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Wake Up John (Hanging Song)‎

Fairport Convention
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‎[1971]‎
Scritta da Dave Swarbrick e Dave Pegg
E’ la canzone che chiude il concept album intitolato “‘Babbacombe’ Lee”.‎

Babbacombe’ Lee

Nell’edizione originale del 1971 i brani non erano distinti ma accorpati in cinque lunghe suite.‎
Questo era ovviamente contenuto nell’ultima intitolata “When it comes, he cannot sleep, but ‎when he does, a strange, prophetic dream comes to him, and helps him to bear the strain of his next ‎day's ordeal as scaffold and its crew try in vain three times to take his life.”‎

John Babbacombe Lee
John Babbacombe Lee


Un concept album dedicato a John Henry George Lee (1864-1945), meglio conosciuto come John ‎‎‎"Babbacombe" Lee o, ancora meglio, come "The Man They Couldn't Hang", un uomo originario ‎‎del Devon inglese che nel 1884 fu accusato dell’omicidio di una donna. Lui si professò sempre ‎‎innocente ma venne condannato a morte a seguito di un processo completamente indiziario. Il 23 ‎‎febbraio 1885 fu condotto al patibolo ma il boia per ben tre volte non riuscì a giustiziarlo. La pena ‎‎per il fortunato “Uomo che non poterono impiccare” fu commutata in ergastolo ma le ‎circostanze ‎della sua tentata esecuzione non portarono certo all’abolizione della pena di morte, ‎soltanto al ‎miglioramento dell’affidabilità delle forche.‎
Nel 1907 John "Babbacombe" Lee fu rilasciato, cercò per un po’ di sfruttare la notorietà acquisita ‎‎ma presto di lui si persero le tracce. Emigrato negli USA, pare che sia morto nel 1945 a Milwaukee, ‎‎Wisconsin, dove è sepolto con il nome di James Lee. ‎

A John "Babbacombe" Lee si ispirarono certo The Men They Couldn' t Hang per il nome ‎‎della loro formazione…‎
Wake up John, it's time to go
Come along John and don't be slow
Come along John, don't be slow
Wake up John, it's time to go‎
Wake up John, it's time to go ‎
‎ ‎
A priest joins the procession just to help me kneel
With a warder at my elbow and another at my heel
Marching in the morning down a path I've lately seen ‎
I was sleeping in this garden, am I still within my dream? ‎
‎ ‎
The echo of my heartbeat is the beating of a drum ‎
And all the earth is singing with life's sweet hum ‎
We filed in solemn silence, shuffled through a door ‎
The place where life is taken for the letter of the law ‎
‎ ‎
Shake the holy water, summon up the guard
Dying's very easy, waiting's very hard ‎
‎ ‎
A rope was hanging from the roof, a sight which puzzles me
I thought a gibbet and a guard would make a gallows tree
But now all is revealed, stamped there is the command
My feet are on the trapdoor with a rope around my hand ‎
‎ ‎
And now the executioner is shaking hands with me ‎
‎"My duty I must carry out, you poor fellow," says he ‎
A strap is tied around my feet and a bag upon my head ‎
And then the noose which separates the living from the dead ‎
‎ ‎
Shake the holy water, summon up the guard
Dying's very easy, waiting's very hard ‎
‎ ‎
There he whispers to me "Have you anything to say?" ‎
My mouth is dry, my throat is tight, I answer "Drop away" ‎
Silence now surrounds me, my heart is beating on ‎
The trapdoor hardly moves at all, my life is still my own ‎
‎ ‎
They stand me in a corner with my hands and feet still bound ‎
While a carpenter is called for and an explanation found ‎
‎"The rain has warped the timbers," I hear the hangman say ‎
‎"It's funny but it worked well, I tried it yesterday" ‎
‎ ‎
‎"All is mended now," they say, "your ordeal's nearly over ‎
Your life's as good as ended," but I hear their voices waver ‎
Once more the ? board is shaked ? and again I hang in limbo ‎
While the guards jump on the trapdoor and my body stands on tip-toe ‎
‎ ‎
Shake the holy water, summon up the guard
Dying's very easy, waiting's very hard ‎
‎ ‎
They stand me in a corner with my hands and feet still tied
A warder holds onto the noose, the trapdoor opens wide
Is it magic or coincidence that keeps me on the brink?
It seems to work without me, "Will it kill me now?" I think
‎ ‎
‎"Please, I'm tired of living and I really want to die" ‎
I was taken to the scaffold and I heard the hangman cry ‎
‎"Lee, I'm truly sorry, forgive these hands of mine" ‎
He drew the bolt and I felt the jolt the third and final time ‎
‎ ‎
My life was spared that morning 'cos it wasn't theirs to take
Three's the most the law requires a man to feel the stake
‎ ‎
Shake the holy water, summon up the guard
Dying's very easy, waiting's very hard ‎

inviata da Bernart - 13/8/2013 - 10:46


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