The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #110621   Message #2333161
Posted By: Big Al Whittle
05-May-08 - 05:24 AM
Thread Name: Bertsongs? (songs of A. L. 'Bert' Lloyd)
Subject: RE: Bertsongs?
A further parallel that has occurred to me is this.

They say funerals are not really for the dead, they for those of us who are left. And I think its this way with folksongs.

I have never been in battle, but my Dad was - he served in the Irish Guards, Armoured tank division in the WW2 - through the low countries and Germany. He would never say much about the killing grounds, he said it was incommunicable.

In a way all these songs about Waterloo, the Irish rising of of 1798. and more recently Eric Bogles stuff about WW1. Most of that was written well after the event. It doesn't have much of the smell of fear and homicide.

All these songs are really about people who came later trying to make sense out of nonsense. They're not in a meaningful sense someone sitting down and telling you his story - like say a Chuck Berry song does. Its not first hand - that's surely why we get all this 'seven long years' stuff. What is it? a rhetorical device that the songwriter vaguely remembers from the bible about the seven lean years perhaps.

But that isn't to say that they are valueless as songs. It really does mean though that when Brian gets in front of that class of kids - he surely has carte blanche to tell these people's story the best and most compelling way he can.

The only way we can dishonour the dead is by making them irrelevant and forgettable.