Link to Living Tradition Homepage





DAVE GOULDER - Dave Goulder’s Railway Songbook

DAVE GOULDER - Dave Goulder’s Railway Songbook
Private Label

This is a publication that I guess has been waiting to happen for some time: one which admirers of Dave’s colourful songwriting will be chuffed (ha!) to see available now and thus eager to purchase. It assembles in one handy volume the complete corpus of Dave’s railway-themed songs, 25 in number. (Dave says there are unlikely to be any more, so that would mean he’s reached the end of the line now in that respect.) Dave has also included two complementary, valedictory songs which he didn’t write: Cyril Tawney’s In The Sidings Now and Stanley Accrington’s Last Train.

Dave Goulder had a fairly brief railway career, beginning in 1954 as a junior porter at his local LMR station and ending up at the start of the 60s “grounded”, slinging wet ashes, from which ignominious position he finally threw down his shovel and resigned. In between, there were happier years spent as a fireman on the footplate, during which he received a veritable education from the engine drivers. At one point, he even formed a band (The Lineriders) with colleagues, specialising in railway songs (albeit American ones initially) and the adventures of his work experiences soon formed ready grist to the mill of his developing songwriting. The songs he wrote range widely in tone and subject-matter, from portraits of co-workers (The Ballad Of Ivor The Driver), the domestic situation of the railwayman (The Money Doesn’t Go Very Far), cameos of working life (Footplate Song, Black Five, Eight Freight Blues) and practices (Footplate Cuisine), to tales of dramatic situations (Snow Train) or actual events (Race To The North, The Turntable Song) and poignant, not entirely wistful accounts of the rundown of the railways (Requiem For Steam, Shut Down Of The Pinxton Line). Some songs (Ais Gill, Big Bertha) were written well after Dave’s period of railway service, for the show Running Down The Line which celebrated the history, landscape, character and humour of the Settle-Carlisle Line.

The above four elements of railwayana are abundantly and atmospherically conveyed throughout this volume by Dave Goulder the songwriter. So, what we get in this A4-size 56-page songbook is the complete lyrics for each song, the music in conventional stave notation with chords and a background note, usually in the form of an anecdote or reminiscence. The text is also peppered with a selection of photographs (of stations, locos, personalities and occasional related ephemera), some in colour but all very well reproduced. The book also helpfully advertises the fact that all of Dave’s railway songs are now conveniently available on just two CDs: Fellside’s recent Golden Days Of Steam compilation of the two LPs Requiem For Steam and The Man Who Put The Engine In The Chip Shop, contains all but two of the songs (Footplate Cuisine and Forth Bridge); these essential “stragglers” appear on the Harbourtown release Stone, Steam And Starlings.

Packed with insider’s insights, Dave’s Goulder’s characterful and well-crafted railway songs together make up an impressive body of work, which it’s good to have available now under one roomy loco-shed-roof (as it were).

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 99 of The Living Tradition magazine.