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Liverpool Lullaby

[ Roud - ; DT LIVPLULL ; Mudcat 152580 ; Stan Kelly]

Liverpool Lullaby is a song written by Stan Kelly but I don’t have any recording of this song by him.

Marian McKenzie sang Liverpool Lullaby in 1965 on the Three City Four album The Three City Four. The CD reissue’s booklet commented:

Stan Kelly is a Liverpudlian who was prominent in the early days of the British folksong revival as a singer and songmaker. He has a close feel for the traditional idiom plus a wry sense of humour that gives edge to his serious songs. This one is a good instance. It is based on a Tyneside song [Sandgate Dandling Song] written by Robert Nunn (1808-1853), a blind fiddler, to a traditional tune called Dollia:

When daddy’d drunk he’ll take a knife
And threaten sair to take my life.
Who wouldn’t be a keelman’s wife
To have a man like Johnny?

Stan Kelly has reshaped the song in modern Liverpool terms without sacrificing any of its character and without parodying it.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang Liverpool Lullaby in 1965 on their Transatlantic album Contemporary Campbells. This track was also included in 2005 on their anthology The Times They Are A-Changin’. The original album’s sleeve notes commented:

Stan Kelly escaped from Liverpool some time before the Beatles, and went to Cambridge University to become an expert in computer processing systems. While there he made a big impact on the British folk song revival, running one of the successful early clubs, and popularising his own, and many traditional songs. Though his Liverpool origins show their influence in this song, the traditional lullaby, of which it is a re-write, actually comes from Tyneside.

Judy Collins sang Liverpool Lullaby in 1965 on her Elektra album In My Life.

A recording of Jacqueline and Bridie singing Liverpool Lullaby is on the 1970 Contour anthology of earlier Fontana recordings, Folk Favourites.

Hughie Jones sang Liverpool Lullaby in 2005 on his Fellside album Liverpool Connexions. He noted:

Stan Kelly’s pathos filled ballad was sung by my former Spinners companion, Tony Davis, without accompaniment and I agree that this is the best treatment.


Marian McKenzie sings Liverpool Lullaby

Oh you are a mucky kid,
Dirty as a dustbin lid.
When he finds out the things you did
You’ll get a belt from your da.
Oh you have your father’s nose,
So crimson in the dark, it glows.
If you’re not asleep when the boozers close
You’ll get a belt from your da.

You look so scruffy lying there,
Strawberry jam tats in your hair,
Though in the world you haven’t a care
And I have got so many.
It’s quite a struggle everyday
Living on your father’s pay;
The bugger drinks it all away
And leaves me without any.

Although we have no silver spoon,
Better days are coming soon,
Now Nellie’s working at the Lune
And she gets paid on Friday.
Perhaps one day we’ll have a splash
When Littlewoods provides the cash;
We’ll get a house in Knotty Ash
And buy your dad a brewery.

Oh you are a mucky kid,
Dirty as a dustbin lid.
When he finds out the things you did
You’ll get a belt from your da.
Oh you have your father’s face,
You’re growing up a real hard case.
But there’s no one can take your place,
Go fast asleep for Mammy.