euphbass (euphbass) wrote,

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Jerusalem Revisited

I was listening to this the other day and meant to post about it. It's by Coope, Boyes and Simpson, an English a capella male vocal trio, with folk roots. It's their take on the hymn Jerusalem, which has become something of an unofficial anthem for England since it was set to music in the early 20th century. In this version, most of the melody is a variation on the hymn melody, except for the last verse, which returns to the well known tune. It's really very moving.

The words of the original hymn are more or less those of a poem by Blake, And did those feet in ancient time, set to music by Hubert Parry. This version refers to those original words throughout, but in it's own modern context. It's particularly relevant at the moment - nothing much ever changes.

I particularly like the "Dark satanic mills" reference to Blakes poem. Looking at Wikipedia, there seem to be differing ideas of what he was actually referring to. I like to think of it as a reference to the industrialisation of England in the 1800s and the passing of the idylic (or supposedly so) rural way of life that the Arts and Crafts movement and Pre-Raphaelites so admired at the turn of the century.

I'm afraid I couldn't find a link to a recording for you on Spotify or Last FM to hear, but I would recommend downloading it from Amazon or iTunes.

Jerusalem Revisited
Jim Boyes

Out there on a doomed estate
A house is burning down
Another island in a wasteland
Another blackspot in the town
In a homeland for the homeless
Live the scroungers of the land
Stealing anything of value
For a little 'Cash in hand'

Out there by the petrol station
Someone's stalking with a gun
Head full of jagged images
Somebody's crazy mixed up son
Out there someone gives the order
Shoot to kill the little swine
We've got to have some law and order
In this land of iniquity and crime

And we tried to build Jerusalem
Upon this island shore
But it seems that we've forgotten what it's for

Meanwhile in the city
A jewelled finger clicks
Another zero in a total
A quick financial fix
Meanwhile at the scrapyard
Another supplementary wage
Another monument to money
Another symptom of the age

And as they close another factory
And reposses another home
As they cut another budget
Another splinter off the bone
As they waste another billion
Propping up a lost empire
There are clouds on the horizon
And the future's in the fire

And what could have been Jerusalem
Is rotten to the core
Is it Dark Satanic Mills for evermore?

And did those feet in Ancient time
Walk on England's mountains green
And the Holy Lamb was sacrificed
On every foreign field
Was it all a vain delusion
Built on centuries of war
Now all around's confusion
And the beggar's at your door

And they try to say Jerusalem's
Forever passed away
But tomorrow always brings another day

Bring back the voice of burning gold
Stifle the Silver Tongues with fire
We'll join our hands across the world
To reclaim what we most desire
We shall not cease from mental strife
For Unity is our demand
And bound together we will rise
To make this Earth a promised land
Tags: folk, songs
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