Henry's Songbook

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Sacco's Message To His Son

  • (Pete Seeger)

    If nothing happens
    They will electrocute us right after midnight
    Therefore here I am, right with you
    With love and with open heart
    As I was yesterday

    Don't cry Dante
    For many many tears have been wasted
    As your mother's tears have been already wasted
    For seven years
    And never did any good

    So son, instead of crying
    Be strong, be brave
    So as to be able to comfort your mother

    And when you want
    To distract her from the discouraging soleness
    You take her for a long walk
    In the quiet countryside
    Gathering flowers here and there

    And resting under the shade of trees
    Beside the music of the waters
    The peacefulness of nature
    She will enjoy it very much
    And you will surely too

    But son you must remember
    Don't use all yourself
    But down yourself just one step
    To help the weak ones at your side

    The weaker ones that cry for help
    The persecuted and the victims
    They are your friends - friends of yours and mine
    They are the comrades that fight
    Yes and sometimes fall

    Just as your father
    Your father and Bartolo have fallen
    Have fought and fell
    Yesterday, for the conquest of joy
    Of freedom for all

    In the struggle of life you'll find
    You'll find more love
    And in the struggle you will be loved also

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1993:] This song was written at the request of Moses Asch, head of Folkways Records. In 1950 he had paid Woody Guthrie a small stipend to go up to Massachusetts, do some investigating, and write songs about the famous Sacco-Vanzetti case. Two Italian anarchists were charged with murder, framed and executed in 1927. After Woody returned to New York Moe asked me, "Do you think you could put a tune to this? It's a letter from Nicola Sacco to his 12-year-old son." By omitting a word here and there, or adding one, I found I could make it scan, if not rhyme. I recorded it for Moe, and he added the song to the record of Woody's about the Sacco-Vanzetti case. Almost 30 years later a couple in Maryland, Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner, who sing as a duo called "Magpie", started singing it. I heard them rehearsing it at the People's Music Weekend one January. To my surprise and delight I realized what an Italian-type melody I'd put together; they sang it in two-part harmony [...]. (Seeger, Flowers 92f)

  • [1998:] Nicolo Sacco and Bartolo Vanzetti were two Italian immigrants who rose to prominence in the American Trade Union Movement in the twenties. The 'powers that be' framed them on a murder and robbery charge, kept them on 'Death Row' for seven years, and despite world wide protests, executed them after that period. Sacco wrote a letter to his son Dante on the eve of his execution, and Pete Seeger transposed it into this song. The letter is a classical example of how the soul can raise itself from the depths of despair and soar to unlimited heights. (Notes Danny Kyle, 'Heroes and Soft Targets')

Quelle: USA

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aktualisiert am 13.06.2002