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The Young Tradition PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Sunday, 15 February 2009 20:00



This song was written after a weekend of dance in Bristol in 1998.  During the afternoon drinking session Peter Bellamy’s widow joined us and we got talking about Peter, a performer I greatly admired. I was shocked to find out that six years had passed since his untimely death. Sitting at home later looking at the Young Tradition sampler the words just came.  The song suggests that he died for his art and not his heart and this is the way I like to think it was.


 

He was born to sing in harmony and sang of oceans blue.
Of storms and whales and sailor’s tales and found lands old and new.
Of roving blades and busty maids who in Yarmouth Town roamed free
But the capstan stopped when the anchor dropped far away from his home and sea

Chorus

And he always sang in harmony as he did when on the land
for the old tradition still lives on in the songs of everyman

He always sang in harmony as crept on through the night
like old daddy fox on a hunting trip listening out for the farmer’s wife
But the fox is sly and cunning and wise to the hunter’s game
But like an innocent hare in the poachers snare he was trapped by his early fame

Chorus

He wrote and sang the harmony for kippling’s khaki lads
Of Tommies and Jims and Ghunga Dins and nights in the Kyber Pass
But the soldier fights for money when his Queen and generals call
But the jewel in the crown will quickly fade when the empire starts to fall

Chorus

He even sang in harmony on his way to Van Diemen’s land
Of cabin boys and sailor’s joys and the tales of the old deck hand
Of shackles and chains and poachers names and those in Newgate Gaol
Though he found his way into Botany Bay he’d searched for the Holy Grail

Chorus

He always sang in harmony and the songs recalled the story
Of how the rich condemned the poor whilst history gave them glory
Of Brave Benbow and Nelson Bold and Franklin’s northern passage
Though history lies and the singer dies still people are its message

Chorus

And still he sings in harmony as he did when in his teens
Amongst the whores and poaching boys beneath the barley, oats and beans
And still they sing with gusto as they did when on the land
For the old tradition still lives on, in the songs of everyman

And he always sang in harmony and sang about us all
Of poachers, sailors, little tailors, soldiers on the brawl
And still he sings with gusto as he did when on the land
For the old tradition still lives on, in the songs of everyman

©PeterSmith

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 March 2009 09:28