OGGIE MAN BY CYRIL TAWNEY
Cyril Tawney, in many of his music collections, also wrote the song titled ‘’The Oggie Man’’. The song was essentially about a Cornish pasty seller in 1959. The recording of this song can be found in different albums such as ‘’A Cold Wind Blows’’(songs in traditional styles), A Mayflower Garland, sung in 1970 and many other albums.
To give a detailed illustration of Tawney’s Oggie Man, Cyril Tawney penned down some notes about his most admired song.
This piece is an excerpt from his defunct website:
At first, it is pertinent to know the meaning of the word ‘’Oggie’’. Well, it is simply a slang which depicts Cornish pasty. It can also be referred to as ‘’tiddy oggie’’ and it will be appropriate to say that it’s natural use is mainly restricted to only Cornwall, around the naval port of Plymouth.
It will be recalled that in the old days, one could buy oggies at several places in Plymouth but sailors who are returning to the dockyard at night may purchase from the man who sold them outside Albert Gate.
Before the war, there was no competition with the Oggie, and this is just because there was no opportunity for that.
Tawney, in this piece, said that the connection between the Oggie Man and a song had been a source of valedictory lament for a historical event. If that were the outcome, the Oggie Man would have just become part of a great list of those songs that the folk revival had created, but it didn’t happen so.
‘’The individual who also contributed in promoting the song was Brian Patten, a BBC producer, who did a nice job in also promoting my broadcast career even before I left the Royal Navy. Patten was both my friend and producer.
He lived in Bristol but always came to Plymouth to organize auditions and on one of the times he came, we made plans to meet for a drink at the Blue Monkey, Budeaux. While we had our drink, Patten said to me ‘’Cyril; I think its best we do a song about the lad who does sell oggies outside the Dockyard Gate’’. I responded that I already have that same idea.
I may not even know if he believed me or not. Well, for me, it seemed to be just a coincidence. I figured it was just a signal from heaven that I should write the song. After our meeting, we bade each other farewell, and I walked back to my lodge at Beacon Park. On my way home, it began to drizzle with rain. I want to state that if not for the rain, I strongly doubt if this song would have been written’’. Tawney said.
The music icon ended the piece by saying ‘’while in the spirit of folk songs, I decided to allow the song to be exactly as it was coined on my way to the lodge from the Blue Monkey to the rain that drizzled’’.
Notably, the style of the song was recommended recently at a concert which I listened to by Shirley Collins, singing about a mining disaster’’. Tawney said.