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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Karl Dallas Lyr Req: Family of Man (Fred Dallas) (15) Lyr Add: FAMILY OF MAN (Fred/Karl Dallas) 03 Oct 10

The changes I have made over the years to this song is only partly because of political correctness, though I did labour for years looking for alternatives to "man" (which when I wrote it was synonymous with "humanity"). But none of the alternatives really worked, eg "The human familee" etc. I used to precede the song with an explanation, but a woman one day shouted out: "Just sing the fucking song, Karl!"
Also, people didn't understand that where it said "My name isn't Dallas or Hasted or Jones" (John Hasted was a pioneer of the British folk scene who neglected his work as an atomic scientist travelling the land getting folk clubs going) you were meant to substitute your own or local names. The Spinners sang "Johnson or Jackson or Jones" but now I've changed it to help make the song less gender-specific.
Some of the other lines are a bit laboured, eg "From the North ice to the snow at the other", so I've changed them.
Actually, my songs tend to change organically as I sing them, which is a natural process, so they shouldn't be regarded as frozen in time.

Here is my latest version. Make any changes you like, as long as you keep to its basic message:

I belong to a family, it's the greatest on earth;
A new one every day is coming to birth.
My name isn't Johnny, or Jimmy, or Joan.
It's a name everyone can be proud we own.
It's the family of man, keeps growing,
The family of man – keep sowing
The seeds of a new life every day.

I've got a sister in Sydney, a brother in Paree,
The whole wide world is dad and mother to me.
Wherever you go you will find my kin,
Whatever the creed or the colour of the skin,
They're the family of man . . . (etc)

From Afghanistan to the streets of New York,
Don't matter how you worship or how you talk.
We've all got a life and others to share it:
Let's bridge the oceans and declare it
The family of man . . . (etc)

From the North Pole ice to the steamy equator
We've all got to live together sooner or later,
But I've not much time, I've had my fill
Of the men of war who want to kill
The family of man . . . (etc)

Now some people say the world is a terrible place,
But it's just as good or bad as the human race:
War and misery or peace and joy
We can build or can destroy
The family of man . . . (etc)

The great English traditional singer, Harry Cox, once said to me after I'd sung it: "That's a rude song, Karlk. It be all about fucking." So it is.

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