This is what Memorial Day is all about: Eric Bogle singing songs of World War I (Click the link for another from two years ago).
I met Eric Bogle in Northport, Maine a few years ago, and his buddy John Munro, while they toured the US singing bawdy songs of Australia and sobering ones of war. One of the most memorable concerts ever, in a small wooden building called the Blue Goose. His songs No Man’s Land (also called The Green Fields of France) and his more dangerous And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda capture the spirit of war, or at least its bottom line.
Play the video of a performance of No Man’s Land below.
Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
D’you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
I’ll rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
Been walking all day, Lord, and I’m nearly done.
I can see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean, Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the fife lowly?
Did the rifles fire o’er ye as they lowered ye down?
Did the bugles sing “The Last Post” in chorus?
Did the pipes play the “Flowers O’ The Forest”?