Henry's Songbook

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No Gods And Precious Few Heroes

  • (Brian McNeill)

    'Cause there's no gods and there's precious few heroes
    But there's plenty on the dole in the land o' the leal
    And it's time now to sweep the future clear
    Of the lies of a past that we know was never real

    I was listening to the news the other day
    I heard a fat politician who had the cheek to say
    He was proud to be Scottish, by the way
    With the glories of our past to remember
    Here's tae us, wha's like us, listen to the cry
    No surrender to the truth, and here's the reason why
    The pride and the glory's just another bloody lie
    They use to keep us all in line

    So to hell with the heather and the glen
    They cleared us off once, and they'll do it all again
    'Cause they still prefer sheep to thinking men
    Ah but men that think like sheep are even better
    There's nothing much to choose between the old laird and the new
    They still don't give a damn for the likes of me and you
    Just mind you pay your rent to the factor when it's due
    And mind your bloody manners when you pay

    And tell me, will we never hear the end
    Of poor bloody Charlie and Culloden yet again
    Though he ran like a rabbit doon the glen
    Leaving better folk than him to be butchered
    Or are you sitting in your council house, thinking o' your clan
    Waiting for the Jacobites to come and free the land
    Try going doon the broo wi' a claymore in your hand
    And count all the princes in the queue

    So don't talk to me of Scotland the Brave
    'Cause if we don't fight soon there'll be nothing left to save
    Or would you rather stand and watch them dig your grave
    While you wait for the Tartan Messiah
    He'll lead us to the Promised Land wi' laughter in his eye
    We'll all live off the oil and the whisky, by and by
    Free heavy beer, pie suppers in the sky
    Will we never hae the sense to learn

    Final chorus:
    Ah, there's no gods and there's precious few heroes
    But there's plenty on the dole in the land o' the leal
    And I'm damn sure that there's plenty live in fear
    Of the day we stand together with our shoulders to the wheel

    Ay, there's no gods!

    land o' the leal - place of the faithful and true of heart, Heaven (here: Scotland)
    broo - unemployment bureau

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1991:] The title comes from a poem by the inimitable Hamish Henderson ['Elegies for the Dead of Cyrenaika', first elegy: 'End of a Campaign']. (McNeill Songbook 45)

  • [1994:] This song is about ten years old. I'd flung it in a back drawer because people didn't seem to be interested in it, and I wasn't sure how good it was. On the night of the last election I was in tears, literally in tears - I just thought it was dreadful. And by accident I found the song and brought it out again. It talks about Scotland, talks about the fact that it's got to change. If it doesn't change soon there's gonna be stupid things happening. But it's not going to change without us all getting off our backsides and doing it! (Brian McNeill, intro Glasgow International Folk Festival)

  • [1995:] Die Schotten glauben, alles Schlimme, das in Schottland passiert, kommt von England. Sie wollen nicht glauben, daß vielleicht ein bißchen auch von Schottland selbst kommt. (Brian McNeill, Intro Eckernförde)

  • [1995:] The 'fat' politician who told people to be proud of their past was John Smith [Labour leader, 1993 - 1994]. (Pr. comm. Brian McNeill)

  • [1995:] No Gods and Precious Few Heroes, written over a decade ago one sleepless night in the shadow of a roaring European blast furnace, is my answer to all the ridiculous, over-romanticised baggage of Scottish history. It's two hundred and fifty years since Bonnie Prince Charlie minced over the horizon of our national consciousness and handed us those tartan-tinted specs, and we're still using them to look at every aspect of our past. Precious few heroes, right enough, and he's not one of them. If he'd won, what would have been different for us? Would the dole queues have been shorter? Believe it if you like ... (Notes Brian McNeill, 'No Gods')

  • [1996:] What most people regard as being 'Scotland' is largely a work of fiction. This deals with some of those fictions. (Notes Dick Gaughan, 'Sail On')

  • [1996:] [Dieses Lied] wurde durch eine Zeile in Hamish Hendersons Gedicht 'Elegy For The Dead In Cyrenaica' inspiriert und dann hat sich die Verbindung von diesem Zitat mit meinem Gefühl bezüglich des heutigen Zustands Schottlands zu einem Chorus kristallisiert. Dieser Chorus fiel mir übrigens eines Nachts ein, als ich eine Autopanne vor den Krupp-Stahlwerken in Dortmund (oder war es Essen?) hatte; diese riesigen Maschinen hämmerten ihren Rhythmus, der Himmel war von den Hochöfen erleuchtet und mir schwirrten diese industriellen Eindrücke im Kopf herum. So entwickelte sich das Lied als Folge der Härte und Kraft, mit der ich konfrontiert war. (Brian McNeill, Progammheft ScFF '97, p. 8)

Quelle: Scotland

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aktualisiert am 29.04.2002