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Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)

07 Aug 20 - 08:24 AM (#4067614)
Subject: Lyr Req: Young Engineer
From: Steve Gardham

Looking for full lyrics to this song by Graeme Miles. Having searched the net without luck I come to the more obvious place of all folky knowledge. Most of us can remember the chorus, and there weren't many verses if I remember aright. Dave Eyre has asked for the lyrics on here several times without success.

There aren't many of Graeme's lyrics online strangely.

Here's the chorus to jog your memory.

Oh where is the young man, the young engineer?
Not seen him in these parts for nigh on a year.
Well if you mean Johnny you'll find him up north
At work on the new bridge that spans o'er the Forth.


07 Aug 20 - 08:46 PM (#4067667)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer
From: cnd

Officially called THE NEW FORTH BRIDGE SONG or THE YOUNG ENGINEER, it can be heard on Folktrax FTX-225: The Ironmasters (music not online)

A few more words I found from a Mudcat thread:

"When the men from the south and the men from the north
Will meet and complete the bridge over the Forth."

According to another post, the words are included in the songbook Songscapes, but buying a copy of that book nowadays looks to be quite pricey; maybe a library near you has a copy? Check https://www.worldcat.org/title/songscapes/oclc/50464360

On another thread, 'catter "nutty" (who last posted Nov. 2019) seemed to have organized publishing efforts, and user "vectis" (who was active as of July) mentioned wanting a copy. You could try PM-ing one of them in hopes that they have a copy of the book still. (see the thread I'm referring to here).


07 Aug 20 - 11:49 PM (#4067679)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Joe Offer

And I wonder which one of the three Forth bridges the song is talking about. The Forth Rail Bridge is the one that's renowned for its beauty - and the best view of it can be had by walking across the Forth Road Bridge. And now there's a new suspension bridge to handle additional highway traffic.

If you belong to Facebook, you may be able to see my photo of the three bridges - made while I was in an airliner taking off from the Edinburgh airport.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10157426900768260&set=a.10150641383203260


08 Aug 20 - 01:47 AM (#4067685)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Steve Gardham

Thanks cnd. If they're that scarce I'll avoid that one. A friend asked me to get the words and not knowing it was one of Graeme's I thought it would be a simple job. I know Hazel (Nutty) so I might give her a call if the text doesn't turn up here.


08 Aug 20 - 06:17 AM (#4067698)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: The Doctor

'The Young Engineer' is included in the book 'Songscapes' by Graeme Miles and Robin Dale. It should be possible to contact Robin to see about a copy, as I hesitate to post it here.


08 Aug 20 - 11:28 AM (#4067719)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

I've got this on one of Graeme's home tapes (one of 3 with industrial songs on). I'll dig it out later (index is on the computer, but I haven't put the actual tapes up), though I'm at an online event until 10 tonight, so it'll probably be late before I get round to it.

Mick


08 Aug 20 - 11:48 AM (#4067724)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

Update - I've actually got the tape to hand and I'm copying the song onto the computer as I type. Would you like Graham's introductory commentary too?

Mick


08 Aug 20 - 12:48 PM (#4067731)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)

He didn't talk too long, so I've included it anyway.

Mick


THE YOUNG ENGINEER
(Graeme Miles, ...)

Graeme (spoken): "The Young Engineer was originally written in 1963 or 64, just after the completion of the Forth Road Bridge. It's the song that tells of a young lad who, having fininshed his apprenticeship, goes up to Scotland to work on the new bridge. Before the days of the oil rigs this was, young lads tended to go where the money was. And on this particular occasion it happened to be in bridge building. There was quite a lot of it going on in those days - across the Severn; they started the Humber Bridge I believe; and the Tay Bridge - a lot of bridges. The young engineer:"

Oh, where is that young lad, the young engineer,
Not a-seen him in these parts for nigh on a year.
Why, if you mean Johnny, you'll find him up North,
At work on the new bridge that spans over The Forth.

His apprenticeship's over, now he's skilled at his trade;
Young John is a man now and a man's wage he's paid.
Now he's gone up to Scotland, where he's proven his worth
As he works on the new bridge that spans over The Forth.

He bade farewell to the factory where he served his time
To work greasy cables and girders to climb,
To tread narrow catwalks high over the earth,
As he works on the new bridge that spans over The Forth

Young Nancy's been grieving since Johnny's been gone.
Though her letters are frequent and loving and long,
She yearns to be with him, up there in the North,
Where he works on the new bridge that spans over The Forth

But they're coming together now as each day goes past,
Soon the young engineer will be working his last,
As the men to the South and the men to the North
Meet and complete the bridge over The Forth.

His job will be done then and his tools he'll lay down,
And the young engineer will be homeward bound.
And as he returns he'll glance back to the North
And give a last wave to the bridge over The Forth.



Graeme (spoken): "The Young Engineer. That's the second version - I think there's about six versions of it actually. The music to that, by the way, is a joint composition - meself and Albert Elliott. My original tune was in the minor <hums a few bars>, but Albert thought it would sound better in the major, so since then I've stuck to that particular tune. It's another one of those songs that Steve Wilson's wife Bridget has brought back to life. She does a remarkable job on it, as usual. And I believe Ray Fisher used to sing it years ago, if not this particular version, certainly another one."


Source: Graeme Miles: Industrial Songs Of Teesside And The Clevelands - Reference Tape No.2


08 Aug 20 - 06:27 PM (#4067759)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Tattie Bogle

Thanks for that, Mick Pearce: it places that firmly as being the Forth Road Bridge opened in 1964.
I was on one of the last of the car ferries across the Forth, a few days before the road bridge opened. Here's a link to John Watt's song, "Farewell to the Ferries".
Farewell to the Ferries


If you want to complete the trilogy of Forth Bridges, here is a great song by Robin Laing about the Rail Bridge.
Forth (rail) Bridge Song

And now the new bridge, named The Queensferry Crossing: a song written by a friend of mine, a Scot living in Australia, but she was over here at the time the bridge was being completed
Queensferry Crossing


09 Aug 20 - 10:07 AM (#4067800)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Young Engineer (Graeme Miles)
From: Steve Gardham

I knew you'd come up with the goods, Mick!
You're a star as always.