SOUTH Tyneside singer Joe McElderry has joined a glittering list of North East stars to record songs for a new DVD.
Big River Big Songs – The Tyne features 31 songs to chronicle the history of the river narrated by broadcaster Eric Robson and Emmerdale actress Charlie Hardwick.
Joe chose to cover the Jimmy Nail song Big River for the DVD, and his performance was hailed as powerful as the Tyne itself by the makers.
Lindisfarne star Ray Laidlaw, who produced the DVD, said: “That was one of the last to be done.
“He had five to choose from, and he specifically asked to do Big River.”
Acclaimed director Geoff Wonfor added: “From the first take to the fifth you can see him grow into it. He’s singing with absolute feeling and heart, yet in some ways he didn’t know what he was singing about. He really came up with the goods.
“We were flabbergasted.”
Ray said the recording was the biggest ever compilation on a DVD of Tyneside songs. Joe lines up alongside a galaxy of regional stars such as Sting, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler.
Actors Denise Welch, Gill Halfpenny and Alun Armstrong also appear, while Auf Wiedersehen Pet stars Tim Healy, Jimmy Nail and Kevin Whately perform a version of Blaydon Races with a new verse dedicated to Sir Bobby Robson, penned by Lindisfarne singer/guitarist Billy Mitchell, who arranged many of the songs, and also contributes in his own right and with Lindisfarne, including the classic Fog On The Tyne.
The idea for the DVD came from local musical stalwart Brian Mawson, who now owns and runs Mawson & Wareham (Music) Ltd, which is heavily involved with the Northumbria Anthology project, a not-for-profit company supported by a Heritage Lottery grant sourcing music and poems from the region between North Yorkshire and the Scottish borders.
The original idea was for a CD box set, but it was decided to make it more visual and use both new and archive footage of the river.
n Big River, Big Songs – The Tyne costs £16.99, and is available at HMV and Windows stores in Newcastle, with 75 per cent of profits going to charity.