Friday 22 April 2011

3: Liverpool Lullaby

This one is from the Liverpool folk singer Stan Kelly, who describes it as an "industrial strength lullaby", sung to the Tyneside tune 'Dollia' (also used for the Sandgate Dandling Song). The song was picked up and recorded by Cilla Black and Judy Collins, among others, and became something of a hit.

A few people seem to find this lullaby a bit bleak. After I'd been singing this in a bar in Massachussets, someone came up to me and said "You always sing such dark songs, it makes me think you spend the rest of the day in an asylum". I'll be honest, I don't think of this one as bleak - in fact, I've always thought of this as a very tender song. True lullabies are expressions of love over and in spite of everything. And yes, I do sing this one as a lullaby to our kid.

(By way of illustration, I picked a picture of Terence McDonald's sculpture outside the Liverpool Women's Hospital, Mother and Child, because I think it captures so well the mixture of tenderness and experience that you get in this lullaby - even if the kid being addressed in the song would be a bit older than the baby in the sculpture.)

An additional note - someone recently asked me what "The Lune" is, referred to in the line "Now Nelly's working at The Lune": the answer is that it was a laundry.

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