Right wing folk songs

Right wing folk songs

Sitting around at a Celtic/Folk weekend, we got talking about all the folk songs with a political content. Work songs, protest songs etc all have a left-wing theme - oppression of the workers, abuse of the poor by the rich etc. We couldn’t think of any right-wing folk songs. What about the poor bankers who find it hard to live on their superannuation? What about generals justifying collateral damage? Are we missing something? Does anyone know of such folk songs?

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You’re missing something, Sokol.

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I think a lot of sea shanties have a, kind of, right wing feel to them as they mostly have to do with getting a job done and ‘damn your crying you dirty swabs!’ Old whaling songs also fall into the right wing category!

**

You’re thinking like Jerry Rubin ~ & I like(d) Jerry. But please, could you read a couple of chapters by his good friend;
Abbie Hoffman __ ‘Steal This Book’
http://www.tenant.net/Community/steal/steal.html
Both of them had alot of fun.

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I thought right-wing messages generally got made into Country Music or News Broadcasts.

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Bankers and Generals have always had the official media, that’s why they don’t write folk songs. They leave that for the Debtors and Soldiers.

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…which is pretty "Captain Obvious" really.

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This is moving away from the Irish dance music context, but a lot of "folk songs" *as collected by Victorian and early 20th century collectors* were to the right: "Hey ho how happy to hoe the fields and a toast unto his majesty and so proud to be a soldier for the King and doff your cap to the Lord and Lady in their finery this bright summer’s morning - oh".

The good German people I was getting to know in the 90s were at first shocked to find that I was interested in "folk music", since for them it was so tainted by the way it had been used as part of the culture of the Hitler Youth.

But the use of "folk music" to bolster a military (or paramilitary) nationalist myth has not been confined do Germany, has it friends?
All the best
AW

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"confined to Germany" - duh!

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I think, at the time they were written, the old whaling songs were not right wing songs. They were songs of hard work, long separation from home and great danger.

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Spot on there, Lingpupa.
A hard-line English Communist and bandleader I used to know was always bemused by the fact that old singers and musicians tended to be conservative reactionaries. Isn’t that why the songs and tunes were kept and nurtured?
And as the early song collectors were usually gentry/clergymen, they probably did not go out of their way to preserve coarse or ungrateful lyrics. Read the early song collections, Sokol. They are full of patriotic and respectful homilies.

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You would have to consider all off the fife and lambeg drum marches of the northern Ireland Unionist party as being "right wing", as the Unionist party is associated with the British Conservative party

All of the WW II nazi marching songs are right wing. The most infamous of them all (the Host Wessel song) was banned in Germany and Austria in 1945, and remains banned. It is illegal even to play this tune in those countries.

A few years ago a friend of mine (not a nazi!) when in Munich spent an hour whistling this tune in the street. He did it as an experiment, just to see whether or not he would be arrested! However, nothing happened. He reported that no-one took any notice at all. Presumably, the song (and its melody) had been banned for so long by then that no-one would have actually known what it was.

Sea shanties are not right wing, mostly being devised by the seamen themselves. Singing them whilst heaving or hauling would have made the work seem easier and more enjoyable.

Most of the English folk songs are apolitical - covering such subjects as love, harvests, mayday etc.

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There is always the movie "Bob Roberts" which features classics such as "This Land is My Land".

HIghly recommended, if unsettling, viewing

- Chris

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The Jacobites were reactionaries, at any rate if they thought through the implications of their cause.

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This threads existence is precisely why I don’t do song.

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What about Merle Haggard’s "Ogie from Miscogie" in the late 1960s which most Irish people sang and danced to in the ballrooms so popular back then. This was an anti-protest song aimed at backing American actions in Vietnam. It’s ironic but I remember reading somewhere that Merle deeply regretted doing this song at a later date when he realised the errors of his support for this misguided and unnecessary war.

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‘Sean O Duibhir an Ghleanna’ is both a lovely air and a lovely ballad – musical and lyrical brilliance. One of the ironies of Irish nationalism was that the wretched poor tended to identify its interests with those of its former ruling class. There was a cultural unity between the Big House and the peasant hovel that did not exist elsewhere in Europe (for a discussion on this, read Daniel Corkery’s marvellous little book ‘The Hidden Ireland’)." Post at:
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14918 (scroll)

“Here’s a health to your and my king,
The monarch of our liking,
And to Sarsfield underneath whose flag, we’ll cast once more a chance,
For the morning dawn will wing us
Across the sea and bring us,
To take our stand and wield a brand among the sons of France,
And though we part in sorrow,
Still Sean O Duibhir an Ghleanna,
Our prayer is God save Ireland and pour blessings on her name,
May her sons be true and needed,
May they never feel as we did,
Ah, Sean o Duibhir an Ghleanna, we were worsted in the game.”
SEÁN Ó DUIBHIR A’ GHLEANNA (Sheehan)
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=7866 (scroll)

Is this left wing or right wing?

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I have seen Tunney get asked to leave a session for singing St Peter’s Day in the Morning. What a vile song which wishes Protestants would miscrraige and is right wing Catholic vitrolic bile.
Croppies Lie Down pretty right wing. Wolf Tones pretty nationalist socialist!!!!

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Okie (not Ogie) from Muskogee was actually poking fun at the rednecks,but they didn’t see the joke.
"It started out as a joke. We wrote to be satirical originally. But then people latched onto it, and it really turned into this song that looked into the mindset of people so opposite of who and where we were. My dad’s people. He’s from Muskogee, you know?" Haggard once noted about "Okie from Muskogee."[1] In fact, critic Kurt Wolff wrote that Haggard always considered what became a redneck anthem to be a spoof, and that today fans - even the hippies that are derided in the lyrics - have taken a liking to the song and take humor in some of the lyrics.[

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A lot of old time Appalachian tunes( and the Scottish songs they’re derived from) warn about the wages of sin. Songs like Wicked Polly, Pretty Polly, The Devil’s nine questions and Most murder ballads have a strong moralistic tone to them. And although I understand that neither left or right holds the franchise on morality it is usually associated with the right.

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Sorry, I meant old time Appalachian SONGS…

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"although I understand that neither left or right holds the franchise on morality it is usually associated with the right"

But wasn’t Jesus a communist?

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ha ha, cross post. (But here’s to hoping Goodwin sees of this stupid thread)

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Didn’t god commit genocide against the entire population of the planet? (except one bloke and his wife and kids in an unfeasably large boat)

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Don’t know, but I wouldn’t think s/he’s very left wing, for some reason.
Is it raining there, llig?

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He’s also pretty damned intolerant towards homosexuals, women and other religions isn’t he? Old testament’s pretty scary…

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Other religions? Other religions probably don’t think so - I think.

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Does he sing left wing folk songs though?

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How folk music got adopted by the left was the subject of an interesting documentary as part of the BBC’s "American Folk music Weekend" a few weeks ago.
Two bits of trivia that stuck out were that the US socialists (including Pete Seeger who came from a classical music family) originally sought to woo the workers with classical music.
And that Woody Guthrie et al backed Nazi Germany as allies of the Soviet Union, until Hitler invaded Russia. Sort of "this guitar supports fascists"

There’s nothing inherently left-wing about folk music - songs OR tunes. If anything, it’s essentially conservative, small "c"

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Signing a non-aggression pact with germany hardly made the soviet union and germany allies.
- chris

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Well take it up with Woody Guthrie chris

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I disagree, Bren. “The mother of folklore is poverty” - A.L. Lloyd, "Folksong in England". Anybody aware of the unfair distribution of material goods and wanting to change it could be classed as left-wing.-
If you want to read more about Nazis and folk songs see my website.

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Interesting thread - it immediately divided straight down stereotypical personalities quirks of both sides;

Sarcastic "smarter than you" left - vs - angry "holier than thou" right.

Funny stuff people…

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Cosmic Ray - the use of the terms "Left" and "Right wing" come from the 18th C French Revolution, not British Politics. Just so’s you know ;-)

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I dunno, Jusa, the left-right divide to me usually just sounds like "smarter than you" -vs- "smarter than you".

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Why did Carl Marx drink herbal tea?

… ‘cause proper tea is theft.

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But that’s right … people always thing they are smarter that the rest. So someone on the left think the right is "holier than thou". And people on the right think the left are "holier than thou".

Me? I’m smarter than anybody here. And you are all "holier than thou". (Says I in a kind of "holier than thou" way)

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Sounds like a case of tai chi or chai tea, llig.

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"Me? I’m smarter than anybody here. And you are all "holier than thou".
You’ve never been in world championship wrestling or something like that in a previous life, have you, llig?

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tee he

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tee he? Tea who? I thought you said proper tea was theft?

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Tea? I thought we were talking about chai?

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Also, a few points of order:

1. I don’t have wings.
2. If I did, I still wouldn’t sing with them.
3. If you could sing with your wings, I’d like to see that.
4. Birds have wings, and they sing, but not with their wings.

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They clap their wings

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AHA! …and, they clap with BOTH wings! ;-)

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…then the left wing will know what the right wing is doing - and vice versa.

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When is left right?
…. When right is wrong.

(Think about it, it makes sense)

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Oh no…I-think-I’m-turning-Mr Bean, I think I’m turning Mr Bean!

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A nexus between the working class and the aristocracy has been pointed out in England too, and I think there is - or has been - something in this. It may just be that both have disdained the middle class more than each other, but my guess is that often enough, come a war, aristocrats proved willing and able to lead their soldiers from the front and thus won respect. In WW1 the top brass broke with this tradition and stayed in the rear but the younger officer class still had a particularly high casualty rate, maybe because they too made it a priority to lead from the front.

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…Mind, they might have been shot at dawn if they didn’t…

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From the 60 versions of a popular war song only 4 contained the last verse calling men to fight. 23 warned ‘not to follow the sound of the drum’. (W. Steinitz, German folk songs of a democratic character from 6 centuries)

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Political songs are almost always based on grudges/hatred, self-congratulatory identity-politics, or self-pity. Therefore … ‘nuff said.

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Depends on what you call political.
Good songs often tell stories and you can draw your own conclusions.

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We used to sing:
"You can bring Ho and Uncle Joe
but Don’t Bring Trotsky
You can bring Mao and Lin Piao
but Don’t Bring Trotsky
He’s the kind of smarty
That f@€ks up the Communist Party
Ice picks for Trotsky
Ice picks for Trotsky
He’s no good at all"

Which would’ve put us on the "Sarcastic "smarter than you" left" I suppose

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Not particularly subtle, is it?

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Not particularly, no.
When you’re young and right about everything, you don’t seek subtlety

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Political songs CAN be primitive and full of hate but they don’t NEED to be. They don’t even have to take sides. Think of Colum Sand’s There Were Roses.
To show you what I had in mind here’s a story by John McCutcheon pointing out what a song of his actually meant to some WW I veterans:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9coPzDx6tA

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I’m with Thingy Ear Canal Oil on political trad or trad-style songs - I think he’s put it very well.

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Nicholas—I’m glad I’m not alone in seeing it that way!

And Trotsky! Yikes, the Mexicans have made a museum out of Trotsky’s house. You get to stand in the study where he was pick-axed by his fellow travelers. ¡Muy dramatico!

The moral: Lefties need to watch their backs when they’re no longer lefty enough for the lefties in power. (See Orwell’s "Homage to Catalonia" for an excellent case study of this delightful phenomenon. And, sure, "Animal Farm" for those who need parables to get it.)

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Well, we already knew that there left-wing songs …

… And this discussion has shown us all that there are plenty of right-wing songs too ….

… But what about songs promoting middle-of-the-road, liberal political values …..

… any in that category?

I’ll offer "Lily the Pink", for starters ….

….Any more, anyone?

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John Grover wrote:
"Ling Pupa,before you make genarilsed statements about things you know nothing about,provide facts,yes the songs you describe do exist , but they are not a majority .they are a small minority,the majority are either apolitical,or critical of the establishment ."
(I would have split that into two, but the charming folk grammar and punctuation would have to be sacrificed.)
It’s always sweet to read the messages from those people who know how much other people know. I’m hoping that one day someone will show me how that is done!
Unfortunately I must reply with a tired, old line: READ MY MESSAGE. (Apologies for the caps, I don’t mean to shout, but we don’t have a very rich formatting environment here.)
I referred to "a lot" of those songs, and my statement is pretty well beyond dispute. Actually you seem to agree with me, but you have introduced the idea of what kind of songs might be in the *majority*. Now THAT is beyond the scope of my knowledge, and it would take a serious research project to determine even a tentative answer. Have you done one, or do you know of one?

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For several years in the ’70s, a friend of mine had a job as a waiter at the annual retreat of prominent US Republicans at the Bohemian Grove, up the coast from here. He confided to me that they like their folk music too. He would not say which songs they liked. When I asked if they concluded their outing with a chorus of the Horst Wessel song, he said they did not.

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They like:
"This land is my land, this land is my land …"

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>The moral: Lefties need to watch their backs when they’re no >longer lefty enough for the lefties in power. (See >Orwell’s "Homage to Catalonia" for an excellent case study of >this delightful phenomenon. And, sure, "Animal Farm" for .those who need parables to get it.)


Orwell’s book is certainly one interpretation of what went wrong on the republican side in the Spanish Civil War. But it isn’t entirely in agreement with the opinions of most veterans of the International Brigades, certainly not with any former brigade members that I ever met.

For me the real tragedy was that at a time when people had their backs against the wall in the fight against facism, it was still possible for internal divisions on the left to split the opposition. I have my opinion as to where the main blame for this lies, but I do not doubt the motives of those who volunteered and ended up on either side of that divide. The lesson is not to allow such divisions in the future in the face of facism.

I’m with Christy Moore on this "Viva la Quinta Brigada".

- Chris

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St Peter’s Day was a Dawning (sang by Paddy Tunney)
one verse goes…

And we fired a volley that opened the valley
From Drogheda’s gate to Rathfriland
And to answer our guns sure the hills they did speak
All the Protestant churches did tremble and quake
And so did their women all miscarry
All those who were bearing the rank seed of Harry
And their fair maids they swore that they never would marry
While Saint Peter’s Day was a-dawning

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Lingpupa

I’ve just run a search on Mudcat (a good source for traditional folk songs)

"hoe the fields" - no results returned
"toast unto his Majesty" - no results returned.
"doff your cap" - no results returned
"proud to be a soldier" - Yes! one song. But wait, it’s not a folk song, but a Tom Lehrer song, satirising the U.S. army.

Over to you ….

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Mix - have you ever heard the word "parody"?
Sheesh.

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Hey John, are you really Dick Miles?

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That’s strange, Mr. Grover, but you must have had the same grammar teacher as DM. I’d ask for your money back, if I were you.

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lingpupa - parody? Certainly - but your parody was invalid, as it wasn’t based on fact.

You might like to consider my response as a parody, since like you, I was also making "mock" …

… except that my response was based on fact, in that I quoted your words verbatim … ;-)

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This should sort it once and for all …

Hey John, can you play rolls like a fiddle and flute can on your banjo or concertina?

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Enjoy your argument guys. As Dick, sorry John said"
"yes the songs you describe do exist , but they are not a majority". My point exactly.
It was and is not my intention to enter into statistical analyses. I am neither interested nor qualified for such a task, and I doubt very much if this is a suitable forum for such a discussion.
One of the reasons I was happy to be involved in the folk revival in the 60s was the general left-leaning, humanitarian drift of the movement. But we should not over-romaticise our forbears.

Ttossydillo:
Here’s a health to our king
And likewise our queen
And to all the royal family
Where’ere they are seen

Boyne Water:
Come let us all with heart and voice applaud our live’s defender
Who at the Boyne his valor showed and mad his for surrender
To God above, the praise we ll give now and ever after,
And bless the glorious memory of King William that crossed the water.

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Despite people insisting C.Sharp was a socialist, I understand that he rejected and did not note down any industrial or workers songs that might be interpreted as socialist, feeling that these might be propaganda and not true folk-songs. He was definitely driven by the idea that he might find new versions of the old ballads, rather than more current preoccupations of the workers. He must have heard such stuff, it has been collected since then in the areas he went, he just didn’t choose to collect them himself.
The early ‘50’s onwards folk revieval definitely had this left-wing slant, MacColl and Lloyd both, in their different ways, being of the left, but what they started and encouraged pretty soon out grew their influence, and went off in ways they had never anticipated.

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"John Grover" writes:
"Lingpupa are you a Willie , is this some sort of game ."
I’ll leave aside the five or more errors of grammar and punctuation in that short line and come to the point. Let me just check - no, wrong again: I *have* a willie.

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PS I’m sure everyone realized, but "Ttossydillo" was meant to be "Twa nk ydillo" without the spaces.

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>This should sort it once and for all …
>Hey John, can you play rolls like a fiddle and flute can on your >banjo or concertina

Michael I can play rolls just as well on the banjo as I can on fiddle or flute. Does thank make me Dick Miles?

It all depends on how high you set the bar.

Who is Dick Miles anyway? And why is it crucial that he be unmasked?

- Chris

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If you can play rolls just as well on the banjo and one can on the fiddle and flute, then you must be Dick Miles as well.

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I don’t know about Dick Miles but for some reason it puts me in mind of Ton Miles, the units by which we measured cable travel and stress over a sheave offshore. I’m just saying, that’s all.

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>If you can play rolls just as well on the banjo and one can on >the fiddle and flute, then you must be Dick Miles as well


…And so is my wife!

Though you did catch the part about where you set the bar didn’t you?

I can also play hurl just as well with a banjo as I can with a camán. If you’d seen hurl, you’d be in no doubt about this :-)

- Chris

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Actually kicked off, really? Must have a search for what caused this. Typically all the fun stuff happens when I’m not looking.

A few weeks back a random drunk woman came over, sat on the fiddle players knee and snogged him during one of the sets. I’d popped back into work for 20 minutes and missed it.

(Seen the photos on the phones though or I wouldn’t have belived it)

- chris

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I’m still here. Just a different name. But I couldn’t be bothered posting much (except this reply). Ben is also still a member but also couldn’t be @rsed with all the nonsense, and I can’t say I blame him.
Do yer homework before you start talking about other members, please.

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So was Ben Hall

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"Oh his name it is Ben Hall, fiddler in Ross-on-Wye, fiddler in Ross-on-Wye…
Oh his name it is Ben Hall, fiddler in Ross-on-Wye.
Oh his name it is Ben Hall, and we miss him one and all,
Or at least a few of us do, he seemed a decent fella, a decent fella…"

Well, it almost works, and look, it’s on a thread about songs. [shrug]

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"Ben went to Goobang Creek and that was his downfall,
For riddled like a sieve was valiant Ben Hall.
……
Then they rolled him in the blanket and strapped him to his prad,
And they led him through the streets of Forbes for to show the prize they had"

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Great stuff lads, thanks for the education.

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Lovely! Keep it coming. I could read this stuff forever.

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The ballad of "Sam Hall, Chimney Sweep" made it to California some time ago, along with the story of Dick Turpin. Ben Hall the bushranger is a new one for some of us. Our outlaws of that period almost never became celebrated heros. Maybe it was because there were just too many of them, and that most of them were psychopaths anyway. There were not a whole lot of Robin Hoods in the bunch.

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With regards to the original topic, the political right in the US has minted a handful of ‘Folk’ songs; their subjects are usually about war, and the nobility of fighting men. Off the top of my head, I can think of a part of a verse from a song about our going to war against the Philipinos. "Damn, damn, damn the insurectos…….Underneath our starry flag, civilize them with a Krag…. I can’t remember the rest. Don’t want to.

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Atahalpa, Now, why would you be trying to get us back on track with all these lovely diversions going on?

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Point taken. I would ask the membership to hyjack this thread good and proper with some more poetry. My personal preference just now would be for more Australian lore, especially the mid-19th C stuff. Any seconders?

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Come in, Mister Banjo Patterson !

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My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called "Max". To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was a white line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Max. The warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything. And became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again…

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Thank you for that submission, airport. (In fairness, it should be mentioned that the situation in Los Angeles is improving.) Now, is there anyone out there with some poetic gem from NINETEENTH Century Australia. Patterson is perfectly good. Lawson would be better. Both might be a little bit too recent.

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Here you are quigs, you can have your Oz fix for the day:

Just a few good banjo reels would have been better I think, but hey (that’s not right wing is it?). Some damn good riding in here, among best you’ll see.

Video version of the words:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNStbzxuAQ4

(short version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZBXLYJwgt4


“…And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.” (That’s the right wing part probably.)

Words version of the video:
http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/t/themanfromsnowyriver.shtml

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On reflection, that piece of post-apocalyptic Patterson was pretty cool. Got any more where that came from, airport?

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Sorry Duijera, but my browser is busted. I’m sure you mean well. Thanks.

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What’s life without a browser, quigs! Bloody hell!

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Would that Clancy reference have been something from "Clancy of the Overflow?" As to life without a browser: well, one takes long walks, reads books, and cleans the down-spouts. It can happen to any of us.

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The wallisandmatilda link worked fine. Even though its Patterson, it’s still better than food.

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Patterson and Lawson, just like food and drink - what more could you want!

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The poetry of some of the ordinary Joes from a half-century before those two men can be pretty compelling, That stuff about your bushranger, Ben Hall is a fairly good example of what I mean.

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God i hate ‘modern’ bush poetry. It’s no more an ‘old’ tradition than Aussie bush music is - both fabrications of the mid-twentieth century.

How these ‘poets’ manage to con festival organisers that their racist, sexist, blokey, sub-moronic ‘humour’ and bush festishist ‘poetry’ somehow contribute meaningfully to the aussie folk scene is beyond me.

(which is not to say that Patterson/Lawson etc arn’t great artists in their own right. but modern ‘bush’ poetry - lawson it aint)

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Jeez, where’ve you been! Good to hear from you.

Nah, Lawson it ain’t, Patterson it ain’t either. A lot of it would be right wing too. It’s poetry though.

I think Patterson and Lawson drew on a tradition though of long standing in Oz. Patterson went around collecting the old bush poems you know.

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I worry about contemporary poets writing stuff about the Old West. The Old West is dead and gone. The new poetry on the subject is often so reverential; unlike the matter-of-fact treatment the originals gave their world when it was alive and kicking.

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Yes, it seems that it is easy for revisionists to politicize either to the left or right when composing new poetry or song.

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Actually Paterson (one T) provides an interesting case of how perceptions of "right" and "left" have changed over the years.
The original published verse of "Travelling Down the Castlereagh" aka "Bushman’s Song" , generally perceived as a "militant unionists song" had:
"I asked a cove for shearin’ once along the Marthaguy,
"We shear non-union here," says he, "I call it scab," says I,
I looked along the shearin’ floor before I turned to go -
There were eight or ten dashed Chinamen a-shearin’ in a row"

The revisionist "folk" version has:
"There were eight or ten non-union men a-shearin’ in a row"

Opposition to mass Chinese immigration to Australia, originally a cornerstone of left-wing labour, (the Australian Labor Party once flaunted the slogan "Australia for the White Man") which they saw as defending their hard-won rights against cheap imported labour, is now seen as a "right wing" phenomenon, and Paterson’s reference to Chinamen has been excised.

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Re: Right wing folk songs

Do you mean that the modern "folk" influence or domain is essentially a left-wing one then?

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I think it is, but I think that’s essentially a product of the American left of the 30s-60s.

It seems to me that the modern folk revivals in Anglophone countries at least, all took their cues from the US revival.

I know there are plenty of examples, as have been provided above, of previous left-wing folk songs, but my feeling is that seeing an interest in trad music as a left-wing phenomenon is a modern era thing

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Dare I raise my head again? What a great discussion.

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*shoots at sokol’s head peeping over parapet*

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What about Irish traditional music (and song) in Ireland - do you think it sees itself or is seen as a left-wing phenomenon? What about Irish traditional music in countries outside Ireland?

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probably depends on which generation you’re talking to
Those who came to it in the 60s/70s/80s probably see it as left wing, those from before or after may be more neutral
Just an observation from experience, not an analysis from stats or anything

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Considering that it is a tradition that comes from times when a left / right wing political divide wasn’t even thought of at all, it is interesting why and how any such a label gets applied at all. To me, it’s just a distraction - annoying at times, but only a distraction.

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I don’t think it comes so much from people who are "from" traditional music, as people who are drawn "to" it

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…or what people do with it?

Anyway, on topic, if there is really one here at all…some songs: are they left or right? You tell me. I guess it depends on what people do with them…there’s a lot of that happening at the moment, have you noticed?

I was only 19.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gmgwx77osw&feature=related


Waltzing my Matilda.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kki1kpFCBh0&feature=related

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If you try whistling the "Horst Wessel" (yes, it has an R) or "Prussian Pride" in Austria and you might get a favourable reaction - ideas are slow to change in Bavaria.

Aren’t all hunting songs Right Wing?
Tally Ho, Tootle Pip

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Hang it all, Bren, you broke the spell! (Paterson with one T indeed!) Next time, I will spell it with three. And no more shooting at your own guys; It’s bad for morale.

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I sailed aboard the Horst Wessel in my younger days—of course, she is the USCG Cutter Eagle now……

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Is the Eagle a square-rigged training ship? Is it still in service?

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Is SHE still in service?

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yes and yes

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It’s kind of hard to sit around writing folk songs when you’ve got a business to run and jobs to create.

But I enjoy listening to folk singers. As long as they have my Chicken McNuggets ready on time, or don’t put too much sugar in my grande iced mocha.

Re: Right wing folk songs

Old folkies and new folkies. It is something to think on: how the old people put in longer days; made their quotas with only muscle power; then afterward found the time and energy to compose songs. The real achievement is that through it all, they made sure the boss got his fried chicken, and not-over-sugared coffee.

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"the old people put in longer days; made their quotas with only muscle power; then afterward found the time and energy to compose songs…"

Back to the future, quigs. I think there’s going to be ample opportunity to do that in the States in the very near future!

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Back to the future: "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Are you deaf? I ordered fries with that, you…..!"

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Hi

Australia has a good right wing folk song about a rich farmer hit by the depression of the late 1800s.

It is called "The Broken-down Squatter". It is a fine song.

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I was just listening to a compilation album which included Dick Gaughan’s "No Gods and Precious Few Heros." Until the right gets a singer who can deliver a song like Dick does, no one will remember their songs…….

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AlBrown — It is the song, not who sings it. I can’t even imagine a Dick Gaughan version of "The Ballad Of The Green Berets,"or any other such thing.

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"What is Right, and What is Wrang, by the law, by the law?
What is Right and what is Wrang by the law?
What is Right, and what is Wrang?
A short sword, and a lang,
A weak arm and a strang, for to draw."

Hmm, what is right and what is left - by the law, by the law.

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OK, you could make a fragile case for Dick Gaughan’s being rightwing, and a war-monger. The accepted profile has him working at a fast- food counter too. Are you proud of yourself? This ends here.

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I wouldn’t say Dick Gaughan was ring wing, you yourself said it is the song, not the singer. The thread asks about right wing songs, doesn’t it? Whether something is perceived as left wing or right wing is about what people do with the song (or tune, or whatever it might be), I believe it is called propaganda, it is widely used by the left and the right, even today.

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I wouldn’t say Dick Gaughan was "right" wing, of course - not ring wing. Jeez, typos!

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The tongue-in-cheek emoticon is broken, along with my browser. Else, I would have added it. There was something Gaughan said at a concert he gave here once, about how war songs are pornography; then he proceeded to sing a war song. It was one of those Jacobite jobs.

Grin & bear it

;-^)

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Duijera, did you mean ‘wight wing war wongering wones’?

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Gaughan "right wing" and a "war-monger" !!! Stay off the drugs, pal.

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i can’t listen just now, but if that is the same "Erin go Bragh" that Dick normally sings about the racist policeman getting his come uppance then I’ve got no particular problem with it.

- chris

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I’ve always found "ye Jacobites" confusing. People tend to belt it out and think of it as pre-jacobite. But even Burn’s version doesn’t sound uparticularly pro-jacobite to me:

"Ye Jacobites by name,
Your fautes I will proclaim,
Your doctrines I maun blame, you shall hear."

I don’t have a problem with it not being pro-jacobite, I’m not keen on romantic glamourisation of the Jacobite cause.

I like Dominic Behan’s take on the old conflicts:

"Two foreign old monarchs in battle did jion,
each wanting their head on the back of a coin,
if the irish had sense they’d drown both in the Boyne,
and partition throw into the ocean."

The paucity of the jacobite cause’s pretention to being a movement for freedom (rather than substituting one lordling for another) can be seen by the way the exiled Jacobites all rallied around King George against the colonists in the American war of independence.

I think Brian Mc Neill called this one right

- chris

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"pro-Jacobite", not "pre-Jacobite".

Unless of course we are taling about the version written by the Brahan Seer.

(And if you’re seriously taken in by the likes of the aptly initialled BS then there is no hope for you now)

- Chris

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The pre-Burns version of ye Jacobites seems to be vehemently anti-Jacobite, but the Burns version seems to a lot less partisan. If you read "Ye Jacobites by name" as an admonition to "Ye Jacobites in name only (rather than by your actions)", then it takes on a different tone. In that case it would seem very pro-Jacobite. In it’s day, as perhaps even now, it is seen "popularly" as pro-Jacobite.

Perhaps, being royalists (who generally aren’t, in my understanding, left-wing), it might not be surprising if jacobites rallied to King George (although I have no idea whether they actually did or not) against what they likely might have seen as the subversive American revolutionaries. I guess right-wingers mighn’t necessarily agree that left-wing politics actually represents a movement for freedom, rather than a movement for enslavement e.g. Bolshevism.

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I loved the homage to Elmer Fudd, guys. Can we do it some more? There was a group of Jacobite Scots in one of the southern colonies, who threw their lot in with the British. They didn’t do too well.

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Do left and right wing mean what they used to mean, anyway?
Seems the world’s moved on.

It’s also intriguing that some here appear to regard "right wing" as referring to anyone vaguely "establishment" like bankers or businesspeople, whereas others seem to mean authoritarian bullies, whether rich or poor, which is sort of what the term evokes for me too
There must be several other shades of meaning I’ve ignored or missed.
I still don’t think trad music is necessarily one wing or the other, even if it’s been seen that way at times

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Re: Right wing folk songs

A case could be made these days that prominant US bankers are anti-establishment. Our state department used to delimiate between "Authoritarian" dictatorships, and "Totalitarian" dictatorships. Somehow, the former was supposed to be preferable. I don’t care for either group.

Do left and right wing mean what they used to mean, anyway?

Quigley, that’s why we play session,eh? Maybe a good reason for playing more tunes (than songs). How good a session is it if this bunch sits on one side while that group sits on the other?
We play together. Plenty of time for banter between the tunes.

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What a perverse idea! You mean to tell me you don’t group together by doctrinal identity? I thought our session seating arrangement was universal. You’re missing out on all the fun of jeering and cat-calling when one side plays too many sets in succession. The reception any singer or soloist gets can be downright brutal. Disfunction, that’s our byword.

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I brought up Dick Gaughan as an example of how the left seems to have the best singers, which causes their anthems to be more memorable. But somehow, in the discussion, he mutated into an example of a right-wing war monger. (?????) Perhaps one of the strangest turns a discussion on these pages has ever taken. I can’t think of many people who are more fiercely and passionately leftist than Mr. Gaughan, nor many who are more talented and articulate representatives for their cause.

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Atahualpa ~ your session sounds like our forum on a good day.
Your seating arrangement is universal. It’s just that I sit on a different side each week. Just to know how the other 1/2 lives.

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Nor can I, Mr. Brown. Nor can I.

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Did you guys read the *book* I posted in my early response to this thread? Anyway ~ this did happen in our session, though it is a bit dated now. A few of my session mates are veterans of the Vietnam war. They get along great but their politics vary widely.
One of them said to the other, " I saw a bumper sticker today. It read; If Bush is the answer it must have been a stupid question."
I honestly don’t remember if there was a reply. Probably just a cold icy stare & perhaps a few bars of the Yellow Rose of Texas.

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Random — Take a bow for "Wight wing war wongering." The "culture wars" miasma in this country isn’t going to sort itself out any time soon.

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"I brought up Dick Gaughan as an example of how the left seems to have the best singers…But somehow, in the discussion, he mutated into an example of a right-wing war monger. (?????) " AlBrown

I think quigs got the idea Dick must be a right winger when quigs listened to Erin go Bragh (or more to the point maybe, what the author of the you tube video graphics juxtaposed to the song. Erin go Bragh seems to have a fair smattering of nationalism in it possibly, so maybe quigs saw some cross-over there with right of centre politics. Isn’t that right, quigs? :-)

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Although it hasn’t happened to our Dick, and probably won’t, history does have a habit of playing funny tricks on people.

Those who saw themselves as right-on left-wingers in their day can sometimes be stranded on a right-wing sandbank by the tides of history and the shifting sands of public perception.

I’ll stop before I get bogged down in muddy metaphor

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Nah, Duijera. There isn’t any more cross-over in Gaughan’s repertoire than there is in the repertoire of most any other good folk singer. They wouldn’t perform songs about war if the songs didn’t tell of something else more important. Some songs are little documents, or testaments if you will, about bloody, awful things. A good few of these testements come by their political slant honorably; others, not. So what? Something else about the songs redeems them.

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Ah Mr. Quigley, it takes an open mind to find the redeeming value, something often in short supply when folks’ political hackles get raised.

Fascinating thread folks.

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I just couldn’t resist making you out as someone who makes Gauchan out to be a warmonger. People come here for the serious debates; others of us come to swing around on the playground equipment, mostly.

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That’s to Duijera, not you SWFL. You’ve hogged the swing long enough BTW.

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Some nice turns of phrase, guys. SW, are you a poet and don’t know it?
C’mon quigs, I didn’t make him out to be right wing - the song not the singer, mate, like you said. What people do with the song - maybe long after the singer is gone even.

But hey, maybe this is more like the folk song for the times - sounds like left wingers, but maybe they’re right (wingers):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofotzbP3jJM

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Of course you didn’t make him out to be RW. It was all cheap American-AM-radio-talk-show illogical jujitsu. My inner demon got the better of me. I think our respective embassies can remain open for the present.

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PS They wouldn’t perform CERTAIN songs about war… Gaughan’s collection of such material must be pretty small anyway.

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Duijera Dubh- if the ultra-reactionary, radical right miltia movement here is really of interest to you, i’m sure there are lots of places on the web where you can find plenty of information on the subject. Furthermore, your government probably won’t think twice about you viewing such sites. Things are a little different here in the USA with regard to certain internet activities. some food for thought…
cheers, pipewatcher

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"At one time in Lowland Scotland there was prejudice not only against the Irish but also against Highland Scots. This 19th century song deals with both these."
Gaughan’s Comment concerning Erin Go Bragh from his own website.
Part of being leftist is campaigning for all people to have equal rights.

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I think what I like best about D Squared vs. A Quigs is how you guys always keep a rational head, despite the debate.

That, and swings. Wheee!!!

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pipewatcher, no I don’t have an interest in ultra-reactionary, radical right militia movements. Many apparently do, not myself though. Cheers.

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Duijera- believe me, i was not implying anything about your politics or your interests. My point was this- i checked out your link because i was interested in your input to the conversation. i had no indication of it’s content. if i were some low-level person working in a school or hospital or any other even vaguely state-sponsored job just killing time on the computer on the job, i could expect to be called into someone’s office to explain why i had (innocently) visited a site like this. i.e. sometimes the consequences of small things can be mighty weird

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pipe, my understanding is that it is a youtube video itself, not actually the site of the purported organisation, if it exists at all. I think many workplaces block you tube sites, I’m not sure, for the very reason I think you are referring to, people killing time at work.

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Duijera- i’m sure yer right : it’s just youtube after all. but-the groups mentioned are very real

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I’m sure they are very real, pipe. Just as they were in the past. The scary thing is that they are often grassroots movements, they are not necessarily orchestrated by bank managers or generals, etc, mentioned in the first comment in the thread as apparently representative of "the right wing". If I have got this right, nazism was so named from the words "national" and "socialism", seemingly a machiavellian usage of popular political perspectives. "Right wing" is a lot more complex, I think anyway, than categorising certain occupations or sectors of society as such, and it has been, and continue to be very much a grassroots phenomenon. Song, tune, and dance, as popular cultural pursuits can be manipulated to whatever political end the extremist political engineers might envisage - right or left.

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quite a can of worms Duij- but since music is the topic and no one seems to have mentioned it; what do y ‘all think- is "Dixie" a "right-wing" song?

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…tough one, but I would have thought you’d have to gauge where dixie stands from where it sees its opponents e.g. the northern states, particularly I suppose the north eastern ones?
We’d be talking about two sides there though that didn’t have a particularly leftist view even though they were on opposite sides. dixie seems to me a nationalist song and even a rally point for the vanquished, but not necessarily leftist. The pre civil war south seems to me to have been almost a class-based society bound together by a strong nationalist sentiment, and a perceived common opponent being the "liberal democratic" "yankee" states. None of them seemed to be particularly leftist though.

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i think that the social and political values of the Old South would certainly be considered "right-wing" by today’s standards

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I would think so too. But what about the northern states at the time?

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You could draw a parallel between the US governement attempting to keep the Southern states in the union by force, and e.g. Serbia trying to forceably keep the sessionist republics as part of Yugoslavia.

‘Course you’d be ignoring complicating issues like slavery etc., and no two situations are ever the same. But it does cast the US civil war in a different light.

- chris

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—"i think that the social and political values of the Old South would certainly be considered "right-wing" by today’s standards"—

depends on whose standards of course

In US politics, the Republicans are considered "right wing" and the Dems "left wing" (whatever they look like to us in ROTW)
Abe Lincoln was a Rep, and the Dems were mainly against abolition of slavery.
Northerners might still look at Southerners as backward rednecks but isn’t this just the traditional contempt of the urban educated for the rural poor?
And the very antithesis of respect for simple traditional music forms

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Examinations of a left/right divide in American traditional/folk songs and music might be a bit problematic considering that leftist politics weren’t really articulated much before the mid 1800s in Europe.

In any event maybe the whole American political spectrum is sort of blue-shifted to the right. U.S. Dems don’t look particularly leftist compared to leftists elsewhere. Songs of the pre-leftist times were probably just versions of various rightist politics. What about the song “Yankee Doodle”, apparently originally a British military song!

Back in the 1700s and 1800s leftists were probably seen as dangerous subversives to the interests of even the average person. I remember that perspective well even up to some decades ago held by old people then who were born in the late1800s and early 1900s. You had the phenomenon where very average working class people were vehemently anti-leftist (if not rightist). I think that was more the norm as you go back in time. Maybe also among people who played Irish traditional music as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee_Doodle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-liberal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

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__You had the phenomenon where very average working class people were vehemently anti-leftist (if not rightist)__

Still the case isn’t it? Who do you think voted for Thatcher, Reagan, Bush - and John Howard?

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Blast it Bren, it would be nice to have your critic’s distance, far away from the North/South divide. "Northerners might still look at Southerners as backward rednecks but isn’t this just the traditional contempt of the urban educated for the rural poor? And the very antithisis of respect for simple traditional music forms" I grew up in a somewhat stable amalgam of North and South. It still holds, even with the subsequent addition of peoples from the rest of the planet. Westerners might sometimes wish we could be shut of the East altogether.

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I like what you wrote in the thread about nationalities BTW.

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It wasn’t scotland, wales, or the north of england that voted for thatcher. I think there is a genuine culural and political divide in britian today. You can tell by the way dissaffected voters in the south of england will turn to the conservatives. Aint going to happen in scotland, though they may turn away from labour, they arn’t going to go that way it would be anathema. I’d bank on similar feelings exist ing in wales and the northern cities of england.

- chris

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What you bank on today could crumble tomorrow. Scotland used to be Tory country, and my how that’s changed. It can change again.

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Yup right up to the 1950s Govan had a conservative mp.
They used to get elected largely on the "conservative and unuionist" ticket, largely relying on a wroking class unionist vote.

If you think that scotland will ever vote capital C conservative again in anything like the forseeable future then I think you are badly mistaken.

The thatcher years were a genuine watershed. I doubt they’ll ever be forgiven, nor should they be (IMHO)

- chris

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Chris - do you have voting-age kids?
They can’t remember Thatcher, or anything before Blair
Half of them think Gordon Brown is evil incompetence incarnate
We may be approaching another watershed

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whatever side of politics stuffs up in an economic disaster like this leaves it wide open for extremists from the opposite side to take over - with popular support.
If a hyperinflation starts on top of all this, as it did in Weimar Germany in the 1930s that could be the death knell for incumbent governments. dangerous times…watch out for right wing folk songs.

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I fear Bren is right about the short term political memory of the masses. However there have been political watersheds before, ie after WW1 the Liberals never gained power again.

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Maybe so Bren, but if they vote conservative in their droves across central scotland I’ll eat my socks.

New Labour was another watershed for myself. I’ve never voted labour since tony blair became leader, having campaigned for them for severeal gen elects before then.

After the Iraq war I doubt I will ever vote labour again, not unless they admit their guilt and denounce blair, brown etc as war criminals. I’m not going to vote for mass murderers.

To be frank, the whole iraq debacle where blair & cronies (& remember brown was in the cabinet) took the country to war when the vast majority of the population was opposed to doing so, was the final nail in any belief I had that uk style "democracy" was anything other than the skimpiest of fig leaves.

Personally I no longer care if the tories beat labour in a uk gen elction. New labour swallowed thatchers agenda wholesale and 20 odd years of succesive governments of supposedly different stripe allowing finance capital & the city to run riot without any regulation have come home to roost.

I don’t care which pro-city, pro-speculator, willing-to-bonb-civialins party is in power. Hell mend the labour party, I won’t be voting for it again.

- chris (getting it off his chest)

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sorry, forgot in my frenzied soapboxing.

Yes I have one daughter of voting age : but only when it comes to what film to see at the cinema etc.

Another while before she goes through the charade at the ballot box.

- chris

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OK, but the Tories would, and probably will, dismantle the health service.

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DD - hyperinflation in the Weimar republic was in the 1920s, not the 30s, and the republic continued for about ten years after that before the Nazis got power.

It was just one of the many things that Hitler’s lot manipulated in their relentless assault - "what’s the point of voting anyway" nihilism was another

Much on my mind at the moment as I’m reading Michael Burleigh’s brilliant and engrossingly detailed "The Third Reich: A New History" (2001)

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all the ingredients for something similar seem to be brewing at the moment - if the EU and the Euro fail which is being touted right now, I think we will see some trouble. Watch out for right wing folk songs!

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…let alone the US dollar which is looking more and more like an extinct species as we stumble from crisis to crisis.

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>It was just one of the many things that Hitler’s lot >manipulated in their relentless assault - "what’s the point of >voting anyway" nihilism was another

if that is refing my earlier post. I think you have a duty to vote. I’ve never not voted in my life.

I also firmly belive that writing "none of the above", or some slogan on a ballot paper is not a "spoiled" ballot paper but an actual vote. Never done this myself, I’ve always found someone to fall back on. But if there was no-one I could honestly put an x next to, then I’d have no hesitation in treating the ballot paper in this way. I’d never just stay at home.

Remember also that, much as I dislike (euphemism) the conservative party. We’re not talking about the third reich here. Further, if politicians want to to scare up votes by pointing out what the alternative is: well they have to actually constitute themselves as something noticeably different from that alternative.

If they’re just pointing at a slightly murkier reflection of themselves, then they can forget it.

No point in saying "that other mob will knacker public services" out one side of the mouth and "pssst, here is a non-loss making national post servce available if anyone wants to speculate for a quick buck" out the other corner.

i’m going to duck out now, as I think I’v epontificated more than enough on an OT subject. (I’m stuck supposedly working at the computer, and it is a terrible temptation to get caught up in the web discussion forums:-))

best - chris

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Nazi rule started with the results of the General election on Jan. 30th, 1933. I’m very much in favour of voting but I don’t blame people who say we don’t have much to choose from.

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I don’t blame them either. I’m just saying that it’s a state of affairs that can be manipulated.

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I can’t believe someone has made a topic on right wing songs, if a song reflects the culture of a people or the mood of an era at a given time in history this is folk, regardless of whether it is right or left or dead centre it shouldn’t be any less of a folk song, it should be respected as being a representation of that era and we should be allowed and feel able to express this through our music. I try to play music from many traditions and actively search out the bizarre.

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Birds have two wings. The sweet notes come from between the wings . Music should never be divisive

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I suppose any song with sexist, racist or homophobic lyrics could be classed as right wing.

Eg:
‘My wife died on Friday night
Saturday she was buried
Sunday is a courtin’ day
Monday I got married.
Glory! Hallelujah there!’

not to mention tunes like ‘I buried my wife and danced on her grave’.. Horrible, and I’m sure there’s much worse (the example is an American old timey song.)

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Why would anyone dredge up this horrid old thread?

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Curiosity. A search for ‘songs’ and this was at the top of the list. I was after funny songs actually but no luck.