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  #1  
Old 06-13-2024, 04:36 PM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Default A Knighthood from the Queen





Last week I was on holiday in Scotland in our campervan. We stopped one night on the shores of the Firth of Tay near the rail bridge. Were we were parked they had a memorial to the Tay Bridge Rail Disaster of 28 December 1879. During a storm when the evening train heading for Dundee crossed the bridge. When the train reached the high center section of the bridge the whole thing collapsed into the water killing all 75 passengers and crew. The inquiry found that Thomas Bouch the bridge designer and builder was entirely to blame. He took shortcuts with the design, discounted any windage calculations, failed to supervise the quality of the castings or construction, and changed his design to save money and speed up the building process with no thought for strength reduction the changes created. Ironically, he was knighted by Queen Victoria for building the bridge just a few months before the disaster.

I had my guitar with me and had been asked by our music director to take one of the solo spots at a choir concert (which happened last night); so I was trying out songs. But when I saw the memorial I had an idea for my own song and sat down and wrote it there and then.

Two names stood out on the memorial for me. They were David Neish a local teacher and his 4 year old daughter "Bella". And their story sort of wrote itself into the song.

A Knighthood from the Queen

It’s getting late now; they really should be here.
It’s close to bedtime, for Bella my sweet dear.
Dave took her south to see gran and gramps today.
They should be back from Fife, across the Firth of Tay.

Dave has his school class lessons to prepare
Bella will want her bath, I’ll need to wash her hair.
It's getting late now, where on earth can they be?
They've had a long day, and both will want their tea.


And Thomas Bouch he got a knighthood from the queen.
Yet through arrogance he crushed so many dreams.
Lax bridge design, with time and money saved.
Sent train and carriages, crashing to the waves.


It’s getting late now, and I’m worried to my bones.
The wind outside the house is whistling round the stones.
I have the fire lit and its welcoming in here.
With Dave and Bella back the atmosphere will cheer.

But when the knock came, it was not the child with Dave.
It was a neighbor, with news so dire and grave.
The train was in the firth, all souls were now feared lost.
For one man’s folly, fifty families paid the cost.

Chorus

What of those families, waiting in Dundee.
And their loved ones who were swallowed by the sea.
Time moves on and we learn nothing at all.
Pride and profit still come before the fall.

Chorus

And Thomas Bouch he got a knighthood from the Queen.....




This is the first song that I have ever written. It seemed to go down well at the concert last night. So I recorded it this afternoon and thought I'd post it here. I've not tried recording with two mic's before - one for guitar and one for voice, but it seemed to work OK. I just plugged the mic's into my Zoom H5 and stood and played and sang. I tidied up the files in Audacity.

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I'm learning to flatpick and fingerpick guitar to accompany songs.

I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.




Last edited by Robin, Wales; 06-13-2024 at 04:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2024, 05:23 PM
Railroad Bum Railroad Bum is offline
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Wow, Mr. Robin, I can't believe that is the first song you ever wrote. I am pretty floored by that. It's really good, as if you had been writing tunes all your life. Don't stop.

I love the traditional approach, and you have a great singing voice, and the fingerpicked guitar is perfect. It sounds nice and balanced, too. It's very, very cool; thank you for sharing--Tim.
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Old 06-14-2024, 03:01 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Originally Posted by Railroad Bum View Post
Wow, Mr. Robin, I can't believe that is the first song you ever wrote. I am pretty floored by that. It's really good, as if you had been writing tunes all your life. Don't stop.

I love the traditional approach, and you have a great singing voice, and the fingerpicked guitar is perfect. It sounds nice and balanced, too. It's very, very cool; thank you for sharing--Tim.
Thanks Tim!

Writing, and performing, that first song has been a big step for me. I really was thinking that I would never be able to write a song. But the inspiration of actually being at the memorial, plus the deadline of needing to find a song to do at the concert, sort of pushed me through the door.

My playing and singing are coming along - but I can still hear plenty of areas to work on!!!!!!
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I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



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Old 06-14-2024, 03:37 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Lovely!

Interestingly, "Operation Tay Bridge" was the official name given the funeral for the Queen Mother. Whatever connection there might have been was lost on me.

Bob
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Old 06-14-2024, 03:51 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Lovely!

Interestingly, "Operation Tay Bridge" was the official name given the funeral for the Queen Mother. Whatever connection there might have been was lost on me.

Bob
I'd completely forgotten about that Bob! I had some of my young staff on standby in rotation for Op Tay Bridge during one of my postings.
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I'm learning to flatpick and fingerpick guitar to accompany songs.

I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



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Old 06-14-2024, 04:26 AM
Railroad Bum Railroad Bum is offline
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Originally Posted by Robin, Wales View Post
Thanks Tim!

Writing, and performing, that first song has been a big step for me. I really was thinking that I would never be able to write a song. But the inspiration of actually being at the memorial, plus the deadline of needing to find a song to do at the concert, sort of pushed me through the door.

My playing and singing are coming along - but I can still hear plenty of areas to work on!!!!!!
Well, we are always our own worst critics, of course. But you sound fantastic, my friend!
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Old 06-15-2024, 09:19 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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This is wonderful! Great composition and beautiful delivery
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Old 06-16-2024, 03:43 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Robin, you have beaten William McGonagall, into a cocked hat! Well done!
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Old 06-16-2024, 06:16 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
This is wonderful! Great composition and beautiful delivery
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Robin, you have beaten William McGonagall, into a cocked hat! Well done!
Thank you!

I have a lot to learn and improve upon both with picking and vocals.

I'm going to play this song live next at the local open mic on 5th July as the middle song in my set. It will be interesting to see how it goes as there is normally a good size audience, and some very good songwriters there (i.e. US/UK Top 10 hit songwriters!). We have such an experienced and talented pool of musicians locally, it can be very intimidating to open your guitar case! But they are all also incredibly generous and welcoming.
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I'm learning to flatpick and fingerpick guitar to accompany songs.

I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



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  #10  
Old 06-16-2024, 07:28 AM
Dave Hicks Dave Hicks is offline
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First go at songwriting, huh? Wow!

D.H.
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Old 06-16-2024, 08:33 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Really nice job on this song and on your performance, Robin. Well done. And what a tragic story!

Engineers make mistakes just like anyone else, but when loss of life is involved the situation is really tragic.

- Glenn
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Last edited by Glennwillow; 06-17-2024 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 06-17-2024, 03:09 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Many thanks Dave and Glen.

Glen - I was going to give Thomas Bouch the benefit of the doubt as an engineer working on a difficult project for the era. But the public inquiry held after the bridge collapse was pretty damming of Bouch for making untested changes to his design for the sake of cost and speed, ignoring the effect of windage in his calculations, and not supervising the quality of the ironwork or the actual construction. Passengers had made written complaints to the rail company about the movement of the bridge during crossings on windy days. And one complaint was actually made earlier in the day, on the day of the collapse.

A number of building regulations were firmed up after the inquiry.

We have had 3 major scandals in the UK recently that resonate with this one from the 1870s: Grenville Tower, Infected Blood, and the Post Office - plus a few more besides over the years such as BSE. So, over here, "pride and profit still come before the fall".
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I'm learning to flatpick and fingerpick guitar to accompany songs.

I've played and studied traditional noter/drone mountain dulcimer for many years. And I used to play dobro in a bluegrass band.



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