Internationally-acclaimed Songwriter,
Performer and Recording Artist
from County Durham, England

Gary Miller Songs

"As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him"
Green Man Review, USA

 

William's Tale

 

Original Lyrics

Revised Lyrics

Now this is the town where I was born
It's the town where I live now
There is many a tale to be told of this place
I will tell one to you now
In Nineteen-O-One I entered the world
The year that Victoria died
My mother died delivering me
How my father must have cried

As a young lad of twelve fresh out of school
I spent my first day down the mine
And it seemed like the hell of a dark prison cell
But Lord knows I'd committed no crime
The West Stanley Disaster I remember it well
A hundred and sixty-eight lost their lives
We were little more than slaves then
Growing old before our time

When the Fourteen-Eighteen Great War came
My father was among the first to go
He joined the Durham Light Infantry
And we were proud of the medals he won
Pozzieres, Mons, Ypres (Wipers), Cambrai and the Somme
He fought in all the major campaigns
But when they shipped him back home at the end of it
He wasn't the father that we had once known

In Twenty-Six the General Strike
Saw all the men out on the streets
From Jarrow they marched in Thirty-Six
But all they got was blood on their feet
Half a century on it all happened again
It seems that some things never change
Back then Jarrow cried now Sunderland has died
And strikes are still all the rage

When the Second World War came along
In Nineteen-Thirty-Nine
My son got a note from the government
Saying "We need your services son for a while"
Then they sent me a note at the end of it all
Saying "Sir your son did fine
Now he's buried in North Africa
You can visit him from time to time"

Now I sit here at home with my plaque on the wall
It's not much to show for my life
Of fifty-odd years of toil down the mine
It's been a long haul of struggle and strife
And if the Tories get back into power again
It's going to drive me insane
And now that the Eighties have become the 'Haties'
There's no future left for the bairns of today

(Gary Miller)


© 1992 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS

This is the town where I was born

It's the town where I lived and died

There’s many a tale to be told of this place

But the one that follows is mine

In Nineteen-O-One we entered the world

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons and I

But my mother died delivering me

A privileged upbringing I was denied


As a young lad of twelve, fresh out of school

I spent my first day in the deep of the mine 

It seemed like the hell of a dark prison cell

But Lord knows I'd committed no crime 

The West Stanley Pit Disaster I remember it well

One-hundred and sixty-eight lost their lives 

We were little more than slaves then

Growing old before our time 


When the 14-18 Great War came

My father want off to fight the Hun 

He joined the Durham Light Infantry

And we were proud of the medals he won 

Pozzieres, Mons, Ypres, Cambrai and the Somme

He fought many major campaigns 

But when they shipped him back home with shell-shock

He wasn't the father I had once known 


In ’26 the General Strike

Saw all the men out on the streets 

And from Jarrow they marched in ’36

But all they got was blood on their feet 

Half a century on it all happened again

It seems that some things never change 

Jarrow rued and the strikes continued

While the iron fist held sway


When the Second World War came along

In Nineteen-Thirty-Nine

Me son got a note from the govt saying

"We need your services son for a while" 

Then they sent me a note at the end of it all

Saying “Sir, your son did fine 

Now he's buried in North Africa

You can visit him from time to time" 


As the decades passed I had time to reflect

On all that had happened to me

With my working days spent along with my rent

No retirement castle for me

Too feeble and old to cope with the cold

Sat next to a dying fireside

Out for a pint on a lonely night

Even simple pleasures I was denied


I faded at home with a plaque on the wall

Fifty years of a miner's life

Coughing up my guts to the bitter end

Alone with me baccy and pipe

Until the Millennium passed and I quietly passed on

No national mourning for me

For I had no royal blood, I just did what I could

Through the Twentieth Century


(Gary Miller) 

 

Releases (on Whippet Records unless otherwise stated)


Original Studio Version

The Whisky Priests

Timeless Street

CD/Cassette/LP (WPTCD6/WPTC6/WPT6) 1992

 

Video Clips

The Whisky Priests performing 'William's Tale'
live at Kalaka Festival, Miscolc, on 12th July 1992.

Gary Miller & Mick Tyas performing 'William's Tale'
live in the garden at Whippet Records HQ,
Belle Vue House, Ferryhill, England, on 25th February 2017.