THE RECRUITING SERGEANT
As recorded by the Levellers on their EP “The Recruiting Sergeant” (in support of War Child)
CHORUS: Over the mountains and over the sea,
By Hercules transporter to fight the Afghani,
With a rifle in my hand to set the country free,
But it's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me.
1. So I've fixed-up the alarm and broken halfway in,
When the security guard appears and busts me on the chin.
He kicks me 'round and says: "Do you know the shit you're in?"
I said: "I was on me arse, mate." Meant no offence to him.
CHORUS: I was over the mountains...[etc.]
2. I know I let you down, babe, trying to make ends meet,
When I met this recruiting sergeant by the courthouse on the street.
He said: "You're a disgrace, boy, and that's a fucking crime."
Then somebody got the drinks in and I signed on the dotted line.
CHORUS: And I was over the mountains...[etc.]
3. Now I'm sucking dust in Helmand, dug into Lashkar Gar,
Where the local weed and opium beats any British bar.
I know as we lay there dreaming I'm still in the pay of thieves,
And I'm rushing back to be with you upon this desert breeze.
CHORUS: it's blowing over the mountains...[etc.]
4. Don't follow me to die, boys, in bloody Kandahar,
With the eerie glow of tracers lighting every wretched scar.
Who will say a prayer for me and cry each year this day?
If you see a recruiting sergeant, boys, run, run away.
CHORUS: Run over the mountains...[etc.]
CHORUS: And it's over the mountains...[etc.]
It's your picture in my pocket that means everything to me.
- - -
Here are the words from the Levellers EP which vary slightly from the video. This one seems to be a modern take on the "Recruiting Sergeant" song tradition.
Joe, you're not thinking of the traditional "Over the hills and far away, Queen Anne commands and we obey" are you? The melody may seem familiar because on the intro and break it contains brief phrases from "Mairi's Wedding" (at the beginning) and "Loch Lomond" later on.
My interest here is mainly in the video which, to me, effectively tells a tragic story in under 5 minutes though I really like the song and especially the free and easy singing of the Copper Family on the chorus.