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Wasn't that a time

The Weavers


Lingua: Inglese


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Broad Old River
(Pete Seeger)
We're All Dodgin'
(The Weavers)


[1950?]
Scritta da Lee Hayes (1914-1981)
Musica de The Weavers
Testo trovato sul blog francese Folk & Politique e controllato all’ascolto.

The Weavers On Tour

Il brano si trova in “The Weavers On Tour” del 1957 ma divenne famoso nel 1955 quando Pete Seeger si offrì di cantarlo di fronte alla HCUA, la commissione d’inchiesta sulle attività antiamericane, presso la quale era stato convocato, come tanti altri artisti, per via della sua precedente appartenenza al Partito comunista e per le sue idee. Pete Seeger venne poi condannato ad un anno di reclusione (pena in seguito annullata dalla Corte Suprema) e tra i capi d’imputazione c’era proprio aver più volte interpretata una canzone come “Wasn’t That a Time”.



Che poi è più che altro una canzone patriottica, ma non del patriottismo becero ed utilitarista dei “fascisti” di ogni luogo... Si parte infatti con la celebrazione di due momenti fondanti la storia del paese, come Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, dove tra il 1777 ed il 1778 si acquartierarono, trascorsero il durissimo inverno e si addestrarono le truppe di George Washington durante la Guerra d’Indipendenza; e la battaglia di Gettysburg (1-3 luglio 1863), una delle più sanguinose e determinanti della Guerra Civile, dove l’esercito dell’Unione fermò l’offensiva confederata.
Ma poi il testo prosegue come un inno alla libertà e all’uguaglianza, cementate appunto dal sangue versato da tanti uomini le cui anime sono state messe a dura prova dagli eventi della Storia.
Alla fine, in tempi successivi, Lee Hayes aggiunse una strofa sulla Guerra di Spagna (dove gli internazionalisti americani furono molto presenti), una sulle porcate americane alla fine degli anni 70/inizio 80 (la mistificazione della guerra santa anticomunista che porterebbe libertà e invece genera solo morte e ditruzione) e una finale, per chiudere il cerchio, che ritorna sugli anni bui della “caccia alle streghe”... La strofa segnalata tra parentesi e in corsivo non viene invece cantata nelle versioni dei The Weavers, di Pete Seeger e di Peter, Paul & Mary che ho potuto ascoltare: probabilmente si tratta di una strofa originaria poi sostituita dalla successiva sulla Guerra di Spagna...
Our fathers bled at Valley Forge
The snow was red with blood
Their faith was warm at Valley Forge
Their faith was brotherhood.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time
Wasn’t a time
A time to try the soul of man
Wasn’t that a terrible time?
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

Brave men who fought at Gettysburg
Now lie in soldier’s graves
But there they stemmed the rebel tide
And there the faith was saved.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time
Wasn’t a time
A time to try the soul of man
Wasn’t that a terrible time?
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

The madmen came with chains and war
To prison us in hate
And many a good man fought and died
To save the stricken faith.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time
Wasn’t a time
A time to try the soul of man
Wasn’t that a terrible time?
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

And now again the madmen come
And shall our vic’try fail?
There is no vic’try in a land
Where free men go to jail.

Isn’t this a time! Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to try the soul of man
Isn’t this a terrible time?
Isn’t this a terrible time?

[Our faith cries out we have no fear
We dare to reach our hand
To other neighbors far and near
To friends in every land.]


Our faith cries out « they shall not pass »
We cried « no pasaran »
We pledged our lives, our honor all
To free, this prison land.

Isn’t this a time! Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to free the soul of man!
Isn’t this a wonderful time!
Isn’t this a wonderful time!

[How many times we’ve gone to kill
In freedom’s holy name.
And children died to save the pride
Of rulers without shame.

Informers took their Judas pay
To tell their sorry tale
And gangs in Congress had their way
And free souls went to jail]

inviata da anonimo & Bartleby - 3/9/2005 - 19:27




Lingua: Inglese

La versione di Pete Seeger, quella che nel 1955 lo fece condannare dalla commissione per le attività antiamericane (come spiegato sopra).
Anche questa versione è stata reperita sul blog francese Folk & Politique e controllata all’ascolto.
Si trova, per esempio, in “With Voices Together We Sing” del 1956 e in “Wimoweh And Other Songs Of Freedom And Protest” del 1968, entrambi editi dalla Folkways Records.

With Voices Together We Sing Wimoweh And Other Songs Of Freedom And Protest
WASN’T THAT A TIME

Our fathers bled at Valley Forge
The snow was red with blood
Their faith was warm at Valley Forge
Their faith was brotherhood.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time
Wasn’t that a time
A time to try the soul of man
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

And brave men who died at Gettysburg
And lie in soldier’s graves,
But there they stemmed the slavery tide,
And there the faith was saved.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time
Wasn’t that a time
A time to try the soul of man
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

The fascists came with chains and war
To prison us in hate
And many a good man fought and died
To save the stricken faith.

Wasn’t that a time, wasn’t that a time
Wasn’t that a time
A time to try the soul of man
Wasn’t that a terrible time?

And now again the madmen come
And shall our vic’try fail?
There is no vic’try in a land
Where free men go to jail.

Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to try the soul of man
Isn’t this a terrible time?

Our faith cries out « they shall not pass »
We cried « no pasaran »
We pledged our lives, our honor all
To free, our native land

Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to free the soul of man!
Isn’t this a wonderful time!
Isn’t this a time!
Isn’t this a time!
A time to free the soul of man!
Isn’t this a wonderful time!

Isn’t this a wonderful time!

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 27/4/2016 - 21:35




Lingua: Inglese

La versione di Peter, Paul & Mary nel loro album del 1965 intitolato “A Song Will Rise”

A Song Will Rise

La strofa di mezzo ("The wars are long...") fu aggiunta dal terzetto, così come scritta da Virginia Coigney (1917-1997), sindacalista, scrittrice e giornalista, madre di Mary Travers.
WASN’T THAT A TIME

Our fathers bled at Valley Forge
The snow was red with blood
Their faith was worn at Valley Forge
Their faith was brotherhood.

Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time?
A time to try the soul of men,
Wasn't that a terrible time?

Brave men who fought at Gettysburg
Now lie in soldier's graves
But there they stemmed the rebel tide
And there their faith was saved

Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time?
A time to try the soul of men,
wasn't that a terrible time?

The wars are long, the peace is frail
The madmen come again.
There is no freedom in a land
Where fear and hate prevail.

Isn't this a time, isn't this a time?
A time to try the soul of men,
Isn't this a terrible time?

Our fathers bled at Valley Forge
The snow was red with blood
Their faith was worn at Valley Forge
Their faith was brotherhood.

Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time?
A time to try the soul of men,
Wasn't that a terrible time?

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 27/4/2016 - 21:41


“The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time!” è anche il titolo di un film documentario del 1982 sulla reunion de The Weavers avvenuta nel 1980, un anno prima che Lee Hayes morisse.

The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time!

Bernart Bartleby - 27/4/2016 - 21:46



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