From Robyn on Patreon in 2022 At the age of 22 my father Raymond was hit by shrapnel in his leg during the Allied struggle to reclaim Europe from the Nazis. He spent nine months recuperating in a hospital in Newcastle-on-Tyne. By the time he could walk, World War II was over. It must have been hellish for a young, athletic young man to be laid up in bed knowing he would never be able to bend his left knee again. One of the beacons of light in that grim world was, he told me, hearing the young Geordie nurses singing local Northumbrian folk songs. That and the morphine, of course.
So, along with some skiffle and rock’n’roll, my sisters and I grew up listening to traditional songs and tunes from the North East of England on the big brown gramophone with its glowing green eye that stood in the kitchen. One of the albums was by a granite-voiced folk singer named Bob Davenport and his backing band The Rakes. That’s where I heard "Down in the Valley", played largely on piano and accordion, with some percussive cutlery in the background. My version is mainly on guitars, with a little ghostly piano as a nod to the original.
"Down in the Valley": - RH acoustic & electric guitars and piano. Recorded at Tiny Ghost studio C by Tubby Vincent.