FS38: I would that the wars were all done

I started going to folk clubs regularly a bit before the invasion of Iraq. At that stage I only had a handful of songs I was really confident of, one of which was Billy Bragg’s “Between the wars”. I never really liked it – a bit grandiose, a bit sententious, and what was that bit about moderation doing there? Then the War on Terror kicked off properly, and nobody could claim we were “between the wars” any more. Ill wind eh?

This, anyway, is a sweetly pretty song about love and conscription, full of stock imagery, overcooked descriptions and patriotic sentiments. It’s rescued by the refrain, which is raw and hard-edged in its simplicity:

I would that the wars were well over
I would that the wars were all done

And – now that we’re not between the wars – who doesn’t?

Partly recorded in the open air. Accompaniment: concertina and recorder.

Leave a comment

Filed under folk song, traditional

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s