Friday, 29 October 2010


North east band The Longsands is following in the footsteps of Geordie legends Tim Healy, Jimmy Nail and Kevin Whately by recording their own version of the Blaydon Races in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The popular five piece band from Cramlington will be performing the famous Geordie anthem on the pitch immediately before Sunday’s big derby game and they may already sound familiar to many Newcastle United fans.

Songwriter and guitarist, Ian Barnes, says: “We’re all big Newcastle fans and a while ago were given the opportunity to record our version of the Blaydon Races which is played before the team comes out on a match day.

“We’ve always been really proud hearing The Longsands’ version of the song booming out at St James’ Park and our fans have regularly asked if we would release it as a single.

“The Auf Wiedersehen Pet lads recorded the song for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s A Knight to Remember dvd which was launched this time last year and we all agreed we’d like to do something to help raise money for this great cause too.

“It’s a fantastic north east charity and even though St James’ Park will be divided into black and white and red and white on Sunday we can all agree on the importance of funding research into cancer which will help local people.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was launched by Sir Bobby in March 2008 and has gone on to raise more than £2.5 million to fight cancer within the region. Its main focus is funding research into more effective cancer treatments and the clinical trials of new cancer drugs.

Bill Corcoran, a local culture and heritage enthusiast, believes the Blaydon Races is much more than just a traditional folk song and is as relevant today as the day it was written.

Bill says: “The Blaydon Races is not just a folk song written in 1862, it’s a living regional anthem, sung on football terraces and overfull bars as well as on concert stages. It’s a happy song sung by confident and enthusiastic people sure of their identity and proud of their home.

“One of the reasons why Tyneside is so special is the unity of its people. Black or white, especially black and white, rich or poor, home or away, the Geordie people have a special spirit characterised by courage and humour which is renowned in the world.

“In a time of globalised homogeneity such regional pride that does not seek to decry others is rare and precious. The song’s lyrics show that, even in 1862, everyone was included in our community – from ‘Coffee Johnny’ to ‘Paddy Fagan’ – and it even highlights ‘the lads and lasses there, all with smiling faces’ enjoying the usual Tyneside party spirit.

“The Toon Army belting out our song about our wonderful city and region shows that wherever we are in the world, we wouldn’t want to be anyone else and especially be from anywhere else. It means celebration in victory or defiance in defeat. It is the most perfect terrace anthem for a proud people and it will be sung for generations yet.”

The Longsands’ Blaydon Races is available from from Sunday and is available to pre-order now The Longsands. The special charity download will include two different versions of the Blaydon Races and also feature a track called Bully from the band’s debut album Meet Me In Spanish City.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust to provide services not yet available within the NHS. Every project it funds benefits patients from across the north east and Cumbria.