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William McBride

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I'd just like to post these excellent lyrics here and
thanks to Howard Evans for sending them to me!
Contact Howard Evans at mailto:

--- Message from Howard ---

These are the words (and original title) as sung by the author Eric Bogle at the Cottage Theatre Folk Club, Cumbernauld on 19th Feb, 1977. All other versions are corruptions :-) Iain Mackintosh (to my mind) does the *best* cover version. (But I would say that as he's a friend). Chords are what I play (to Eric's tune). Most "modern" (post 1980) versions are based on the Furey's version which as I told you before is very different. They also changed the title between "Willie McBride" and "Green Fields of France" Bogle calls it "No Mans' Land" on his "Plain and Simple" record with John Munro.

Enjoy it - but for god's sake, don't Wild Rover it (i.e. don't get them all swinging to the chorus). You should finish it with a lump in your throat.

Slainte (my only word of Gaelic)

Howard Evans.

William McBride

(c)Well how do you (F) do Private (Dm) William McBride
Do you (G7) mind if I sit here down(C) by your grave(G7)side
And I'll (C) rest for a (F) while in the(Dm) warm summer sun
I've been (G7) walking all day and(F) I'm nearly (C) done
And I see by your gravestone you were(Dm) only 19
When you(G7) joined the glorious fallen back in (c)1916 (G7)
Well I (C) hope you died quick and I (F) hope you died (Dm) clean
Or (G7) Willie McBride was it (F) slow and obscene (C)

Did they (G7) beat the drum slowly
Did they (F) play the fyfe (C)lowly
Did the (G7)rifles fire o'er you
As they (F) lowered you (C) down
Did the (F) bugles play the Last Post in (Dm) chorus
Did the (C) pipes play the (F) Flooers o the (G7) Forrest (C)

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some faithful heart does your memory enshrine
And though you died back in 1916
In some faithful heart are you forever 19
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Enshrined forever behind the glass pane
Of an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame

Ah the sun's shining now on these green fields of France
The warm winds blow gently and the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished under the plough
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now
But here in the graveyard it's still No-Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To Man's blind indifference to his fellow-man
To a whole generation who were butchered and damned

And I can't help but wonder now William McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering and the sorrow and the glory, the shame
The killing the dying, the dying, it was all done in vain
For Willie McBride, it all happened again
And again, and again and again and again.

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