Thursday, February 12, 2009

*"Please, we would be so grateful if you British people could leave our island. Thank you."

I know there are several folk music fans reading this blog,so hopefully at least one may be able to help out a fellow devotee. As you may or may not know, the Wolfe Tones will be playing CeltFest shortly in Cardiff. Ignited has run a post expressing his opinions on the event here and as a result a polite debate has erupted over the song "Go Home British Soldiers" which featured on the Wolfe Tones "The Troubles" CD in 2004 alongside songs commemorating the IRA terrorists Joe Reid and Joe McDonnell and that perennial barstool republican favourite, "The Men Behind the Wire".

The version I know and have heard of "Go Home British Soldiers" is here. Those of a sensitive nature should probably avert their gaze...some of the language employed qualifies as "industrial" but in particular, it's these two parts which I’d like clarification on:
Throughout our history We were born to be free
So get out British bastards leave us be

Both the CeltFest information office and a WolfeTones afficionado in question dispute that the Wolfe Tones have ever sung these lines.

And secondly:
We're not British, we're not Saxon we're not English
We're Irish and proud we are to be
So fuck your Union Jack We want our country back
We want to see old Ireland free once more

Which is disputed by a colleague who reckons that the WolfeTones are far too cuddly to indulge in such ugly aggression.

Can anyone help? As anyone got the lyrics to the true authentic WolfeTones version?
Via Google I’ve tried to access a video and indeed Wiki to confirm- the former has now been taken down, the latter was ammended yesterday.

I should also at this point commend both Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas and the CeltFest Info office for their speed in responding to my emails. Mr Thomas, although he was instrumental in sorting out lucrative sponsorship for the event, was unable to respond to one or two basic queries I had regarding the "Irish superstars" (as the programme describes them) performing; he however did answer my email in under half an hour. He passed me on quickly (very quickly actually) to the CeltFest Info office who similarly very quickly applied themselves to the points I made. They also, finally, assured me that "there is nothing offensive in a Wolfe Tones show." I suppose that depends on your definition of "offensive" really.

One final small question. It would appear from this thread, that Celtic FC are not entirely happy to be associated with some of the Wolfe Tones' work, can any Celtic fans confirm what happened between the club and the band?

10 comments:

fair_deal said...

Here is a partial answer to you query.
http://www.7digital.com/artists/the-wolfe-tones/the-platinum-collection/

There is a sample/part of the Wolfe Tones version of the song available on this site for free.

The Wolfe Tones version does changes the f-word. It tells people to
"stick your Union Jack" and asks the question "Have you no bloody homes of your own"

The sample doesn't cover the other bit you ask about. You will maybe get a full answer if you want to buy the track for 79p at this site.
http://www.mbopmegastore.com/link/54015173

fair_deal said...

An interesting commentary of what happens at Wolfe tone concerts
http://www.tribune.ie/archive/article/2002/jan/13/youll-never-beat-the-wolfe-tones/

Seamus said...

"Can anyone help? As anyone got the lyrics to the true authentic WolfeTones version?"

The Wolfe Tones version:

Chorus:

Go on hopme British Soldiers, go on home
Have you got no bloody homes of your own?
For 800 years, we've fought you without fear,
And we'll fight you for 800 more

Verses

The soldiers took the streets in '69
To protect the people at that time
In Derry and Belfast, but the peace it did not last
You were shooting people down and wrecking homes

Chorus

We're not Saxons, we're not English, we're not Brits
We're Irish and we are proud of it
So stick your Union Jack, we want our country back
We want to see auld Ireland free once more

Chorus

Now remember Operation Motorman
Where the barricades came down accross the land
You were shooting people dead, with your plastic and your lead
And you took the side of Stormont in the end

Chorus

If you stay British Soldiers If you stay
You'll never ever beat the IRA
For the 14 men in Derry, are the last that you will bury
So take a trip and leave us all alone

Chorus

Seamus said...

Your colleague is correct. One of the reasons that the Wolfe Tones became the most popular band, despite better bands such as Eire Og or Barleycorn, the Wolfe Tones were considered to be more mainstream because they were less openly aggressive and didn't swear.

Stonemason. said...

The lyric I downloaded yesterday .....

Go on home British Soldiers Go on home
Have you got no fucking homes of your own
For 800 years we've fought you without fear
And we will fight you for 800 more

If you stay British Soldiers If you stay
You'll never ever beat the IRA
For the 14 men in Derry
Are the last that you will bury
So take a tip And leave us bloody be

So Go on home British Soldiers Go on home
Have you got no fucking homes of your own
For 800 years we've fought you without fear
And we will fight you for 800 more

We're not British, we're not Saxon we're not English
We're Irish and proud we are to be
So fuck your Union Jack We want our country back
We want to see old Ireland free once more

So Go on home British Soldiers Go on home
Have you got no fucking homes of your own
For 800 years we've fought you without fear
And we will fight you for 800 more

We'll fight them British Soldiers for the cause
We'll never bow to Soldiers because
Troughout our history We were born to be free
So geo out British bastards leave us be

So Go on home British Soldiers Go on home
Have you got no fucking homes of your own
For 800 years we've fought you without fear
And we will fight you for 800 more

Go on home British Soldiers Go on home
Have you got no fucking homes of your own
For 800 years we've fought you without fear
And we will fight you for 800 more


I used the chorus with "fucking" blanked out in a comment at Betsan Powys BBC blog yesterday and was moderated out.

Anonymous said...

The reason The Wolfe Tones became the best known Irish folk group is simple....because they were and are still the best. They write new material and have in their ranks arguably the greatest ballad singer of all time, Tommy Byrne.

My Heart is in Ireland, Irish Eyes, Dreams of Home....all classic Irish ballads.

I wasn't aware they were appearing in Cardiff, so thanks for the heads up. Where do we get tickets?

O'Neill said...

Seamus,
Thanks for the clarification. Being told to stuff our national flag instead of f*ck it is a kind of progress I suppose.

FD
Thanks for the link. The CeltFest organisers have told me that's a "non-political" festival, once the Wtones were invited, it became political

Anonymous,
For tickets, you could always try here.

tony said...

I hope the Welsh tell the Unionist killjoys where to go, or better get a life.

Great song anyhow, always reminds me of being on one of those bendy trams in Bordeaux. There was our group of 6 and another group at the other end giving it laldy, the tram was literally rocking.

I seem to remember the locals on the packed tram particularly enjoying the bit about go on home British bastards leave us be.

As someone else rightly points out the wolfies are far from top drawer, my own countrymen now provide the best Republican bands out there and have done so for a while.

Anonymous said...

its the eire og version that your talking about about, wolfetones say stick your union jack etc. note that the songs are written along time ago and are part of our history. it's easy to criticise something at first glance, without no experience of living in it.

O'Neill said...

it's easy to criticise something at first glance, without no experience of living in it.

Click my details at the top for my birthplace.

Which side of the border are the Wolfetones from as a matter of interest?