To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=7511
49 messages

Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme

14 Nov 98 - 08:24 AM (#45339)
Subject: Battle of the Somme
From: Parable Jones

Can anyone supply words and chords to the old Scottish song which starts " Rock the wind in the clear day dawning, Blow the white wisps of clouds o'er the bay". I have heard a version under the title Battle of the Somme

thanks PJ


15 Nov 98 - 02:07 AM (#45461)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Murray on Saltspring

Try the database under FREECOM - it's The Freedom Come-All-Ye, a magnificent piece by Hamish Henderson (not so old, either)-- the tune is The Bloody Field of Flanders. The Battle of the Somme is an entirely different tune, a 9/8 pipe Retreat, and I don't see how it would fit HH's song at all well. N.B.: the text in the DT has a few misprints, but I suppose you can make them out ok -- "back" for "black", etc., and some others are phonetic, e.g. "geens" for "geans" (with a hard G!)(= wild cherries).


15 Nov 98 - 04:42 PM (#45492)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Ewan McV

Hamish points out that the tune is a piper's version of the same tune used for the 'music hall' song Scotland The Brave. A curious thought!


16 Nov 98 - 05:56 PM (#45677)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: John n Brisbane

This may need an Aussie to help here but a folk group called The Colonials (Chris Wendte, Tony Hunt, Tony Lavin, John Fitzgerald ....), recorded this on an album in the early 70's. Who did I loan my copy to? It had Battle of the Somme included, and as I recall was recorded as two separate timings, one as a slow march/waltz - the other as 9/8 (or similar).

I must check whether Barry Taylor has the tune at his site.

Regards John


20 Nov 06 - 11:52 AM (#1889000)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Snuffy

At a singaround yesterday a couple sang a song about the Battle of the Somme, set to the eponymous tune. They sang just one verse and a chorus but said they believed there must be more verses.

Does anyone know of any words set to this tune?

PS the confusion with Freedom Come All Ye in the first post may be due to the fact that the Dubliners recorded Battle of the Somme as an instrumental prelude to the Freedom Come All Ye as a single track.


20 Nov 06 - 12:26 PM (#1889019)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Bunnahabhain

There's the highland dancers lyrics to this. I don't know the chords, but, to counting its...

1)Step and a hop, hop,2) step and a hop, hop,3) step and a hop, hop, 4)point, point point.
5)step and a hop, hop, 6) step and a hop, hop, 7) step and a hop, Mirror to complete

It's one of the slower dances, with easily described movements, and you can sing what you're supposed to be doing in time to the music for quite alot of the steps. The syllable pattern of 4,4,4,3




Cou-pe and tra-vel, Cou-pe and tra-vel, Cou-pe and tra-vel, turn to the right,

Pas-de-basque Cou-pe, pas-de-basque Cou-pe, turn to the right and, point, point point


20 Nov 06 - 12:36 PM (#1889025)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,Jack Campin

We now have a three-way muddle.

"The Battle of the Somme" is a 9/8 slow march written by William Laurie during WW1. He was in the battle, wrote the tune in hospital after it, and died of his wounds a few months later; he lived long enough to see it adopted by every pipe band in the Army. (And to forfend yet another confusion, he was not the much better-known pipe tune composer Willie Lawrie, who outlived WW1 by a few decades). I've never heard any words for it; there certainly aren't any dating back to WW1. It's played at different speeds; ceilidh bands most often use it as a quick march for the Gay Gordons.

"The Freedom Come-All-Ye" uses (an adaptation of) another WW1 slow pipe march, "The Bloody Fields of Flanders".

"The John Maclean March" is a different song, and it uses a tune which first occurred in print as a fiddle tune, "Brave Scotland", in Keith Norman Macdonald's _Gesto Collection_ of the 1880s.   Some time before WW1 it was in use as a pipe march under the title "Scotland the Brave". Henderson used it for "The John Maclean March" a couple of years *before* the familiar words to "Scotland the Brave" were written, by Cliff Hanley. In the _Rebels Ceilidh Songbook_ he doesn't name the tune, just says "traditional", so maybe he didn't know the name for it then; it may not have been that familiar by name outside the piping world.


20 Nov 06 - 12:39 PM (#1889031)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Snuffy

What I heard yesterday was sung to the 9/8 "Battle of the Somme" tune.


21 Nov 06 - 03:32 AM (#1889660)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Teribus

I would have to go and dig out my collection of Dubliners LP's but on that where Luke Kelly sings "Freedom-Come-All-Ye" the "pipe" tune tacked on to the end of it is credited as being "The Battle of the Somme"


21 Nov 06 - 08:03 AM (#1889787)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Mr Fox

Words and translation on Dick Gaughan's website here.

The tune certainly isn't 'The Battle of the Somme'. Check out the Albion Band's or Home Service's version.


21 Nov 06 - 08:36 AM (#1889809)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Snuffy

Teribus - as I mentioned above, I have the Dubliners' recording - Battle of the Somme is played before Freedom Come All Ye: it's tacked onto the beginning, not the end.

Mr Fox - thank you, but I'm not looking for Freedom Come All Ye. I'm looking for the words to a song that is about the Battle of the Somme and is probably called Battle of the Somme and the words fit exactly to the 9/8 pipe tune Battle of the Somme


21 Nov 06 - 08:46 AM (#1889812)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,Moleskin Joe

Are you thinking of Someday We'll See Them which is a song written by Alex Campbell to the tune of The Battle of the Somme ? If so I'll post the words later.


21 Nov 06 - 09:39 AM (#1889860)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Snuffy

That sounds like a very strong possibility, MJ. I'd be grateful if you would post them


21 Nov 06 - 11:09 AM (#1889946)
Subject: Lyr Add: ONE DAY WE'LL SEE THEM (Alex Campbell)
From: GUEST,Moleskin Joe

I'm not sure if this is what you're after.

Darkness is fading, the day it is dawning
The fields they are empty, nae workers today.
Farmers and young men all have been going
To battles in lands that lie far away.

Yet one day we'll see them come by the hillside
Husbands and sons will return to their homes.
Yet still my heart bleeds; the price of their young pride
Their widows and sweethearts left sadly to mourn.

The call when it came found their menfolk aye ready,
Each knew the reasons or that's what they thought.
Then came the doubting but still they were steady
Slow dying in cold clay a'cursing their lot.

Yet one day we'll see them, there on the hillside
Though knowing in hearts they are but a gleam.
The grief in the long glen, the gloom at the fireside
Will pass like a Spring breeze that never has been.

One Day We'll See Them written by Alex Campbell.


21 Nov 06 - 02:59 PM (#1890114)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Rumncoke

Just an aside - the tune The bloody fields of Flanders doesn't fit the words of The freedom come all ye - I think the tune is a very similar but softer one called Buss buss bonny laddy - probably the same tune but one is for the rout and the other for walking out on May mornings.

Anne


21 Nov 06 - 06:22 PM (#1890278)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Scotus

More confusion - I think, Rumncoke, that you're referring to the song 'Bonny Glenshee'. The chorus starts 'Busk, busk, bonny lassie - - -' The Freedom Comeallye' is a different tune.

Jack


21 Nov 06 - 07:26 PM (#1890321)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Snuffy

Moleskin Joe,

I think that may well be the one: it certainly fits the tune very well. Many thanks indeed.


21 Nov 06 - 08:04 PM (#1890343)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: Teribus

Thanks for the correction Snuffy, much appreciated. Pipe tunes, particularly "Laments" are penned/composed after any particular engagement by serving members of the regiment involved, being pipe tunes, they are very unlikely to have lyrics.


22 Nov 06 - 05:58 AM (#1890573)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,andymac

Jack, with reference to your comment regarding "Bonny Glenshee" being an entirely different tune to "Freedom Come All Ye"; Hamish himself, in an interview on a Radio Scotland "Songlines" programme, mentioned that both songs were the same at the start.

I remember being in a session once at Eyemouth when, after someone singing a ballad (usual blood, gore and tragedy) John Eaglesham started playing "Battle of the Somme" and the comment was that it sounded a lot cheerier, till the subject matter was pointed out to them....

Andy


22 Nov 06 - 11:47 AM (#1890805)
Subject: RE: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,Scotus (minus cookie)

Well,Andymac, you're right about Hamish's comment but he could only really be talking about the first bar or so. I remember somewhere in another thread here someone pointing out that there really very few unrelated Scots trad tunes. The timing and rhythms may change but if you look closely enough you can see the family they belong to.

Jack


27 Jul 10 - 09:32 AM (#2953133)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,jean livingstone

I recorded this song way back in 1967 with lyrics written by John Dobbie that start "stand to on the Somme, brave ghosts of the battle". It was on the beltona label and I was singing under the name Mona Devi


27 Jul 10 - 03:53 PM (#2953370)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST

try Gaberlunzie i'm sure gordon wrote words to the battle of the somme tune


27 Jul 10 - 05:53 PM (#2953445)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: oggie

Both Battle of the Somme and Bloody Fields of Flanders are retreat marches (ie quick marches for clearing the square after parade) not slow marches.

Bloody Fields of Flanders is a variant of Busk, Busk Bonny Lassie and dates to WWI although the credited comper is PM Maclennan although as the tune dates back to Ypres Salient in 1917 he may well be the "arranger" (ie he did the grace notes).

Neither tune originally had words but this is nothing new, many of Robert Burn's songs were set to traditional tunes and I have heard Gaelic words to "The Dark Island" (which was written as a theme tune for a BBC radio drama series in the 1960's)

Steve


29 Jul 10 - 09:05 AM (#2954423)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Jim Dixon

www.45cat.com lists a 7-inch 45-rpm record on the Beltona label, BL 2760, dated 14 Jul 1967. The songs are:
 Track       A                         B
Artist      Mona Devi                Mona Devi
Title       BATTLE OF THE SOMME       SO THEY SAY
Composer    Trad. Arr. Devi, Dobbie   Devi
Producer    Tommy Shields             Tommy Shields
Arranger    Mona Devi                Mona Devi
Jean Livingstone/Mona: Can you supply the lyrics?


29 Jul 10 - 09:50 AM (#2954435)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Jack Campin

I still can't hear the supposed resemblance between "Bloody Fields of Flanders" and "Busk, Busk Bonny Lassie", and I tend to be more of a classificatory "lumper" than most.

BTW there are a few differences between TBFoF and the tune of "Freedom Come-All-Ye" - the original is quite a bit harder to sing.

And TBFoF is by John MacLellan of Dunoon, not MacLennan (I assume "oggie" is thinking of GS). MacLellan's best-known composition is the march tune known by many titles before it was adapted to become "The Road to the Isles".


29 Jul 10 - 02:50 PM (#2954636)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: oggie

Hi Jack,

My typo (and I didn't proof as well as I should have as I am also aware of GS MacLennan)

Apologies all round.

Steve


29 Jul 10 - 03:26 PM (#2954657)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: MGM·Lion

In one of his Private McAuslan and Lt Dand McNeil short stories, the late George MacDonald Fraser [best known as author of the Flashman books] told of a fellow junior officer who would march to the mess for dinner chanting "See* us the key or I'll roar up your lobby" to the tune of Battle Of The Somme [i.e. the famous pipe march of that name]. Mr Fraser, with whom I used to correspond about his books tho I never had the pleasure of meeting him face-to-face [he lived in the Isle of Man which he seldom left], confirmed to me that he did have a colleague during his just-postwar service as an officer of the Gordon Highlanders who would sing these words to that tune, but he remembered no other words ~~ if indeed there were any!

He agreed with me also that Battle Of The Somme, the march, was among the most beautiful airs ever composed.

{*"See us" is Glasgow dialect for "give us"}

~Michael~


29 Jan 11 - 05:13 AM (#3084549)
Subject: Lyr Add: BATTLE OF THE SOMME
From: GUEST,Jean Livingstone/Mona Devi

These are the lyrics written by Johnny Dobbie that I recorded way back.

Battle of the Somme

Stand to on the Somme brave ghosts of the battle
Cry down the wind the hoarse voice of the Hun
Play the lament to dead and the dying
Comfort the wounded, hand out the rum.

Chorus:
Over together over together
Over together, father and son
Old men and young men, all comrades in action
Canon and thunder, musket and drum

Stand down ye brave men in the grey mud of morning
Find rest for your wounds in the clean light of day
Then dream of your homes and let others take warning
Love must abide and old fears fade away.


29 Jan 11 - 05:16 AM (#3084550)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,Jean Livingstone

Forgot to say that this was to the pipe tune Battle of the Somme but slowed down. I'm on Facebook if you want more info faster.


31 Mar 11 - 03:27 PM (#3125710)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST

Thanks, Jean, for the words, and acknowledgement to the author.
A folk group, the Cobblers, in the Borders 1967-1968, used to sing this song....possibly gleaned from your recording(?), in those days of Corries, Dubliners, McCalmans,,,,,,and easy plagiarism!
Reminiscing with a friend, seeking the words, I chanced on your post.Ta.


31 Mar 11 - 08:45 PM (#3125933)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Tattie Bogle

Thanks Jean for that, also to Moleskin Joe (21.11.06) for the Alex Campbell version.
Gaberlunzie have yet another version that they call "The Banks of the Somme": I'll post the words later.
The first 4 notes only are the same as 'Bonnie Glenshee" - after that they go thir separate ways! same applies to "O Flower of Scotland " and Verdi's Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves only in this case first 5 notes!!


31 Mar 11 - 10:39 PM (#3125990)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Effsee

To our anonymous Guest of 31 Mar 11 - 03:27 PM The Dubliners recorded the tune of The battle of the Somme as a segue to the song Freedom Come All Ye on one of their albums. No plagiarism was involved!


01 Apr 11 - 07:34 AM (#3126124)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE BANKS OF THE SOMME (from Gaberlunzie)
From: Tattie Bogle

Here's the Gaberlunzie version (transcribed from their latest CD by me, so hope there are no misheard lyrics).

THE BANKS OF THE SOMME

Stand to on the Somme, brave piper at dawning,
Banish the Bosch and the thundering guns,
Play your lament for the dead and the dying,
Comfort the wounded, reach for the sun.

Chorus
All there together, all there together,
All there together, father and son,
Young men and old stand united for ever,
Bathed in the blood by the banks of the Somme.

Stand down you brave boys with the ghost of the morning,
Find rest for your wounds in the clear light o' day,
Dream o' your homes – let others take warning,
Love will endure, hate must wither away.

Chorus

Now it's out o' the trenches o' bloody red water,
Over the top, where your comrades have gone,
So many fine soldiers, needlessly slaughtered,
To glorify war by the banks of the Somme.

Chorus

And away to the westward, the home fires are burning,
Families are yearning to welcome you home,
Long is their vigil, vain is their waiting
For those who remain by the banks of the Somme.

Chorus x 2


01 Apr 11 - 07:40 AM (#3126128)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Wilfried Schaum

Bosch: fr. boche a German, mostly injuring bloody G.


03 Apr 11 - 07:56 PM (#3127923)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Tattie Bogle

Apologies, Wilfried, you are correct, and no offence meant.
My fridge is a Bosch!


09 Jun 12 - 05:53 PM (#3361412)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,amy mclelland

hi just googled my grandfathers name and up pops this, my grandad is the late john dobbie of calderbannk by airdrie. he wrote this song and was also a keen artist? have we got the same person? would love to add you on facebook jean and find out more. amy


30 Jul 17 - 07:54 PM (#3869147)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Felipa

I played Battle of the Somme on fiddle at a session yesterday. Someone asked me what type of tune it is and I just said it was a pipe tune. How would you categorize this tune? I see Jack Campin describes it as a "slow march"


30 Jul 17 - 08:41 PM (#3869153)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Jack Campin

It's a retreat march - the timing is the same as 3/4 marches like "Lochanside". The original function of those marches was for the soldiers to march back to barracks to. So, not very slow. (If they were in a real hurry to get back to barracks they'd use "The Black Bear").

The main thing to remember is that isn't a lament. It's often played by English melodeonists under the impression that it ought to be, and they just make it sound unlistenably turgid. Not helped by them usually doing it in G.

If you want a real lament marking that battle, try G.S. MacLennan's "Sunset over the Somme" - even "lament" understates it, it's a bleak scream of despair.


31 Jul 17 - 04:09 AM (#3869173)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Howard Jones

"Battle of the Somme" entered the consciousness of English folk musicians via the Albion Band, both from their album "Battle of the Field" and their setting for the National Theatre production of "Lark Rise". Their slow version (I'd describe it as a slow march rather than a lament) has a certain grandeur, emphasised by Ashley Hutching's bass line, is the basis for what has become the standard English interpretation. When I hear it played by Army bands at the Trooping of the Colour it sounds too brisk and cheerful to me, although that is how it should be played. Of course, if you're used to hearing the correct pipe version then the English version will no doubt sound turgid. However that's what happens to tunes when they travel.

As for the key, that's a mechanical constraint of the instrument that melodeonists are forced into (just as pipers are forced into their own key and scale), although I play it on anglo concertina in C.


31 Jul 17 - 07:54 AM (#3869202)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Tattie Bogle

The usual session key here in Scotland (for non-pipers) is D. I play it on a B/C box, which does require some rapid changes of direction on the "snaps"!


31 Jul 17 - 08:49 AM (#3869210)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Felipa

I first heard the tune from album of Ian Campbell Folk Group with Dave Swarbrick on fiddle. I've heard other renditions, including pipes, since.


31 Jul 17 - 08:53 AM (#3869211)
Subject: RE: Sunset over the Somme
From: Felipa

notation for Sunset over the Somme as recommended by Jack Campin


31 Jul 17 - 09:18 AM (#3869217)
Subject: RE: Sunset on the Somme and Battle of the Somme
From: Felipa

apolopgies Jack, that's Sunset ON the Somme
on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkteb5qFywo ,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR3W3klHIYQ etc.

and as for Battle of the Somme: bagpipe lesson on youtube
Battle of the Somme on Melodeon

Song (Housman poem set to music) followed by Battle of the Somme
The Lads in their Hundreds on youtube


31 Jul 17 - 12:37 PM (#3869253)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST,Lighter

> "Battle of the Somme" entered the consciousness of English folk musicians via the Albion Band.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group recorded it far earlier on their album "Contemporary Campbells" (1966 - or '65, according to some).

If memory serves, Dave Swarbrick - who played it - learned it from his violin teacher.


31 Jul 17 - 02:48 PM (#3869279)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: GUEST

I didn't mean to suggest that no English musicians had played it before the Albions, but theirs was the version which popularised it.


10 Aug 17 - 04:36 AM (#3870842)
Subject: Lyr Add: BATTLE OF THE SOMME (Phyl Lobl)
From: Sandra in Sydney

My friend Phyl Lobl asked me to add her lyrics.

MP3 here

BATTLE OF THE SOMME

My father was a very young man when he was injured on the Somme. He joined up again for WW2 but was invalided home.
I wrote this with help from a book about the Somme titled 'Vain Glory', by Guy Chapman.
The tune is an adaptation of the Scottish Pipe Tune 'Battle of the Somme'. The track used here was from a long past Folk Festival performance.
Sung by Phyl Lobl with Uilleann Pipe accompaniment from Declan Affley

Words: Phyl Lobl      
Tune: Pipe Major William Laurie adapted by Phyl Lobl

Thanks to Gregor Ferguson for supplying knowledge of the origin of the tune.

The lark in the evening she drops to the ground now
Bidding farewell to the long summer day.
High on a ridge hear a gun hit the silence,
Flames like a flower brighten the sky.
Dugouts are quiet we wait for the morning
Feeling a thrill as the battle draws near.
As dawn with her pale flush, silvers the grey sky
Sharp tongues of shell fire call up the day.

Glory, vain glory, you beckoned us onward,
Kitchener's call and your light led the way.
Then just when we seem to be near
You turn into darkness
Splashed with the mud and the pain of the day.

The lines they are formed and the orders are given
While General Haig sends his prayers to the sky.
As we move onward our bayonets before us
We know that those prayers were no better than lies.
Rising and twisting the smoke curls above us
I see by the green glow there's gas in its domes.
We stumble and fall through the craters and shell holes,
Watching the bombs turning trenches to tombs.

We're over the rise now, the line is before us,
Enemy gun fire taking its toll
What hope have the bayonets and the rifles we carry
Against a machine gun here on the Somme.
Day's nearly done now the battlefield empties,
The living are hidden the dead lying still.
The wounded are calling for someone to save them
But no one can help them, no body will.

*'What's to be said of the life-time of man now,
Shifting from sorrow to sorrow again.
You button up one cause for man kind's vexation
Only to find there's another undone.'*
Each generation has freedom to fight for,
Choose between gun fire or words for your tools.
Freedom's a phantom but reason could find her.
Honour and glory a haven for fools.

• Words between the stars are a direct quote from the book.
The rest are mine distilled from the revelations of people Guy Chapman interviewed for his book.


10 Aug 17 - 06:47 PM (#3870929)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Gallus Moll

Pipe Major John McLellan (not Mac) of Dunoon 1875-1949 composed The Bloody Fields of Flanders and a wealth of other pipe tunes.
He served in the Boer War and WW1.

William Lawrie of Ballachulish (composer of Battle of the Somme and other excellent tunes) became pipe major of the A&SH in 1915 - at that time John McLellan was wounded and away recuperating.

(Captain John Lauder, a talented pianist and son of Harry Lauder, also served in the regiment at that time, and died in France just a month after William Lawrie died. Willaim Lawrie (sometimes spelled Laurie) was and is a highly regarded composer of pipe tunes and was a talented piper, and member of a musical family.


10 Aug 17 - 06:53 PM (#3870930)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Gallus Moll

and - somewhere, when I find it, I have a booklet of songs that includes one set to the Battle of the Somme tune. Think composed by a music teacher in England somewhere?
I decided against using it or any other version of words , preferred the Highland pipes playing, no vocals.


10 Aug 17 - 07:24 PM (#3870935)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Battle of the Somme
From: Sandra in Sydney

has it been published anywhere?