Filksong Genealogy: They’re Singing Banned from Argo

(Series: Filksong Genealogy)

 

Above: Leslie Fish’s setting to Rudyard Kipling’s “Danny Deever,” a poem about soldiers having to watch a public hanging, framed as a series of questions from a young inexperienced soldier and answers from an older veteran who has seen all this before.

Below: Bob Kanefsky’s “They’re Singing ‘Banned From Argo’,” a similarly framed series of questions and answers about another dreaded ritual.

If you find yourself confused by the veteran filker’s reaction in Bob’s parody, a look at this Fanlore page may be of some help.  And if you’ve never heard the original “Banned From Argo” before, run while you still can here’s your chance!

Filksong Genealogy: Bashing the Balrog

(Series: Filksong Genealogy)

Firstly, above: Leslie Fish’s setting of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Dane-Geld,” about the dubious wisdom of paying tribute to avoid being conquered by a neighboring country with less portable wealth but better armies.

Secondly, as previously seen on this blog, a classic filksong to the tune of “Waltzing Matilda”: Lee Gold’s “You Bash the Balrog,” a cheerful little ditty about an ill-fated set of D&D adventurers.  (If you’ve never heard “Waltzing Matilda,” have a listen here and maybe check out the wikipedia page.)

And finally, below: Bob Kanefsky’s synthesis “Bashing the Balrog,” performed by Leslie Fish.

Filksong Genealogy: Song from the Pig’s Side

(Series: Filksong Genealogy)

Above: another poem by Rudyard Kipling set to music by Leslie Fish: “Song of the Men’s Side,” a mythic story about how humankind rose above its status as prey for wolves by attaining a crucial piece of technology.

Below: Bob Kanefsky’s take on a … loosely related story, which is also about wolves and prey and technological advancements:  “Song From the Pig’s Side,” performed by Leslie Fish.  (Look at the end of the third verse for a sneaky shoutout to a different Kipling poem entirely – which, yes, has also been set to music by Fish.)

Refusal of the Call – Beth Kinderman

I picked up some stones & then
I made myself a labyrinth
built the walls so high til I
could not see the stars
so tell your metamorphosis
that it is not invited here
those sounds you’re hearing now
are anything but minotaurs

“Refusal of the Call,” by Beth Kinderman, from her upcoming concept album The Hero’s Journey.  The Bandcamp description includes this quote from Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces:

“Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or ‘culture,’ the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved. His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless—even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building an empire of renown. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death: a labyrinth of cyclopean walls to hide from him his minotaur. All he can do is create new problems for himself and await the gradual approach of his disintegration.

Bridge-Guard in the Karroo – Leslie Fish

(Few, forgotten and lonely,
Where the empty metals shine—
No, not combatants—only
Details guarding the line.)

“Bridge-Guard in the Karroo” by Rudyard Kipling, set to music and sung by Leslie Fish.  The poem is said (by Wikipedia) to evoke “the loneliness experienced by blockhouse soldiers at Ketting station on the Dwyka River while guarding the Karoo railway track, a lifeline during the South African War.”  Thank god for Wikipedia, because I know nothing about the South African War.

Elsinore – Vanessa Cardui

“The lyrics of the chorus (beginning with “The child that from the tear”) are a poem entitled ‘The Procreations of Eve and the Copulations of Adam’, by George Barker, published in his 1992 volume ‘Street Ballads’. The poem is used by the gracious permission of Barker’s estate. The song was inspired in equal parts by Barker’s poetry and by Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. Each voice represents a different character in the drama.”

This is…haunting.  I’m really impressed by this singer’s madrigal-esque text settings.

“Elsinore,” by Vanessa Cardui

Cold Iron -Leslie Fish

Gold is for the mistress – silver for the maid –

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

“Good!”  said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

“But Iron – Cold Iron – is master of them all.”

Rudyard Kipling’s “Cold Iron,” set and sung by Leslie Fish

This was requested, and I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t posted it before; it’s one of my favorite Fish/Kiplings.  Kipplefishes?  Fishlings.

Rimini – Leslie Fish

“Rimini,” a marching song for the Roman legions, words by Rudyard Kipling, tune by Leslie Fish.

I spent a while messing with Riffstation to try and figure out the chords for this, and it worked…alright.  What I came up with may not be exact, but it works.  Try substituting fifths and nearby minor chords if anything doesn’t sound right to you.  I believe Fish has it capoed up four frets; anyway, this is the easiest key I found.

Lyrics and chords here