More (Mostly) Folk Music

Dave Burns   •   Last Pit In The Rhondda

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  • Last Pit In The Rhondda
    • 1986 - Wobbly WOB 001 LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. Farewell to the Rhondda (Frank Hennessy)
    2. Hearts on Fire (Frank Hennessy)
    3. The Gresford Disaster
    4. Tiger Bay (Frank Hennessy)
    5. Maggie's Hit Man (Colin Lewis)
    6. Roll On The Day (Allan Taylor)
  • Side Two
    1. Cn y Glowr (words by Dafydd Iwan)
    2. Sacco and Vanzetti (Woody Guthrie)
    3. Joe Hill (Alfred Hayes & Earl Robinson)
    4. The Ha'penny Strike (Ray Smith)
    5. Mardy (Dave Rogers)
    6. John O' Dreams (words by Bill Caddick)

  • Musicians
    • Dave Burns: Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Bodhrán
    • Pete Marshall: Synthesizer
    • Tom Edwards: Double Bass
    • Iolo Jones: Violin (on "John O'Dreams")
    • Backing Vocals:
      • Paul & Gill Burns, Michael & Carole Burns, Elizabeth Gould, Henry & Maureen Burns, Julia Upcott, Perry & Mary Martin, Teresa Burns and Clare Spear.
  • Credits
    • Recorded at The Music Factory, Cardiff
    • Engineer: John Davies
    • Mixed by Dai Shell, John Davies
    • Producer: Jane Houghton
    • Graphics: Martin-Smith Design Associates
    • Typesetting: Afal, Caerdydd
    • Photography: Harry Williams

Thanks to the following for their help in the making of this record: Des Outfield, Terry Thaws, Mardy MUM, Peter Sullivan, Stuart Barber, Jimmy Barcoe, all who've supported the Tuesday Benefit Nights at St Peters RFC, my parents Henry & Jufe Burns and my brothers/sisters/in-laws and Clare for providing the backing vocals.

This record was made with the financial backing of the South Wales Area MUM/St. Peters Miners Benefit Nights/Côr Cochion Caerdydd/Cardiff Congress in support of Mining Communities.


Sleeve Notes

Dave has worked professionally on the folk scene since 1968 when he formed a group with Paul Powell and Frank Hennessy called The Hennessys. With the demise of the group in '73 he worked as a solo performer until 1976 when he formed the group Ar Log. He Left in 1979 and has returned to working solo and also with the reformed Hennessys. Dave runs a Miners Benefit Night at St Peters RFC in Cardiff where to date over £4,000 has been raised.

On 30th June 1986 the last dram of coal mined in the Rhondda Valleys came to the surface at Mardy Colliery…

FAREWELL TO THE RHONDDA — Written by Cardiff songwriter Frank Hennessy in the early seventies, this song tells of the depopulation that follows in the wake of pit closures.

HEARTS ON FIRE — Another by Frank, but this one highlighting some of the issues facing the world in the eighties.

THE GRESFORD DISASTER — The story of the explosion at the Gresford Colliery, Wrexham, on the 22nd September 1934.

TIGER BAY — Frank's inspiration for this song came from a poster at the Welsh Industrial & Maritime Museum, dated 1929 and offering a direct link from Tiger Bay to North America — but not always to a better life!

MAGGIE'S HIT MAN — One of the two songs on this record written during the 84/85 strike. It's author, Colin Lewis, is an ex-miner from Pontlottyn who has been granted political asylum in Cardiff. Colin is one of the regular singers at the Miners Benefit Nights at St Peters RFC.

ROLL ON THE DAY — In a very simple and poignant song, Allan Taylor sums up the agony of many suffering from dust-related diseases.

CAN Y GLOWR — The Welsh words, written by Dafydd Iwan to the traditional melody The Three Marys, tell of an old miner reminiscing as he walks through a now desolate valley.

SACCO AND VANZETTI — The story of two Italian immigrants to the United States at the turn of the century who became involved in the organisation of labour and were framed and executed in 1926. Fifty years later the US government granted them a pardon!

JOE HILL — Joe Hill was an activist in the Wobbly Movement, as the Industrial Workers of the World (the I.W.W.) were popularly known. He was executed by the authorities in Utah, November 1915. The record label name was inspired by the Wobbly Movement.

THE HALFPENNY STRIKE — This song based on the events of the 1910 strike was written by the Welsh actor Ray Smith. Ray comes from Trealaw in the Rhondda Valley, not far from Tonypandy where the incidents in the song took place.

MARDY — The last pit in the Rhondda was the inspiration for this song written during the strike by Dave Rogers of the Banner Theatre Company based in Birmingham.

JOHN O'DREAMS — I learned this song many years ago from the singing of Seán Cannon at the Marchioness of Bute Folk Club in Cardiff. Bill Caddick wrote the words to a theme from Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony, the Pathetique.