Henry's Songbook

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Old Man's Song

  • (Ian Campbell)

    At the turning of the century I was a boy of five
    My father went to fight the Boers and never came back alive
    My mother left to bring us up no charity would seek
    So she washed and scrubbed and brought us up on 7/6 a week

    When I was twelve I left the school and went to find a job
    With growin' kids my ma was glad of the extra couple of bob
    I know that better schooling would have stood me in good stead
    But you can't afford refinements when you're struggling for your bread

    And when the Great War came along I didn't hesitate
    I took the royal shilling and went off to do my bit
    I fought in mud and tears and blood three years or thereabout
    Then I copped some gas in Flanders and was invalided out

    And when the war was over and we'd finished with the guns
    I got back into civvies and I thought the fighting done
    I'd won the right to live in peace but I didn't have no luck
    For soon I found I had to fight for the right to go to work

    In 'twenty-six the General Strike found me out on the street
    For I'd a wife and kids by then and their needs I couldn't meet
    But a brave new world was coming and the brotherhood of man
    But when the strike was over we were back where we began

    I struggled through the 'Thirties out of work now and again
    I saw the Black Shirts marching and the things the did in Spain
    But I raised my children decent and I taught them wrong from right
    Then Hitler was the lad that came and showed them how to fight

    My daughter was a land girl, she got married tae a Yank
    They gave my son a gong for stopping one of Rommel's tanks
    He was wounded just before the end and convalesced in Rome
    Married an Eyetye nurse and never bothered to come home

    My daughter writes me once a month a cheerful little note
    About their colour telly and the other things they've got
    She has a son, a likely lad, he's nearly twenty-one
    Now she says they've called him up to fight in Vietnam

    We're living on the Pension now and it doesn't go too far
    Not much to show for a life that seems like one long bloody war
    When you think of all the wasted lives it makes you want to cry
    I don't know how to change things but by Christ we'll have tae try

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

    Tune: Nicky Tams

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1974:] Traces the major happenings in Britain over the past seventy years or so. One of my favourite 'message songs'. (Notes Iain MacKintosh, 'By Request')

  • [1974:] Ian Campbell's classic song. I first heard Nigel Denver sing it. (Notes Noel Murphy, 'Murf')

  • [1998:] [Der deutsche Kaiser Wilhelm II.] verabschiedete den deutschen Teil eines internationalen Expeditionskorps unter dem Generalfeldmarschall ("Weltmarschall") Waldersee, das 1900 zur Niederwerfung des Boxeraufstandes nach China entsandt wurde, mit seiner berüchtigten "Hunnenrede": "Pardon wird nicht gegeben, Gefangene werden nicht gemacht ... Wie vor tausend Jahren die Hunnen unter ihrem König Etzel sich einen Namen gemacht haben ... so möge der Name Deutscher auf eintausend Jahre durch euch [...] bestätigt werden [...]." Deutsche Soldaten haben seither bei angelsächsischen Gegnern ihren "nom de guerre" weg - "the Huns", die Hunnen. (Siegfried Kogelfranz, Spiegel, 16. Nov.)

  • [19??:] The British fought several wars in South Africa beginning in l879 with the Zulus and ending with the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902), by far the most costly and least successful. Expected to be over in three months, the latter lasted nearly three years, costing 22,000 British, 25,000 Boer and 12,000 African lives while nearly wrecking the British financial system. Irishmen fought on both sides of the war: the Irish Brigade of 200 men fought for the Boers and the 4,000 strong British 5th Irish Brigade fought for the Crown.

Quelle: England

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 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 25.04.2002