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There Were Roses

  • (Tommy Sands)

    Chorus:
    There were roses, roses
    There were roses
    And the tears of the people ran together

    My song for you this evening, it's not to make you sad
    Nor for adding to the sorrows of this troubled northern land
    But lately I've been thinking, and it just won't leave my mind
    To tell you of two friends one time who were both good friends of mine
    Allan Bell from Banagh, he lived just across the fields
    A great man for the music and the dancing and the reels
    O'Malley came from South Armagh to court young Alice fair
    And we'd often meet on the Ryan Road and the laughter filled the air

    Though Allan he was Protestant and Sean was Catholic-born
    It never made a difference for the friendship it was strong
    And sometimes in the evening when we heard the sound of drums
    We said, It won't divide us, we will always be at one
    For the ground our fathers ploughed in, the soil it is the same
    And the places where we say our prayers have just got different names
    We talked about the friends who'd died and we hoped there'd be no more
    It's little then we realised the tragedy in store

    It was on the Sunday morning when the awful news came round
    Another killing has been done just outside Newry town
    We knew that Allan danced up there, we knew he liked the band
    But when we heard that he was dead we just could not understand
    We gathered at the graveside on that cold and rainy day
    And the minister he closed his eyes and he prayed for 'No revenge'
    And all the ones who knew him from along the Ryan Road
    They bowed their heads and said a prayer for the resting of his soul

    Fear it filled the countryside, there was fear in every home
    When the car of death came prowling round the lonely Ryan Road
    A Catholic would be killed tonight to even up the score
    O Christ, it's young O'Malley that they've taken from the door
    Allan was my friend, he cried, he begged them with his fear
    But centuries of hatred have ears that cannot hear
    'An eye for an eye' was all that filled their minds
    And another eye for another eye till everyone is blind

    So my song for you this evening, it's not to make you sad
    Nor for adding to the sorrows of this troubled northern land
    But lately I've been thinking, and it just won't leave my mind
    To tell you of two friends one time who were both good friends of mine
    I don't know where the moral is or where the song should end
    But I wonder just how many wars are fought between good friends
    And those that give the orders are not the ones to die
    It's Bell and O'Malley and the likes of you and I

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1989:] Our house was always a great 'ceili' house, and people of all 'persuasions' would come in and sing songs and tell yarns all night. This song is about two of them. One was a Protestant, the other was Catholic. One night in the late summer, when the roses were out and we could hear the sound of drums, I remember somebody remarking, "No matter how close the troubles get to us, it won't change us, for we're friends and we know each other." In a very sad and ironic way, these two friends remained unchanged. I tried to write a song about the tragedy that befell them and dedicate the song to their families and to all the people on the Ryan Road. (Notes Tommy Sands, 'Singing of the Times')

  • [1996:] Tommy recalls one incident from 1974 in his classic song "There Were Roses." A Protestant friend of his was killed in an act of senseless violence. When the local Protestants looked for a Catholic to kill in retaliation, they ironically chose a man who had been good friends with the original victim - and with Tommy Sands. "It took me almost ten years to write the song, because I saw more than just the events. It summed up war, how people can be put into little boxes and told they're different. It still happens. You know, George Bush says, 'We have nothing against the Iraqui people, it's Saddam.' Some weeks later, a hundred thousand Iraqui people are dead, and Saddam's still there. I wonder what the victory is." (Sing Out! Magazine, vol 36 #3, Nov/Dec 1991, updated in Jan 1996)

  • See also http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/bibdbs/sdeaths.htm

Quelle: Ireland

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