Any Bread?

The Young 'uns
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The ballad of Johnny Longstaff
Lyrics taken from

The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff è un concept album preso da uno spettacolo di teatro folk che narra la storia di Johnny Longstaff, eroe della "working Class", l'avventura di un ragazzo che inizia mendicando per le strade arriva in Spagna nelle Brigate internazionali, passando per la partecipazione alle Hunger Marches e alla battaglia di Cable Street

Any Bread? - Carrying the Coffin - Hostel Strike - Cable Street - Robson’s Song - Ta-Ra to Tooting - Noddy - The Great Tomorrow - Ay Carmela - Paella - No Hay Pan - Trench Tales - Lewis Clive - David Guest - Over the Ebro - The Valley of Jarama

This was the first song I wrote about Johnny in November 2015. I wrote it at home in Sheffield. The first two verses and chorus are inspired by passages in Johnny’s unpublished memoirs Any Bread Mister? This is how the book begins ‘Any bread left mister, any bread left?’ 
Came these words from children, who were waiting at the factory gates for the few employed men who had finished work for the day, and were walking out of the factories in Stockton On Tees. Sometimes the workers gave us some food; they had deliberately saved this food from their lunch boxes to give to us hungry youngsters. The look on their faces was one of sympathy; even we young children understood the look and the expression these men had on their faces. - Sean Cooney
My name is John Longstaff in Stockton I was born
On a cold October morning my eyes first saw the dawn
Me grandad was a sailor he wore the jacket blue
And when I found his old sea chest I thought I’d be one too
Now when I was 10 the slump began and I did not know why
My belly should be empty and my lips should be dry
There were jam jars for cups and there were newspapers for plates
And all us kids a-waiting outside the factory gates
And it’s….

‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’ we said
‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’ we bled
‘Mister! Mister!’ we sang like the dead 
‘Mister! Oh Mister! Can you spare any bread?’ 

One day we stole some duck eggs from a shop on Norton road
And we ran back to Willie’s house to cook our little load
But Willie’s Mam she were so poor she never had a pan
So we threw them in the kettle and soon it boiled and sang
But two rozzers traced us and they searched the whole house through
They found the pantry empty and all our stomachs too
Says Willie’s Mam ‘will you have some tea the kettle’s on the job’
Those rozzers smiled and shook their heads and they gave her two bob 

‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’ we said
‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’ we bled 
‘Mister! Mister!’ we sang like the dead
‘Mister! Oh Mister! Can you spare any bread?’ 

When I left school at 14 I found meself a job
12 hours a day in the rolling mill I toiled for my 8 bob
With the furnace men, the roller and the heaver over man
And the scars from those sharp edge springs I’ve still got on my hands
But one day misfortune took the heel from off me clog
And down upon the black hot steel I fell like a dog
There were burns on me back and hands I couldn’t carry on
And when I left the hospital I found my job had gone

‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’ we said
‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’ we bled
‘Mister! Mister!’ we sang like the dead
‘Mister! Oh Mister! Can you spare any bread?’ 

Out of work in ’34 and too young for the dole
Buried under ashes like a lump of idle coal 
There were men marching to London so in with them I slung
But when I said I was 15 they said I was too young 
So secretly I stalked them at a slower rate
Through Darlington, Northallerton, Thirsk and Harrogate
And when we reached the town of Leeds they found out me plan
And they said that I could march with them for now I was a man

inviata da Dq82 - 19/5/2019 - 18:21

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