Mudcat Café message #1550132 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55265   Message #1550132
Posted By: Tam the man
26-Aug-05 - 07:20 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Soldier (Harvey Andrews)
Subject: Lyr Add: SOLDIER (Harvey Andrews)
This is taken from a website called My Songbook.
Susanne´s Folksong-Notizen English Notes

(Harvey Andrews)

In a station in the city a British soldier stood
Talking to the people there if the people would
Some just stared in hatred, and others turned in pain
And the lonely British soldier wished he was back home again

Come join the British Army! said the posters in his town
See the world and have your fun come serve before the Crown
The jobs were hard to come by and he could not face the dole
So he took his country's shilling and enlisted on the roll

For there was no fear of fighting, the Empire long was lost
Just ten years in the army getting paid for being bossed
Then leave a man experienced a man who's made the grade
A medal and a pension some mem'ries and a trade

Then came the call for Ireland as the call had come before
Another bloody chapter in an endless civil war
The priests they stood on both sides the priests they stood behind
Another fight in Jesus's name the blind against the blind

The soldier stood between them between the whistling stones
And then the broken bottles that led to broken bonmes
The petrol bombs that burnt his hands the nails that pierced his skin
And wished that he had stayed at home surrounded by his kin

The station filled with people the soldier soon was bored
But better in the station than where the people warred
The room filled up with mothers with daughters and with sons
Who stared with itchy fingers at the soldier and his gun

A yell of fear a screech of brakes the shattering of glass
The window of the station broke to let the package pass
A scream came from the mothers as they ran towards the door
Dragging their children crying from the bomb upon the floor

The soldier stood and could not move his gun he could not use
He knew the bomb had seconds and not minutes on the fuse
He could not run and pick it up and throw it in the street
There were far too many people there too many running feet

Take cover! yelled the soldier, Take cover for your lives
And the Irishmen threw down their young and stood before their wives
They turned towards the soldier their eyes alive with fear
For God's sake save our children or they'll end their short lives here

The soldier moved towards the bomb his stomach like a stone
Why was this his battle God why was he alone
He lay down on the package and he murmured one farewell
To those at home in England to those he loved so well

He saw the sights of summer felt the wind upon his brow
The young girls in the city parks how precious were they now
The soaring of the swallow the beauty of the swan
The music of the turning world so soon would it be gone

A muffled soft explosion and the room began to quake
The soldier blown across the floor his blood a crimson lake
There was no time to cry or shout there was no time to moan
And they turned their children's faces from the blood and from the bones

The crowd outside soon gathered and the ambulances came
To carry off the body of a pawn lost in the game
And the crowd they clapped and cheered and they sang their rebel song
One soldier less to interfere where he did not belong

And will the children growing up learn at their mothers' knees
The story of the soldier who bought their liberty
Who used his youthful body as a means towards an end
Who gave his life to those who called him murderer not friend

Susanne's Folksong-Notizen

[1972:] If you can con an ordinary man into protecting your interests,
he gets done when the crisis comes, not you. Many soldiers are not
professional killers, they're kids who couldn't get a job, and as
unemployment has soared, recruiting for the army has increased by over
60% in three years. The average soldier is unimportant in the final
analysis, it's the ones who shelter behind him that count [...] and they
always seem to survive! (Notes Harvey Andrews, 'Writer of Songs')

[1973:] Written from newspaper clippings. (Forces Folk 11/73, p 10)

[1975:] Hugh [Fraser] has a friend, an officer in the Brigade of Guards,
just back from a tour of duty in Northern Ireland. While they were there
forty of his men bought themselves out of the Army, as their wives would
not have them being shot at in Ireland. Meanwhile, partly because of the
boom, but partly because of Ireland, the recruiting figure for April
this year was half the number for April 1972. (Cecil King, Diary
1970-1974, July 3rd, 1973, p 297)

[1979:] His next major song, however, inadvertently created a
controversy which, for a while, clearly damaged Andrews' standing and
viability. 'Soldier', in spite of an unambiguous sleevenote, was widely
interpreted as a pro-establishment glorification of military heroism
and, therefore, by left-wing logical extension, of authoritarian
violence; whereas in fact it was a simple (if lyrically somewhat
overwritten) story of a young man caught in an impossible situation. The
song was neither for the British authorities nor against the Irish
rebels; it was about the senselessness of violence, applied on a
personal level. [...] Harvey Andrews' Belfast song ('Soldier') was not a
lasting success (though it remains popular, for obvious reasons, with
army audiences in Ulster and Germany). (Woods, Revival 115f)

[1990:] In Northern Ireland, this song written in 1972 by a professional
songwriter, Harvey Andrews, has become very widely known among soldiers,
and at the same time divorced in classic folk-song style from its
author. (Palmer, Lovely War 18)

In 1971 in Belfast a soldier called Sergeant Willis cleared a room of
civilians because of a bomb. As he went to close the door afterwards,
the charge exploded, and he was killed. [...] Harvey Andrews, was so
struck by the incident that he wrote the song to make the point that
soldiers, too, are human. (The incident of the soldier's embracing the
bomb was poetic licence.) Broadcasts of Andrews' record were banned for
some time by the BBC lest feelings be exacerbated in the nationalist
community of Northern Ireland. The Ministry of Defence advised (and
still advises) soldiers not to sing the song in pubs where it might
cause trouble. Some have interpreted this as a ban. Nevertheless, they
sing it 'all the time', according to one source, on military transport
and in messes and canteens. It has been said that some units require
newcomers to learn to sing or recite the song before they become fully
accepted. Andrews' authorship is not widely known, and many different
stories about the song's origin circulate. [...]

The text has appeared in the 'Soldier', the 'Methodist' magazine, and
the 'Manchester Evening News' (where in 1988 it won a poetry competition
for a youth who sent it in over his own name). (Palmer, Lovely War 199)

[1997:] Someone told me my song was banned in the army, so I thought the
ones to know would be the Ministry of Defence, and asked them. [...]
They even had it in their files that the song was 'written by Harvey
Andrews, who'd been in 2nd Para'. I never was in the army in my life!
(Harvey Andrews, pr. comm.)
See also

Quelle: England