Roots

Roots by Show of Hands

Now it’s been twenty-five years or more
I’ve roamed this land from shore to shore
From Tyne to Tamar, Severn to Thames
From moor to vale, from peak to fen
Played in cafes and pubs and bars
I’ve stood in the street with my old guitar
But I’d be richer than all the rest
If I had a pound for each request
For ‘Duelling Banjos’ ‘American Pie’
It’s enough to make you cry
‘Rule Britannia’ or ‘Swing Low’
Are they the only songs the English know?

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
They’re never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots – they need roots

After the speeches when the cake’s been cut
The disco is over and the bar is shut
At christening, birthday, wedding or wake
What can we sing until the morning breaks?
When the Indian, Asians, Afro, Celts
It’s in their blood, below the belt
They’re playing and dancing all night long
So what have they got right that we’ve got wrong?

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots – we need roots

Haul away boys let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We’ve lost more than well ever know
Round the rocky shores of England

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wells
Well I’ve got a vision of urban sprawl
It’s pubs where no one ever sings at all
And everyone stares at a great big screen
Over-paid soccer stars, prancing teens
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps
And we learn to be ashamed before we walk
Of the way we look and the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs
How will we know where weve come from?
I’ve lost St George in the Union Jack
It’s my flag too and I want it back

Seed, bud, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoots – we need roots

Haul away boys let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know
Round the rocky shores of England

Random Quote

Rugby fans should dispense with the embarrassing renditions of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – originally sung ironically after a black player scored a hat-trick of tries, let’s not forget – and adopt Jerusalem too.

— Billy Bragg, The Mirror

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"Never again will I stand for the national anthem" - Academic Kehinde Andrews argues 'God Save the Queen' and the Union Jack are symbols of Britain's colonial past #viewsnight

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