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Music and lyrics by Chris Green

lyrics

I was working down the pit like all the other lads
I had a family to feed
"Your country needs you, fellows" That's what all the posters said
The boss said he'd keep my job free
For the first time since Napoleon all of Europe was aflame
In that summer of '14
So I took the shilling and next day I'm on a boat to France
"Go fight the Germans, Private Green"

"It'll all be done by Christmas" - that's what everybody said
"Jerry can't hold out for long".
But all those early hopes soon vanished in a hail of lead
Jerry proved us bloody wrong
We held him back at Wypers, but lost thousands of our lads
In that autumn of '15
And in the midst of all the smoke, the blood, the sweat, the fear
You'd find Private Soldier Green

And it's "What did you do Daddy back in the Great War?
Did you have a rare old time?
Do you look back on your memories with a smile?
Or do you curse the day you signed your life away
Upon the dotted line?"

I had a bunch of mates who'd been in Flanders from the start
Billy, Albert, Jim and Ted
One day in '16 on the Somme they heard the whistles blow -
Seconds later they were dead.
The next year in that sea of mud that men call Passchendaele
We were shelled to smithereens
But through those years of fire and mud unbloodied and unbowed
Came Private Soldier Green

And it's "What did you do Daddy back in the Great War?
Did you have a rare old time?
Do you look back on your memories with a smile?
Or do you curse the day you signed your life away
Upon the dotted line?"

Finally the Hun saw sense and asked to sign the peace
The War at last was fought and done
So I went home to Blighty thinking all my cares had ceased
Now the Great War had been won
But the job I'd left behind was gone and I was like a stranger
To my wife and family
And all my mates are lying cold beneath some foreign field
So where does that leave Private Green?

And it's "What did you do Daddy back in the Great War?
Did you have a rare old time?
Do you look back on your memories with a smile?
Or do you curse the day you signed your life away
Upon the dotted line?"

credits

from The Men Who Marched Away: Songs of the Great War, released September 15, 2014
Chris Green - voice, mandocello, guitar, bass, piano, drums

Sophie Matthews - voice, flute, soprano saxophone

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GreenMatthews Coventry, UK

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews play English traditional songs and tunes in a thoroughly 21st-century kick-ass style. Using a blend of ancient instruments such as cittern, English bagpipes and shawm as well as modern folk instruments such as guitar, flute and piano accordion, they breathe new life into material from hundreds of years ago, making it fresh and relevant for a modern audience. ... more

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