Friday 18 November 2011

Local song for BBC folk awards

Kevin Littlewood is a local singer songwriter and a resident singer at the Bothy Folk Club here in Southport; he and I have occasionally performed together.  A few years ago, he wrote a song called On Morecambe Bay about the drowning in 2004 of 23 cockle pickers, all illegal immigrants mostly from the Fujian province of China.  In humanising the tragic plight of illegal immigrants - a reviled category in modern Britain - who lost their lives simply trying to earn a living, the theme of the song has resonances of the Woody Guthrie song Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos), which was covered by Joan Baez.

It's a great song that deserves to be heard more widely, so it's good news that it's been picked up by Irish singer Christy Moore, a founder member of Moving Hearts and Planxty but now known mostly as a solo artist.  His version of the song has been nominated in the Best Original Song category of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Here are all the nominations in the category:
  • The Herring Girl – Bella Hardy
  • Last – Adrian McNally (performed by The Unthanks)
  • On Morecambe Bay – Kevin Littlewood (performed by Christy Moore)
  • The Reckoning – Steve Tilston
The nominations in all categories are here.  To say that locally we're all quite excited about this is probably an understatement.  Here is Kevin singing his song, accompanied by fellow Bothy resident Chris Nelson on violin, with Christy Moore's cover version underneath.  Which is best?  It's up to you.


  1. Thanks Neville for those kind words. But there's no best performance... just different ones!
    Best wishes


  2. Hi Nev. Susan White here - brilliant song - I loved both renditions. Just what folk music should be doing - commenting on our lives, loves, tragedies right now as well as in history

  3. I agree Sue. There's no real conflict between traditional and contemporary songs; after all, folk songs about Napoleon were contemporary once.


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