Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Men of the Tyne - on the road again...
THE Tyne has inspired a lot of musical creativity of late
There’s Wallsend lad Sting’s long-anticipated homage to the river and The Unthanks critically-praised ‘Songs from the Shipyards.’Closer to home we have ‘Men of the Tyne’, co-written by Jarrow-born Tom Kelly
It’s a simple format, sparsely staged, but no less effective for that. Emerging out of a project at the Customs House in South Shields, the splendidly evocative songs, written by poet and playwright Kelly, in conjunction with “adopted Geordie” Ian Ravenscroft, recall a time when the river was inhabited by riveters, welders and blacksmiths.
Kelly addressed the audience through a series of monologues, interspersed with original songs and a film inspired by the arts project.
Ex-blacksmith Ted Cuskin delivered robust renditions of the title song, Building Ships on the Tyne, Ghosts on the Tyne and (If It Wasn’t For Me) There’d Be No Ships on the Tyne, ably supported by keyboard maestro Ron Smith and Ravenscroft on guitar and backing vocals.
At its heart the show, which enjoyed good to sold-out audiences on a brief regional tour, is a touching tribute to the men who worked on the river in its 1950s to 1980s heyday. This is one production worthy of a re-launch.