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On Morecambe Bay

Kevin Littlewood
Language: English

List of versions


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Dopo quelle di Stefano Giaccone e di Ron Trueman-Border, ecco un'altra canzone dedicata alla strage di Morecambe Bay del febbraio 2004: 21 immigrati irregolari di nazionalità cinese, sfruttati da una gang di loro connazionali ed impiegati nella raccolta dei frutti di mare per i ristoranti di lusso, morirono annegati, sorpresi dalla marea.

La canzone è stata postata su Mudcat dallo stesso Kevin Littlewood, con la seguente introduzione:

[This song] "commemorates the events on the night of 5/6 February 2004 when at least 23 Chinese men and women were killed on the cockle beds of Morecambe Bay. One press report mentioned that some of the workers, and their families at home in China, called the area 'devil bay'; the phrase triggered a childhood memory of warnings that there was 'the devil of a tide' there. I wrote this song in solidarity with those who live and work along this coast.

It's always difficult to sing about other people's tragedies; but I thought something should be said about it, and someone should record it. After I'd written it I saw that the film maker Nick Broomfield recently made a film "Ghosts" about this same topic; it was premiered at a film festival abroad and was on TV recently. I believe there are other songs and poems about it, so maybe if you hear them you can put them on the forum.

Below you will find the words and the chords. For the tune, you can get it on the CD which mon ami Les Brown and others mention earlier. I must emphasise that the track is very much a collective endeavour, with harmonies from Bev Sanders and fiddle from Chris Nelson. The CD from which it comes, "Residents' Lounge" is also a collective effort, and on that you can hear another ten songs from the Bothy Folk Club residents."
Out beyond the street lamp's empire
And the calliope's roar,
Beyond the thrift, the wrack, the samphire,
Where the sea betrays the shore,
I have seen them in the tide's wake,
As the rain cuts through the spray,
Figures on the edge of daybreak
Walking out on Morecambe Bay

For the tide's the very devil,
It can run you out of breath,
It can race you on the level,
It can chase you to your death,
Yes the tide's the very devil
And the devil has his day
On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

Here's the very life to die for,
Here's a life not as it seems,
Sleeping on a foreign floor
Five to a room no space for dreams.
Tempted by the urge to travel,
Strangers in a stranger land,
Now they dig in sand and gravel,
Plastic bags gripped in their hands.

For the tide's the very devil,
It can run you out of breath,
It can race you on the level,
It can chase you to your death,
Yes the tide's the very devil
And the devil has his day
On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

Letters home with money orders
See how much we earned today;
Tales of crossing Europe's borders,
So we came to Morecambe Bay;
This is where the cockles sleep
In their beds so soft and sound;
This is where our watch we keep
On these weary cockle grounds

For the devil's in the tide's flood
He'll be weighing down your shoes
He'll be churning up the sea's mud
This is one race he won't lose
Yes the tide's the very devil
And the devil has his day
On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

I have met them in the markets,
Brushed their arms in grocery queues,
I should have grabbed them by the jacket,
Should have told them what I knew;
Told them what my mother told me
As we paddled in the waves
Never try and race the tide
Across the sands of Morecambe Bay

For the devil's in the tide's flood
He'll be weighing down your shoes
He'll be churning up the sea's mud
This is one race he won't lose
Yes the tide's the very devil
And the devil has his day
On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

Now I see them in the distance
Laid out in the dawn's hard light,
Helpless in the sea's persistence,
Twenty-three drowned in one night.
Up above in skies so clear
Their phone calls half the world had crossed
'Between the rivers Kent and Keer
We have raced the tide and lost.'

For the tide's the very devil,
It can run you out of breath,
It can race you on the level,
It can chase you to your death,
Yes the tide's the very devil
And the devil has his day
On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay

In Fujian, Xelang, Baihu,
Where they mourn their next of kin,
Where the men with snake tattoos,
Rack up the debts and call them in;
Parents stand, their arms flung wide
As their children drive away,
Heading out to race the tide
Across some foreign bay.

For the tide's the very devil,
It can run you out of breath,
It can race you on the level,
It can chase you to your death,
Yes the tide's the very devil
And the devil has his day
On the weary cockle grounds of Morecambe Bay.

Contributed by Alessandro - 2009/2/3 - 08:07


Christy Moore has included this song in his recent repertoire.

2010/3/11 - 22:29


You can now hear all of this song at the link below, as well as some other songs
On Morecambe Bay

Kevin Littlewood - 2010/7/21 - 08:31



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