High Level Ranters
LP Recordings


High Level Ranters (1966-1979)

Originally LPs, some of these are now available as CDs, but not all

Northumberland for Ever (Topic 12TS186), 1968

Tracks: Shew's the Way to Wallington / Peacock followed the Hen, The Sandgate Lasses Lament / Elsie Marley, Bellingham Boat / Lamb Skinnet, Adam Buckham, Meggy's Foot,.The Lads of North Tyne / Redesdale Hornpipe
Hexhamshire lass, The Breakdown / Blanchland Races
The Lads of Alnwick / Lamshaws Fancy, Byker Hill, Whinham's Reel / Nancy, Because he was a bonny Lad / Salmon Tails up the Water / Sweet Hesleyside, Dance to your Daddy, Billy Boy, Nae Good Luck aboot the Hoose, Mi' Laddie sits ower late up, The Keel / Kafoozalum / The Washing Day

Available on CD (Topic TS CD 483) - one of the most influential LP's of Northumbrian music ever.

The Lads of Northumbria (Trailer LER 2007), 1969

The line-up most people think of when the Ranters are mentioned: Alistair, Colin, Johnny, Tommy.

Drops of Brandy / The Foxhunters Jig / The Rocky Road to Dublin, The Spey in Spate / Da Tusca, The College Valley Hunt, Sir John Fenwick's the Flower amang them a', Baby lie easy, Dingle Regatta / Father Kelly's Jig

The Wedding at Blyth / Andrew Carr, The Golden Eagle / The Sunshine, Johnny Armstrong / Derwentwater's Farewell / Ned of the Hill, Buy broom buzzems, The Underhill / Da Scallowa' Lassies / De'il stick the minister, Hares on the mountain, The Trumpet Hornpipe / Cadum Woods

Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinnie (Trailer LER 2020), 1970

Tracks:Keep yor feet still, The Paanshop bleezin, The Lambton Worm, Come Geordie ha'd the bairn, Geordie Black, Adam Buckham
Cushie Butterfield, The Neighbours doon belaa, Wor Nannie's a mazor, The Weshin Day, Last Neet, The Blaydon Races

Songs sung by Johnny and Tommy, and the orchestra at Balmbra's consisted of Forster Charlton and Colin Ross (fiddles), Alistair Anderson (concertina), Colin Beal (clarinet and saxophone), Clem Avery (trumpet), Ronald McLean(trombone), Albert Gelson (percussion), Tommy Waugh (bass), and Johnny Handle (piano).

High Level (Trailer LER 2030), 1971

Felton Lonnin, Till the tide comes in / Stay a wee bit, bonnie lad, The Plains of Waterloo, The Hens March / The Broken-Legged Chicken / The Black Cock of Whickham, Trepanner Song, The Jolly Beggar

Papa Stour, Monday morning, Through the fields / Tarbolton Lodge, I drew my ship, Hartigan's Fancy / Tobin's Favourite, The High Level Bridge Hornpipe

The first recorded appearance of their 'signature tune'.

A Mile to Ride (Trailer LER 2037), 1973

Nae guid luck / Charlie Hunter, Cold and raw, The Beeswing / Archie Menzies, The Border Widow's Lament, A mile to ride / Jockey lay up in the hayloft, Shoemaker

The Shepherd's Life, A U me hinny bird, Newcastle Hornpipe / Gateshead Hornpipe, Long Lankin, Gillan the Drover / Niel Gow's Wife, The Dark island / The Laird of Drumblair / Angus Campbell

Anyone who has driven this appealingly straight road knows it should not be attempted, at speed, with a stomach full of pizza (thank you, Gianni's of Morpeth!). Its quite fun on a cold & snowy January evening, too, particularly when the army's out on manoeuvres.

The Bonny Pit Laddie (Topic 2-12TS271/2), 1975

The Hewer, Doon the Waggon Way, A Miner's Life, I Wish Pay Friday wad come, The Auchegeich Disaster, The Collier's Rant, Farewell to the Monty

The Putter, Little Chance, My Gaffer's Bait, The Coal Owner and the Pitman's Wife, The Blackleg Miners, The Miner's Lockout, The South Medomsley Strike

The Durham Lockout, Aa'm Glad the Strike's done, The Collier's Pay Week (Cut and Dry Dolly / Success to the Coal Trade / My Lad is o'er bonny for the Coal Trade), I'll have a collier, I'll make her fain to follow me / The Joyful days are coming / Get her Bo

The Stoneman's Song, The Hartley calamity, Bonnie Woodha', The Banks of the Dee, The Bonny Pit Laddie

Available on CD (Topic TSCD 486), though without the leaflet giving the words

Ranting Lads (Topic 12TS388), 1976

Fairly Shot of Her / A Wife of My Own, Dance to yer Daddy, The Lass doon on the Quay, The Kielder Hunt, Alston Flower Show / Jane of Biddlestone, Fortune Turns the Wheel

Fenwick o' Bywell, Elsie Marley / Hoop Her and Gird Her, Captain Bover / Here's the tender comin' / Success to the Fleet, Proudlock's Hornpipe / The Hesleyside Reel, Stanley Market, The Marquis of Waterfoed / Bottle Bank / The Hawk
 Available on CD (Topic TSCD 498), also including some tracks from Four in a Bar

English Sporting Ballads (Broadside BRO 128), 1976
(with Martyn Wyndham-Read)

Ranters' Tracks:
Eccles Wakes, Bonny Beeswing, Newcastle Wakes, The boat race, The White Hare of Howden, Alnwick football song

Martyn's tracks:
The Ballad of Trubshaw and Green, The great foot Race, The Charcoal Black and the Bonny Grey, Sayers' and Heenan's great fight, The noble fox hunting, The Bullard's Song

Available on CD (Celtic Music CMBCD 002 )

Four in a Bar (Topic 12TS445), 1979

An all instrumental LP.


Whinham's Jig / Billy's Jig, Chips and Shavings / Jack's Alive / Dear Tobacco, Town Green Polka / Jenny Bell Polka, The Biddlestone Hornpipe / The Last of the Twins, The Ruby / The Quarrelsome Piper, Rowley Burn / Coates's Hornpipe

La Russe / Whinshields Hornpipe / Jane's Fancy / Da Road to Houll, Blinkin' Tibbie / The Pear Tree, Swalwell Lasses / South Shields Lasses, Moon shine Polka, The Quayside / Miss Ward's Reel, The Butterclout / Such a Wife as Willy had / Willy is a Bonny Lad

 Alistair Anderson and Tommy Gilfellon left the band after 'Four in a Bar' , to pursue their own musics

'New' High Level Ranters ( 1980- 2004 at least)

The New High Level Ranters (Topic 12TS425), 1982

The first recording of the new line-up: Jim Hall, Johnny Handle, Colin Ross, Pete Wood.

Pete is an honorary Geordie from Lancashire.

Fisherman's Friend / Black and the Grey, Ca Hawkie, The Old Drove Road / Mr Kennedy North, Jim Jones, The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, John Peel

Durham Regatta / Little Jenny, The Snows they melt the Soonest, Yellow Haired Laddie / The Glen Coe March, New Song of the Coal, Skipper's Wedding, Duke of Fife / Maggie Lauder

Border Spirit (Topic 12TS434), 1983

The first album of the current band - Jim Hall, Johnny Handle, Colin Ross - is a tribute to the Northumbrian piper, Billy Pigg, whose tunes and playing has influenced the style and repertoire of the Ranters throughout their existence.

Billy's Jig / Kielder Fells, Gan ti' the Kye wi' me, Border Spirit, Felton Lonnen, Wallington Hall / Billy's Reel, The Foxhunters Hornpipe / Billsmoor

Kings Hall / John of Carrick, The Bellingham Show, Coilsfield House / Tom's March, The Canny Shepherd Laddies, The Surprise Hornpipe

Some of the tracks from this are available on the classic CD compilation - The Northumbrian Smallpipes (Topic TSCD 487)

Gateshead Revisited (Common Ground CGR 005 ), 1987

Recorded to coincide with the Gateshead Garden festival

Forster Charlton and his Cat / The Steamboat, Geordie Black, We'll aal awa' to Sunniside / The Black Cock of Whickham, He's got them on the Run, The Great North Run / Gateshead Stadium, The Gateshead Bobby, Blaydon Races

The Fair Maid of Whickham / The Squire of Bensham, Canny old Gateshead / The South Shore, Bonny Gateshead Lass, The Exhibition / Blaydon Flats, Cushie Butterfield, The High Level Hornpipe

Available on CD: Common Ground CGRCD005, and as cassette (CGR005) 

One of these is still listed as available in Celtic Music's catalogue as an LP (New High Level Ranters)  According to members of the band, further CD re-issues are unlikely .

Try a secondhand record dealer, or blag a copy off a friend.

Page last updated 02 Sept 2004

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