Mike Neville 1936-2017
Sad to hear of the death of the legendary local television personality. Mike worked with Eric on the Geordierama shows at Newcastle City Hall in the mid-seventies, and as the tributes related was a lovely fellow. Mourners at Eric's funeral in 2009 were surprised and pleased to note his unmistakeable presence in the background (and that, as is usually the way, he was taller in real life than on the telly) despite the decades that had elapsed since their collaborations, and he took time to share anecdotes of the era afterwards.
The Memorial Prize is currently open, closing date 31 December 2017.
Who was Eric?Eric Boswell wrote many well known folk songs about the North East of England including 'There's More To Life Than Women and Beer', 'I've Got A Little Whippet', 'But It's Mine' and 'Tyneside's Where I Come From'. He wrote for comedian Bobby Thompson (a.k.a. The Little Waster), the Geordierama variety shows at Newcastle City Hall, Frank Wappat, Tyne Tees Television and even Northern Stage in the form of a musical based on one of Catherine Cookson's novels. Most of this was during the 1970s and 1980s but he continued to write humorous regional songs till not long before his death in 2009, particularly for local operatic bass Graeme Danby's outdoor concerts around Northumberland.
But before all that Eric had been a pop songwriter for Chappell Music Publishing in London, writing some (rather saccharine) minor pop hits some of which appeared in the BBC's 'A Song For Europe' competition and, in particular, the children's Christmas song 'Little Donkey' which was a big hit at Christmas 1959 and has been a nativity show perennial ever since. This diminutive equine cast a long shadow over subsequent more serious work, much to his chagrin, especially when being interviewed or meeting new people. And so this website's name.
These pages seek to collate links to recordings and videos of Eric's songs, local and otherwise, and to CDs etc still available in 2017, as well as provide biographical and anecdotal information about the reclusive Wearsider. It's funded by a Trust from Eric's Estate which also runs an annual prize competition for a new local folk song. The site is indebted to past collaborators and members of Eric's family for material and is always interested to hear about new recordings, YouTube videos and gigs - you can still hear songs like 'Whippet' in the region's folk clubs. Talking of which...
Return of the Whippet
Here's a fantastic new rendition of 'I've Got A Little Whippet' by Isolde Roxby. Thanks to Isolde for letting us feature and her kind comments about the website.
An earlier project of DMLD made available the songs from the stage musical of this Catherine Cookson story, staged by Newcastle Playhouse/Northern Stage in 1983. The full score is on Soundcloud, and we've put together slide show videos of a couple of the songs.
KATIE WAS THERE and WAIT FOR ME
ACT I AUDIO
ACT II AUDIO
The story of how the musical came into being is here.
Other pages on DMLD
Various contemporary videos made by local performers, a brief biography of Eric, the Memorial Prize competition (open each September to December), more information about Eric's pop and folk periods, a discography including links to buy CDs, short biographies of some of Eric's contemporaries in what was undoubtedly a thriving period for Geordie culture and finally some links to other websites about the area which we're always very happy to add to (contact details also on that page).