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singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet, broadcaster and multi-instrumentalist

Mrs ‘Ardin’s Kid

Joseph Anthony Capstick
Rochdale Cowboy/Deck of Cards
The Suitcase
Away With Rum
The Ballad of Cowheel Lou
A Sailor Courted A Farmers Daughter

What’s What
The Drunken Tackler
The Strangeways Hotel
The Man From The Pru
Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls




Recorded live at ………………………….
Newcastle University,
The Sing Out Club, Crewe
The Bay Horse, Doncaster
The Highcliffe, Sheffield
Carnegie Hall, Bacup
Wigan Over Sixties Nudist Club
Crumpsall Cocoa Temperance Rooms
Ancoats Young Conservatives Club.
Sleeve printed in England by Clout & Baker Ltd.

Thanks to ………………..

All the landlords and club organisers who put up so patiently with the yards of wire and plugs that garrotted the punters and fused the lights; thanks to Impulse Studios, Wallsend for the use of the cassette recorder on which we taped the nights; thanks to Tony for the intro (it’s the biggest numbers of words I’ve heard him say without falling over) thanks to Clare the (hem, hem) secretary etc. who carried all them cups of coffee up all those many, many stairs to the top studio at Rubber Towers; to Dave for emptying the ashtrays; to Mickey and Geoff for all the work; thanks to all the audiences and a last thanks to you, whoever you are, who bought this record and proved that people of good taste can still be found willing to contribute to the Mike Harding Lotus Elan Fund.

How this record was made was ………………..

We, i.e. me and Geoff Heslop and Mickey Sweeney and a lot of people in audiences made this record. We only did four nights because we couldn’t afford the bus fares for any more. One of the nights was buggered up by a deaf and dumb heckler that got excited and broke his fingers and had to be carried out and another was buggered by me mam who pulled me off the stage because I’d said something mucky. The echoey bits were made in a urinal opposite Longsight Boiler Makers Club because we thought they sounded dramatic.
Then, when we’d finished the recording making, we’d got enough gags and patter for two records so we had to cut lots of stuff out. I wondered how record producers did this so I went along to the studio to watch it all being done. The studio is hidden behind a big bingo hall (this is so the fans of stars like me and the Osminds do not get mobbed and tore). After walking for three days up some stairs that came off the set for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the belfry bit, you get to a cosy little studio. There I sat on Geoff’s knee and watched Mickey edit the tapes. How he did this was very simple. He lit a little gas burner and the mighty spools of the Repulsive Sound Studio Half Track Voice Reproducer started turning once the steam came through. Then he wound all the tape on to one little spool and what didn’t go on flew allover the room and got ripped and broke and that and lay everywhere like Christmas Decorations and Mickey made a big cigarette out of all this tape and smoked it. (This is what is known in the record business as random editing.)

The Tracks ………………..

Side One.
1. Joseph Anthony Capstick, not a song but my friend who was discovered during an air raid in Rotherham as an unexploded baby.

2. Rochdale Cowboy/Deck of Cards. I learnt this song from Albert Grimsdyke, Champion Tripe-shaver and the fastest clog in the West.

3. The Suitcase ……………….. she felt his hot breath on her neck in the dark and suddenly his hands were squeezing her everywhere as he ripped the flimsy nylon from her otherwise naked, swelling pointed ……………….. nothing to do with it really, but I enjoyed writing it. I didn’t know as I had it in me ……………….. she said.

4. Away with Rum. Learnt from a Barnsley Lighthouse Keeper called Arthur Parrot who was a one time Salvation Army provisional adept at feeding Brewers drayhorses with senna pods. lance knew a Salvation Army girl, she’d got a square navel through carrying the flag without a pole bucket. It didn’t look nice but it was great for putting salt in when we were having fish and chips in bed. Thanks to Frank Duffy.

5. The Ballad of Cowheel Lou. When men were men and women were glad of it one lad with a tilt in his kilt and lead in his pencil was Rhyming Ronnie Ackroyd, Lancashire poet and one-legged window cleaner the scribe who penned this diatribe. (The word “fahrt” which appears in this poem is in fact German from “Fahren” – to drive, therefore “cockroach fahrt” – beetle drive, meaning you could hear the noise of the beetle drive in the church hall across the road.)

6. A Sailor Courted a Farmer’s Daughter ……………….. I love mucky songs because I was brought up strict and sex was something everybody whispered about in the corner shop and now I’m big I can shout about it on stage and everybody laughs and me mam gets embarrassed and can’t face the neighbours. (What neighbours? Ours is the only house standing in the street). Thanks to Tony Downes.

Side Two
1. What’s What
……………….. if you don’t know what’s what then this sort of tells you. It’s another mucky one mam.

2. The Drunken tackler. At family parties me Uncle Arthur who was a wringer-out for Arthur Parrot used to sing this song while me mam played the piano. VVhen he got to the last verse she used to drop the piano lid on his hand and he’d stop singing and me gran would finish it off. Then me mam used to sing “The Church’s One Foundation” and me dad used to drop the lid on her hands. Then there would be a fight and I would be sick on the parlour carpet and get sent to bed. We were a close family because it was a very small house.

3. The Strangeways Hotel. I make no secret of the fact that I come from a family of criminals. Me mam used to suck the tanners out of parking meters and me dad got put in prison for a political offence, he broke into the Labour Club at the bottom of our road. Strange ways makes Devils Island look like Butlins Filey.

4. The Man from the Pru or Son of the Face on the Bar-room Floor …………… On Friday nights me dad, if he was working which wasn’t most of the time, (he had something wrong with his back, he couldn’t get it up off the bed) used to come in with his money and stagger down our lobby with me mam on his back and an axe in his head. Later there would be a knock on the – .!’ door, this was the rent man, Septic Knuckles. When he’d gone we’d come out from under the table and turn the lights back on and there’d be another knock. This was the Man from the Pru (Prudential Assurance Co.) These men were all made in a mould in Heckmondwike and were all 5’4″ with dirty flasher’s macs on and locks on their bike-clips. The one we had had a nose like a blind cobbler’s thumb. This is for him, for killing my frog.

5. Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls ……………….. you can use them for stripping paint, cleaning your flue, removing unwanted pubic hair from garden gnomes and you can get a tortoise out of its shell in four seconds. They look great, like gherkins with legs on, they make smash in’ toys for dogs with no teeth.





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