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Lyr: Daughters of the Revolution (Berni Armstrong)

10 Nov 99 - 09:59 PM (#134446)
Subject: Berni Armstrong
From: Judy Cook

I've been singing a song I got from Angie Bladen. It's called "Daughters of the Revolution" and is written by Berni Armstrong. Can anybody tell me about Berni Armstrong? Can anybody tell me more about "Daughters of the Revolution" beyond the words & tune? Thanks! -- Judy Cook

11 Nov 99 - 11:18 AM (#134596)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Pete P{eterson

I'm at work so can't send you a personal message through Mudcat. I am looking forward to meeting you and singing with you this Saturday in Harrisburg! If you want to email me home email is sorry I don't know the song

11 Nov 99 - 01:14 PM (#134637)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Nancy-Jean

Sorry I can't help with the question. Just thought I would mention what my grandmother called those women who belonger to THAT organization: "darters"

12 Nov 99 - 01:45 AM (#134939)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Margo

I believe, someone correct me if I'm wrong, the Daughters of the Revolution is an organization the members of which must be a descendent of people who were colonists at the time of the revolution. I don't exactly know what their purpose is; something patriotic I'm sure. But I'm pretty sure about the requirements for membership....


12 Nov 99 - 02:58 AM (#134946)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Jeri

Judy, if you go to Jez Lowe's Guestbook, Berni Armstrong made an appearance. Berni's e-mail address is there (from Jan 99), and s?he also stated the song was recorded on Roy Bailey's album "Handful of Earth."

12 Nov 99 - 04:01 AM (#134955)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Wolfgang

I know the question was not for lyrics and/or tune. But I'd like to see the lyrics to that song and couldn't find them on the web.


12 Nov 99 - 03:08 PM (#135162)
Subject: ADD: Daughters of the Revolution ^^
From: Judy Cook

Jeri, Jeri, you wonderful resource finder. I have sent email to Berni and hope that (s)he will respond. Thank you ever so much.

Wolfgang, FYI, Here's the lyrics. (I'll probably sing it tomorrow night at Harrisburg, PA,where I'm giving a concert of "Comic Songs & More" with Pete Peterson & Joe Hickerson. I think this falls into the "& More" part.

(Berni Armstrong)

The men marched away, their guns slung over their shoulder,
They looked far to few to stop the British in their stride.
Some kissed them farewell, some looked on with their babies,
Most turned away and took the children back inside.
But what could we do? The men had made the decision.
What could we say as they marched up out of the glen?
No tears stained our eyes; we had too many chores to attend to.
For we were sixteen unarmed women and they a platoon of fighting men.

No sooner had they gone than the redcoats had us surrounded.
Said they'd hold us hostage 'til our men gave up the fight.
"We'll billet in the church," their captain gave out the order.
But we knew far too well where his men planned to stay the night.
What could we do? Their captain made the decision.
What could we say to keep off these English men?
No tears stained our eyes; we had too many plans to attend to.
For we were sixteen unarmed women and they a platoon of fighting men.

Well Bertha brought them beer and spilled it over their powder.
Mary let the bullocks loose, and laughed as they gave chase.
Sarah, Ruth, and Ann seduced three guns from their soldiers.
Twas worth a slimy kiss to see the looks upon their face.
What could we do but make our own decisions?
What could we say that would aid us in our fight?
No tears stained our eyes; we had too many plots to attend to.
For we were sixteen unarmed women and they a platoon of fighting men.

Suitably prepared, Kate went to call on their captain.
What a shock he got when she lifted up her skirt,
And pulled from underneath his sergeant's duelling pistol
Saying, "Order your men into the church and no one will get hurt."
For what could we do? We'd made our own decisions.
What could we say? There could be no turning back.
No tears stained our eyes; we had prisoners now to attend to.
For we were sixteen armed women and they a platoon of beaten men.

The great wooden latch closed upon the church door.
"We'll burn it to the ground," we said, "if you try to escape."
We each stood guard til dawn til our men returned to the village
Expecting to be heros who would rescue us from rape.
But what could they do? We had made the decisions.
What could they say of our bravery that day?
No tears stained our eyes except for tears of laughter,
For we were sixteen fighting women and they a platoon of fighting men.^^

12 Nov 99 - 03:29 PM (#135172)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Jeri

No problem, Judy. I hope you get an answer - and share it with us.

14 Nov 99 - 07:41 AM (#135861)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Wolfgang

Thanks a lot, Judy. I'm glad I asked. I didn't know the song at all and only got interested by the title. I like it quite a lot now I know it.


14 Nov 99 - 07:44 PM (#136089)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Judy Cook

I got the nicest email back from Berni Armstrong. He (yes - the mystery gender is masculine) told me about himself and the amazing story of the writing of the song. I copy it here for your interest.

----------- from here copied from Bernie Armstrong ----- I now live in a small town in Catalonia (N.E. Spain) and have largely lost touch with the folk scene. Though I know that a few of my songs are still heard around the circuit from Liverpool to Wellington New Zealand... and "DoR" is certainly the most popular of my "babies" :-) (incidentally, I have never earned a nickel from any of my folk songs.... but maybe that's what makes them "folk songs" ;-)

It's curious that you live in Maryland because I regularly correspond with some people from there who, like me, are part of a bilingual families mailing list on the net.

So down to me... if you haven't seen a pic of me yet, you can put a face to the name by checking out my website

I'm afraid there are pitifully few examples of my work there yet. I have been meaning to get down to digitally recording some songs, converting them to MP3 files and loading my Website with them... but you know what "meaning to" implies :-) A lively one year old Daughter has been causing her own little Revolution in Mom and Dad's quiet creative existence this year ;-)

So, let me tell you a little about the song. It was written in 1984 in Darlington, England where I was working with a Multi-Media Theatre Company. One of the dancers was an American woman called "Cathy Burge" and in the course of a conversation she mentioned that her grandmother was a member of some terrible right-wing organisation known as "The D of the R" - The phrase stuck in my head.

Later, I was having coffee with Cathy in her room and noticed she had an appalachian dulcimer... which had belonged to the aforementioned Grandma.... I had loved the sound of that instrument since Joni Mitchel's "Blue" but had never played one. I placed it across my knee and strummed, fingers dancing up and down the frets... and I swear to you that the first thing that came out was the melody of the line "we were sixteen unarmed women and they a platoon of fighting men" accompanied by those words in my head. I broke out in a cold sweat and said "I feel a song coming on...."

Cathy lent me the dulcimer and I rushed off to my room where the whole song wrote itself through my fingers in less than an hour. It really was the most powerful visit of the muse I can remember... That trip also gave birth to "Betsy Loveless' Lament" about the wives left behind when the Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported to Australia.

That first draft of "DoR" differs little from the final song.... though Roy and a friend did suggest some fine tuning which I carried out before he recorded it. Sadly, thieves were to steal the dulcimer before I found out if the "spirit" within it had any more tales to tell me. Incidentally I will never forgive Roy for saying to me "That is the best song you will ever write!" NEVER say that to a writer... it's a sure fire recipe for writer's block :-( Although, in many ways his prophecy seems sadly to have been fulfilled :-(

So.... that's the song... As for me....

Well, when I wrote the song I was a freelance performing artist. I was also involved with various worthwhile causes, including the Nicaragua solidarity campaign. I had written a few songs in English for them and they were encouraging me to learn Spanish and visit Nicaragua. To cut a long story short, I interrupted my budding career as a folk performer to spend a year in Spain as an English teacher.. where my brief was to learn the language and prepare for Nicaragua. However, here I met the woman who is now "mi compaņera de la vida".... and before too long Nicaragua seemed less appealing... sigh... Then I joined a fairly succesful Catalan Rock Band and had five good years getting my old desire to be Jim Morrisson out of my system :-) Though I never wanted to be "the lizard king"... who wants to eat flies?

Nowadays, I'm a translator and a private English teacher... and I still keep my hand in writing the occasional song and composing on the computer.

15 Nov 99 - 07:59 AM (#136264)
Subject: RE: Daughters of the Revolution
From: Steve Parkes

I've heard - though Heaven knows where - of the Daughters of the American Revolution, aka the DAR; they are women who can trace their ancestry back to men or women or both (I'm not sure which) who were around at the time of the American Revolution - and presumably who were on the Good Guys' side! I've also seen a mention of them in a novel from the sixties, where they were made out to be a bit on the snobbish side, like Old Money. As a Brit, of course, I'm strictly neutral on this (anyway, we've been snobs for much longer!)


11 Jun 19 - 06:00 PM (#3996031)
Subject: RE: Lyr: Daughters of the Revolution (Berni Armstrong)
From: GUEST,Berni Armstrong

I just found this old thread by happenstance.

I can now add that I did get around to putting many of my songs on YouTube and I continue to write prolifically.

Check out

if you happen to stumble on this thread.


Berni Armstrong

PS So saddened to hear of Roy Bailey's death.