Carrying the Load © Barry Goodman 2008 We carry loads from North to South, From Ripon to Llangollen, From Lancashire to Bridgwater, From Leicester to the Arun. Our boats are made to carry coal and Sand, cement and flour, Strong beer in crates, and china plates At just four miles an hour. Chorus: Stone for paving and road-making, Bricks and tiles and timber, Beasts and cattle, corn and straw And limestone for the builder, Tea and coffee, cocoa beans, Rubber, iron and steel, Fruit and cheese and turpentine All carried by canal. We carry wares from foreign parts To Birmingham from London, And leather up from Oxfordshire For the cobblers of Northampton, There’s timber for construction work And barley for the brewer, While for cabbages and Brussels sprouts, We’ve a boat-load of manure! For fifty years we carried goods And business it was booming From Liverpool to Nottingham And on down the Grand Union, But then the railways came along And took our trade away For a railway train can travel more Than thirty miles a day. For railways have no locks to work, Their route is straight and true, No legging through the tunnels And no pumping out to do, No horse to feed; and railwaymen are Home each night at five, While we poor boatmen work all hours Just to keep alive. So will the railways end our work, Will boats be seen no more A-carrying the goods and coal As many years before? I guess I’ll have to carry on, But if t’were up to me I’d leave the water far behind And a railway man I’d be! The canals’ domination of transport for industry lasted until the coming of the railways, when cargoes could be transported much faster. Many canals were bought up by the railway companies and used alongside their new goods lines but, in many cases, canals were just bought up and closed down. Barry Goodman, who wrote the song and kindly provided the words, music and additional information, was a member of song duo 'Life and Times' and dance band 'Time of Your Life'. Recorded on :
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