Blaydon Races - an orchestral arrangement of the choral arrangement I made for my daughter Sam's marriage to Mike - a proper Newcastle United football fan!...
The original dialect would have the text thus:
Aw went to Blaydon Races, 'twas on the ninth of Joon,
Eiteen hundred an' sixty-two, on a summer's efternoon;
Aw tyuk the 'bus frae Balmbra's, an' she wis heavy laden,
Away we went alang Collingwood Street, that's on the road to Blaydon.
Oh lads, ye shud only seen us gannin',
We pass'd the foaks upon the road just as they wor stannin';
Thor wes lots o' lads an' lasses there, all wi' smiling faces,
Gawn alang the Scotswood Road, to see the Blaydon Races.
We flew past Airmstrang's factory, and up to the "Robin Adair",
Just gannin' doon te the railway bridge, the 'bus wheel flew off there.
The lasses lost their crinolines off, an' the veils that hide their faces,
An' aw got two black eyes an' a broken nose in gan te Blaydon Races.
When we gat the wheel put on away we went agyen,
But them that had their noses broke they cam back ower hyem;
Sum went to the Dispensary an' uthers to Doctor Gibbs,
An' sum sought out the Infirmary to mend their broken ribs.
Noo when we gat to Paradise thor wes bonny gam begun;
Thor was fower-an-twenty on the 'bus, man, hoo they danced an' sung;
They called on me to sing a sang, aw sung them "Paddy Fagan",
Aw danced a jig an' swung my twig that day aw went to Blaydon.
We flew across the Chain Bridge reet into Blaydon toon,
The bellman he was callin' there, they call him Jackie Brown;
Aw saw him talkin' to sum cheps, an' them he was pursuadin'
To gan an' see Geordy Ridley's concert in the Mechanics' Hall at Blaydon.
The rain it poor'd aw the day an' myed the groons quite muddy,
Coffy Johnny had a white hat on - they war shootin' "Whe stole the cuddy."
There wes spice stalls an' munkey shows an' aud wives selling ciders,
An' a chep wiv a hapenny roond aboot, shootin' "Noo, me boys, for riders."
The song is now usually sung with with more modern language but retaining the tyneside dialect. For example the chorus might be sung:
Oh! me lads, ye shud a' seen us gannin,
Passin' the folks upon the road just as they were stannin'.
Thor wis lots o' lads and lasses there, all wi' smiling faces
Gannin' alang the Scotswood Road to see the Blaydon Races.
I stuck mostly to the more modern version, but with an introduction:
This song is writ for Mike,
and for Sam,
For Mike & Sam,
and all Newcastle fans,
but especially Mikey the fan of fans!
I went to Blaydon races
Twas on the 9th of June
Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Two
On a summer's afternoon
I took the bus from Balmbras
And she was heavy laden
Away we went along Collingwood Street
To see the race at Blaydon
Oh me lads, you should've seen us gannin
Passing the folks along the road
And all of them were starin'
All the lads and lasses there
They all had smilin' faces
Gannin along the Scotswood Road
To see the Blaydon races
We flew past Armstrong's factory
And up by the Robin Adair
But gannin ower the Railway Bridge
The bus wheel flew off there
The lasses lost their crinolenes
And veils that hide their faces
I got two black eyes and a broken nose
In gannin to Blaydon races
Now when we got the wheel back on
Away we went again
But them that had their noses broke
They went back ower hyem
Some went to the dispensary
And some to Doctor Gibbs
And some to the infirmary
To mend their broken ribs
I didn't include this verse:
We flew across the Chain Bridge
Reet into Blaydon Toon
The barman he was calling then
They called him Jackie Broon
I saw him talking to some chaps
And them he was persuadin'
To gan and see Geordie Ridley's show
At the Mechanics' Hall in Blaydon
Now when we got to Paradise
There were bonny games begun
There were four and twenty on the bus
And how we danced and sung
They called on me to sing a song
So I sang 'em 'Paddy Fagan'
I danced a jig and I swung me twig
The day I went to Blaydon
I didn't include the final stanza:
The rain it poured down all the day
And made the ground quite muddy
Coffee Johnny had a white hat on
The old wife stole a cuddy
There were spice stalls and monkey shows
And old wives selling ciders
And the chap on the ha'penny roundabout
Saying 'Any more lads for riders?
The Blaydon Races is probably the best known of all the Geordie songs and sung at many a football match. It is the unofficial anthem of Newcastle United Football Club. It was first sung by Gateshead born Geordie Ridley (1835 - 1864) at Balmbra's Music Hall in Newcastle back on 5 June 1862 at a testimonial for Tyneside's sporting hero, British oarsman, Harry Clasper.
The race meetings were held on an island in the middle of the Tyne. Rumour has it that at low tide, there are places on the Tyne at Newcastle where the water is shallow enough to walk across it.... not to be recommended!
The last Blaydon race meeting was held on 2 September 1916 A riot broke out when a winning horse was disqualified, and the races were never held again.