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Caving Songs.....

j4nny

Member
(This thread has probably been done before so apologies if so).

At a recent boozy cave related event I was very chatting to a more senior seasoned caver than my self about cave huts and music.

Most caving huts/ cottages/ bunk house I have visited what ever you want to call them have someone with either a laptop, ipod, speakers, wi fi maybe and that?s not a bad thing in my mind.

But also most folk I have met on the subject love a sing song and swinging a tankard of ale. Impromptu out breaks of caving songs about local legends and comic club rivalry.

On the whole I find it is the ?elders? that know the words and the tunes and us young?ens (cough) don?t.

I know there are many young?ens who would like to keep these traditions going and take them forward to future generations of cavers.

I don?t know about you, but I?d actively encourage the sharing of this form of folk music and love to hear more of it so that it is not lost....
 

Rhys

Moderator
Some years back, an SWCC member put together a book of caving and folk songs heard at Penwyllt. It's available from SWCC for ?2. The idea was to keep some of these songs alive and known to the younger generation. Group sing songs still happen from time to time up there.

http://www.swcc.org.uk/aboutswcc/sales/
 

graham

New member
Don't know if it's still available, but the GSG put together a book of mainly Mendip songs some years back and Nick Cornwell-Smith collected even more and published them in a book that I have a copy of ... somewhere.
 

j4nny

Member
the words appear to be not to difficult to source from chatting to others, its NOT knowing the tunes that seems to be a common factor, and having the balls to get up and start something going in a crowded hut after a few beers lol
 

graham

New member
On a related note, I was at a funeral this morning. The deceased was in his 80s. We remarked that in the not too distant future the ipod generation will be a positive embarrassment on such occasions as they simply will not know hymn tunes, just as so many cavers no longer know the tunes to these songs.

Many (many) years ago, one of our members produced a song book similar to the SWCC one. He brought them to the pub to sell, one Saturday night. Four of us - of whom three were strangely enough SWCC members as well as UBSS - sang, from memory, as many songs as we could that he had omitted from the book. We went on for quite some time, I recall.
 

Rhys

Moderator
graham said:
On a related note, I was at a funeral this morning. The deceased was in his 80s. We remarked that in the not too distant future the ipod generation will be a positive embarrassment on such occasions as they simply will not know hymn tunes, just as so many cavers no longer know the tunes to these songs.
I've noted the same at recent funerals/christenings/weddings. We had an embarrassing incident at a friend's wedding; basically, hardly anybody knew the hymn or the tune so few people were singing. The vicar stopped the organist after the first verse and gave us all a telling off. This is one of the reasons I didn't have a church wedding - I couldn't put my friends through that awkward situation again!

graham said:
Many (many) years ago, one of our members produced a song book similar to the SWCC one. He brought them to the pub to sell, one Saturday night. Four of us - of whom three were strangely enough SWCC members as well as UBSS - sang, from memory, as many songs as we could that he had omitted from the book. We went on for quite some time, I recall.
There's also a lot of songs in the Penwyllt songbook that long-standing members claim have never been heard at Penwyllt. Mostly old Welsh folksongs. The compiler of the book was keen on them though!
 

Tony_B

Member
Rhys said:
Some years back, an SWCC member put together a book of caving and folk songs heard at Penwyllt. It's available from SWCC for ?2. The idea was to keep some of these songs alive and known to the younger generation. Group sing songs still happen from time to time up there.

Sadly, though, the songbook failed to achieve its intended objective. When I joined SWCC in the mid-eighties there were often spontaneous sing-songs after the pub. These were rousing affairs, the atmosphere in the long common room was amazing and it made one feel privileged to be a part of a club like SWCC. Many of the caving songs were versions of old standards, adapted to be specific to the sport, and the lyrics were truly inspired.

Unfortunately many of my contemporaries would groan and head for the kitchen when a sing-song got going. Over time many of those who knew the words and could lead the singing either passed away (the loss of Bruce Foster being a particular blow) or left the scene, or became less frequent visitors to Penwyllt.

Another problem was that one or two of those who could lead the singing would delight in starting some of the more overly obscene songs too early in the proceedings, to the obvious disgust of some of the more sensitive female members, a cue for more exits to the kitchen or to bed.

When it became apparent that the sing-song was dying out, the songbook was conceived to help with the fact that few of the younger generation knew the words, but there has to be someone present who can take the lead and can hold a tune (a talent few cavers are blessed with!). These days when a sing-song does happen it tends to be rather contrived, often an attempt to get something going just because a few of the singing gang are present. When this happens few of those who bought songbooks have them with them, there are never enough to go around, and it tends to be a bit half-arsed. A great shame in my view, but a sign of the times I guess. 
 

Alok

New member
Caving songs on the NSS site

Postby KeyserSoze ? Mar 9, 2008 3:23 pm
I found a page with links to caving songs on the NSS website, but I am not able to play the songs on my computer. When I try to play a song it says that the file extension might be wrong or that I don't have the right codecs to play the file. Another problem could be that I was having some trouble downloading them at first, so maybe it's a file error due to the download process.

Here is a link to the page.
http://www.caves.org/committee/salons/ballads/CB_by_song.shtml

Is anybody else having trouble playing the songs? Got any ideas how to fix it?


Sorry if this question is out of place; I just figured that this problem would be best solved with input from a group of people.
 

seddon

New member
There are still a few copies of the OUCC song book about, I believe. If anyone wants one (it has many of the classics, plus a few home grown ones - not in Latin, honest ) they could ping me here and I'll see what I can get. Harvey Smith was the editor, and is the keeper of the flame (and possibly spare copies) so if you know him, you could ask him direct. The view of us (youngish) lags at the time was that, although the intention was entirely noble, by the time you have to write the words to get the younger cavers to sing, it's already too late. Sadly, I think that we were right...

When I sing in caves these days, there seems to be genuine shock and awe. It can't, surely, be just the astonishing purity of my intonation? It used to be commonplace to show appreciation, or boredom, or just the onset of hypothermia, in this way (grumble, moan, things aren't what they were...)

On the upside, I must mention that Mark Wright has an excellent voice which matches his memory for lyrics, and the recent Berger derigging trip was made utterly memorable by his spirited rendition of songs that cannot be named on a family site...  (y)
 

Maggot

New member
Alok said:
Caving songs on the NSS site

Postby KeyserSoze ? Mar 9, 2008 3:23 pm
I found a page with links to caving songs on the NSS website, but I am not able to play the songs on my computer. When I try to play a song it says that the file extension might be wrong or that I don't have the right codecs to play the file. Another problem could be that I was having some trouble downloading them at first, so maybe it's a file error due to the download process.

Here is a link to the page.
http://www.caves.org/committee/salons/ballads/CB_by_song.shtml

Is anybody else having trouble playing the songs? Got any ideas how to fix it?


Sorry if this question is out of place; I just figured that this problem would be best solved with input from a group of people.

They (the songs) seem to be mp3 files; any computer should be able to play them, out of the box.
Perhaps it's how your web browser is set up?
If in doubt, and you're using windows, right-click and download them then inport them to windows media player.
 

Petee

New member
Have a bit of caving history sod it you are going to get it anyway ! I think I may have toned down the song a bit bit memory not so goog. There are a few more verses which indicate the difference in the rock removal equipment used by Alan Miles and Mr. Nigel  at the time and a last verse about ground all flat something like Bernard Cribbins "man digging hole" and many names of diggers but I forget please forgive spelling I can not type! "Block of wood he said you should" and " Toney said your able" "It' s the best cave know when Poo has to go" I think but may be wrong
There?s a place down below its not far from Priddy green
though it is far from being pretty but its very often seen
by a load of casual cavers who are cover all in hair
who are build like little shit houses and haven?t got a care,
some of them are the Wessex and the Shepton Mallet too
and you even see the Cottem when there knout all else to do
and you even see the BEC though there not often about
like only when the pubs are closed or when they bin just chucked out.
Well they dug the cave for miles and miles a good 15 foot or more
then they broke into passage so they say but we? re not sure,
but we?re sure about the mud that?s there from the ceiling to the floor
and the used  to be a little bit of stal but you wont see that no more
for that?s in Bishops Kitchen sitting on a chair
getting the funny feeling that you get when you?ve been there
getting the funny feeling after you?ve been and seen
the place it is called Flower Pot not far from Priddy,  green on the caving scene

 
trust me, you dont want me to start to sing!  :eek:

has anybody made a CD rather than a songbook? then those people who can either sing or dont care if they cant will be able to know the tune as well.
 

Amy

New member
OOOH that would be cool to put together a CD. I didn't  know there were caving songs. Well I knew there were ballad competitions at the NSS conventions or something like that, but that's all. Well, that and that my friends in TAG and I tend to break into song inside caves. But we sing whatever song we feel like singing that we all know (such as...No Children by the Mountain Goats). I tried starting a singalong when I was in Mendip but no one else knew the same groups I know :(
 
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