Karl Oakes

Karl Oakes' shedArtist, sculptor and musician, Karl was the first person to get in touch with us when we started Loudhailer Acoustic and since then has regularly come along with three brand new songs to premiere. From the moment we heard his ballad of 1980s Hull, Sailors Blue’s 82s, we knew he had something special. It was one of the songs that became the inspiration for HullSongs. Listen to it, and go on a journey back in time, growing up and going out in Hull against a backdrop of the decline of the fishing industry. Absorb the memory of many nights out in Hull and breathe the political and economic atmosphere of 1982.

1982 was a strange time to come of age in Hull. The new found freedom and sense that the world was yours to shape, explore and make your own was tempered by a dark political and social time in the life of the city, the country and indeed the world. The city itself was caught in time between two states: in one, the echoes of a past grandeur built on the sea; on the other, closed and empty shops and a proud heritage built on fishing rusting and gathering dust in padlocked, chained and shackled yards. There was the sense in the air that something had been lost and would never return. Yet at the same time the optimism of youth drove you on to claim those shadows as your own, to want to build something new, something you could call your own. Sailors Blues 82s was my attempt to capture the devastation of Conservative rule upon a city, through the eyes of an eighteen year old who was determined to build something new of their own from out of those ashes.” Karl Oakes 2015

Ferens To The ABC Sailor’s Blues ’82s by Karl Oakes

Sailor's Blues 82s

From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
From Bun in the Oven to LAs
See the Old Zoological from those days,
Across the road to Spencer’s arms,
Hold me tight; keep me safe from all harm.
From where the Tall and Mighty stood
To where prospects changed because she said that they should.
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Past Amy Johnson staring at the sky, I have to look with her but I don’t know why,
Andrew Marvel showed me rhyme; I was very metaphysical at that time.
Queen Victoria sits aloft, down Whitefriargate where the King was stopped,
Grandfather put the gold on Trinity’s face, looks down upon the sailors lost without trace.
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
One more drink in the Old White Heart before we are led, past the garden where William lay his weary head,
Past the Humber Star we tread the boards, trying not to wake Mr Wilberforce.
The ship builders were still in existence, steel men and miners put up resistance,
Too young to understand just feel dismay; wish the iron lady would rust away
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Standing by the Minerva looking out to sea, where fathers returned through history,
Mother and child’s hand locked in hope, to see the pull on the end of the rope.
Past King Billy on his golden horse, ships sail the Humber to the source,
Where has my future gone? Guess I’ll have to fight for one.
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget
Skeletons of ships open to the sky, said there’d be jobs for ever but that was a lie.
Broke sailors hearts when they filled the dock in, made it into a garden for the Queen.
Robinson Crusoe sailed from here, into literary history disappears.
Past Gough and Davy and their musical bazaar, where I took my money and bought my first guitar
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Standing outside Dingwalls where the Red Guitars played, CG’s played there too but it burned down within days,
Across the road only George knows, stood the place where father watched The Shadows.
From the Ferens to the ABC, that’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget…
Everything But The Girl, but the opposite is true, Factories closing and there’s nothing left to do,
Said there’d be work for ever, but I guess that’s not true, no amount of sailing, will traverse the seas of blue.
A whole generation lost to the blue, blue, blue, a whole generation lost to the blue, So let it rain, blue, blue blue, we’ll make it through.
And they’re marching in the streets, heads held high even in defeat,
With all they’ve lost they’re sure to weep, hearts joining their fathers in the deep.
The ships aren’t sailing anymore; there are no wages to work for, the ships aren’t sailing anymore
A whole generation lost to the blue, blue, blue, a whole generation lost to the blue, let the blue wash over you… So let it rain, blue, blue, blue, we’ll sail these waters and make it through.(x2) And the tide will turn, and the ships will return (x2).
To the hearts that yearn, with a rage that still burns, look how little we’ve learned…
From the Ferens to the ABC, That’s where you used to walk with me,
Been out dancing with Romeo and Juliet, Long time ago but I can’t forget… I can’t forget

Karl

 

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