NO PASARAN!

by Joe Solo

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1.
My name is Jack Atkinson and I'm not afraid I'll live and die by this vow that I've made The only good fascist is a dead one they say And Jarama here we are When I first left Hull all them months ago I told them I'd come not to kill but to cure But for an 'ambulance driver' my shot's pretty sure And Jarama here we are There'll be no pasaran No pasaran No pasaran today The fascists have come for our freedom And we ain't gonna give it away There'll be no pasaran here today I told my mother, "Now mother be strong, For the left way is right and the right way is wrong And you can stick that on my grave when I'm gone" For Jarama here we are There'll be no pasaran No pasaran No pasaran today The fascists have come for our freedom And we ain't gonna give it away There'll be no pasaran here today The curse may be cast, and the cast may be cursed But you armies of darkness you'd best do your worst For to win, yeah, well you'll have to get past us first And Jarama here we are There'll be no pasaran No pasaran No pasaran today The fascists have come for our freedom And we ain't gonna give it away There'll be no pasaran here today WORDS AND MUSIC BY JOE SOLO
2.
Saw Tommy James on Speakers Corner And knew there and then I had to go Just something in the way he spoke of freedom I can't explain it, I just know And if they ask you why we're leaving To fight and die so far away Just say a man needs something to believe in And our open eyes could see no other way Them Blackshirts, they came marching here last week, Ma Spreading all their hate and fear And like Tommy says, that's why we've got to go, Ma If we don't stop them there, the same could happen here And if they ask you why we're leaving To fight and die so far away Just say a man needs something to believe in And our open eyes could see no other way So I'm sailing off for Spain to fight for freedom And don't try to stop me now Ma please Cos like Tommy says, you have to stand for something Cos who wants to live down on their knees? And if they ask you why we're leaving To fight and die so far away Just say a man needs something to believe in And our open eyes could see no other way
3.
It's easier to sit there It's Friday we've been paid And Town are home tomorrow They won last time they played So pass a man a fag here Let's have another beer That's someone else's problem It couldn't happen here I've seen it in the papers Them Fascists on the rise But Harry lad them papers Make up a lot of lies It's something and it's nothing Be over in a year It's someone else's problem It couldn't happen here Me I'm an engineer And you, you drive a bus What's Franco, or Hitler To do with us Does Annie know you're leaving? You'll only break her heart You know how much she loves you You'll tear her world apart But go off and fight your fascists Me I'm going to have that beer That's someone else's problem It couldn't happen here
4.
It was a dusty hall on the Empire Lane She was a nurse back, begging help for Spain "Spain is Red!" came a shout from one side "Yes Spain IS Red, Spain is red," she cried. "Spain is red, Spain is red Red with the blood of the dying and the dead And I've treated every nationality" she said "And when their blood runs, well their blood runs red." "I've been elbow deep in a stranger's blood Fought flies from wounds, feet deep in mud They took a little part of me when they died But I didn't want it on my gravestone that I never tried." She was the bravest soul that I ever saw Just a few days home and then back to war I see her in my sleep wading through the dead While an ill wind whispers every word she said....
5.
Madrid 03:41
Straight from the train we were rushed through the station And out to the trenches on Suicide Hill On the way Jack and Tommy had talked through the ethics Of how to save lives sometimes you've got to kill At our back fields of black and red poppies Lined the wind of a white dusty road And up there in front stood the Armies of Darkness It was "keep your eyes open, boys, lock and load." Remember The hills of Jarama Remember The things that we did And remember That we fought for freedom here And we died for Madrid When it come, well it come down like thunder I saw hell in the eyes of my friends When Jack fell Tommy ran out to help him And I knew that I'd not hear that laughter again Remember The hills of Jarama Remember The things that we did And remember That we fought for freedom here And we died for Madrid We fell back, we were battered and bleeding Just a handful of what passed for men Then somebody shouted out "SING FOR YOUR LIVES BOYS!" We hollered 'The Red Flag' and rallied again. Remember The hills of Jarama Remember The things that we did And remember That we died for freedom here And we died for Madrid
6.
Backgammon 05:28
We met in a bar in Barcelona He'd seen our boards were the same And he brought over wine and whisky I set them up to play a game The first time we played he beat me He just winked and smiled at me and then Held out a hand and just said: "Ivan." Me I grinned and set them up again He could never tell what I was saying We'd different words to that old song But we didn't care when we were playing Backgammon all night long He'd a wife and kid in Vladivostock He's write to them every day Then he'd bring over wine and whisky And we would play the night away He could never tell what I was saying We'd different words to that old song But we didn't care when we were playing Backgammon all night long Then one day Franco moved the counters He rolled the dice and he attacked We went to fight him in the mountains And Ivan didn't come back He could never tell what I was saying We'd different words to that old song But we didn't care when we were playing Backgammon all night long I sent my board to Vladivostock Back to Ivan's wife and kid I couldn't bring myself to play now And they weren't to know it wasn't his He could never tell what I was saying We'd different words to that old song But we didn't care when we were playing Backgammon all night long
7.
The Church bell still rings on the hour The sun will still rise and will fall On the road to Almeria And the holes in the cemetery wall The bones in the dust by the roadside And San Raphael they recall The road to Almeria And the holes in the cemetery wall Rise up, rise up from the mountains All you men, women, children and all From the road to Almeria To the holes in the cemetery wall
8.
Mister, oh mister, I blame all of you Who sat back in silence with too much to lose You who deafened your ears to the sound of the guns You've all this to come You've all this to come You can bury your heads in the sand for so long And pray when you drag them back out they'll have gone Oh but by then the damage is already done You've all this to come You've all this to come Mister you'll soon wipe that look off your face When you're next on their list to ship out of this place When you can't trust your children and your neighbours all shun you You've all this to come You've all this to come Fear is their weapon and money their bait You'll be taught how to grovel and primed how to hate Til you'd sell your own brother for a place in the sun You've all this to come You've all this to come See how fascism works mister is through The collective self-interest of people like you Who would climb up their mountain to slay your own son You've all this to come You've all this to come And when their bombers rain fire from the sky And you people are dying you'll want to know why And it's cos you didn't do now what had to be done You've all this to come You've all this to come
9.
Spanish Moon 04:04
You gave me this locket "It's a lucky charm" you said, "Don't you dare forsake me And don't you come home dead" You sang "Red River Valley" And made me learn the tune Now I'm smoking French cigarettes Beneath a Spanish Moon Got lucky at Jarama Got cut off from the rest Pinned down by snipers From up there on the crest But I wished upon that locket That help was coming soon Now I'm smoking French cigarettes Beneath a Spanish Moon Left Bill in Brunete Buried in a sack 300 went out 42 come back I sang "Red River Valley" To that empty barracks room Now I'm smoking French cigarettes Beneath a Spanish Moon
10.
Fight On 05:58
I just want to say thank you, Jack For what you did in that war Not just fighting and dying there But what you were fighting for Six foot four with your Daddy's eyes Your mother's only son Return ticket to Paris And a certain way with a gun Fight on It weren't for King or for Country, Jack You'd never queue in line Like them lambs for the slaughter Jack It was on your terms this time I guess that you saw it coming, Jack And knew that was just the start While others listened to Chamberlain You listened to your heart Fight on Six foot four and your Daddy's eyes And boy could you knock em down You fought the Blackshirts on Corporation Fields And ran them out of town They say a man he dies twice, Jack First when his days are through And then when he gets forgotten, Jack But I remember you Fight on.
11.
Dear Lord if you can hear me now If you've got an ear a lend Spare a little mercy for My comrade and my friend He never had no faith in you But right up til the end Was ever honest, brave and true My comrade and my friend He gave his life for freedom And he'd do it all again Spare a little mercy for My comrade and my friend.
12.
Barcelona 03:09

about

"Midnight one Friday in January 1937 found me and four more Yorkshire comrades boarding a train at Sheffield bound for London on the first leg of our journey to Spain...."

So begins 'Pounded Earth', Tommy James's account of his time as a volunteer in the International Brigades fighting the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.

And so begins this album.

Besides Tommy, one of the men was Jack Atkinson from Hull, a lorry driver who had told his mother he was going to help drive ambulances. Of the other men, one was "Arnold, a comrade from Leeds" and the other two remain unnamed. I called them Harry Jones and Bill Palmer, and, together with detail from Tommy's book and some of Jack's surviving family, wrote this record about five men and their experiences of life in Spain.

This is an album about friendship, about war, about political conviction, and about how our deeds live on long after we are dust.

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released January 1, 2014

Joe Solo

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Joe Solo Scarborough, UK

Joe Solo is an award-winning musician, writer, poet, activist, broadcaster and washing machine engineer from Scarborough.

Live he has an ever growing reputation as both a performer and raconteur, being thought-provoking, comical and punch-the-air political often in the same breath.

He is not an artist you forget in a hurry.
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