Saturday, 5 September 2015

Locks (Yellow Hair)

As soon as I saw the topic for this week's blog - Locks - I thought of Sandy Denny (pictured below)and the song Banks Of The Nile with its line "Oh but I'll cut off my yellow hair and I'll go along with you..."

Sandy was possibly the finest British singer of the 20th century, initially with the Strawbs, then Fairport Convention and Fotheringay before pursuing a 'solo' career. Her rendition of Banks Of The Nile (with Fotheringay) is probably her finest moment; (I've tagged a YouTube link at the bottom of this post).

Banks Of The Nile was a traditional song from the time of Britain's Egyptian War (1882) and Fotheringay's rendition was arranged and performed by Sandy Denny and her band some 90 years after the event. It's a pathos-laden, powerful and moving anti-war anthem sung with incredible feeling by Denny. Today's blog is dedicated to everyone who is currently being torn apart from the ones they love by war and the ravages of exile and migration.


Banks Of The Nile 
Oh hark! the drums do beat, my love, no longer can we stay.
The bugle-horns are sounding clear, and we must march away.
We’re ordered down to Portsmouth, and it's many a weary mile
To join the British army on the banks of the Nile. 

Oh Willie, dearest Willie, don't leave me here to mourn.
Don't make me curse and rue the day that ever I was born.
For the parting of our love would be like parting with my life,
So stay at home, my dearest love, and I will be your wife. 
Sandy Denny

Oh my Nancy, dearest Nancy, sure that will never do.
 The government has ordered, and we are bound to go.
 The government has ordered, and the queen she gives command
 And I am bound on oath, my love, to serve in a foreign land. 
 
Oh, but I'll cut off my yellow hair, and I'll go along with you.
I'll dress myself in uniform, and I'll see Egypt too.
I'll march beneath your banner while fortune it do smile,
And we'll comfort one another on the banks of the Nile. 

But your waist it is too slender, and your fingers they are too small.
In the sultry suns of Egypt your rosy cheeks would spoil.
Where the cannons they do rattle, when the bullets they do fly,
And the silver trumpets sound so loud to hide the dismal cries. 

Oh, cursed be those cruel wars, that ever they began,
For they have robbed our country of many the handsome man.
They've robbed us of our sweethearts while their bodies they feed the lions,
On the dry and sandy deserts which are the banks of the Nile.

Traditional

Link here for the audio recording:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wq5MM3H6rA

Thanks for reading. Your Saturday Blogger is off on holiday next week, hoping that inspiration may strike ;-)
Reactions:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog, thank you. It's a very moving song. Is Sandy Denny still performing?

Steve Rowland said...

Sadly, Sandy died young - she was barely into her thirties when she died after falling down stairs in 1978. All of her recordings are still available.