Anne Darby’s music page – keeping Anne’s music alive

an audio/video collection of original songs and covers


Anne Darby (née Wiseman) was an amazing woman. As well as being a prolific singer-songwriter with an incredible voice, she was a medal-winning international athlete, a keen hockey player, a practising pagan, and saved lives within the NHS where she specialised in resuscitation and provided resus training. Anne loved animals and was, apparently, the only member of staff at Torbay Hospital who took her dog to work!

Acoustic music was a major part of Anne’s life. In the 1970’s she performed regularly in clubs such as ‘Dingle’s’ in Tottenham Court Road, London and eventually ran her own folk/blues acoustic music club in Teignmouth, South Devon. On the evening of 27th May 2016, Anne sang and played wonderfully and was, as always, the life and soul of the evening. The following day she passed away peacefully at home, aged just 62.                obituary

Anne's last eveningAnne’s last evening

Anne wrote songs for over forty years and (with the blessing of her friends and family) we’ve created this page so that anyone can listen to, or learn and perform them. We have lyrics for 40+ songs but very few recordings exist. Indeed, at the start of this project, except for a couple of videos clips, there were no recordings of Anne’s music on the internet.

To date, we have collected complete recordings of 13* of Anne’s original songs…


Anne Darby performing her own songs

 Studio-quality recordings made in 2010

*Song of Mother Earth. A beautiful, slow, atmospheric song “honouring life, death, and re-birth”. Neither folky nor bluesy, this song was played at Anne’s funeral and could almost have been written for it. Slow fingerpicking in Bm (Am capo 2). Quite easy to learn. Lyrics and chords which I wrote out for Anne’s friend Maia are available.

*Newgate gaol. This traditional-sounding folk song about London pickpockets was written in 1975 and recorded 35 years later. Anne’s original hand-written lyrics are available. Med. pace fingerpicking, A-minor chord shape on capo 3. Quite easy to learn.

*The birds flew south today. In this hauntingly beautiful song, Anne invites us to “step into the dark time and honour the Dreamtime”. Words fail to describe it. Just listen. Anne’s sister Tracey said “she played piano all her life and loved it”.


Home recording, 2014 – audio

Luckily, a friend of Anne’s, Mick McAndrew, recorded her at his home in Teignmouth. ‘Freedom Song’ is quite easy to play, fingerpicked in A (G capo 2), though it has an interesting instrumental introduction to learn.


Brixham Blues Club, 2015 – audio

Live recordings of three blues-style songs (titles assumed). All three songs are about relationships, fingerpicked in A-minor, and all quite easy to learn

*Ain’t with you. Anne said “This is my running song”. “It’s a song for the women”.

*Like a sparrow with a broken wing was inspired by a conversation Anne overheard.

*Left behind “my feet are going one way, along with my mind, while my heart is left behind”.


Pavilions, Teignmouth, 2016 – video

*People rise up – Anne’s heartfelt declaration that mankind will one-day say “enough’s enough”. This powerful song has an almost ‘anthemic’ quality. It’s in C and pretty easy to learn.

*Living will. In this humorous song, Anne (a health-professional who taught resus.) has a “living will” tattooed on her chest cos’ she doesn’t want to “hang on ill”. Brilliant.


Acoustic Warehouse, Kingsteignton, 2015 – video

*Gotta do better than that (title assumed) A delightfully humorous song in which Anne challenges various male characters to “raise the bar”. Bluesy fingerpicking in G. A fun song to learn & play.

*Burglar song (I do) – Almost acapella, (just finger-clicking & double bass), Anne’s ‘Burglar song’ is certainly different.


Dingles Folk Club, London, 1980 – audio

*Through to your soul A sad and powerfully delivered ‘traumatic relationship break-up’ song recorded when Anne was just 26. Very moving. Strummed in C (G capo 5).


Short 2-verse video clips, Acoustic Warehouse, Kingsteignton, 2014/5

*The knowing child Written in the summer of ’87, this song is about child abuse in the 60’s. Although we only have this 2-verse video clip, Anne’s original hand-written lyrics of the entire song are available (listed below). Fingerpicked in Bm (Am capo 2).
Cat amongst the pigeons (title assumed). A humorous song about how simple mistakes can really mess things up. If only we had all the lyrics! In F#m (Em capo 2).
Sometimes goodbyes (title assumed). A heartfelt, sad, bluesy song about breaking up. If only we had all the lyrics! Fingerpicked in A (G capo 2).
Left behind (title assumed) – for an audio recording of the whole song, please see the list above.
Living will  – for a video recording of the whole song, please see the list above.

 Please scroll down for recordings of Anne playing covers


Anne Darby song lyrics

We have lyrics but no audio for over 40 songs, and audio and no lyrics for about another 10 (although the lyrics for these can be transcribed). In addition there are other songs her friends can remember Anne playing for which we’ve not found any lyrics or recordings. These include ‘The porter said I will’, ‘Dying for a smoke’, ‘Wreckers prayer’, ‘Four and twenty blackbirds’, and ‘Fair maids of February’ which was about snowdrops.

16/04/75   Torrential rainfall (re-worked March 2013)
30/06/75   No younger than I
13/10/75   Alison Wells
08/12/75   Newgate gaol RECORDING AVAILABLE (see above)
11/10/75   Scaradown (partly a traditional English nursery rhyme)
27/07/76   Feel like a rose (re-worked August 2014)
09/08/77   Scafell Pike
17/11/79   Before
04/07/80   No bread today
14/10/80   Over the top
18/10/80   I’ll not let you down (re-worked December 2013)
17/04/83   I am Katy
21/05/83   Haul away boys
08/07/84   Fear of dying
28/05/85   Come over here
12/03/86   Your choice (re-worked April 2016)
02/04/86   All I want
27/06/86   My friend
05/08/86   Bad timing (re-worked March 2015)
12/08/86   Oh brother
14/07/87   Wrong numbers (re-worked September 2014)
29/07/87   The knowing child RECORDING AVAILABLE (see above)
05/08/90   One of these days
21/12/91   Changing everything (re-worked June 2014)
05/08/96   Loss (Hand on my heart)
01/02/97   Winter song
25/08/97   Do you
07/12/97   Second thought
17/01/98   Star
08/02/98   See you in paradise
01/11/98   Take two
03/01/99   The gift
00/00/02   Song for Betty
01/03/02   Robin… I am
00/00/03   Wheel song
00/00/03   Handfast song
01/08/06   The gift…
01/08/12   Lullabye for a smuggler’s baby
01/08/12   What shall you do when you grow up
01/09/12   Calling home the men
21/01/13   Snakes and ladders
23/01/13   Black water snake
Undated   The raven and the dove
Undated   Recycling reminder rhyme

Lyrics for other songs can be transcribed from audio/video recordings


Covers by Anne Darby

Only you and you alone (Buck Ram) & Little things mean a lot (Stutz & Calisch) (video – 2015)

The gardener (trad. Scottish ballad). (audio – 1980)

Rosebud in June (trad. English song). (audio – 1980)

‘Ye Jacobites by name’ (trad. Scottish folk song) (audio – 2016)

North Country Blues (Bob Dylan) (video – 2014)

Only you and you alone (Buck Ram) (video – 2015) short clip only


Mixed covers and originals

Anne Darby at the Acoustic Warehouse in April 2015. (5 originals and 1 cover):
Left behind [title assumed], (by Anne Darby)
Gotta do better than that [title assumed], (by Anne Darby)
The knowing child (by Anne Darby)
Living will (lyrics by Anne)
Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits)
Burglar song (I do)  (by Anne Darby)

Anne Darby at Brixham Blues Club in December 2015 (8 covers and 3 originals):
This unedited performance of covers and originals, interspersed with chat, gives a real insight into Anne’s musical taste in later life, and her wonderful gift as an entertainer.
Trouble in mind (Richard M. Jones)
Like a sparrow with a broken wing (Anne Darby)
Back door blues (trad. arr. Anne Darby)
Left behind (Anne Darby)
Ain’t nothing in rambling (Memphis Minnie)
The crocodile song (Janis Ian)
Babe I’m gonna leave you (Anne Bredon)
Black rat swing (Memphis Minnie)
Ain’t with you (Anne Darby)
Mercedes Benz / In the quiet morning (Janis Joplin/Joan Baez)
Chocolate Jesus  (Tom Waits)

Keeping Anne’s music alive – how you can help

  • Learn and perform one (or more!) of Anne’s songs
  • Spread the word that we are looking for more

If you discover the existence of any more recordings of Anne, or you come across the lyrics for ‘Cat amongst the pigeons’ or ‘Sometimes goodbyes’ please do contact us. Thanks.

Anne Darby Passage House Inn 040515