Mike Donald. North Yorkshire Folk Singer. Mudcat Cafe

Subject: RE: Mike Donald (singer from Skipton Yorkshire)
From: The Doctor
Date: 22 Sep 09 – 05:08 AM

I have the LP ‘Songs for Humberside’, which is Christopher Rowe and Ian Clark, and the EP ‘Folk Train’, those two plus Mike Donald. I’ve put them on to a CD. PM me if you’re interested in copies. Tracks are:

Humber Bridge; Poor Mrs Jones; The Abercrombie Plan; King Billy’s Lament; The Man who put the Halt in Haltemprice; OHU2; Gloria Victoria; Keep your hands off Haltemprice; Land of Green Ginger; Hull’s Best Friends; The Moving of the Wilberforce Monument; King’s Town.

Settle-Carlisle Railway; Visions of Cumbria; Night Express – North Bound; The Permanent Way.

Mike Donald on Mudcat Cafe Forum

Subject: RE: Mike Donald (singer from Skipton Yorkshire)
From: GUEST,John Goacher
Date: 25 Mar 09 – 10:38 PM

I used to sing with Mike in his first duo, and was with him at Border Television for his first TV appearance (mine too).

We both ran a folk club in 1970 at the Manor House Hotel in Thornton-in-Craven, West Yorkshire on Thursday nights.

I am now in Florida and just learned from this site (March 25, 2009) that Mike is no longer with us. While we parted in bad spirits some 38 years ago, I think of him often and remember his love for Yorkshire history and the songs he wrote.

Reproduced from the Mudcat Cafe

Subject: RE: Mike Donald
From: open mike
Date: 14 Apr 04 – 02:40 PM

a web search of this site
brings up this:
Mike Donald, of Skipton, who died at an early age, was one of the first to extol the glories of the Settle-Carlisle line in song. Mike was northern area manager for E J Arnold Ltd, a Leeds-based firm of education suppliers and publishers.

He wrote the first of several songs about the Settle-Carlisle in 1970. He told me it had taken him just ten minutes to capture the spirit of the men who built the line – whose job was to “lay another rail”.

I played a very small part in the success of that song, for Mike had been inspired by reading a book on the subject in which I was a joint author, charged with writing the historical aspects. Going to great pains to ensure the song was historically accurate, and finding it hard to believe that trains had actually been blown to a halt by gales at Ribblehead, he asked old drivers about it and found this was so.

The song led to Mike’s first television appearance. Soon afterwards, he was writing songs with a social context. I recall in particular that entitled Land of the Old and Grey. It told of young people who were having to leave the Yorkshire Dales through economic necessity.

He composed that song while returning to Skipton from Appleby by train. When I was there recently, I had the company of a friend whose background is in Bradford. I refer to Tony Freschini, railway engineer, who is playing a significant part in the current track refurbishment project.

The golden sleeper is not of solid gold, of course, but has been produced by Coral Rail and installed by First Engineering to mark the installation of one million steel sleepers. I could imagine Dave Goulder or, indeed, the much lamented Mike Donald, writing a lively song about that.