Sunday, May 3, 2009

Battles: of the Bogside and of Hayes Pond

( I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

Four new songs. The first three are "Those Lyrics," see this for an explanation. The first two are not my favorites, the last two are really good. The 3rd is a new kind of "Those Lyrics," it's based on a N. Ireland loyalist song.

I think that's it. The rest of the songs/poems can be found by clicking on the "lyrics" label (there are at least two pages worth of posts, so click on the "older posts" at the bottom of the first page).

"Defenders of the Republic" based on "Defenders Of The Reich" by Final War, original lyrics are here.

1. Of course, in general Volunteers (members of republican paramilitaries) didn't walk around looking like Volunteers, but I have seen footage in a documentary of them walking around during riots, and they would sometimes patrol their neighborhoods during times of calm; there are also other times, possibly including times when they're en route to attacking the British security forces, that they would appear as Volunteers (in the early 70s with the no-go areas it was very common for this to be the case). The line makes enough sense that I'm keeping it.
2. The reference to a phase is a little odd,but it sort of works and I like to change as little as possible.
3. The last brick refers to their willingness to fight.
4. Belfast is the capital of N. Ireland.
5. The 3rd line of the 2nd verse is not available on the Internet, and I could barely understand it, so that's not based on the original at all.
**6. 58% of this version is me, 42% is the original.
7. This is not an endorsement of continuing armed struggle after the IRA cease-fire of 1997.
8. I give this song/poem two out of five stars.
9. Considering the original, I should explain what is probably obvious, that Irish pride is almost always very different from white pride. (I just heard something making me think that it's probably a small minority of northern nationalists that would talk about "Irish pride"; I still feel odd completely re-writing that line, so I'm going to keep it)
10. UPDATE 12/13/10 I just changed the second line of the last verse- I replaced "republican-socialist" with "anti-fascist."

Walking down the street with your head held high
People know you're a Volunteer as you pass by
Army jacket and mask, you're prepared
Brits Fuck with us if they dare
Volunteer's not a phase, it's a national calling
We'll give the British occupiers a real mauling
Our flags fly high and our banners are unfurled
Anti-Imperialist Volunteers a tradition across the world!

Chorus:
Volunteers-Defenders of the republic
Volunteers- We fight to the last brick
Volunteers-Standing proud and fast
Volunteers-We fight to free Belfast

When we see the Brits commin, we attack without fear
We fight with honor, We're anti-fascist Volunteers
We've been marching and fighting since 1968
Won't be long until the Brits capitulate
Fighting for our class and nation, fighting for our land
And we fight with the winning hand
A glorious battle it will be
A shining bright, republican victory

*****

"John McGuffin's Song" based on "War Machine" by Final War, original lyrics are here.

1. I barely changed this one, but what got my attention was the most important part. The line about flags (colors) was originally "red, white and blue and the red, white and black" the first flag being the American one, the second being the Nazi flag. The line below that required that if I kept with the flag theme, I had to keep the word black, and then it hit me, the red and black of the anarchist flag.
2. John McGuffin was a well known and well-liked Irish anarchist who took part in what I consider the most inspirational event in the Troubles, the Belfast-Derry march by People's Democracy (see this). For more on him, see this (he died in 2002). This is basically about anarchist republicanism, the references to fighting are certainly NOT neccessarily meant to involve arms, and would be mostly non-violent.
3. I give this song/poem four out of five stars.
*4. 5% of this version is me, 95% is the original.
5. Although there are a small hand-full of "National Anarchists," anarchism is very anti-Nazi (I say that because that's the only thing that twists the lyrics, and I wanted to make sure people knew that).

Another step forward, no steps back
we're fully motivated goin' in for the attack
our goals set high, we're prepared to die
success or death is our battle cry
pickin' up the pace, goin' face to face
moving forward fast let's cut to the chase
starring straight ahead, never lookin' behind
we're geared for gain one thing on our minds

Chorus
Like a War Machine into battle we ride
fighting together side by side
unified our strengths become one
like a War Machine- we'll fight 'till we've won

Our minds are focused, our minds are clear
we've got our sight set we have nothing to fear
we're pushing forth, growing strong
keeping motivated, moving right along
we're in this to win to lose would be a sin
our destiny awaits us let the battle begin
all for one and one for all
as a unified movement we can never fall

We're the Green, White and Orange and the Red and Black
these colors don't run they stand and fight back
they're a collaboration of our Nation and our Class
We educate, organize and struggle en masse
let's take another step forward, no steps back
we're fully motivated, goin in for the attack
our goals set high, we're prepared to die
success or death is our battle cry

*****

"Battle of Hayes Pond" based on "Gibraltar" author unknown, version very similar to what I used is here.

1. The Battle of Hayes Pond was in 1958. The Ku Klux Klan had been harrasing an American Indian community in North Carolina. One night the Klan held a rally. All of a sudden they were surrounded by 500 armed Indians, who opened fire. Some of the Klan were wounded, the rest took off. After that the State clamped down on the Klan, and between that and I think the battle itself, until 1984 there was no more white supremacist activity in that area.
2. The battle is sometimes referred to as the Battle of Maxton Field.
3. Strom Thurmond ran for President in 1948 as a segregationist.It's possible I'm slightly exaggerating his position on the Klan, but even if I am, that's reflecting the original lyrics.
4. Robeson is the county the battle took place in.
5. It's not too likely they were going to leave MANY for dead, but it's possible, and they were certainly going to harrass and assault people and destroy property.
6. James W. "Catfish" Cole was the leader of the Klan in South Carolina, which had crossed the state line into NC.
7. Four Klan were wounded, but not seriously.
8. The captured flag was a prized trophy.
9. There were about 50 Klan, 350-500 Lumbee.
**10. 64% of this version is me, 36% is the original.
11. The original is about the Ulster Defense Association (a loyalist paramilitary), which to one degree or another has been connected with British Nazis and racist violence in N. Ireland. Also, my experience has been that there's a fair number of American Indians who have shown a lot of solidarity with the Irish struggle, so this is turning the original on it's head.
12. "The Blood and the Soil" is a racist phrase.
13. The chronology is off a little, because the original refers to first one event and then a second one, but it seems to work pretty well anyway.
14. I give this song/poem four out of five stars.

There's a place called Maxton Field, well-known as Hayes Pond
The Klan were rallying for hatred and their false racial bond
When along came some warriors, they are America's best
Oppressed people the whole world over were very impressed

Chorus:
And the KKK, were scared away
The Klan didn't return for 25 years after that day

Well, Thurmond, he was angry, for "the Blood and the Soil"
The Klan terror in Robeson, the warriors did foil
For the Klan planned to terorrize and leave many for dead,
But the brave warriors made them run in panic instead

Chorus

That wanker "Catfish" Cole, what a wonderfull sight,
He left his wife and ran away completely in fright,
The mad yellow bigot didn't know what to do,
When faced with native warriors, all so brave and so true.

Chorus

The nation of these anti-racist warriors, it's called the Lumbee,
Right to Hayes Pond they went to bring the Klan to it's knees
Three hundred fifty guns they were fired and four Klan they got nipped
The Klan's flag was captured and the Invisible Empire was whipped

Chorus

*****

"Battle of the Bogside" based on "Battle of Maxton Field" by Malvina Reynolds (and changed a bit by Pete Seeger) The web-page where I first found this is gone and I can't find the right lyrics on-line. below my version is most of the original, except for the last 1-2 verses which I didn't feel like I could do anything with. (I typed the original lyrics based on the audio of Seeger, not the very original version by Reynolds)

1. For more on the Battle of the Bogside, see this.
2. There are various things indicating racism among the Apprentice Boys (a group comparable to the Orange Order), see the first half of this. It's also probably safe to say that they were not sure Irish Catholics are members of the Aryan Race (no thanks, we'll pass).
3. For more on Loyal Orders in N. Ireland, including the Apprentice Boys, see this. That will also explain why it was acceptable for kids to stone the AB parade.
4. Fenian is a derogatory term for republican, although it has been adopted by republicans. It's also a derogatory term for Catholic.
5. In the original 3rd verse about coke and pie, it says girls. I went with men, because there was a very popular civil rights/nationalist/labor politician in the late 1960s and then during the 1970s named Ivan Cooper who was a Protestant and according to the movie "Bloody Sunday" (he's the main character) his girlfriend was Catholic (my version doesn't work pefectly, but it's close).
6. The RUC was the Royal Ulster Constabluary, the police until 2001.
7. The MP was Bernadette Devlin, who is celebtated for her role in encouraging the Bogsiders. There's an amazing mural of her in the Bogside, you can see it here. More information on her is available here.
8. I almost always use the voice of someone I'm not with my songs. In the original, the voice switches from Klan to anti-Klan and back, and in mine, I'm also using the voice of a Protestant throughout.
9. The Starry Plough is the flag of republican socialism.
10. Stormont was the sectarian devolved government of N. Ireland.
11. The BA is the British Army. Although they intervened at the end (and in Belfast where something similar but much worse for the Nationalist population was happening, the BA SORT of saved the Nationalists) they did so when the RUC were being beaten, they hadn't stopped the RUC from attacking the Bogside, and there's plenty of reason to think that they were not bothered by the police attacking the Bogside.
12. Interestingly, right before I "wrote" this song, I took a Loyalist song and twisted it into a song about the "Battle of Hayes Pond," the subject of the original of this song (audio for the song "Battle of Maxton Field" can be found here.
**13. 46% of this version is me, 54% is the original, and I ignored 2 verses that it seemed like I couldn't do anything with.
14. UPDATE 5/18/09 Considering this is an addition and not a change in what's already there, I'm not really breaking my rule of only changing lyrics after I publish with a good reason. The last chorus about the BA is new.
When I suggest they're bigots, bear in mind I didn't have a good reason to change the original, and consider this- although poverty was probably a much bigger factor than bigotry in people joining the BA during The Troubles, that line could be meant as referring to those, and there must have been some, who joined BECAUSE of the conflict, and maybe also sort of those who joined, very comfortable with the possibility-liklihood that they would be sent to the North. Also, since I still don't think I can do anything with the last verse (you never know, I might do that at some point), this kind of ruins it for singing along with the original, but if some performer wants to do it, that's not an issue.
15. I give this song/poem four out of five stars.
16. UPDATE 5/8/11 When I finished this years ago, I sent it to a community group called The Museum of Free Derry (I link to them above). I didn't hear back. I asked a friend of mine if he thought any of this poem was offensive, he said "no." I think I figured out what might have offended them. The line where I end with the word "spine." I used that word because it was already RIGHT THERE in the original, and it was pretty close to what I needed to say. I'll see if I can come up with something more appropriate. (UPDATE 7/27/12 I just added the word "more;" does that make it less offensive?)

Oh, have you seen the Apprentice Boys- sectarianism they incite
they marched here in Derry just looking for a fight

rally 'round you Boys bold In hatred's cold embrace
we'll march on Derry's wall's and save the aryan race

Chorus
oh the Boys,
oh the Boys
It's only Protestants that they employ
if you are free and Protestant and bigot
and get your courage from a spigot
they be needing reinforcements for to fight the fenian

Now the Catholics, the Catholics- They are our natural foe
they lure our men with beer and steak and take them to a show

they worship the Father and the Son but anyone can see
they are not real Christians- the likes of you and me

now some kids threw rocks and the police stood in circle brave and fine
as the kids resisted, one MP gave them encouragement and more spine

an Irish youth with steely eyes, as the Starry Plough was flown
she stood fast and encouraged resistance with the megaphone

chorus:
oh the RUC,
oh the RUC
They serve the Protestant bourgeoisie
if you are free and Protestant and bigot
and get your courage from a spigot
they be needing reinforcements, for to fight the fenian

The Battle continued for three days- there was not a moment's rest
As a hundred thousand Bogside kids took on Stormont's best

well maybe not a million quite but surely more than eight
the RUC were retreating- The bogside had won against the state

now the BA they were down the road- they did not lift a gun
they heard the noise, they said the boys, were having a little fun

But when they saw the RUC lads streaming down the road
they knew that something went amiss- the wrong switch had been throwed

Oh the BA
Oh the BA
They thought they would defeat the IRA
If you are free and British and Bigot
And get your courage from a spigot
They'll be needing reinforcements, for to fight the fenian


Original lyrics:

Oh, have you seen the bed-sheet boys the terors of the night
they rallied here at maxton just honin' for a fight

rally around you klansmen bold but do not show your face
we'll burn the fiety cross tonight and save the nordic race

Chorus
oh the Klan,
oh the klan
it calls on every red-blood fighting man
if your are free and white and bigot
and get your courage from a spigot
they be needing reinforcements for to fight the indian

Now the Indians, the Indians They are our natural foe
they lure our girls with coke and pie and take them to a show

they wear blue jeans and leather coats but anyone can see
they are not reall americans the likes of you and me

now the head-lights shone the klansmen stood in circle brave and fine
when suddenly a whoop was heard that curdled every spine

an Indian youth with steely eyes he sauntered in alone
he calmly drew his shooting iron and conked the microphone

chorus

now another shot the lights went out there was a moment's hush
then a hundred thousand lumbee boys came screaming from the brush

well maybe not a million quite but surely more than four
the klansmen shook from head to foot and headed for the door

now the troopers they were down the road they did not lift a gun
they heard the noise, they said the boys were having a little fun

But when they saw the nigh-shirt lads streaming down the road
they knew that something went amiss the wrong switch had been throwed


One last note: Even with the songs that are only about 10% me (and at the upper end, one is 75% me), I have a request, although I don't have strong feelings or expectations about this. First, I want credit for these songs. Second, I'd appreciate it if the notes follow the lyrics around the internet. If you modify the lyrics further, please either make some notes for the changes if you leave some of my changes, or just provide a link to this URL so people can see my version. Although I'm not sure how many people will like what I'm doing with the lyrics, to one degree or another (depending on how much I changed them) I'm proud of these songs- and at the risk of getting a little personal, if people like the songs, I could really use the extra boost of getting credit for them right now (or if you don't like them, they were all written by Sarah Palin- that fascist, what kind of sick person enjoys altering racist lyrics?).

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