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Robson’s Song

The Young 'uns
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2019
The ballad of Johnny Longstaff
Johnny-Longstaff
Lyrics taken from mudcat.org


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



Robson’s Song was written on one day in October 2017 when we were waiting to play the North Wall Arts centre in Oxford. Up until that day I’d never heard the expression ‘gipping’ (vomiting) until Andy Bell our sound engineer and producer said it. It seemed to fit perfectly for the song - thanks Andy. Johnny spoke at length about how attempts were made to persuade him not to go to Spain. Other veterans shared similar stories and experiences of ‘the dour faced’ Robson
They put me through a right third degree; at the end I said to him: ‘Don’t you want me to go?’ Syd Booth.  
In a doss in Charing Cross behind a big steel door 
I met a man who had the dourest face I ever saw
He was grey as the grave, he was stern and he was grim
His name was Robbie Robson and I said this to him

I said ‘my name is Longstaff and I want to go to Spain’
‘Well are you sure?’ he answered me so I told him again
‘Well how old are you really lad? You look like 12 to me’
‘I’m nearly 20 sir,’ I lied, cos I was 17

‘Now there are things that you must know, lad, if you mean to go
To fight down in a foreign land against a fearsome foe
For the enemy is brutal, lad, and when you’re on the run
You’ll be lucky if you shoot him, lad, cos you won’t have a gun! 

And you’ll be no good wounded, lad, by those dirty thugs 
For when you go to hospital there won’t be any drugs
And when you come home blinded, lad, without an arm or leg
There’ll be nothing we can give you, lad, you’ll have to go and beg

And the clothes that you’ll be wearing, lad, they come in sizes 2
Too big or too small – but too small’s too big for you! 
And when your arse is bleeding, lad, through scratching with the lice
Then you’ll remember me, lad, and think on my advice

And the food that’ll you’ll be eating, lad, it won’t be very grand
The beef is really of donkey and the coffee’s really sand
And when you’re gipping in a bucket, lad, and wishing for your Mum
You’ll remember me, lad, and wish you’d never come

You’ll be burned red like a lobster, lad, beneath the blazing sun
In the Pyrenees you’re sure to freeze with ice upon your bum
Digging trenches with your finger nails, lad, in the frozen ground
You’ll remember me, lad, and wish you’d turned around

So now you’ve heard my story, lad, it is the truth I’ve said
You’ll be either maimed or blinded, lad, or more than likely dead 
So now you’re looking at me, lad, tell me your answer plain
I said ‘my name is Longstaff and I want to go to Spain’

inviata da Dq82 - 19/5/2019 - 19:07



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