Henry's Songbook

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Jamie Foyers

  • (Trad / Ewan MacColl)

    Far distant, far distant, lies Foyers the brave
    Nae tombstone memorial tae hallow his grave
    His banes lie scattered on the rude soil of Spain
    And young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain

    He's gone frae the shipyard that stands on the Clyde
    His hammer is silent, his tools laid aside
    Tae the wide Ebro river young Foyers has gane
    To fight by the side o' the people of Spain

    There wasnae his equal at work or at play
    He was strang in the Union till his dyin' day
    He was grand at the fitba', in the dance he was braw
    Oh young Jamie Foyers, the flooer o' them a'

    He came hame frae the shipyard, took aff his workin' claes
    Oh weel I remember, 'twas the lang summer days
    He said, Fare thee weel lass, I'll come back again
    But young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain

    In the fight for Belchite he was aye tae the fore
    And he fought at Gandesa till he couldnae fecht more
    He lay o'er his machine-gun wi' a bullet in his brain
    And young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1927:] The storming of Fort St. Michael at Burgos inspired the writing of the [original] pathetic ballad of Young Jamie Foyers, which has been sung in almost every feeing market in the country. (Ord, Bothy Songs 27)

  • [1965:] Another distinctively Perthshire bothy song [the original] Jamie Foyers was printed by Robert Ford in his 'Vagabond Songs and Ballads', and also by Greig in article CXXXXIX of FSNE. Greig says he does not think it ever had much vogue in the North-East, but this is not true of the Aberdeenshire travelling folk, among whom it is widely known. Ford comments that it 'was a prime favourite at the harvest homes, foys and Handsel-Monday gatherings in the rural parts of Perthshire before and about the middle of the last century'. There seems every reason to believe that the song is founded on an actual event, and that its hero was a real-life Peninsular War casualty. [...] Sheila learned the very handsome tune from her mother. (Hamish Henderson, notes 'The Stewarts of Blair')

  • [1973:] [Robert Ford] printed a version he got from a Perthshire woman about thirty years before her death in 1899. It is believed that one James M'Neill was the author. Ewan MacColl updated the ballad with a version that is nowadays more well-known than the original, making the hero a member of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. (Dallas, Wars 201)

  • [1978:] Jamie Foyers was the original Universal Soldier, from an old Scottish ballad. (Notes Iain MacKintosh, 'A Man's A Man')

  • [1981:] There was a song during the Peninsular Wars which told of a Perthshire militiaman dying in far-off Spain. It turned up again during the Boer War and again in the African Zulu War. The version given here was written during the Spanish Civil War and makes use of the same opening verse and melody which have been common to all these songs. (Notes 'Folk Friends II')

  • [1990:] The first verse and the tune are 175 years old, about a Perthshire militiaman dying in Spain in the Peninsular wars against Napoleon. Ewan MacColl learned the old song from his mother's singing, and wrote a new version during the Spanish Civil War, marking the many men who went from Clydeside to fight on the side of the Republicans in Spain.
    Jamie Foyers is a much loved song in Scotland. [...] I have had more offers by singers to record Jamie Foyers than any other song - except of course for The Freedom Come-All-Ye. Jimmie MacGregor recalls that [during] one programme on deck of the newly built QE2, [...] Roddy MacMillan sang Jamie Foyers and reduced a crowd of a thousand riveters and apprentices to silence! (McVicar, One Singer One Song 138)

  • [1990:] Gellhorn described Belchite before the attack: a walled town, looking like a gray boulder set atop a hill. It had collapsed from bombing and shelling; the streets were impassable and the houses sagged. The smell of decomposing corpses arose from the mounds of wreckage. Household items were scattered everywhere [...]. Soldiers had to work with their mouths covered. [...] Bob Merriman, the chief of staff [of the American Brigade] explained the strategy of the Belchite attack [...] the house-to-house fighting, the advance backed up with hand grenades and bombing, and how the rebels made a last-ditch stand with their machine guns in the cathedral tower. (Rollyson, Martha Gellhorn 113f)

  • [1997:] The original lyrics can be found in "Ord's Bothy Ballads" and these are set in the time of the Peninsular War. MacColl updates the song to the time of the Spanish Civil War recognising the part played by Clydeside volunteers and others who gave their lives fighting in the International Brigade against Franco and rising World Fascism. (Notes Mick West Band, 'Right Side o' the People')

Quelle: Scotland

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Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 19.08.2000