Red and Gold

Fairport Convention
Language: English

List of versions

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Parole e musica di Ralph McTell
Arrangiamento dei Fairport Convention
La canzone che dà il titolo all’album dei Fairport Convention del 1988.
Testo trovato su Mudcat Café

Red and Gold

Una canzone sulla Guerra Civile inglese (1642-1651), una delle tante guerre fratricide che costellano la storia dell’umanità. Qui i monarchici e i parlamentaristi se le diedero di santa ragione (più di 80.000 morti) ma soprattutto seminarono morte e distruzione nelle campagne, tra i civili (quasi 130.000 morti).

In particolare la canzone, dove il racconto è dalla prospettiva di un contadino, si riferisce alla battaglia di Cropredy Bridge del 29 giugno 1644, conclusasi con la vittoria delle truppe di re Carlo I. Ralph McTell la scrisse dopo aver partecipato ad un’edizione del festival musicale che si tiene in quel paese dell’Oxfordshire, organizzato fin dal 1976 proprio dai Fairport Convention:

“This is the title track of Fairport Convention's 1989 album, Red & Gold, with Simon Nicol, vocals and acoustic guitar; Ric Sanders, violin; Dave Mattacks, drums and keyboards; Dave Pegg, bass and backing vocals; Martin Allcock, electric guitars and backing vocals. It was also released on the cheap Mooncrest Fairport sampler Close to the Wind without a pointer to original album. A live version was released on the album 25th Anniversary Concert which was recorded on August 14/15, 1992 at the Cropredy Festival. Another—1996—Cropredy version was released in 2002 on the Fairport unConventioNal 4CD set.

Ralph McTell: “I was rehearsing in Cropredy for an album with Dave Pegg when he mentioned that there had been a Civil War battle at Cropredy Bridge. It seemed an obvious theme for a Fairport song because of their strong associations with the village, but it wasn't until 1985 when I was a spectator of the 5th Cropredy Festival, while listening to the band, watching the sun go down and the colours in the field changing from green and brown to red and gold, that I conceived the idea of William Timms being a witness to the fight in the same fields by the same river so many years before.”
(Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music)

“Rosso e oro sono i colori reali. I colori contadini sono verde e marrone. Verde è il grano che cresce nella terra marrone, rosso e oro quando il raccolto è mietuto… Nascosto dietro una siepe ho visto il fratello uccidere il fratello. E il sangue versato aveva lo stesso colore. E tutto questo è stato fatto nel nome di Gesù.”
Red and Gold are royal colours.
Peasant colours are green and brown.
Green is the corn in the brown earth when it's growing,
Red and gold when the harvest is cut down.

Through Cropredy in Oxfordshire the Cherwell takes its course
And the willows weep into its waters clear.
My name it is Will Tims and it's here that I was born
And raised in faith my King and God to fear.

In 1644 the King in Oxford Town did dwell,
Though we'd heard that Cromwell's army was nearby.
It did not occur to me that little Cropredy
Could be witness to the meeting of both sides.

On June the 29th that year I was about my work,
Cutting hedges in the meadow by the stream.
My blade slipped. I cut my hand, and my own dear blood did flow
Upon the brown earth and the corn still green.

Now it did distress me so to watch my own blood flow
And quickly soak into the greedy ground.
In red and gold my colours swam and sweat broke on my brow
And faint I knew that I must lay me down.

Red and Gold are royal colours.
Peasant colours are green and brown.
Green is the corn in the brown earth when it's growing,
Red and gold when the harvest is cut down.

At first I thought the thundering was just inside my head,
So I raised myself above the hedge to see,
And I watched as in a dream as the armies fought downstream
The Battle for the Bridge at Cropredy.

Now the King's men fought in red and gold though Cromwell's men were plainer.
The blood they spilled was coloured just the same.
Through the hedgerow's fragile cover, I saw brother killing brother,
And all of this was done in Jesus' name.

Red and Gold are royal colours.
Peasant colours are green and brown.
Green is the corn in the brown earth when it's growing,
Red and gold when the harvest is cut down.

All that day and all the next the battle it was raging,
Though when darkness came I slipped away;
But the crying of the dying kept me wakeful and just lying
In my bed until the dawning of the day.

And the dreams I had were red and gold,
And the little stream became a flood,
From all my brothers killing one another,
Till waking I realised it was all my own dear blood.

Some were buried in the church and some just where they fell,
With no markers to declare their place of rest;
But the poppies they do grow where they were never sown,
And to my mind, they do declare it best.

And each year when the green corn once again turns into gold,
And the poppies in the field again remind me,
Like the scar upon my hand and the blood spilled on this land,
And the hungry earth so eager to confine me.

For read and gold they are the colours:
One is blood and one is power.
Though I may find my rest in Cropredy Church,
In golden fields forever will spring the poppy flower.

By Cropredy the Cherwell is still bidden to keep flowing,
And the willows by its side still gently weep;
But still in restless dreams by this most peaceful stream,
The poppies wake me from my rightful sleep.

And the dreams I have are red and gold,
And the little stream becomes a flood,
From all my brothers killing one another,
Till waking I realise it's all my own dear blood.

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2017/1/11 - 08:37

Thanks for the posting the lyrics to this lovely piece from Ralph McTell's pen, and Fairport Convention's beautiful rendering is also deserving of praise. Beautiful, genuine, and true; it clearly comes from the heart.

Paul V. Montefusco - 2018/2/10 - 00:22

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