Song lampooning men training for military duties.
In 1819 the Northumberland and Newcastle Volunteer Corps of Yeomanry was formed. Political reform and dissent was rife on Tyneside during this time and the reform party regarded this new corps as a menace against them. They showed their dislike by referring to the corps as 'Noodles', resulting in this song.
'Newcastle Noodles' was written by James Morrison. Morrison was born in the Groat Market about the year 1800. He worked as an apprentice painter before making his living as a journeyman. Around 1830 he moved to Edinburgh and little is known of his life after this date. His two songs, 'Burdon's Address' and 'Newcastle Noodles' were popular in their day, but were of temporary interest and Morrison is now less well known.
Similar to the cheap press of today these poorly printed books and broadsides catered for popular tastes, being sold by chapmen in the country and booksellers in the town. Usually sold for no more than a penny, the production of these little books and broadsides were extremely profitable for most printers. Sold in bulk the material required little proof-reading, was widely plagiarised, and badly printed.
Newcastle was the second largest producer of chapbooks in the country at the time of this book's publication. 'The Newcastle Songster' was printed by J. Marshall, one of the most prominent chapbook printers in Newcastle during the early nineteenth century. This book forms part IV of the 'Songster' series and is perhaps easier to date than the preceding parts. Although it is not clear whether parts I and II of the 'Songster' were published before or after John Bell's 'Rhymes of the Northern Bards, 1812, the appearance of the 'Newcastle swineherds' proclamation' in part IV indicate the publication date to be no earlier than 1821.
The book contains some of the region's best known traditional songs. From 'Newcastle Noodles' to 'Famed Filly Fair', the book has offerings from well known Tyneside composers such as James Morrison and would have been extremely popular among the local population.