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Over the Ebro

The Young 'uns
Language: English


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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





Over the Ebro was the final song to be completed in March 2018 barely a week before we premiered the show! It was touch and go whether we could arrange and learn yet another new song but we just about managed it. Cyril Sexton was a London volunteer who, like Johnny himself, was lucky to survive the war after being shot through the cheek. We were delighted when his son Clive came to see the show at Cecil Sharp House in April 2018 and nodded enthusiastically all the way through. The song closely follows Johnny’s account of the build up to the Battle for Hill 481 in Any Bread Mister? 
 
 I’ll always remember crossing the river 
Crossing the river long before the sun
We were dressed up like scarecrows, but scarecrows have more clothes
I carried a blanket and a rusty old gun
When we reached the north shore was then my sweat did pour
For I knew that death may be waiting there
His silence was goading, his hush was foreboding
As we left the pontoons he did not appear

Through dry fields and vineyards how quickly we traversed
Quickly we traversed with hardly a sound
The sun came up scorching - a searing hot morning
And our alpargatas tramped on the dry ground
Some thought they were dreaming, some were not believing
For four hours we marched without any fray
But I knew past this lulling a storm would be coming
A storm would be coming to blow us away

Soon it all started we dropped and we darted
Into the vineyards some cover to seek
And Sexton was lucky a bullet so plucky
Passed through his broad face and sailed out his cheek 
But onwards we hurried and forwards we scurried
The Sierra Cabols our shoes cut to shreds
But our luck was fairer when we took Corbera
And made our first camp on a dry river bed 

The sun came up shining and we came up climbing
Into the mountains then came the cries
“Avion! Avion! And down came the bombs 
And they blew up the dams and cut all our supplies 
And soon there was sniping and soon there was griping
And two lads fell by me with hardly a sound
As their blankets hugged them two graves I dug them 
In the thin soil when the sun had gone down

We’d no food for three days, no water for two days
With my empty bottle I crawled through the vines
Til a morsel I found there - some grapes on the ground there 
And all the lads swore they were better than wine
By the town of Gandesa we met our oppressor
A hill loomed before us all stark in the sun
And like kids in a story we all hoped for glory
And the name of that pimple was Hill 481

Contributed by Dq82 - 2019/5/19 - 19:51



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