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Songbook review: When This Bloody War Is Over

31 Oct 01 - 06:30 PM (#583452)
Subject: Songbook review
From: The Walrus

I'm not sure if there is an ettiquette for reviewing books here, if there is and I breach it, my apologies.

Some months back, there was a thread running on WW1 Songs and, towards the end Max Arthur wrote in asking for help with a book he was writing, well, it's out.

"When This Bloody War Is Over" by Max Arthur, Piatkus Publishing, London, 2001. pp160, 12.99
ISBN 0 7499 2285 4

This is a slim(ish) volume containing an interesting mix of "standards" and some "lesser known" pieces from the Great War, most with a little text giving either a background or an explaination of the piece. Unfortunately, there wasn't room to include the music, but where he could (at least for parodies), Max has given the name of the tune (and often includes the original lyrics), which is a help. The songs are set out in a logical order Patriotic/Recruiters, Music Hall/Home Front (with soldiers' parodies), Gallipoli/ANZAC, RFC, Canadian/American songs and one post-war piece. The only problems that I could see were in one or two songs where, the version I know has differing choruses for each verse and the book assumes the same chorus and one song where I know a different tune and can't fit the lyrics to the tune quoted (but that may be me)

All in all, not a bad little book and, if you have an interest in the period or in "military" song, then this will sit nicely alongside Brophey & Partridge and Roy Palmer. (Of course, if you're not interested, then it's been a complete waste of time reading this far ).

The book was launched on Monday 29th October at the Imperial War Museum, London, with an interesting batch of guests (shall we say, If I'd realised who would be there, I would have had difficulty travelling with the all books I would have wanted signed), but the pride of place went to six veterans of the Great War, aged between 104 and the "baby" of the group at a mere 100. Several of this group were definite "gluttons for punishment", sporting medals from both World Wars, including, in one case, the Soviet medals awarded to those who had served in the Arctic convoys, supplying the USSR.

I'm not good at this kind of thing, so I'll pack up here and leave further discussion open to others (Mr Red was certainly there and I saw Gervaise's name tag waiting, but not the man himself).

Best Wishes

Walrus


01 Nov 01 - 11:09 AM (#583897)
Subject: RE: BS: Songbook review
From: Hollowfox

Well done, Walrus, and many thanks. I hope the book makes it to the USA so I can see it.


22 Oct 02 - 12:31 PM (#808600)
Subject: RE: Songbook review
From: IanC

Ive refreshed this thread because I want to add the review to the Basic Folk Library permathread.

Anyone got any other reviews that I can add next time I get round to it?
:-)
Ian


22 Oct 02 - 12:42 PM (#808608)
Subject: Review: WW1 Songbook- When This Bloody War Is Over
From: wysiwyg

Great job reviewing this, Walrus! Thanks for taking the time.

It's helpful to put the title of any work reviewed into either the thread title or the subject line of the post, to make searches more productive and efficient later. As you can see from my post, anyone can do that if the person posting doesn't do it. (Sometimes Joe Offer will change a thread title for the same reason.) But a thread like this, titled as it is, is a great one to add new reviews without making a new thread.

~Susan


22 Oct 02 - 01:14 PM (#808631)
Subject: RE: Songbook review
From: CET

Actually from Charmion, who should have re-set the cookie but didn't.

"When This Bloody War Is Over" is available in the gift shops at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum. Dick of CAMSCO Records and the Digital Tradition has a copy now he swapped me a Ewan MacColl CD for it. Thanks, Dick; hope you like it.

Walrus is right on point in his review, and I am grateful for his references to other British works in this field. Walrus, could you supply the complete titles and publication info so I can chase down copies in the second-hand market, however tattered, torn and expensive they may be?

Other facetious, but useful collections I have found are by Martin Page, "For Gawd's Sake Don't Take Me" and "Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant-Major" (both British, focussed on the National Service period). The Canadian Second World War equivalent source is Hopwood's "Songs from the Front and Rear", which contains a great deal of British material adapted to Canadian tastes -- much of the Canadian Army spent the better part of three years training in England, and the part of the Canadian Army that didn't was in Italy as part of the Eighth Army.


22 Oct 02 - 02:51 PM (#808717)
Subject: RE: Songbook review
From: Joe Offer

Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the large print edition of this book on their lists, but sy it's not yet available. They don't list the regular-print edition. Anybody know where it might be available in the U.S.?
I saw Dick's copy, and I gotta have it. Lots of great lyrics - but unfortunately no tunes.
-Joe Offer-