Northumberland Forever

By High Level Ranters

Six comments

This is compilation "best of " album with tracks from some of the old vinyls.

"Northumberland Forever" - this is a re-issued album, not a compilation.

This High Level Ranters album is a re-issue of one that came out in 1968. As a foursome they did a number of albums in the late 60s and on into the 70s. An altered lineup continued (continues?) some time after that.
They were The Dubliners of Tyneside and England’s North-East. Not many people were around playing trad at the time they started; but the folk revival got off to a very early start in the area, and came to have a huge following. The Ranters were residents at The Bridge Hotel folk club in Newcastle, a nodal point on the folk map.

"Northumberland Forever"

Newcastle-upon-Tyne was for a long time the capital of the county of Northumberland, until the sheer size of urban Tyneside demanded separation into a county, or boroughs, of its own; the N/land county town is now the smallish one of Morpeth. If anyone in Northumberland speaks of "The Town" ("Toon"), Newcastle is meant. It is the unquestioned metropolis of a very large area, even if this is contested by Sunderland. There seems to have been a lot of musical to-and-froing between the deep countryside and the city: bagpipe development was a feature of Newcastle musical life in the 1800s; Tyneside fiddler James Hill’s tunes were being played in the countryside a century after his death, transferred sometimes to the developed smallpipes. Newcastle has a tradition of catchy urban songs reminiscent of Dublin’s.

"The High Level Ranters: Northumberland Forever" -

"Traditional Dance & Song from the North East" - and from the CD reissue -

"The re-release of this album in the ’70s carried this introduction by A.L.Lloyd":

"This is the re-issue in stereo of the Ranters’ first record, (12T186). They then comprised Johnny Handle, Colin Ross, Forster Charlton, Tom Gilfellon, and Alistair Anderson, who now look rather different in appearance. ~ "

"The High Level Ranters: Northumberland Forever" - the musicians

Johnny Handle - accordion, melodeon, guitar, vocals

Colin Ross - fiddle & Northumbrian smallpipes (& maker!)

Forster Charlton - fiddle & Northumbrian smallpipes

Tommy Gilfellon - guitar, vocals

Alistair Anderson - English concertina, Northumbrian smallpipes, vocals