A New Book On North-East Music History

Tyneside Song by Dave Harker


In his latest book, Tyneside Song, author and historian, Dave Harker draws together work on a collection of fascinating people – a contrast to his other books on individual North-East performers and song-makers. Here we meet fiddler-singers Blind Willy Purvis and Bobby Nunn, pioneer documenter of North East instrumental music Robert Topliff, the great song collector John Bell, bagpipe-maker Robert Reed, printers John Marshall and the Fordyce brothers, concert hall proprietor John Balmbra and James Catnach from Alnwick, who became a famous London ballad printer. Dave vividly shows singers and songwriters facing difficulties in their own lives and engaged with the struggles of their audiences in a fast-changing industrial society. He reproduces many original songs and illustrations providing a wealth of historical contextualisation that allows readers to experience, explore and interpret the rich material. Dave’s eight books on North East culture constitute the best account we have of regional song in nineteenth century Britain. 
Vic Gammon

Dave Harker was born in Guisborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1946. He won a scholarship to Guisborough High School and went on to study at Jesus College, Cambridge where he gained a BA and later, a PhD. He was a Senior Lecturer in Trade Union Studies at Manchester Polytechnic later becoming a Senior Lecturer in English. Always active in social organisations, Dave built two miner’s support groups in 1984-85 and in the 1990s, was an officer with the National Association of Teachers (Further Education Branch). He was the founding secretary of the North West Retired Members branch of the University and College and Union and an officer of the Manchester Trades Union Council. Dave moved to Newcastle in 2015 where he has become an active researcher and chronicler of North East history. Their Geordies and Ours is a definitive essay on the origins of the nickname, Geordie and can be read on this site by clicking here. His many published works include:

The Gallowgate Lad – Joe Wilson’s Life and Songs
Cat-gut Jim The Fiddler – Ned Corvan’s Life and Songs
Billy Purvis – The First Professional Geordie
Gannin’ To The Blaydon Races – The Life and Times of George Ridley
Songs and Verses of North-East Pitmen c.1780-1844
Songs From The Manuscript Collection of John Bell
George Ridley – Gateshead Poet and Vocalist

Tyneside Song is available for £20.00 directly from Dave Harker. To purchase a this or other books by Dave, please contact him by clicking here.