march from Jarrow on the River Tyne in the NE, 300 miles on foot to Westminster, London to lobby Parliament about the plight of the unemployed masses at this time of great depression. This Jarrow Crusade as it was known was in 1936 and so gives a clue as to the era of Joe Peel's life. So as things worsened and wartime came, he returned 'home again and up The Brow'. This is another play on words, The Brow is the better off part of Flimby, up the hill away from the terraces, but also 'up the brow' is a way of saying, make the best of things. So, off he went back to the coal face and developed a lung disease which finally saw him off. I never did discover whether 'Lizzie' referred to HM the Queen in his later years or some family member, but knowing the Cumbrian humour, a bit of both. The song was written by a local man, Peter Bond, released in 1977 on an album called 'Alright for Some'. He seemingly knew Joe Peel and wrote the song as a tribute to him, almost a eulogy. It is a great song, . Hope this helps
Paul Lucas


Workington way, when lads left school,
'Twas just the pit and foundry beckoned,
Young Joe went down to hew the coal,
But not for long, so some folks reckoned.
For Joe could tackle hard and Joe could run,
He only needed time for growing,
And soon he'd signed his name to play
And to the city moved away.

Now on the sports page he'd appear,
The idol of the local lasses.
Out on the field he played it fair
While all the girls made forward passes.
Until another match turned people's heads
Jarrow lads v ruling classes.
And with no future in it now
It's home again and up The Brow.

Back underground to hear no lark
For thirty years from dawn till evening,
Until the coal had left its mark
And to the bank the earth returned him,
No more to sweat his days out in the dark,
Some years on top the dust had earned him.
And all the while the sickness grew,
Still he'd ask what he could do for you.

He'd do odd jobs for one and all
Though snow was thick or rain was teeming.
And all the world would seem to call;
The kettle never finished steaming.
“Reach up”, he'd say, “By God, you're looking thin”,
While mischief in his eyes was gleaming.
“If Lizzie thinks you're hungry still,
They'll be nowt for us in her will.”

The day you left I stayed outside
With scalding tears, no comfort knowing.
We all turned up to say goodbye;
The church was filled to overflowing.
You'd never have believed it if you'd seen
How many people mourned your going,
And just how lucky folks still feel
To say they knew Joe Peel.