Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Father's Song

Dick Gaughan is like the voice of his entire people. Not merely its inflection; also its spirit, its passion, and its vision. As Scots debate (endlessly) the question of their national anthem, I'd like to propose a novel solution: anything sung by Dick Gaughan. At football matches, they can just drop the needle. Wherever it lands, that's the anthem of the day.

By way of Exhibit A, I offer, on this, the cusp of Father's Day, Dick's rendition of Ewan MacColl's The Father's Song. Collaboration across time of two powerful Scots artists, it encapsulates in unflinching terms a father's duty by his son. (And these days, by his daughter as well.) To wit, to protect and comfort; to inculcate a sense of justice, and of outrage in its absence; to reject all powers that would demean and diminish.

No sugar coating here. And no lies. Just "Here's your inheritance. You and me'll face it together."

That's another day gone by, son, close your eyes
Now the moon is chasing clouds across the skies
Go to sleep and have no fear, son
For your mam and dad are near, son
And the giant is just a shadow on the wall
Go to sleep and when you wake it will be light
There's no need to fear the darkness of the night
It's not like the dark you find, son
In the depths of some men's minds, son
That defies the daily coming of the dawn
Lie easy in your bed and grow up strong
You'll be needing all your strength before too long
For you'll soon be on your way, son
Fighting battles every day, son
With an enemy who thinks he owns the world
Stop your crying now, let daddy dry your tears
There's no bogeyman to get you, never fear
There's no ogres, wicked witches
Only greedy sons-of-bitches
Who are waiting to exploit your life away
Don't you let 'em buy you out or break your pride
Don't you let yourself be used then cast aside
If you listen to their lying
They will con you into dying
You won't even know that you were once alive
No more talking now it's time to go to sleep
There are answers to your questions but they'll keep
Go on asking while you grow, son
Go on asking till you know, son
And then send the answers ringing through the world
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