Twelve Of The Best: Songs In Popular Styles

Sometimes in response to particular requests, and sometimes just because I feel like it, I write music in what might be called a “popular” style: folky, ballady, with a steady beat, using trendy harmony. Here are twelve of the most popular (most performed or listened to) of those popular style pieces. For more information, full recordings or scores, click the links below this video catalogue.

  1. Magical Glass: It’s a folk song about the glass-making industry in the north of England, but can be (and has already been) adapted to suit different glass-making places and different glass-making endeavours. It is available for SATB, SSAA or TTBB choirs.
  2. No-Umbrella Blues: It is indeed a bluesy song and bemoans the lack of an umbrella on a rainy day in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is available for SATB or TTBB choirs and is also available as a solo line song with backing track/accompaniment and optional harmonies for learner choirs!
  3. Junction 40: A song with a reggae beat about the aspirational qualities of a motorway intersection which can actually and symbolically lead us to anything, anywhere. I composed it for a Yew Tree Youth Music theatre project in Wakefield It is a single line, but backing tracks and a score with backing vocals and accompaniment is available if you contact me!
  4. Not The Sort Of Song I Sing In The Shower: The title is a quote from a choir friend of mine who died in 2018 and the comedic music hall style was favoured by another choir friend who died a couple of months later. They were the best of friends. The first performance was given by The Bridge Singers at their Remembrance Concert in November of that year in tribute to them. The melody fits with the Northumbrian folk song Sweet Hesleyside and tells the tale of two soldiers from different walks of life who meet up near the primitive showers which existed in certain places behind the lines in World War 1. It is for SATB choir, but would suit very well a male voice choir. The Bridge Singers did indeed combine it with Sweet Hesleyside for the first and last verses, and this melody was played on Northumbrian pipes.
  5. You Will Remember: This song was first composed as a memorial song to coal miners killed in accidents down the pits, but was later adapted with new words to be suitable for Remembrance Day and tells of soldiers who went away to war. It is a baldly style and is available as a single line song with a round in the chorus or for SATB choir.
  6. Alison’s K6 Telephone Box: When asked (by Alison) for a song about the local red telephone box in our village, and something “in a barbershop style” (by Jenny), this is what I came up with – it might be more accurately described as a music hall style. It is for SSAA or TTBB choir, and while the lyrics are specific in places to this particular phone box, they can be, and have been adapted to suit others and other places.
  7. I’d Like A Zebra For My Birthday: It’s a short round in a clippity clop style. I have a backing track if you want it – just ask!
  8. Robinson Crusoe: a song in a ballady style about the literary character. It is a single line song with piano accompaniment (I do also have a backing track) with optional harmonies in the final verse and chorus. This one is exceedingly popuar with primary schools and and has been performed on many occasions.
  9. Ooh Ladyfinger: originally composed as a single line song with piano accompaniment for a class of Year 7 students who were studying the nutritional and other properties of various foods, I have since rescored it for SSAA, TTBB or SATB choirs. It’s in a bluesy style and tells of a type of banana.
  10. Lupset Street Build: this can be performed as a round or as a song that just builds and builds with repetitive patterns. It was composed with street names from the Lupset housing estate in Wakefield, but can be adapted to suit any street names or indeed other things with interesting names. It is used by the local vicar to inspire local pride in a housing estate that was after all built in the 1930s to re-house people from the slums of the city centre. It has a steady poppy beat
  11. That First Christmas Night: a song for SATB which has a catchy beat and trendy harmonies. It was originally composed for SATB choir and then arranged in the opposite direction to usual to create a single line song with piano and optional harmonies. It’s a religious song with lyrics by a nun!
  12. Tiny, Flickering Flame: A Christingle song explaining the meaning of the various symbols associated with that festival. It was originally written for a primary school, but it’s been performed by adult choirs as well. It has a few repeating patterns as accompaniment vocals and minimal harmony. It has a catchy beat.

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