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The Fivepenny Piece Songs A-C

The Fivepenny Piece Songs pages list in alphabetical order all the known songs* (not forgetting the monologues!) recorded or written by The Fivepenny Piece, and give brief notes about each. This is the index page, which gives a complete alphabetical index of all the songs. Further information about the individual songs is given in these pages:

Part 1 (A-C)   |   Part 2 (D-F)   |   Part 3 (G-J)   |   Part 4 (K-O)   |   Part 5 (P-S)   |   Part 6 (T-Z)

or just click on the song title below to go to the appropriate page. If anyone knows of any other songs not in the list, then please let us know.

* songs from the CD 57 Fivepenny Favourites have not been included in this list, as these are all medleys of extracts of songs made famous by others, and are not really typical The Fivepenny Piece material.

A

Song Title & Composer(s)

Track info / Notes

Affluence
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe - Eddie Crotty)

Excellent song from the King Cotton album about the youth of today wanting more brass. And that was in the 1970s! The band are in fine voice on this great group effort with a high Lancashire quotient.

LP: King Cotton; LP: Very Best Of The Fivepenny Piece; CD: Better Than Ever

Air Hostess, The
(Nick Brackin)

Humorous tale about an air hostess and the airliner's captain. I've been unable to find out anything about writer Nick Brackin, who wrote several songs recorded by The Fivepenny Piece.

LP: Here We Are Again; CD: Here We Are Again

Albert's Apple Tree
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

Humorous song from the Telling Tales album, with John on lead vocals. It concerns the perils of trying to grow apple trees in soil from Yorkshire.

LP: Telling Tales

Amore
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe - Renato Pareti - Alberto Salerno)

Romantic song from the Peddlers of Songs album. Pareti and Salerno are Italian songwriters - I don't know whether they collaborated with our lads, or whether John and Colin translated the Italian lyrics.

LP: Peddlers Of Songs

Armchair Athlete
(music: John Meeks; words: Colin Radcliffe, Phil Barlow, David Waggett)

Song about a chap who decides it's easier to watch sports on TV than to participate. Phil Barlow was the band's regular drummer, but I don't know who David Waggett is.

LP: The Fivepenny Piece On Stage Again

Ashton Mashers
(Trad. written - arr./adapt. Eddie Crotty)

Lyrics here

Although credited to Eddie Crotty, the original version of this song was written by a duo The Brothers Malone, a music hall act from the early 20th century who used to perform in the North-West. Originally a slightly different song named after the act, as their sort of signature tune or theme song. The song was re-written by the 'brothers' with a slightly different tune in a few local variants of which Ashton Mashers is one. Other versions are known to exist for Rochdale and Oldham, with suitable variations in the detail of the lyrics, such as the use of local street names. A verse of the original Brothers Malone song can be heard on the album Golden Stream by the late great Harry Boardman, who also sang Ashton Mashers on the same LP. Other versions of the 'Mashers' song may well have existed. 

LP: Wish You Were Here; LP: This Is The Fivepenny Piece

Away In A Manger
(Trad. - arr. John Meeks)

A new arrangement of the classic Christmas Carol recorded for the band's 2008 Christmas album.

CD: A Special Child

Aylesbury Duck, The
(???)

A monologue by Eddie recorded in 2007 for the It All Began album.

CD: Where It All Began

B

Song Title & Composer(s)

Track info / Notes

Ballad Of Emmylou
(Trevor Chance - Colin Radcliffe)

Song in the spirit of Benny Hill's Ernie, from the Here We Are Again album. Written by Trevor Chance and Colin Radcliffe. Sung - or rather, spoken - by Eddie.

LP: Here We Are Again; CD: Here We Are Again

Bantam Cock
(Jake Thackray)

Humorous song concerning the capers of the eponymous cockerel with an eye for the birds. Written by the superb singer/songwriter Jake Thackray, and far and away his most covered song, having been recorded by Fred Wedlock, The Corries and Jasper Carrott, among others. The Fivepenny Piece's version appeared on the live On Stage Again album, and gives us a rare chance to hear George on lead vocals - his highly original rendition adds to the hilarity! The lyrics are transcribed on Jake Thackray's website.

LP: The Fivepenny Piece On Stage Again; LP: Very Best Of The Fivepenny Piece

Battle Of Hastings 1066
(Marriott Edgar)

The lyrics are transcribed on the Monologues website.

One of the many famous monologues written between the wars by Marriott Edgar, and made famous by Stanley Holloway. Here, Eddie Crotty tells of King 'Arold and the fate that befell him at that historic encounter with the Normans. Re-recorded in 2007 for the It All Began album.

LP: The Fivepenny Piece On Stage; CD: Where It All Began

Best Of Order, Thank You Please!
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

This song was never performed by Fivepenny Piece but was written especially for Lancashire comic Colin Crompton, perhaps best known in his persona as 'chairman' of the popular Wheeltappers & Shunters Club on Granada TV. The song's title was the comedian's catchphrase on the programme. The Fivepenny Piece appeared as guest artists at least once on the TV show - see the The Fivepenny Piece On TV page.

Unrecorded by The Fivepenny Piece

Big Jim
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe - Eddie Crotty)

Lyrics here

Still one of The Fivepenny Piece's most popular and best-remembered songs, telling the tale of the mighty worm fed on an unusual diet. There are three different recordings of the song - the original one on the first LP (which also appears on the Collection CD), the 1975 re-recorded version released as a single (which also appears on the Very Best Of CD); and a different version which appears on the Here We Are Again album. And, of course, there is also the sequel Big Jim Meets Nessie (see below).

single: Big Jim; LP: The Fivepenny Piece; LP: Very Best Of The Fivepenny Piece; LP: Here We Are Again; CD: Very Best Of The Fivepenny Piece; CD: Here We Are Again; CD: Lanky Spoken Here (1)

Big Jim Meets Nessie
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

On the live On Stage Again album, this song is a sequel to the ever-popular Big Jim and tells of the historic meeting between the legendary, fabled, almost mythical great creature, and the Scottish loch-dwelling monster.

LP: The Fivepenny Piece On Stage Again

Black Pud Stud
(Dave Dutton - Bernard Wrigley)

Song about a chap who's fond of black pudding, written by the "Bowton Bullfrog" with Lanky professor Dave Dutton, and recorded on the album An Evening With The Fivepenny Piece. The tune is very similar to that of The Yellow Rose Of Texas.

LP: An Evening With The Fivepenny Piece

Bob Platt
(Eddie Crotty)

Short song by Eddie about a chap who comes home from work only to find his wife out and his tea cooking on the stove, and feeling clemmed he decides not to wait...

LP: The Fivepenny Piece

Bonnie Brid
(Samuel Laycock - John Meeks)

One of the most well-known Lancashire dialect poems, this was written by the famous poet Samuel Laycock who (although born in Yorkshire) spent much of his life in The Fivepenny Piece's home town of Stalybridge, before moving to Blackpool. A new version of the song was released in 2004 on John Meeks' first solo CD.
This poem was written in 1864 in Stalybridge at the time of the cotton famine and is addressed from a father to his new-born child, the "bonnie brid" (bird) of the title. This moving and tender poem about the hardship of bringing up a family during those difficult times has been set to a beautiful melody by John Meeks. The words to this song, and more about Sam Laycock and the cotton famine can be seen at the Stalybridge Online website.

LP: Wish You Were Here; LP: Lancashire My Lancashire; Just Me And Some Of Mi Songs

Boozer's Lament
(words: James Johnson, music: John Meeks & Colin Radcliffe)

A song dear to the heart of an ale drinker, bemoaning the replacement of real ale with keg fizz, the theming of pubs, and other related issues still being fought by CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) in the 21st century. I've been unable to find out anything about lyricist James Johnson.

LP: Telling Tales

Bottoms Up!
(Nick Brackin)

Another humorous monologue from Nick Brackin, who wrote several items recorded by the group over the years. Vocalised by Eddie.

LP: Here We Are Again; CD: Here We Are Again

Bowton's Yard
(Samuel Laycock - Eddie Crotty)

Another well-known poem by Samuel Laycock, in the Lancashire dialect, set to music by Eddie Crotty. The song is about Bolton's Yard in the Castle Hall area of Stalybridge, and the various characters and tradesfolk who lived there in the mid-19th century. The yard itself was demolished in the 20th century slum clearances of the area, so sadly it can no longer be seen. Re-recorded in 2007 for the It All Began album.

For more details on Sam Laycock, and the words to this song, visit the Stalybridge Online website.

LP: Songs We Like To Sing; CD: Where It All Began

Brown Photographs
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

Lyrics here

One of the most enduring songs written by the Meeks-Radcliffe partnership, this beautiful song appeared on The Fivepenny Piece's first live On Stage album, sung by John. It was also used on the King Cotton album (this time sung by Lynda) as a link between the other songs. The song refers to the old fading photographs the young lad would be shown as he sat on his grandmother's knee, bringing to life the times gone by, and the people who have aged or are no longer with us. Newer versions of the song appeared on John Meeks' 2004 solo album, and the 2007 It All Began album.

LP: The Fivepenny Piece On Stage; LP: Lancashire My Lancashire; Just Me And Some Of Mi Songs; CD: Where It All Began

Buggerlugs Loves Sugar Butty
(Dave Dutton - Bernard Wrigley)

A Lanky love song, sung by its composer Bernard Wrigley on the Lanky Spoken Here!  album, and later recorded by The Fivepenny Piece on their 1979 LP Life Is A Game Of Chance.

LP: Life Is A Game Of Chance

Butterflies And Songbirds
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

Originally issued as the B-side to the 1974 single release of Save Your Last Kiss For Me, this pop-oriented song (with perhaps a country tinge) reappeared on the Telling Tales album a few years later.

single: Save Your Last Kiss For Me; LP: Telling Tales

C

Song Title & Composer(s)

Track info / Notes

Can I?
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

A new song recorded in 2007 for the It All Began album.

CD: Where It All Began

Can't See The Wood For The Trees
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

A pop-oriented song with a very catchy tune, which (like so many others among the The Fivepenny Piece's pop-oriented output) could easily have been a chart hit had it been issued on a single. Lynda sings lead on this one.

LP: Both Sides Of Fivepenny Piece

City Of Manchester
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

Homage to that great city not far from Ashton, first issued on the LP Both Sides of Fivepenny Piece, and re-appearing as the opening track on the Lancashire My Lancashire  compilation album.

LP: Both Sides Of Fivepenny Piece; LP: Lancashire My Lancashire

Colours Of My Life
(John Meeks - Colin Radcliffe)

A new song recorded in 2007 for the It All Began album.

CD: Where It All Began

Come Whoam To Thi Childer An Me
(John Meeks - Waugh)

A new song recorded in 2007 for the It All Began album.

CD: Where It All Began

Cum To Your Tea
(Horace Slater - John Meeks) although credited on the album to (Cook - John Meeks)

Based on a Lancashire dialect poem Cum To Thi Tay, this was adapted slightly so that Lynda could sing it to George on the Fivepenny Piece On Stage album. It tells of a young lass anxious to get her boyfriend to come to her folks' home for tea, and was based on the songwriter's own experience when he met his future In-laws!

Although credited to 'Cook' on the album, this poem was written by Horace Slater, and first published in the Oldham Chronicle between 1956 and 1959. It was included with another poem, "In t' Park", in a book of dialect poems entitled "Lancashire Miscellany" edited by James Bennett and published in 1960.
Horace Slater is listed in the Lancashire Lantern website, in the poet index; he wrote many dialect poems and was very proud that these two were published in a book. He was also very proud that The Fivepenny Piece put his poem to music. Horace died in 1983 in Blackpool, a place he detested, but due to circumstances spent the last years of his life living there.

LP: Fivepenny Piece On Stage; LP: Lancashire My Lancashire


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