The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128093   Message #2864897
Posted By: Tattie Bogle
15-Mar-10 - 09:06 PM
Thread Name: Songs in English about the Spanish Civil War
Subject: Lyr Add: JAMIE FOYERS

Jamie Foyers by Ewan McColl was a complete re-working of a much older song going back to Wellington's time. The earlier version is in the DT as Jamie Foyers2


Subject: Songs in English about the Spanish Civil
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 24 Mar 10 -

Jamie Foyers

By Ewan MacColl
Sung Ewan MacColl, Dick Gaughan

Faur distant, faur distant, lies Foyers the brave
Nae tombstone memorial shall hallow his grave
For his bones they lie scattered on the rude soil o Spain
An young Jamie Foyers in battle wis slain

He's gane frae the shipyaird that stauns on the Clyde
His haimmer lies idle, his tools laid aside
Tae the wide Ebro river young Foyers has gane
Tae fight by the side o the people o Spain

Thair wisnae his equal at wark or at play
He wis strang in the Union till his dying day
He wis grand at the fitbaa, at the dance he wis braw
Young Jamie Foyers wis the flouer o thaim aa

He cam hame frae the shipyaird, took aff his warkin claes
O, A mind the time weill in the lang simmer's days
He said, "Thinknae lang, lassie, A'll come back again"
But young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain

In the fight for Belcite, he was aye tae the fore
An he focht at Gandesa till he couldnae fight more
For he lay owre his machine gun wi a bullet in his brain
An young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain

Faur distant, faur distant, lies Foyers the brave
Nae tombstone memorial shall hallow his grave
For his bones they lie scattered on the rude soil o Spain
An young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain

Another Thread On The Song Here

Jamie Foyers by MartinSimpson
Jamie Foyers by Cockersdale
Jamie Foyers by Robin Laing
Dick Gaughan singing Jamie Foyers
Dick Gaughan ‎-Dave Burland, Tony Capstick, ? Jamie Foyers

Subject: RE:Lyr Add: Jamie Foyers (old and new)
From: Jim Carroll - PM >br> Date: 11 May 09 - 03:00 AM

It first appeared in print in 'Scotland Sings' in 1953 (WMA publication). Ben Harker's biography, 'Class Act' gives it as having been written during the Spanish Civil war, following the death of two of his friends there:

"His anxiety was sharpened during the Spanish Civil War, in which around 2,200 British volunteers joined the International Brigades, and 526 were killed. Life in the ranks didn't appeal to Jimmie, but he knew at least a dozen of the British dead, and lost two of his closest comrades and friends in the heavy fighting at Jarama. Bob Goodman and Alec Armstrong, still in their early twenties, shared Jimmie's politics, his interest in theatre, and his love of rambling and climbing. Goodman was killed in February 1937, Armstrong in June.

Jimmie gave vent to some of the feelings of rage, guilt and loss in his second enduring song (the first was 'The Manchester Rambler'). 'Jamie Foyers' was a folksong Betsy used to sing lamenting a Perthshire militiaman killed in Spain during the Peninsular Wars. Recent events gave the song a new layer of associations, and Jimmie updated the text. In Jimmie's 'Jamie Foyers', the hero is a Clydeside shipyard worker, a composite of Goodman and Armstrong, who joins the International Brigade and dies fighting in Spain. Jimmie celebrates Foyers' life, dramatises his departure for Spain, and unblinkingly confronts the physical reality of his death: 'He lay owre his machine-gun wi' a bullet in his brain.' The song was a haunting requiem for fallen comrades, but closed on a note of murderous vengefulness:

He lies by the Ebro in far away Spain, He died so that freedom and justice might reign; Remember young Foyers and others of worth And don't let one fascist be left on this earth.

The Spanish Civil War augmented Jimmie's militancy. He regarded Spain as 'the front line' where 'the bourgeoisie and proletariat stand face to face in open struggle at last, no more arguments, no more trimmings', and he raged against a British political establishment that had prevaricated and fudged as the fascist threat grew. He remained extremely active within the Communist Party: he lectured on working-class history and cultural traditions to the city's YCL and party branches;123 he and Joan participated in a series of Communist pageants in which the party paraded its own distinctive version of history's march through the streets of Manchester; they provided dramatic interludes for communist-led public meetings celebrating the achievements of the Soviet Union, raising funds for the Daily Worker, and collecting cash and food for the Republican cause in Spain."

Scotland Sings give both the old and new version, the traditional one got from his mother, Betsy. Jim Carroll