Filksong Genealogy: Shapes in Shadow

(Series: Filksong Genealogy)

Above: “Shades of Shadow,” off the album A Wolfrider’s Reflections, based on the ElfQuest comic.  (The official album songbook is here; lyrics to this song are about halfway through.)  Lyrics by Mercedes Lackey, music by Leslie Fish, sung by Julia Ecklar.  The speaker in this song is Winnowill, a powerful magic-worker and master manipulator.

Below: Bob Kanefsky’s “Shapes in Shadow” is one of those filksongs that can’t really be called a parody of the original song, as there’s nothing comedic or satirical about it.  Like the original, it’s about power.

No High Ground – Leslie Fish

lh-moth:

jewishlyriumghost:

arthurandfordandzaphodandmarvin:

jewishlyriumghost:

So @omniship-armada wanted to hear the story of how this song scared my uncle.

For those of you who’ve never heard this song, it’s a song about how sooner or later the downtrodden always get pissed off and overthrow the bourgeoisie, and push gotta come to shove, the lawyer and the lawbook only go so far so go out there and kill rich people, fuck the church, and make sure to stand in solidarity with the other downtrodden. It actually specifically mentions antisemitism. Which is cool.

Pretty rivetting stuff.

Now, if you’ve never heard anything by Leslie Fish, here’s what you should know: She’s most known for fantasy and really, really hating the police. See above. Only, she’s a filk artist. She’s one of the more folky filk artists, actually. So her music, while saying things like “fuck the police” and “unions are great” does so through the lens of “after the apocalypse the SCA became a band of heroes and killed police, it was awesome” and “man starfleet ensigns are treated like crap, they need a union”. With matching folky or silly tunes.

This one is actually one of her less folky ones, but it’s followed by two more in the same album that are much more folky sounding, “Weapon Shops of Isher” and “Old Issue”. As you may have guessed, this album has a theme. That theme is guns.

So I’m sitting down, listening to my music which is keeping me grounded. Specifically, I am listening to this song, No High Ground. Which, again, is about inciting revolution.

My uncle asks me what I’m listening to.

Now, I have a split second decision to make before he asks me again, thinking I didn’t hear him: I can take out my earphones and go through the lengthy explanation of what filk is, or I can give him a one sentence answer. Naturally, I decide on the one sentence answer. I’m sitting there. I’ve got black clothes and a black denim jacket on.  I don’t move an inch. I give my answer.

“songs about guns.”

Naturally, he asks me why. Again, not wanting to explain, not thinking, I answer.

“They relax me.”

Preeeetty sure my uncle is terrified of me and/or thinks I’m Ron Swanson.

So sounds like I have a new artist to listen to…

Leslie Fish has some very fun stuff. A lot of it is on youtube

I know not everyone can afford to buy CDs, and not everyone wants to mess with physical discs any more, but for those who are interested, Leslie Fish has an official website where people can buy her albums.

Her website is lesliefish.com.

Re: Filksong Genealogy: Bashing the Balrog

sci-fantasy:

filkyeahfilk:

(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.

So the next one is “And the Fans Sang ‘You Bash the Balrog,’” right?

(Dr. Jane Mailander, mashing up “You Bash the Balrog” with Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played ‘Waltzing Matilda.’” Not sure if there’s a recording of it, I just have the lyrics.)

Whoo.  Okay, I’ll be honest, I hesitated to reblog the followup with the full lyrics; I’d forgotten that there are ableist slurs (and what I’m pretty sure is an implied prison rape joke) in the fourth verse. I think last time I heard this sung, the filker either sang something different or skipped that verse entirely.

But there’s no point in denying that like every other music genre and every other fannish community, filk has got some deeply flawed and problematic content, both historical and contemporary.  And like every other community, we’re still working out how to deal with it.

I’m gonna compromise in this case, and link to the lyrics instead of posting them.

Folks, our ask box is open; if you have any suggestions about how to deal with this kind of thing in future, I don’t promise we’ll abide by them, but I think we’d like to hear them.

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.)

Horsetamer’s Daughter – Julia Ecklar

“Horsetamer’s Daughter” is set in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover universe, and is really a fanfic in its own right. It was originally written by Leslie Fish, and is infamous for going on… and on… and on… and…

(Probably apocryphal) legend has it that when presented with the song, Marion Zimmer Bradley told Leslie Fish something along the lines of “That’s nice, dear, but isn’t it a bit long?”

Lyrics are available here.

Black Water – Leslie Fish & Heather Alexander

Black water, final rescue, dark water, lasting peace
Black water, keeping secrets none may know
Black water, final rescue, bring silence and release
Black water, through the city swiftly flow

“Black Water,” also called “Suicide,” by Mercedes Lackey and C.J. Cherryh, performed by Leslie Fish and Heather Alexander.  This is one of those songs that sounds like fantasy until you realize what they’re talking about (obvious, in this case, from the subtitle), and then it’s a little unsettling.

Blood and Black Leather – Leslie Fish

Consider the shape of the future
The lessons we’ve learned from the past
You must have chainmaille and black leather
If you want clothing to last

“Blood and Black Leather,” some solid post-apocalyptic worldbuilding by Leslie Fish, performed at Worldcon 1998

I’m headed to Wasteland Weekend today!  If anybody who happens to see this is there (a long shot, but you never know), please talk to me.  I’ll have my guitar.  Look for a patchwork tent with CAPITALISM KILLED spray painted on the side.

The Discards – Leslie Fish

Who else would roll so proudly
Across this blasted land?
Who else would bitch so loudly
On every channel band?
Now do they think that no one
Could stay out here alive,
Or did they think us low ones
Were too stupid to survive,
Too stupid to survive?

I listened to this song on repeat for a week after playing all of Tales From The Borderlands in a day.  Now I’m thinking about it again because I’m gonna go to Wasteland Weekend (not soon, but it’s never too early to start fake apocalypse prepping).

“The Discards,” by Leslie Fish

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.