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Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???

DigiTrad:
DIRTY OLD TOWN


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In Mudcat MIDIs:
Dirty Old Town


Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 04:55 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 04:59 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 05:02 PM
nutty 25 Jun 02 - 05:03 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 05:21 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 05:22 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 05:25 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 05:28 PM
nutty 25 Jun 02 - 05:28 PM
John Routledge 25 Jun 02 - 05:34 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 05:38 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Slickerbill 25 Jun 02 - 05:48 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Slickerbill 25 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM
breezy 25 Jun 02 - 06:07 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 06:07 PM
Manitas_at_home 25 Jun 02 - 06:17 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 06:20 PM
Uncle_DaveO 25 Jun 02 - 06:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jun 02 - 06:44 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 07:12 PM
firínne 25 Jun 02 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 25 Jun 02 - 07:45 PM
Clinton Hammond 25 Jun 02 - 08:31 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Jun 02 - 08:53 PM
firínne 25 Jun 02 - 08:57 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Jun 02 - 11:34 PM
Doug Chadwick 26 Jun 02 - 01:56 AM
caz2ufolk 26 Jun 02 - 02:35 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jun 02 - 04:13 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jun 02 - 04:24 AM
greg stephens 26 Jun 02 - 09:14 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Jun 02 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,MCP 26 Jun 02 - 10:39 AM
Orac 26 Jun 02 - 11:02 AM
Brakn 26 Jun 02 - 11:26 AM
Joe_F 26 Jun 02 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Nerd 26 Jun 02 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 26 Jun 02 - 11:36 AM
Orac 26 Jun 02 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,JohnB 26 Jun 02 - 12:45 PM
greg stephens 26 Jun 02 - 01:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 02 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,MCP 26 Jun 02 - 01:20 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Jun 02 - 02:14 PM
Bob Bolton 26 Jun 02 - 09:21 PM
Jon Bartlett 27 Jun 02 - 02:30 AM
Wolfgang 27 Jun 02 - 05:38 AM
Declan 27 Jun 02 - 06:00 AM
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Subject: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 04:55 PM

I just had the pleasure of typing up the lyrics to Dirty Old Town after years of singing this song in pubs...

And it struck me...

What the hell do these lyrics even mean?!?!?!?!?!

Paints a few good images, but c'mon... There needs to be more than that in a good song...

What am I missing?


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 04:59 PM

Don't have the misfortune to live in Salford if you can help it.

That's what it really means. Nothing more, nothing less


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:02 PM

That makes about as litte sense as the lyrics really...

I don't even know where Salford is...

thanks...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: nutty
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:03 PM

I believe that McColl wrote the song for a play about Salford - Manchester, England - in the 1950/60's. I lived on the outskirts of Salford in the 1960'S. For me the song is very emotive and (in my opinion) gives the true flavour of the area at that time.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:21 PM

The song is about courting a girl in Salford which was at the time a very smoky dirty industrial city. The gas yard croft is a bit of spare ground in front of the gas works. There was nowhere very romantic to take a girl in Salford so a walk down the canal tow path would be a reasonable option. Many factories were built along the canal banks. Salford docks is at the end of the Manchester Ship Canal and at the time was a very busy thoroughfare and the ships did sound their sirens for whatever reason (I remember them doing it all together to bring in the New Year.

Staem trains in a dark and smoky town would look as if they were setting the night on fire with a bit of poetic imagination. The bit that seems far fetched is being able to smell the spring on the wind in Salford then. Chemicals, yes. Spring, no. But then when you are young and in love wherever you are, anything is possible.

The last verse is of course how he hates the town and wants to destroy it because of it's ugliness and sterility.

Now they've swept up most of the people in Salford into nice neat high rise piles and made the docks area into posh offices. Does that help?


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:22 PM

"I met my love by the gasworks wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town, dirty old town"

This guy doesn't even seem to know where he is... Is it the gasworks or the factory???

"I'm gonna make me a good sharp ax
Shining steel tempered in the fire
I'll chop you down like an old dead tree
Dirty old town, dirty old town"

So what does that have to do with anything???


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:25 PM

Bit of cross posting there guest...

Ya that does help... it doesn't make me appreciate the song much more... but it does help explain the vagaries and such...

I guess it's just a poorly written song in my book...

Catchy tune though, and it can be played so that it really swings...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:28 PM

A poorly written song!?!

I've no idea what 'your book' is, but I'd take a guess that it isn't written nearly as well...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: nutty
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:28 PM

Clinton ..... if it doesn't mean anything ...... leave it alone - don't sing it
A song is what it is in it's entirity. Some songs mean absolutely nothing .... this happens to mean a great deal to people who have experienced living in such a town. The whole of the North of England was filled with such places when industry was a job provider now call centres tend to take priority.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: John Routledge
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:34 PM

This thread illustrates perfectly why singers should not sing songs which they cannot understand.

It also illustrates that on Mudcat you never know what is an old fashioned wind up!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:38 PM

Sorry you don't like the song. I think it's brilliantly written. Very direct, evocative if you know the area at the time and yet with a genuine lyricism and good imagery. It was originally intended to be sung with a jazz accompaniment but I'm sure it will survive even Clintons lack of respect. It means a lot to me too.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:47 PM

It's a song I don't mind not meaning anything... I don't really care much for it, but like I said above, it can be sorta fun to play and 'swing' to... and audiences do sorta tend to get off on it...

I was just wondering if the lyrics seemed as vacuous to anyone else as they seem to me...

What was it Edger Allen Poe said?

"Music, when combined with a pleasureable idea, is poetry. Music, without the idea is simply music. Without music or an intriguing idea, colour becomes pallor..."


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Slickerbill
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:48 PM

I think it's a great song. i'm actually most familiar with Rod Stewart's old version (y'know, back when the guy had some soul; pre "Sexy"...). Sometimes songs are just evocative; give you a sense of being in a certain type of place. I never realized it was about Salford; thought it could relate to just about any steel town in the American north east, for example. I'm a canuck, but actually spent about a week in Salford in the late '70's. By that time they had tried to put in the "fix"; they knocked down much/most(?) of the row housing and put up these huge high rise apartment blocks, which were a complete disaster, destroying any sense of neighborhood or community (or so I was told). Wasn't the population density there the highest in Europe for awhile? Sorry for the thread drift, but thanks for the background on this one. sb


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:51 PM

There are places in Windsor (Ontario) where I WISH They'd knock down and put up blocks of flats... I'd prefer that to the current slums that are all over the place...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Slickerbill
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 05:59 PM

I know what you mean; inner city Winnipeg was pretty crappy in places too. The problem is that you stack all these people above one another and they become very isolated, and eventually these kinds of development actually can get dangerous. It's kind of like how they seriously screwed up downtown Winnipeg years ago; knocked down the older buildings and put in a bloody mall! It's been a problem area ever since. See, I think a tune like 'Dirty Old Town" is great because in a sense it's timeless. Whether now or 50 years ago, you can appreciate someone wanting to take a good sharp axe/ chainsaw/ jackhammer to some of these places. sb


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: breezy
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 06:07 PM

an axe has been taken to Salford and it has and is being transformed. The G mex centre is nearby. Costs a bit to park and thats where the commonwealth games will be contested. At least the canadians have a world class women's weightlifter, is she coached by the same guy who coached Ben Johnson?
Perhaps Clinton is winding up us Brits or is he a 'thicky' or is this the old peculiar late at night?.
Hooray Germany made it.They had a few Dirty old Towns too
Goodnight


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 06:07 PM

Timeless as a slum!

LOL!!!

Interesting concept...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 06:17 PM

Clinton, I can't see anything wrong with the first verse. He meets the girl by the gasworks, walks down the towpath with her and stops by the factory for a kiss. Is that not simple enough? The last verse is more like Blake's Jerusalem - you couldn't expect him to do that literally. Perhaps change the words 'good sharp axe' to 'JCB' and continue in that vein.

I suspect it made more sense to us in the British Isles. I certainly thought it referred to Bethnal Green when I was a child.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 06:20 PM

Breezy,

Not sure when you last visited the Salford Precinct, or had a walk around Broughton?

It's still very grim, and very far from being 'transformed' It's not all like the Quays you know..


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 06:26 PM

ClintonHammond said:

What was it Edger Allen Poe said?

"Music, when combined with a pleasureable idea, is poetry. Music, without the idea is simply music. Without music or an intriguing idea, colour becomes pallor..."

I think the music Poe was speaking of was the music of the poetry, of which he was a consummate master, not literal music. Read aloud his poem, "Bells", for example. The sounds and the rhythm is what it's about, with very slim content.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 06:44 PM

Never try to sing anything you don't understand, that's a good principle. Though I can't think of many songs which are more straightforward in saying what they mean than this.

In a dirty old town, instead of courting amidst fields and woods and running rivers, the way you might in a lot of songs, you have to do it in between factories and gasworks, and down by the old canals that you find in old industrial towns. So that's what the guy in the song is doing - but he's dreaming of a future where things get better and the dirty old town is torn down and a splendid new town is built instead. And at the same time the dirty old town stands for the whole system that needs changing.

"This guy doesn't even seem to know where he is... Is it the gasworks or the factory??? " Well, gasworks and factiories both have outside walls, otherwise the roof wouldn't stay up. So he's in the streets where those walls run, and down by the old canal, where the barges used to collect and deliver for the factories. Those are the places he meets his girl - lovers lane, but it's in back alleys.

It's a song from a time and a viewpoint where people tended to think that the way to make things better was to tear down the old and put up the new, and that the new buildings would inevitably mean a new and better life, and it was all more straighforward.

The irony is that when people sing it now the buildings they often have in mind as the key features of the dirty old town, which need pulling down, are the very buildings that were put up to replace the older ones. I live in a New Town, built from the 50s on, but when people here sing this song they tend to set it here in their minds.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 07:12 PM

The biggest irony is that most people think that it's an irish song about dublin


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: firínne
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 07:41 PM

The way I always knew the song was that the 3rd line in the 3rd verse was: 'Smelt the smoke....in the sulphured wind, dirty old town,etc.' I have also heard it sang 'in the Salford wind, etc.'


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 07:45 PM

firínne

'Salford wind' is the correct lyric

'sulphured' and other mishearings are corruptions of the original


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 08:31 PM

"Salford wind"

Neat... I'm not changin' the way I sing it, but neat...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 08:53 PM

G'day all ... and Clinton,

Well, I live about as far from the scene of this song as is possible - but I live in the inner suburbs of Sydney ... on the industrial side of the Parramatta River ... and Dirty Old Town has always looked enough like my surroundings for it to make sense to me! (And my Bolton ancestors came from the Manchester region only 90 years ago.)

What is amazing is that such an evocative and poetic song was whipped up by Ewan MacColl at short notice ... to cover a bad scene change in Landscape With Chimneys And I think that was early 1950s ... at the latest ... when Ewan was still principally involved with Joan Littlewood's theatre group (... ?).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: firínne
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 08:57 PM

Bob...the best things were always written in a hurry! when people have time to start re-phrasing and refining, they lose the essence of what they were saying in the first place!


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jun 02 - 11:34 PM

G'day firínne,

You are, of course, dead right! I know that things that have been dredged from the last grey cells awake - to get the Mulga Wire issue finished and away ... often look much better than the most prepared and worked-over bits.

Anyway, I find it an intensely descriptive song ... and rank it with ewan's First Time Ever ... apparently written ... well, composed, in the course of a UK - California 'phone call to Peggy Seeger, c. 1958!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 01:56 AM

I was born and brought up in the industrial North West of England. From its very first hearing, I have never needed any explanation of this song. The visions conjured up were right there before my eyes.

Doug C


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: caz2ufolk
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 02:35 AM

Clint-He met her by the croft and kissed her by the wall!


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 04:13 AM

I was born and have lived on the outskirts of Salford all my life - Swinton to be precise which is now the administrative centre of the Salford metropolitan district.

I certainly agree with the interpretations given about the Salford of the past and present! There are exeptions of course but generaly Salford, the city as opposed to the Metro area, was very grim indeed and went from bad to worse when it demolished the terraced slums and built high rise ones. It is getting better. All the advertising for Manchester now shows the Lowry Centre - so at least out neighbours are proud of it! When the Imperial War museum is ready that will add to the attractions as well.

My biggest gripe with the 'new' Salford though is although it has a past to be proud of, industry, a large population, a cathederal, eveything a city should have - It has NO city centre to speak of! Nowhere to go. No central focus - apart from the quays, which are just show. Before there was Cross Lane, the Cattle market and Regent Road which were busstling. Now? Nothing!

Out of interest, Guest of 6:20pm, yes - the precinct is awful - worst of the 70's! Broughton however - yes again, there are bad bits - but Mrs G and I had a walk up Lower Broughton Road on Sunday night, past Uniteds training ground at the Cliff and finished up with a drink in the Horseshoe on Back Hope Street. Talk about an oasis! Lovely Victorian and Edwardian houses. Imitation gas lights. Cobbled streets - the full urban regeneration thing. It is a fine place to visit - although I'm not sure I'd live there;-)

To anyone else intersted in Salford try Starting Here

Cheers and if anyone wants any info on Salfords past Elaine (Mrs G) has the REAL knowledge (and local hostory books coming out of here ears!) - PM me.

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 04:24 AM

WHOOPS! The above link ain't a bad one (John Adams Music village thing used to be there but I can't find it now!) Anyway, what I REALY meant was - Starting Here

Sorry:-(

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 09:14 AM

Interesting that Swinton produced that gem of rural celebration the "Swinton May Song", and not all that long ago either.
Re Dirty Old Town words. My recollecton is that McColl did not sing "Salford wind", though he may have written that for the original production. I'm sure the original recording, andhow he sung it generally, was "smelt the spring on the smoky wind". Made it more universal, and of wider appeal I suppose.That's purely my memory, from way back, by the way. The record's buried in some box, I moved house recently. He made no secret of it's being written about Salford, though, and I think otherpeople started singing "Salford".I certainly remember making that change, in the mid 60's I suppose. Anyone else remember that?


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 10:22 AM

We always sang 'Smoky Wind' when I first learned it at school as well. Out of interest (well - to me anyway;-)) there are two Swinton May Songs - The old and the new. A search of the forum will find them both posted from a direct transcription of Chambers book of days by me.

It's also odd how things come round in a circle. Pre local gvt. re-org in 1974 Swinton was a Borough Council - nothing to do with Salford. Many years before that however it WAS part of Salford - the Hundred of Salford.

And Salford is not only famous for Mr MacColl - We also produced actors like Albet Finney and Ben Kingsley. LS Lowry was a Salford/Swinton man of course but, also getting well known now, is local artist Harold Riley. Salford can also claim the first proper sewage system apparantly - as well as slightly less salubrious claims of the first workhouse and the first all-electric mill!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 10:39 AM

I had a look at a whole lot of versions of the song on the net earlier. Hardly anyone gives croft at the end of the 1st line. Most common variations were wall, cry, door and in one I think croft fall (to rhyme with the 3rd line I suppose).

The Salford wind was rendered usually as smokey/smoke-filled and sulphured (this latter in Rod Stewart's version).

And at least one had a note something like I learned this song in Dublin, the "dirty old town"

I think ho-hum covers it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Orac
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:02 AM

I've nerver heard anyone sing anything but "I met my love by the Gasworks Croft" for the first line ... anything else is just plain wrong. ... paints a pretty good picture of what used to be a pretty awful place to try to court a girl. James Miller, who wrote it, obviously was ashamed of his childhood in Salford as he adopted the name Ewan MacColl and pretended to have a Scottish accent.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Brakn
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:26 AM

I have McColl/Millar singing it with Peggy Seeger and it's "I found my love, by the gasworks crofts" and "on the smokey wind".


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Joe_F
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:29 AM

Salford is also the setting of a remarkable play, _A Taste of Honey_ by Shelagh Delaney (1959). It was later made into a movie, which I believe was shot there.

It joins on pretty well to the mood of the song.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:29 AM

I don't think Jimmie Miller (aka Ewan MacColl) was ashamed of his Salford roots-- he was just proud of his Scottish heritage (his mum was from Auchterarder, after all). He was also an internationalist/communist, so his urban working class Salford roots were important to him. Remember, he wrote songs like "The Manchester Rambler" clearly indicating where he was from.

I agree it was dodgy to pretend he spoke in broad scots, especially when he imposed his guideline of "don't sing songs from outside your own culture" on others. But I think he saw himself as a Scot by breeding and a man from industrial northern England by birth, and believed he could fit into both categories, not deny one of them.

Clint--it's a great song. I agree it's not as sweet as "First time ever I saw your face" or as magical as "Sweet Thames Flow Softly," but it's fierce and emotional and vividly descriptive if you understand the words and have been in towns like that.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:36 AM

I think "croft"has a tendency to be displaced because it's a fairly obscure bit of northern dialect, not currently much in use these days onthe Manchester side of the Pennines, though still around more in Yorkshire. Mark Burke,our very Mancunian and youngest member of the Boat Band, not only doesnt sing "croft", he didnt even know what a "croft" was.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Orac
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:40 AM

The Manchester Rambler was written for the mass tresspass of Kinderscout in 1933 when James Miller was 19. (He didn't start calling himself MacColl until the 1940's)Quite young to write a song like that... except for the bit about the spotwelder.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 12:45 PM

My wife comes from Salford, so she always sings "Salford" wind, always sang the "croft" bit as well. In Ireland recently a group played this bloody awful "swinging" version and sang "DUBLIN wind, we just sat there and cringed. We courted mostly in Folk Clubs, and a little bit on Kersal Moor. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 01:01 PM

Are you sure about McColl writing the Manchester Rambler in 1933, Orac? It seems a very unlikely bit of writing for a teenager. Are you sure it wasnt written for the Ballad of John Axon which would have been in the 50's? The spotwelder sounds like a very knowing and semi-humorous bit of Socialist realism and not the work of an ingenuous 19 year old.Mind you, he was a hell of a good writer, and if he'd hung around in the right sort of left-wing mancunian circles as a kid it's not beyond the realms of possibility. Where did you get that bit of information?


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 01:04 PM

I'm pretty certain he wrote the Manchester Rambler pre-war.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 01:20 PM

According to WCML - Ewan McColl - Singer & Songs he wrote the Manchester Rambler in 1932, when he was 17, to celebrate the mass trespass of Kinder Scout - the anniversary of which was made much of just recently (including the use of the Manchester Rambler).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 02:14 PM

So, it sounds like this song might make more sense to me if I had the proper lyrics...

can someone post 'em?


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 09:21 PM

G'day MCP,

Ewan also gave the 1932 date in his old song book.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:30 AM

The tune Ewan set the song to is an American variant of "The Wife of Usher's Well" (Child 79).


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIRTY OLD TOWN (Ewan MacColl)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 05:38 AM

Lyrics as in the new Ewan MacColl songbook (which by the way is not reliable):

DIRTY OLD TOWN

I found my love by the gasworks croft,
Dreamed a dream by the old canal;
Kissed my girl by the factory wall.
Dirty old town, dirty old town

Clouds a-drifting across the moon,
Cats a-prowling on their beat;
Spring's a girl in the streets at night.
Dirty old town, dirty old town

Heard a siren from the docks,
Saw a train set the night on fire;
Smelled the spring on the smoky wind.
Dirty old town, dirty old town

I'm going to make a good sharp axe,
Shining steel tempered in the fire;
We'll chop you down like an old dead tree.
Dirty old town, dirty old town

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Declan
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:00 AM

By coincidence the movie version of "A taste of Honey" was shown on RTE (Irish National TV) last night. I didn't watch it all, but from what I did see the setting seemed to echo the words of the song very well - scenes of people walking/ running along canal banks lined with factories, gas yards etc.

Incidentally when I visited the North of England I expected everything to look very grey, but was pleasantly surprised. I think I'd seen too many of those early 60s Black and White "gritty reality" movies.


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Mudcat time: 27 October 7:55 PM EDT

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