A Ballad – The Lads of the Tees

Old Sagittarius, stuck in the sky  

To serve as a watchman as well as a spy.  

On finding our archers excel those above,  

In envious spite gallop’d off to tell Jove.  

Great king of the gods can you bear to look down

And see your great favorites of old so outdone

No more will your Trojans and Grecians please,  

When eclips’d’ by the feats of these ‘Lads of the Tees.’      


Jove rose in a rage and call’d out for Apollo,

And entreated that he would old Fourlegs follow

And examine if what he’d reported was true;

Then away to the banks of the Tees the god flew;

It happen’ d the arrow was shot for that day,

When the archers appeared in their nicest array;

Their sports and their mirth did his godship so please,

He resolved to stop with the ” Lads of the Tees.”  


Next morning old Jupiter sent out his scout,  

Winged Hermes to know what Apollo was about;  

Who swift as an eagle, headlong dashed forth  

To enquire why the god staid so long upon earth;

Oh ! I’ve found, cried Apollo, some lads to my mind.  

They’re gentle, they’re courteous, they’re social and kind;  

They shoot like us gods, and their songs me so please;  

I’ll never more quit these brave ” Lads of the Tees.”  


With the god of the bow and of music so near,

Triumphant our course, for no rival we fear;

With so splendid a model of grace and of art,

Emulation alone do we need on our part;

Now let us avoid all vain squabbles and strife,

And our science will gild the dull evening of life;

Aud hoary old age feel a glow when he sees

His sons are enrolled ‘mong the ” Lads of the Tees.”  


This is an admirable archery song, and is evidently the emanation of some superior mind whose name is to me unknown. It appears in that excellent selection of sporting lyrics— Charles Armiger’s Sportsmans Vocal Cabinet. 1830.

Taken from Holroyds Collection of Yorkshire Ballads. 1892

The Young’uns on Graeme Miles

“The terraced streets were my Grand Canyons, the shipyard cranes my redwood trees, those steelwork tips were my mountain ranges and the brickyard ponds were my seven seas”.

These are the words of the songwriter Graeme Miles that inspired Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes of the Teesside folk group The Young’uns – Radio 2’s Folk Band of the Year Award winners in 2015 & 2016. Stumbling across a folk club at the age of 17, school friends Sean, David & Michael first heard the songs of Graeme Miles – songs about their local area – songs that resonated. They realised that there was beauty to be found in a place they had been brought up to believe was “deprived” and “unromantic”, and that Graeme’s songs instilled a sense of pride.

For years now the band have been singing Graeme’s songs, and, in this programme, they find out more about the man and his work. Featuring interviews with Graeme’s widow Annie, and discussion and performances from esteemed musicians from the folk world, including the critically-acclaimed band The Unthanks, this programme highlights some of Graeme’s finest songs. From an emotive performance of ‘Waiting For The Ferry’ on the banks of the River Tees, to a stirring rendition of ‘Ring of Iron’ accompanied by the legendary Billingham group The Wilson Family, The Young’uns discover more about their muse, and present the programme in their unique and humorous way.