I have been involved with dozens of storytelling projects, and once we start collecting stories its surprising how small the world seems. I have been looking at songs with the title Heartbreak Hill; Fats Domino, The Strawbs and Emmylou Harris have all recorded different tracks, the one below was co-written and is sung by Daisy Hicks an Australian who was born in England.
Mick Benson, a key member of the Iron Awe team, is director of the Ryedale Folk Museum and lives in East Cleveland, I regularly go with him to the museum and do volunteer work. The twenty mile journey includes going over Blakey Ridge a twelve mile stretch where the only building we pass is The Lion Inn.
In the early 1970s a three piece jazz band called Back Door started playing regular sessions at The Lion Inn, they quickly became popular and played at Ronnie Scott's Club in London, Colin Hodgkinson, the bass player, was a southerner, but Ron Aspery, the saxophonist, and Tony Hicks, the drummer, were both from Middlesbrough. The band split up in the late 1970,s and Tony Hicks took his family, including young Daisy, to Australia. Tony sadly died there in 2006.
When Back Door travelled from Middlesbrough to Blakey they would pass our Heartbeak Hill, they would also drive over holes in the earth where Cleveland miners had taken away the ironstone that became the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so although the links are tenuous, they are there - anyway its a nice song.
I am an unpaid storyteller, occasionally I get expenses for my work, but mostly I don’t. I want the world to know about the history of my part of the world and I always give credit to people for the work I use. This video was put on You Tube with buttons allowing it to be shared and before it was removed I was sharing it. John Lawson 03-08-2011
This is Back Door playing at The Lion Inn Blakey in 2003 - turning the clock back thirty years.
Middlesbrough born Chris Rea is closely related to Tony and Daisy Hicks.
This is Chris singing Steel River, a song about the river Tees.
(There would be no Steel River without the Cleveland ironstone miners.)