Coal Bargee

by Chris Cheetham

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We left ol' coal chute close on six, our journey to begin,
We swungt' butty down in't coal arm, not far from Boat House Inn,
The Bolinder warmed up very quick as the boats got under way,
The throttles up, the oil rods back, this coal it earns our pay.

Chorus: And away you coal boats, away along the moss,
From Astley Green to Worsley your 'e skipper and the boss.

Bridgewater flats under Boothstown tip, morning's work all on the go,
With a swish, and a flush, the coal dust rushed, into Bludell's Finch below.
The klaxon blared as we approached the bend by Worsley Bridge,
Yellow waters of the Bridgewater could ne'er held no fish.

Chorus

There's a bangin' and a crashin' coming from the old dry dock,
New spikes struck home, new planks for old, men workin' agin the clock.
From Worsley bridge past old Duke's mine, sweepin' by the Dry Dock Yard,
Salt Union flats under Worsley chute, they'd come from Winsford Yard.

Chorus

From Rigby's arm we could see the smoke of Trafford Park,
We'll be over the tank at Barton Bridge and be home by dark.
Close on fifty tons of coal was grabbed by Jimmy's crane,
There was dirst and dust, but oh that brass made sure we'd come again.

Chorus: and repeat.

Words and arrangement: Chris Cheetham. Tune: New York Girls

The song was kindly transcribed from Tamlyn Folk Magazine, Vol.1 No.5 June 1975 by 'maeve' a member of the Mudcat Discussion Forum. The song accompanied an article of the same name. The full text of the article can be viewed here. The song in its original form was used in the BBC 1 TV programme: Narras 'n Flats, in the 'Ballad of the North West' series, 1973.