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Songs Critical of Military Service

GUEST,C. William 30 Mar 10 - 01:44 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Mar 10 - 02:14 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Mar 10 - 03:38 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 10 - 04:23 AM
Bounty Hound 30 Mar 10 - 04:33 AM
Jack Campin 30 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM
Micca 30 Mar 10 - 04:53 AM
Micca 30 Mar 10 - 04:55 AM
Bryn Pugh 30 Mar 10 - 04:55 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Mar 10 - 05:09 AM
Jack Campin 30 Mar 10 - 05:17 AM
Sugwash 30 Mar 10 - 05:47 AM
Sugwash 30 Mar 10 - 05:54 AM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 10 - 05:56 AM
John MacKenzie 30 Mar 10 - 05:57 AM
Amergin 30 Mar 10 - 06:03 AM
Mark Ross 30 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM
Murray MacLeod 30 Mar 10 - 01:22 PM
Sugwash 30 Mar 10 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Peadar (formerly) of Portsmouth 30 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,Neil D 31 Mar 10 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Mar 10 - 08:46 AM
Allan C. 31 Mar 10 - 06:41 PM
oldhippie 31 Mar 10 - 07:41 PM
buddhuu 01 Apr 10 - 11:18 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 10 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 10 - 12:00 PM
DonMeixner 01 Apr 10 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,guest.. Albert 01 Apr 10 - 05:02 PM
olddude 02 Apr 10 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,bankley 02 Apr 10 - 08:21 PM
dick greenhaus 02 Apr 10 - 08:38 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Apr 10 - 09:22 PM
Mark Ross 02 Apr 10 - 11:45 PM
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Subject: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST,C. William
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 01:44 AM

I don't imagine this will be a popular request, but I'm looking for songs (traditional or otherwise) explicitly critical of military service or soldiers themselves. Too many pacifist anthems are too quick to absolve the individual soldier of personal responsibility for their role in perpetuating armed conflict.

I can only come up with two so far:
Universal Soldier (Buffy Sainte-Marie)
Mercenaries (Leon Rosselson)

Thanks for the help!


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 02:14 AM

Arthur McBride, trad.

McCafferty or McCaffery, trad, which is a true story, the events took place at Fullwood Barracks, Preston.

The Press Gang, trad.

Twa Recruiting Sergeants, trad.

Andrew Rose, trad.

just a small beginning.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 03:38 AM

Not quite clear what the OP is asking for, which seems to be at odds with the title he has given his thread. The last post, from Dave Hanson, names songs which are critical of the services and their demands on those who serve. But Guest C William seemed to be asking for songs critical of those who actually opt for service and choose to become professional fighting men, rather than those who are pressed or underhandedly recruited {as in Press Gang, Macaffery}, or of those who recruit them or try to do so {Arthur McBride, Recruiting Sgts}.

These are not identical, but rather opposed, requirements. Which are we being asked for?


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:23 AM

There are litrally thousands of them; I'm sure the Roman soldier guarding Hadrian's Wall was singing them - he was certainly scrawling graffitti.
My favoirite (seldom sung) verse is from the arch-type of the genre, 'Browned Off' .

The medical inspection, it is a bleedin' farce;
They grope around your bollocks and they finger up your arse,
For even a private's privates enjoy no privacy.
You sacrifice all that to save democracy.

Chorus:
For I was browned off, browned off, browned of as can be,
Browned off, browned off; an easy mark, that's me.
But when this war is over and again I'm free,
There'll be no more trips around the world for me.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:33 AM

How about some of Kiplings Barrack room ballads, brilliantly set to music by Peter Bellamy.

Or, the highly emotionally charged 'The Deserter' by John Richards


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM

"Christians At War", in the IWW Songbook.

"I don't want to join the army...", presumably in Digitrad.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Micca
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:53 AM

The best poem in what, I understood as, being asked that prompted my post above is Tommy by Rudyard kipling and he was writing about a campaign in Afganistan too back in the 1880s!!(the more things change???) and the treatment of the soldiers at home hasn't changed that much either!


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Micca
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:55 AM

Sorry the reference to above was referring to my post in the "thats how we serve them in England thread"


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:55 AM

Kipling's "Danny Deever".


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:09 AM

But you are STILL, all of you, posting songs of hatred for being in the service ~~ while, as I understood it, the OP was asking for exactly the opposite ~~ songs critical of those who gloried in their military role; or at least were content with it as a living, serving as mercenaries &c. If I have got that wrong, I apologise: perhaps he will come back & clarify which it was he wanted? Look at his OP again & I am sure you will see what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:17 AM

MtheGM, is "Christians at War" not critical enough for you?


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Sugwash
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:47 AM

When the boys are on Parade by Marcus Turner. Andy Irvine does an excellent version on his album 'Way Out Yonder'.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Sugwash
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:54 AM

Here's the words. Andy Irvine adds a verse at the end about women now marching beside the men. I don't know if Marcus Turner or AI wrote the missing verse.

When the Boys Are On Parade

Marcus Turner

Here they come marching past the houses, shiny boots and khaki blouses
Stiff as the creases in their trousers standing tall and straight and strong
And they all keep in step together glint of steel and flash of leather
Braving every kind of weather as they boldly march along
You may dismiss it as a ploy for the enlistment of the boys
Who'll be impressed to see the toys and play the games that can be played
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You'd do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.



Look at your sons before they're older they'll be stronger they'll be bolder
Just the thing to make a soldier and we'll turn them into men
And they'll be taught to follow orders, keep the peace and guard the borders
To protect us from marauders and defend us to the end.
But the position they'll be filling is to be able and be willing
To be killed or do the killing when there's a price that must be paid
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You'd do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.



In the pursuit of a community of decency and unity
And equal opportunity we stand prepared to fight
And if there's a threat to our position from aggressive opposition
The with guns and ammunition we'll defend with all our might.
We'll dehumanise and hate them send in the troops to decimate them
As in the name of the Nation all it stands for is betrayed
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You'd do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.



Merely the whim or intuition of an elected politician
Makes a melee without conditions as the monster quits the cage
Its a machine that knows no quarter dealing death and sowing slaughter
Raping mothers, wives and daughters in an all consuming rage
We may well decide we need it and we'll pay to arm and feed it
But can you tell me who will lead it when the decisions must be made
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You'd do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.



Some will wonder what's to fear and say there is no danger here
But there has never been a year when Soldiers haven't been at war
And the eternal executions and the bloody revolutions
And the ultimate solutions too have all been seen before.
And there's always someone scheming and sometimes at night when dreaming
In the distance I hear screaming and in my heart I feel afraid
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You'd do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:56 AM

"Toora loora loora loo
They're looking for monkeys up in the zoo
and if I had a face like you
I'd join the British Army."


My son John - Tom Paxton
Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
Side of a Hill - Paul Simon
Mrs McGrath
Death Come Easy - Harvey Andrews
The Kerry Recruit


I could go on.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:57 AM

And of course, I forgot.


Bloody Orkney !!


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Amergin
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:03 AM

Eric Bogle's Soldier, Soldier


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Mark Ross
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM

TROOPERS LAMENT

Utah Phillips

I sailed from Seattle far away from friends and home,
Far across the blue Pacific to the Land of Morning Calm,
Here's your helmet and your rifle, and your prophylactics too,
And as sure as I'm your captain we will make a man of you.

Oh the 105's were pounding and their thunder shook the night,
I asked my bold commander who am I here to fight,
"It's the slopes, and the slants, the gooks and chinks," said he,
And I wondered if their captain ever said the same as me.

I have seen the mountain winter where the air was cold and still,
But, oh, that frozen Chosan it was a living hell,
With the fever and the jaundice and a hundred kinds of mold,
We were slaughtered in our mummy bags by bayonets and cold.

And everywhere I traveled from the camps at Kummaree(?),
The Yungsan reservation and the camps at Moonsamee(?),
The golden plains of Inchon, my boots rotting on my feet,
All I heard were starving babies while their mothers walked the street.

We bought cameras, we bought watches, we bought whores and we bought booze,
With the little barefoot beggars bending down to shine our shoes,
We gave them back our candy, and to answer our desire,
We gave them round eyed babies who died outside the wire.

I got off in Seattle and climbed on board a train,
I rode it through the mountains with a fever in my brain,
I could find no reason to remain here anymore,
There was no trace around me of the life I'd lived before.

Where's the pride in country if it robs a man of will,
And where's the pride in manhood if a man will rape and kill,
And where's the pride in killing if the dead will rise again,
Ah, but there's a pride in knowing there's an enemy within.

So listen all you troopers here's a lesson you should know,
From an older brown shoe soldier who marched off long ago,
They will use your pride and passion for to settle all their fights,
Keep yor pride in your trousers and the captain in your sights.

Utah wrote this to express his feelings about his service in Korea, which he had trouble talking about. specifically, it was for his son who had just joined the Marines. He used a tune that he said he'd heard Louis Killen sing.. Anyone out there know which ballad this was from?

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 01:22 PM

@ Sugwash, re "When the Boys are on Parade", I have never heard the song sung without the missing verse, why would you think Marcus Turner didn't write the missing verse right from the start ? Not being confrontational, just enquiring, maybe it was in fact a later addition.

It's a great song, it's a shame the only version on Youtube appears to be here. Not a bad version, but about a fifth lower than I sing it, and probably an octave below Andy Irvine.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Sugwash
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 02:14 PM

@Murray MacLeod "I have never heard the song sung without the missing verse, why would you think Marcus Turner didn't write the missing verse right from the start ?"

If I was a betting man, then yes, I would say that Marcus Turner did write the verse missing from the lyrics above. I've only heard Andy Irvine singing the song and he includes the verse, but when I looked up the lyrics on Andy's website, the last verse [in AI's version] wasn't there so, in the interests of academic rigour, I didn't dare wrongly attribute it, hence the uncertainty.

It's a great song though.

All the best Murray

Andy


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST,Peadar (formerly) of Portsmouth
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM

Jez Lowe wrote a fine song in this vein called "Old Bones" ... worthy of inclusion


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 08:38 AM

You're in the army now
You're not behind a plow
You'll never get rich
You son of a bitch
You're in the army now


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 08:46 AM

We used to sing;
You're in the army now,
You used to ride a cow.
You tickled its bum to make it run,
You're in the army now.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Allan C.
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:41 PM

The song,
LE DÉSERTEUR impressed me so much that I nearly decided to learn French well enough to do it justice. There was an excellent discussion of it in a thread about a translated version called,
The Letter.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: oldhippie
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 07:41 PM

Going back to the Vietnam era, I think this one qualifies.

Last Foxhole
lyrics by Red Sovine

(Oh Lord let it be the last foxhole)
He lived by my side on an Island in the sea
A place called Okeinawa and just like me
He was fighting in the army against Japan
Our home was a foxhole made of clay blood and sand
(The last foxhole oh the last foxhole oh Lord let it be the last foxhole)
Soon the war was over and we went our seperate ways
He went home to Brooklyn but in the army I chose to stay
Now he often wrote me the letters and told me about his fears
When his son became a man would he had to live in
(The last foxhole oh the last foxhole oh Lord let it be the last foxhole)
Then came Korea they sent my company
And that same Brooklyn boy right back with me
But I left him there in the grave deep and cold
They just covered him up in his last foxhole
(The last foxhole oh the last foxhole oh Lord let it be the last foxhole)
Well the years went by now here I am in another foxhole in VietNam
And there's a boy from Brooklyn behind a gun
They couldn't send his daddy so they sent his son
(Oh the last foxhole oh the last foxhole oh Lord let it be the last foxhole)


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: buddhuu
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 11:18 AM

"I'm Asking You Sergeant, Where's Mine?" by Billy Connolly?

This one is sort of in no man's land, if you'll pardon use of the term. As well as resentment of the misleading recruitment ploys used to hook him, the singer/soldier seems to imply condemnation of his own poor judgment in joining up (as contrasted with that of his wiser pacifist brother in Glagow who "Is nae [as] saft").

Songs lamenting the soldier as victim of the war machine are certainly easier to find than songs that actually single the soldier himself out and hold him personally responsible.

Interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 11:59 AM

West deep down in the big muddy - Pete Seeger


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 12:00 PM

oops... WAIST deep in the big muddy, sorry


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: DonMeixner
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 12:43 PM

I always wait awhile on threads like this. The OP asks his question and is gone never to defend,explain, or modify the question.

I read this as songs about military service where the person/people in the song are at fault or in need of criticism.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST,guest.. Albert
Date: 01 Apr 10 - 05:02 PM

Song for Harry Farr is a song about the execution of Private Harry Farr on the Western Front in 1916.It was written by Chris Hastings and Huw Pudner.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: olddude
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 04:46 PM

band played waltzing matilda


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: GUEST,bankley
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 08:21 PM

"Gays in the Military" Jim Page... google him... he's great


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 08:38 PM

The Southern Girl's Reply is critical of, at least, one soldier.


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 09:22 PM

Mark Ross misquoted a line from Utah Phillips' Troopers' Lament, as follows:

"And I wondered if their captain ever said the same as me."

You either mistyped or you mistook the meaning of the line, Mark.
That should be "And I wondered if their captain ever said the same of me."   Meaning "about me".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Songs Critical of Military Service
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Apr 10 - 11:45 PM

Sorry about that Dave. As Utah used to say, "When your memory goes forget it!"


Mark Ross


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