This Land

by The Moonbeams

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1.
All our world is made of stone from the first big bang in the great unknown From the rock hard crust down to the molten core We scrape the top soil off the land, dig and blast with quarry gangs And drag the stones down from the moor For building churches, building mills For spinning yarn and weaving tweed For dressing querns for grinding corn and the workers in the factories trod the unforgiving Flags beneath their feet She wakes to the sound of the factory bell from a dreamless sleep to a living hell To struggle through streets of ignorance and shame She’s 10 years old and she works all day a 12 hour shift for a pittance pay A slave again in everything but name And see her face, is that the face of a child Those worn out eyes and those sunken cheeks And see her feet are raw from walking the cold mill floor In the dirt and the grime and the grease that swills and gathers on The flags beneath her feet Now we can run out into the fields far from the groaning grinding wheels Our fruit and flowers are piled high at our doors We can wander out across the fells, no clattering looms, no waking bells We’re free to ramble over the open moors And beneath our feet see the old stone flags Like tombstones lined out across the peat And with every step we take we tread on the memories Of the ones that who before and were the first to tread The flags beneath our feet
2.
This Land 03:52
When I was a boy I went out with my father On summer days when i should have been at school I’d work in the sheep pens whilst he was clipping Rolling and tying the greasy wool And many’s the day that I’ve spent gap walling High up on the limestone fell Learning the skills with which I’d make my living Learning to do things right and well I learnt to do the mucking, the harrowing, the haytime ]When to cut, to turn and to bale I learnt to do the dagging, the gathering, the fothering To clip and to dip and drive a nail I was out in winter blizzards poling the snowdrifts Searching with the dogs for stranded ewes And if anyone had asked me if I’d like to change my living I’m sure that I would have refused Refrain: And I know every stone, every syke, every valley Every clint, every gryke, every tree For when all’s said and done I’m a part of this land And this land’s a part of me Now I’ve farmed this land through good times and bad times Taking the rough with the smooth There’s times when I’ve felt like shutting the gate and walking When it’s seemed like there’s nothing else to lose But now that I’m older I look across the fellside At my home, my stock, my family And I’m thankful that when I was stood at the crossroads Fate chose the right road for me
3.
Brother 03:03
Brother come take my hand I’ll share with you my house my land The green fields and the open moor A warm fire and an open door Brother, come take my hand And when they says they’re shutting the gates It’s not done in my name And when they say they’re putting up the fences I will help you tear them down again Brother, come take my hand Sister, come take my arm I’ll lead you away from this pain and harm I know that you wish you could’ve stayed home But I’ll try and be your shelter in this storm Sister, come take my arm And when they say they will turn you away I say enough is enough And when they say that we should look to ourselves first We’re from the same source, of the same blood Sister, come take my arm Brother and sister take my hand
4.
One day as I was out walking, Chasing the clouds up the Fell I saw someone coming towards me, Coming down through the mist on the hill It was a young girl that came striding With a gait that was easy and free At one with the wind and at one with the land, A girl from the north country I stopped by the wall to bid her good day, She spoke and I drowned in her smile We passed each other and went our own ways, But she’s here with me now for all time She could charm the sheep from the mountain Coax the deer from the glen She whispers to horses at midnight She’s as bright as a jenny wren She could tempt the birds down out of the trees Make the fish swim out of the sea She’s as sweet as a flowered filled meadow in June She’s my girl from the north country Now she’s always with me when I’m walking the fells She’s my muse, my mentor, my guide We met only briefly, one moment in time But she’s constantly here by my side
5.
The snow was still falling as I walked to the farm To the home of my fathers and childhood There were no dogs to greet me or to sound the alarm As the yard gate clos-ed behind me I remember the stories, the laughter we shared The dairy and byres where we worked long and hard The clatter of clogs on the cobbles in the yard When we gathered in the evenings of summer CH: I can see the hay meadows where the butterflies danced The barn is still standing where we frolicked and pranced As we raised our jugs high and we offered our thanks At the end of the hay time and harvest There are gaps in the walls aye they’ve all tumbled down The land is quiet and deserted I remember a time when the fields all around Were alive with children’s wild laughter But the old school stands empty at the top of the hill There are no children running from the farms and the mill For the big wheel’s stopped turning and the water is still A silence hangs over the valley The houses are quiet in the village below The gardens overgrown and forgotten The shop’s boarded up and the forge has gone cold There’s grass in the chimneys and gutters And the church bells are silent, they no longer chime For there’s no one to worry about Sunday or time And there is nobody left to make the long climb To the rusty old clock in the tower They’ve finished the dam at the foot of the dale They are moving out men and machinery A two hundred foot wall of concrete and steel Will tame the wild life of our river Soon the waters will rise and they’ll cover the walls They will wash through the houses and through the cow stalls Then we’ll hear the old church bell give a last drowning call As the water floods over the tower
6.
Gathering Day He ties his coat and looks at the sky Pulls his cap tight over his eyes We’ll happen get wet before it’s night And this gathering day is done He strides up the fields and onto the fell His stick in his hand and his dogs at heel Waits for his neighbours from over the hill And this gathering day to begin Then it’s ‘Get away Gyp’ and ‘Come by Fly’ ‘That’ll do Jess’ and ‘Lie down Guy’ They fix the ewes with unblinking eyes And gather the fell sheep in They come together by the fell wall And he rolls the stone from the cripple hole Counting them through as they go Yan tan tedera pedera pinth Then sorting them through the gathering pens There’s the mark of Billy and the mark of Ken And that one’s John’s from across the Dale And on until the last one’s in Then it’s back to the farm for a crack and a drink The men dog tired and the dogs done in We’ve had a good day lads we’ve gathered them in Yan tan tedera pedera pinth
7.
Lady Luck 04:17
LADY LUCK Many’s the time I’ve stumbled, too many to recall Many’s the time I’ve sailed close to the wind and it’s been to tight to call But I’ve always kept my chin up high and my feet upon the floor Yes many’s the time I’ve stumbled but I’ve yet to fall. The road is long that I am walking, keep on going, I keep on talking I always find that there’s another tale to tell Every tune leads to another and every song has to come from somewhere And every heart has a tone just like every bell I come up slowly like a deep sea diver and every slip is a timely reminder That you never know what is just around the next bend So I hang on tight to my St Christopher, thank my stars and cross my fingers Spin the bottle, throw a penny down the well Sometimes when I feel things slide, it reminds me that time is passing by And I have to work harder to keep the train on the track But then I shoot the suns out of the sky, become immortal learn to fly Ride through the night hanging on the full moon’s back In every man there is a lover and I’m the same as any other And every day is a new rose ready to pluck So I never look at a new moon though a glass, step under a ladder, let a black cat pass I’m happy to be riding with Lady Luck
8.
Blackbirds and Thrushes If I could sing like the blackbirds and thrushes I’d sing to you from the highest bough If I could sing from the blackbirds and thrushes I’d sing a fine song and I’d sing it loud B. If I could run like the hare on the mountain I’d run to you from my heathery moor If I could run like the hare on the mountain I’d run straight down to be at your door If I could swim like the fish in the water I’d swim the rivers and the oceans wide If I could swim like the fish in the water I’d leap any foss to be at your side If I could dance like the rushes a-growing I’d dance all day in the summer breeze If I could dance like the rushes a-growing I’d dance for you where’ere you may be So I’ll sing out with the blackbirds and thrushes I’ll run o’er the mountain with the wild hare I’ll dance all day with the rattles and rushes And I’ll swim the rivers and oceans to have you near And where’ere you be you will find me there
9.
Slow Down 04:14
Slow Down Slow cities, slow food, slow art, slow mood Slow down – we’re all trying to slow down Slow down – we all need to slow down No more rushing, no more huffing and a puffing – slow down Slow eating, slow talking, slow reading, long walking Slow down – its good to slow down Slow down – does you good to slow down No more racing, no more running, no more chasing – slow down Let’s get together in one endeavour Help each other every sister and brother Step aside and take your time And you might find that it’s just fine if you – slow down Take it easy, take it slow, take no more than you need and go on Slow down, just need to slow down Slow down, come on slow down Ditch the fast lane and take a slow train – slow down Let’s get together in one endeavour Help each other every sister and brother Step aside and take your time And you might find that it’s just fine if you – slow down – slow down – slow down
10.
Ginny Bickerdyke I remember so well the days of that summer When we hung the dead hen from the bridge for a traitor A bundle of feathers wrapped in barbed wire to keep the foxes out We spent the days looking for adventure Roaming the moors through the bracken and heather Lying by the beck with our arms in the water Idly trying our hand at tickling trout We climbed up the ghyll past the bees and the cowslips Lightly skipping through the trees and the orchids To the gap in the wall were the beck tumbled down Off the moor by Ginny’s door But Ginny’d long gone and the cottage was empty So we pushed on the door and stepped into the kitchen There was a range, a rag rug and cups on the table It looked like she’s just popped out for something forgotten Refrain: We thought she was a witch, a sorceress or maybe A spellbinder or a little bit crazy But I now know Ginny Bickerdyke was just an old lady Who fell on hard times in hard times. One day we went up and Ginny’d come back She was chasing the cows from the yard with her stick Scrubbing the step and sweeping the flags And beating the rug on the wall Then we woke one night as the dogs started barking To the sound of a noise outside in the dark, it Was Ginny taking some coal from the barn But my Dad just laughed and said everyone needs to keep warm I remember so well the days of that summer Days that we thought would go on for ever I didn’t know then that it would soon be over And that I’d be leaving it all behind I set out on a road I’d not travelled Losing my way as the old ways unravelled But Ginny was taken off down to High Royd And shut away out of sight and out of mind
11.
Syke As Thee 03:22
Syke As Thee I would I could give you fine houses and land With horses and carriages all at your command Gardens of roses and arbours of sweet smelling trees Gifts such as these would be worthy of one syke as thee I would I could give you bright diamonds and pearls Presents from the orient from all across the world Ships laden with treasures from over the wide southern seas Gifts such as these would be worthy of one syke as thee I would I could give you rings of beaten gold Rich hangings for your parlour, rich silks for your clothes Soft leather for your sandals and silver cups for you to take your tea Gifts such as these would be worthy of one syke as thee But the truth I have to tell you is that I have none of these I have no house nor horses, no gardens, no trees No treasures from the ocean and my ship is just a ship of dreams But what I have I’ll give you for there is no other syke as thee
12.
Springing The Hill Remember the waggoners, the horsemen, the drovers Who travelled the lanes up dale and down gill When faced with a sharp climb they’d step up the pace in time To get to the top and that’s springing the hill And each climb’s like a piece of time, and each time you’re sure to find A way to tackle it just believe that you will Take your reins tight in you hand, ignore the trickling sand There’s only one way and that’s springing the hill I won’t hear his stealing steps, won’t lay no final bets I’ll throw him in the corner to lie quiet and still Dark clouds may gather but I’m not afraid of shadows I can see my way clearly to springing the hill As they seem to get steeper you have to dig deeper For there’s races to run and dreams to fulfil You may get slower but put the wheel to your shoulder And hope for some help when you’re springing the hill I’m ready for the raging not frightened of changing I’ll keep the fires burning for as long as they will This is no pigeon-chesting, no empty gesturing It’s the only way I know and it’s springing the hill There’s only one way and it’s springing the hill I hope for some help when I’m springing that hill
13.
e Yorkshire Tup (Trad, arrangement The Moonbeams) As I was going to Skipton, all on a market day I saw the finest tup sir, that had ever been fed on hay And it’s true me lads, it’s true me loves I’ve never been known to lie And if you’d gone down to Skipton you’d ‘ve seen the same as I He had 4 hooves to walk on, on 4 hooves he did stand And every one of those hooves sir why they covered an acre of land Now the horns upon this tup sir they reached up to the moon A man climbed up in April and he never came down til june Now the fleece upon this tup sir it grew up to the sky The eagles built their nests in it you could hear the young ones cry Now the man that stuck this tup sir he feared for his live So he sent away to Sheffield to get a longer knive It took all the men in Buckden to carry away his bones It took all the women in Grassington to roll away his stones Now Coverdale’s good for horses and Wensleydale for cheese And Dentdale folk are knitters and terrible for to see But if it’s sheep you’re after and be that tups or ewes accel.. Go over the hill to Swaledale, there’s plenty there for to choose And it’s true me lads, it’s true me loves I’ve never been known to lie And if you’d gone down to Skipton you’d ‘ve seen the same as I

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released August 3, 2018

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The Moonbeams Long Preston, UK

The Moonbeams sing their ‘Songs from the Dales’ telling tales of life and loving, and of laughing and enjoying life. Their contemporary folk based music skilfully evokes the beauty of their homeland, carrying you on a lyrical journey through the fells and dales of Yorkshire. Songs of rain, sun, and fells capture that elusive feeling of what it means to escape from the humdrum of everyday life. ... more

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