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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Farrier's Jukebox: New Year's Eve, the "Blacksmith Stomp", and Playlists to Keep

The blog is a jukebox today. But don't worry, you'll never run out of quarters.

Sometimes, you just get inspired. A new song by a band I'd never heard of in England showed up and I decided to play the video. And then I asked a few questions. And here comes this story.

The story is about a song and the people who wrote, inspired and perform it. But it pushed me to do something I've wanted to do, and share with you, for years.

I made two playlists to share with you starting with, and inspired by, the live debut of "The Blacksmith Stomp" on New Year's Eve in a pub in Brighton, England. If you like music, and/or the many ways that shoeing horses, blacksmithing, or hoof magic can be expressed in song or lyrics, these playlists are for you.

One list is a programmed compilation of music videos on YouTube, and one is soundtracks on Spotify. All are songs about blacksmiths and farriers and horses gone awry, and they're all mixed up together, sort of like this blog.

Both are embedded in this article so you can watch/listen here, at least for the first time, or you can bookmark/subscribe to them through your own YouTube or Spotify accounts and listen to the Spotify one, at least, on your phones, in your trucks, or wherever you like.

Direct links and resources are at the end of the story.

But first, Dec Emmerson is going to put down a hoof because he wants to give you a dance lesson. This is not part of the playlist!

English farrier Declan Emmerson's tutorial on dancing the Blacksmith Stomp.

Where did the Blacksmith Stomp come from? Once upon a time, there were some English farriers who liked to dance and have fun, and they weren't alone. No, they were far from alone.

They and their friends filled the pub on New Year's Eve and their favorite band, The Noble Jacks, premiered a rousing new song written for and with and about all their farrier friends who loved to hear their music and dance to it. And dance they did.

I don't know about you, but this New Year's Eve party looks like a lot more fun than the one I attended!

So this video takes you to the party, where you can dance along, if you like. There's more about the farriers and the song below, but once you watch the New Year's pub video, the songs keep coming, as this is a continuing playlist of blacksmith-themed music videos.

Note: this video is the first in a YouTube playlist that will automatically advance from video to video. Enjoy!

Songs on the YouTube playlist: 1 The Blacksmith's Stomp-The Noble Jacks  2 The Blacksmith's Girl-Sadie Jemmett 3 New Jersey Is Where We Belong (The Hambletonian Song)-Anna Svensson, sung by Ernie White 4 Blacksmith's Prayer-Seth Lakeman  5 The Racehorse Song (Molly And Tenbrooks) -Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys 6 Blacksmith Song-Spike Jones 7 The Old Farrier-Arcelia 8 The Merry Blacksmith on banjo 9 The Blacksmith Blues-Ella Mae Morse 10 The Merry Blacksmith-Mike Magatagan  11 The Pony Man-Gordon Lightfoot  12 A Blacksmith Courted Me-US Air Force Band 13 Feuerfest Polka-Andre Rieu and anvilist 14 Natural Forces - Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt  15 Handel "The Harmonious Blacksmith" -- Two Pianists 16 Twanky Dillo sung by Alan Rosevear  17 Horseshoe Man - Neil Young 18 Blacksmith Reel-Fiddler's Green  19 Ballad of a Runaway Horse--EmmyLou Harris)  20 Percussion session in an old blacksmith's shop Die Kinder von St. Anton 21 Holst's Second Suite for Military Band in F-major (Blacksmith's Song) --Swedish National Wind Band and anvil  22 A Horse Called Music--Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard 23 Blacksmith's Morris-various  24 the Blacksmith's Song-Rebekah Muzika 25 Blacksmith - Pearl Botts  26The Anvil Chorus - GMCLA.ORG (26 videos, 1 hour 45 minutes long)

Chorus to The Blacksmith's Stomp:

Picking up the pieces he has to draw a line but he won't stop striking til the end of time
Picking up the pieces the world gone dry as he shod them all ... and makes his way with a blacksmith stomp

Over the land and underneath the skies the blacksmith wields his hammer with leather coated hands
Traveling in the south and rushing through the east, there's nowhere he won't head to fit a cork and wedge
With a Shetland in the rain and a Shire in the sun, a race yard in the snow and plenty more to go
With one hand sips his cup of tea and a hot hoof wrapped round his knee, thinking of home

Follow farrier, legend he is strong

Picking up the pieces he has to draw a line but he won't stop striking until the end of time
Picking up the pieces the world gone dry as he shod them all… and makes his way with a blacksmith stomp

Will Page, singer/writer/fiddle player of The Noble Jacks, had a special bond with "the lads", as he calls them, who inspired this song. "Due to my upbringing in the countryside, the majority of my friends and acquaintances are country folk," he said. "I wrote this song for one particular group of pals who are, in fact, blacksmiths and farriers. They come to almost all our gigs to clap and dance to our music all night long! Their support and energy prompted me to write this song to show my appreciation to them and also to provide them with yet more opportunity to foot-stomp!

"I grew up playing mainly traditional folk songs with family and friends in local pubs and festivals. As I'm sure you know, blacksmiths and farriers have been key members of our society for thousands of years, probably because, throughout the centuries, he who had the sharpest sword, the strongest armor and the fastest horse stood the greatest chance of survival!

"Today, my farrier friends still handmake horseshoes and take great pride in being the best at what they do, competing at international competitions with other farriers from around the world.

"Furthermore, my mother's horse recently had bad laminitis and was restored to full health due in part to the skill of our local farrier (Andrew Casserly), thus the song is also a celebration of their work and skill!

"We are aiming to record the song this year also with an official video featuring these blacksmith/ farrier friends of mine!"

Who are the farriers in the song and/or video?

Three of the stomping blacksmiths of England hoist songwriter Will Page of The Noble Jacks band. Left to right Declan Emmerson, Grant Watt (yes, he's wearing a kilt), and Dom Jones.

Ben and Jack Casserly, Andrew's sons, are well-known international competitors on the farrier scene and longtime friends of Will's.

Grant Watt is a young Scotsman who came to the south of England to do his apprenticeship and recently qualified as a farrier. He's quite a competitor and Will says he was selected for the Scottish national apprentices team for home and international competition all four years of his apprenticeship.

Dominic Jones is one of the "front men" stompers, and also recently qualified.

Declan Emmerson still has one year left in his farrier apprenticeship, is always in front dancing (or stomping) and kindly performed in the instructional video.

Thanks to the Noble Jacks and all the farriers who went to the trouble of videotaping the New Year's Eve party I should have gone to!

• • • • • • •

Here's the widget for the Hoof Blog's Spotify playlist of songs. It is similar to the YouTube video playlist (above) but contains several different songs as well as alternate versions of the songs on the YouTube set. This version of "Molly and Tenbrooks (The Racehorse Song)", for instance, is a re-mastered contemporary recording. That song by the way, is based on a true story. Those two horses really did race but, in real life, Molly didn't breakdown and die.

Link to this playlist on the web in case this doesn't work:

You're probably much better at Spotify than I am, but you can follow the list or adopt it as the framework for your own and edit it as you please.

Thanks to Will Page and Noble Jacks and all the farriers who will probably never have bad backs if they continue to dance like that at night. Thanks, too, to everyone who has been sending me music all these years. I do listen to it, and keep it, for times like this.


Resources from this article:
Hoof Blog music video playlist  (26 videos, 1 hour 45 minutes long)
Hoof Blog Spotify playlist of blacksmith-themed songs (25 songs, 1 hour 27 minutes long)
Noble Jacks YouTube channel
Andrew Casserly and Sons website

Fran Jurga launched Hoofcare Publishing and the Hoofcare + Lameness Journal in 1985 to provide independent, progressive information about hoof science and lameness problems in horses.The Hoof Blog followed in 2004 and now is a compilation of more than 1600 articles linking out to more information all over the Internet.  Every once in a while, she has some fun with it--like today. Stay in touch (click here) to receive useful information via email from

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