Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The power of song

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the fan club has been collecting songs about the War and dusting off our fiddles, guitars, mandolins, and upright bass. (No we did not allow one member to contribute instead a washtub bass. We have our standards.)
We focus on music that laments the waste of war, in keeping with DGF's most recent book, The Republic of Death. Drew has urged writers about war to acknowledge the ability of war to provide meaning and sense of agency to ordinary life. In recognizing that power we might begin to over come it, she has said more eloquently.
What better song to start with than Blue-Eyed Boston Boy. It tells a story has surely happened countless ways too many times over, in this war and in others. The author is unknown and the imagery rich: "the Rebels with shot and shell Plowed furrows of death in the toiling ranks..."

He was just a blue eyed Boston boy his voice was low with pain
I'll do your bidding, comrade mine if you will do the same
But if you ride on and I should fall you'll do as much for me
My mother at home is awaiting the news so write to her tenderly
She's waiting at home like a patient saint her pale face filled with woe
Her heart will be broken when I am dead I'll see her face no more
Just then the order came to charge for a moment hand touched hand
They answered aye and on they rode that brave and devoted band
Straight way was the course to the top of the hill and the Rebels with shot and shell
Plowed furrows of death in the toiling ranks and guarded them as they fell
There soon came a horrible dying sound from the heights they could not gain
And those that doom and death had spared rode slowly back again
But among the dead at the top of the hill lay the boy with the golden hair
And the tall dark man who rode by his side lay still beside him there
There was none to write to his blue-eyed girl the words her lover had said
While a mother at home is awaiting her son she'll only find he's dead
While mother at home is awaiting her son she'll only find he's dead

This is the best version, if you ignore the ambient noise and walking around. Looks kind of like the fan club band only different!


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