The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17515   Message #1437058
Posted By: GUEST,Hippie Lawyer
17-Mar-05 - 02:26 PM
Thread Name: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
Subject: RE: Greatest protest singer of the sixties
Dear Erinmaidin and All,

I'll be less verbose this time, or at least try to.

I'm writing in response to Erinmaidin's post about Eric Bogle. It is my understanding, too, that Bogle made his biggest impact in the early 1970's, not the 1960's. However....

He wrote several antiwar songs I like and cherish, and he wrote one I consider THE greatest anti-war song ever: "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," a relentlessly brutal, realistic account of the carnage at Gallipoli, and of the mindless flag-waving patriotism which impelled Europe into what is now called World War One. I'm not sure, but I believe more SOLDIERS died in WWI than in WWII, though obviously the total death count was much worse in WWII. And Gallipoli was probably the war's most bloody, brutal disaster, one which seemed to end the political career of a 40-year-old man largely responsible for the disaster: Winston Churchill.

If any of you have not heard the song, you simply must buy someone's version of it. My personal favorite is John McDermott's beautiful rendition, accompanied by a small chamber ensemble. Folk "purists" may prefer the versions of Bogle, or Makem & Clancy [sp?], because they contain more traditional folk instrumentation. But the 8:06 version of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," which appears on McDermott's album "Battlefields of Green," feels like watching mass executions or a filmed recreation of Stalingrad or Okinawa, set to something like the 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

I presume anyone reading these posts is, at least in general, opposed to war. Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier" is probably my favorite antiwar song from an intellectual standpoint. But from an emotional standpoint, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is easily the anti-war song I love most. I heard Joan Baez, prior to her singing it up here in a 1998 or 2000 concert, call it the greatest anti-war song SHE'S ever heard.

Need I say more?

Jim F.