Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Bells of Rhymney

Welshmen get pissed off,
Strike against the mine owners,
Then go back to work.

Idris Davies wrote this poem as part of his book Gwalia Deserta (The Wasteland of Wales). The former coal miner turned poet wrote about depression and despair in Wales in the 1920s, but it was Pete Seeger who took the words and made a song of them in 1957. The Byrds made it a pop hit in 1965. Dylan and The Band performed it during their Basement Tapes sessions. In the song, the bells of various Welsh cities stand in for the tongues of the poor, depressed and dispossessed of Wales, with their coal miners beaten down by the failure of the British 1926 general strike as well as a coal mine disaster. Basically light listening, as you would imagine.



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