The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #24468   Message #280206
Posted By: Áine
18-Aug-00 - 10:28 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Mrs Stein Don't Rent to Gypsies Any More
Subject: Lyr Add: MOVING ON SONG (Ewan MacColl,Peggy Seeger
Dear MythHunter and my fellow Mudcatters,

First, I want to thank MythHunter for requesting the lyrics to this song. This request (and the subsequent discussion) has provided the impetus for me to do something that I never thought I would do. That is, to finally admit something about my family that has been denied and hidden my entire life. I am descended from Irish travellers, or the Pavees, through my father. Although his grandfather had 'settled', and no longer travelled, he still felt the pain of discrimination. This resulted in a division of the family which still exists today.

Ignorance and prejudice against the travelling people has also affected me personally. For a time when I was very young, my mother separated from my father and, along with my half-sister and myself, went to live with her parents in Louisiana. I can still hear the whispered remarks from my grandmother and aunts about 'the gypsy's child' and the cruel things said about my father's family.

After a few weeks, a group of local men, with a penchant for wearing white sheets and burning things, 'suggested' to my mother that I shouldn't be living in town with 'decent' people. That night, I was taken to live on a relative's farm, where I would not see my mother or sister for a year. When my mother finally came to fetch me, I ran away from her because I didn't know who she was anymore.

I have heard this song, performed by the Blarney Brothers, in a bar in Dallas. My husband and I had gone to see them perform because we had been told that they were a good band. And they are talented musicians, and they sing many good songs. However, this song is a different matter. I remember vividly the feeling of being slapped in the face as I listened to it, and the pain in my heart as the band played it with gusto and the audience roared with its laughter.

I don't believe that the Blarney Brothers, or the folks on this forum who think this is just a harmless, funny song are bad people. I believe that it is only ignorance and denial of the Roma and/or Pavees that keep these types of songs, and the stereotypes they portray, alive. That is why I've stepped forward to join my brother, InOBU, to decry these songs and the attitudes and prejudices behind them. I have let him speak alone too long, and now, with his help and support, I have the confidence to join him. Go raibh céad míle maith agat, mo dheartháir.

Music and song are the most basic of human communications. A song can be funny without being slanderous or full of bigotry. Let us not use our songs to denigrate other humans, but to lift each other up. Below are the words to the song that InOBU mentioned in a post above. Please, listen and learn:

(Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger)

Born in the middle of an afternoon
In a horse-drawn wagon on the old A5
The big twelve wheeler shook my bed
You can't stop here the policeman said
You better get born someplace else

So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift

Born in the tatie lifting time
In an old bow tent in a tatie field
The farmer said, The work's all done
It's time that you were moving on

So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift

Born in a wagon on a building site
Where the ground was rutted by the trailer's wheels
The local people said to me,
You'll lower the price of property

So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift

Born at the back of a blackthorn hedge
When the white hoarfrost lay all around
No wise men came bearing gifts
Instead the order came to shift

So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift

The winter sky was hung with stars
And one shone brighter than the rest
The wise men came so stern and strict
And brought the order to evict

So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift

Wagon, tent, or trailer born
Last week, last year, or in far off days
Born here or a thousand miles away
There's always men nearby who'll say

So move along, get along, move along, get along,
Go, move, shift