Football and folk music. An unbeatable combo and pulled into the same bed by Minnie Birch on Volume 1 (could there be more?) of You’re Not Singing Anymore.
Release Date: 12th June 2020
Formats: CD / DL
Here’s an album that combines Minnie Birch’s passion for football and folk music. And quite rightly. As she points out, where else are you likely to encounter communal singing apart from churches, folk clubs and the football grounds of the nation.
In the manner of Sharp and Grainger and the folk song collectors of the past, she’s been collating and then reworking songs inspired by football and sung on the terraces. Meanwhile, we do our best to avoid scoring an own goal with some awful football-related puns.
We’re introduced with the sound of one of the massed choirs (“the West Brom, the West Brom!“) and there’s a constant urge to add your own team’s interpretation to the likes of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean. Minnie adding the delightful “shit on the b****rds below” line to her version.
A couple of covers include a lovely delicate version of Steve O’Donohghue’s Accident Of Birth. “The football team that I support is just an accident of birth“, extolling the traditional rather than being a fashion statement. Her take on Billy Bragg’s God’s Footballer adds soundbites that include the relish of a Blackpool 3-0 away win, the highs and the lows of following your team through thick and thin and the memories of the whole football experience. As one voice comments, “It’s the hope that kills you.”
We get mention of Ozzy Osbourne and the originality of some of the football adaptations amongst some of the soundbite anecdotes that also pepper Show Me The Way To Go Home.
Some songs almost lend themselves naturally to adaptation for football chants; John Brown’s Body and particularly Blaydon Races. The latter will have several of us At The Barrier, mouthing the words: “walking down the Manny Road to see the Burden aces.” And a small concession to including her own original Cash Out, one that fits the bill, crossing words and swords with the football theme.
I’m sure there must be a book somewhere which delves deeply into the football song culture and if not there’s a wide open opportunity. The You’re Not Singing Anymore phrase and tune adapted many times over, one most amusingly/wincingly aimed at David Beckham and his lovely wife at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium and probably many others.
A miniscule tip of the iceberg and interesting take on the oral tradition.
Listen to God’s Footballer here: