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The Bonny Gateshead Lass

[Joe Wilson]

Tom Gilfellon sang The Bonny Gateshead Lass in 1976 on his Topic album In the Middle of the Tune. He noted:

Sometimes I feel that we are due for a revival of the age of sentiment. The current upsurge in popularity of country and western and the downward swing of our financial fortunes are not entirely unconnected, I’d say. Here then, is a less banal piece of whimsy, The Bonny Gateshead Lass, written a hundred years ago by the great Tyneside songwriter Joe Wilson, who has had a good deal of attention paid him of late. Accompanied on concertina by Stefan Sobell.

Bob Fox and Stu Luckley sang The Bonny Gateshead Lass on their 1978 album Nowt So Good’ll Pass and in a new recording on their 1997 Fellside CD Box of Gold. Bob noted:

The Bonny Gateshead Lass and Sally Wheatley were written by Joe Wilson, a great 19th century Tyneside Music Hall artist (whose most well known song is probably Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny) and are both love songs of sorts, the former telling of a young man’s calamitious attempts to start a relationship with a girl in a pub and the latter’s warning not to be dilatory in matters of the heart, or as we say in the North East ‘shy bairns get ne broth!”

[…] We took the title for our first LP, Nowt So Good’ll Pass, from The Bonny Gateshead Lass.

The High Level Ranters sang Bonny Gateshead Lass on their 1987 album Gateshead Revisited.


Bob Fox and Stu Luckley sing The Bonny Gateshead Lass

I’ll warrant ye’ve never seen me lass, her name I cannot mention,
For fear ye’ll gan an’ tell her how I like her, so I de!
Well it’s just for lads and lasses te whisper their affection,
The bonniest lass in Gateshead’s bonny face has bothered me.

Well the first time I saw her, I thowt I didn’t know her,
But I’m sure I’d seen her face before, I couldn’t think of where,
Her blue eyes met mine in passing, up the High Street in the morning.
And her look was so entrancing that me heart was mine ne mair.

Well I didn’t see her for a week, then one night at the Bridge End,
I stamped upon her gown, and the gathers they come away,
She told us I was clumsy, and I said that I was sorry,
And I humbly begged her pardon, I was licked for what to say.

So I walked on by her side, just as if I had a right to de,
The conversation first was shy, but then it turned first class,
We talked about the weather- and she mentioned that her father
Was a puddler down at Hawks’ oh me bonny Gateshead lass.

She mentioned, confidentially, that her uncle was a grocer.
And her mother’s, father’s, cousin, was a fiddler on the shore,
She talked so nice and friendly and she looked both sweet and pleasant,
I thowt I’d never seen a lass so charming like before.

She says her mother keeps a shop and sells hot pies and candy,
And her brother he’s a cobbler in the high part of the town,
Now she was a dressmaker and we got on so well together.
That I blessed I’d been so awkward as to stand upon her gown.

I make her laugh and slap me lug with talking lots of nonsense,
But bless you, when you’re courting, why there’ s nowt so good’ll pass,
I asked her, would she be me lass and I’d take her out on Sunday,
To my delight she says “I might”, me bonny Gateshead lass.


The lyrics are from the Nowt So Good’ll Pass album sleeve.