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Ilkley Moor Baht'at
Last updated: 22.04.17
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I most certainly first sang "Ilkley Moor Baht'at" at St. Stephen's Primary School, Worcester in the early fifties. This song is the epitome of things pertaining to Yorkshire. Yorkshire, dear surfer, is for those who do not know it, the Texas of England. It the home of "A spade is bloody shovel", "Where there's muck, there's brass" etc. etc., to keep it short, synonymous with plain speaking.
Whilst on tour with the "Klingende Runde" in Yorkshire in 1983, we had the great luck of being taken by our hosts to your actual "Ilkley Moor" after a live radio programme on BBC Leeds. It was so foggy, we could hardly see 10 yards in front of our noses!
This song therefore always reminds me of so many things; childhood, various Yorkshiremen and Yorkshirewomen I've met both in the Royal Navy and civilian life over the years. Whenever I sing it, all manner of personal ghosts join in. As to the song itself for those who don't know, it's about the perils of courting ladies on "Ilkley Moor" when not wearing headgear. On certain death followed by decay, one succeeds up through the food-chain to be devoured by one's own relatives.
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