Earworm: Big River

Mark & Jimmy

Mark Knopfler & Jimmy Nail

From Jimmy Nail and Mark Knopfler:  Big River on Youtube

Jimmy Nail, born James Michael Aloysius Bradford on this day in 1954, actor, singer and successful song writer.  A native of Newcastle upon Tyne his song, Big River, has become an unofficial anthem of that city.  Happy Birthday Jimmy.

Big River: by Jimmy Nail
Walking on cobble stone, little bits of skin and bone
jumping on a tram car for a ride.
I can remember then, I was just a boy of ten
hanging around the old quayside.
Now all the capstans and the cargo boats
and stevedores are gone
to where all the old ships go
but memories just like the seas live on
 ’cause that was when coal was king
the river a living thing
And I was just a boy, but it was mine
The coaly Tyne.
 –
(Chorus)
For this was a big river
I want you all to know that I was proud.
This was a big river, but that was long ago
that’s not now, that’s not now.
My father was a working man
he earned our living with his hands
he had to cross the river every day.
He picked up a union card out of the Neptune yard
mouths to feed and the bills to pay.
Then came a time for him to sail across the seas
and far away
finally when the war was won
you brought him home and home he stayed
and when his days were done, under a golden sun
you took him back to where he longed to be
back to the sea
(Chorus)
For this was a big river
I want you all to know that I was proud
This was a big river, but that was long ago
that’s not now, that’s not now
that’s not now.
The Neptune was the last to go,
I heard it on my radio
and then they played the latest number one.
But what do they do all day?
What are they supposed to say?
What does a father tell his son?
If you believe that there’s a bond between our future
and our past
try to hold on to what we had
we build them strong, we built to last
 ’cause this is a mighty town
built upon solid ground
and everything they tried so hard to kill
we will rebuild
(Chorus)
For this was a big river
I want you all to know I’m so very proud.
This was a big river, but that was long ago
That’s not now
and this is a big river
and in my heart I know it will rise again
the river will rise again.
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Happy Birthday Mark Knopfler

Knopfler

Back in 1977 Mark Knopfler and his brother David founded one of the iconic bands of my experience. Their eponymous first album, Dire Straits, is one of my favourites.  Mark was born on this day in 1949.

Mark went on to work in the film industry.  A lot of people I know have great nostalgia for “The Princess Bride”.  I wonder how many of them know that Knopfler was behind the score?

One of the top 100 guitarists in Rolling Stone Magazines list he is probably most famous for his use of the National Guitar in the “Making Movies” and “Love over Gold” albums.  I saw them in Punchestown during the Love Over Gold tour in July 1983.

A fingerpicking guitarist; Knopfler developed his playing style because when staying with some friends the only guitar he could get his hands on was a wreck with a warped neck.  He had to tune it slack and could only play by fingerpicking.

I will never forget the impact when they came on stage in Punchestown and opened with this one: