White Wind, Black Tide

by Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger

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02:29
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02:28
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02:06
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04:18
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01:51
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17:34

credits

released April 12, 1986

Produced by Calum MacColl
Engineered by Harun Coombes
Recorded at Falconer Studios, London

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Ewan MacColl London, UK

This site is maintained by the MacColl family, aiming to make Ewan's catalogue available to download.
Ewan MacColl is known to most as a songwriter and singer, but he was also of significant influence in the worlds of theatre and radio broadcasting. His art reached huge numbers through the folk clubs, greater numbers through his recordings and untold millions through the radio. ... more

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Track Name: The Great Conspiracy
Ahmed Timol and Matthew Mabelone:
Two young men who died before their time -
Fell from a tenth-story window in Johannesburg’s police station
While undergoing police interrogation.
They were killed by

The Anglo-American Corporation,
Barclays Bank and I.T.T.,
Union Carbide Corporation,
Thatcher’s spivs and Reagan’s bully-boys,
Get-rich-quick, don’t-care investors,
Sun Life Assurance Company.

Jacob Mashabane, Ernest Mamasila:
Two among ten thousand detainees -
Found hanging by the neck in Johannesburg’s police station,
While undergoing police interrogation.
They were killed by

Falconbridge Nickel Mining Limited,
Rio Tinto and S.T.C.,
Exxon Mining Corporation,
Reagan and Thatcher’s grisly crew
Of used-car salesmen, board-room gangsters,
General Motors and A.E.G..

Joseph Mdluli and Fenuel Magatusi:
Two opponents of apartheid’s law -
§ Both met their deaths by manual strangulation,
While undergoing police interrogation.
They were killed by

Anglo-Transvaal Consolidated,
Ford and the Chase Manhattan Bank,
Alcan Aluminium Limited,
Reagan’s conmen, Thatcher’s Tories,
The hangmen’s bosses and rich paymasters,
Siemens, Krupps and the Deutsche Bank.

Benjamin Moloise: poet and freedom fighter;
Met his death, upon his lips a song:
A song of a land without racial exploitation,
Without apartheid, Pass Law, police interrogation.
He was killed by

Caltex Petroleum Corporation,
Mobil, Total and BP,
Texaco and Standard Oil,
Pulling the strings of Reagan and Thatcher
And all the rest of the crooks and clowns
Who dance to the tune of
THE GREAT CONSPIRACY!
Track Name: Ten Young Women And One Young Man
Now pause awhile, my friends, and listen to what I’m going to tell to you
About the events in Dublin City and the girls of the I.D.A.T.U.
Dunnes Store, the branch in Henry Street, is where the trouble all began
That led to the strike, the famous strike, of ten young women and one young man.

That year at the union conference they said we should not compromise
With apartheid and they voted to boycott all South African merchandise;
When Karen Gearon, the Dunnes shop-steward, told her mates about the ban,
They said, ‘We’ll stand by the resolution.’ Ten young women and one young man.

Now Mary Manning of Kilmainham, a twenty-one-year-old cashier,
Was put to the test the very next morning when she spoke up loud and clear:
‘No, I’m afraid I cannot serve you, that grapefruit’s South African!
And some of us here are opposed to apartheid.’ Ten young women and one young man.

Well, what a hell of a hullabaloo, the threats and groans and the angry cries,
The management foaming at the mouth and the suits buzzing round like blue-arse flies;
‘You’ll sell those goods or be suspended, we’ll tolerate no union ban!’
Little did they understand the will of ten young women and one young man

So Mary Manning got the push, this lass of independent mind,
And ten of her workmates came out and joined her there on the picket line.
For days and weeks and months they stood there, persevered and stood their ground, Proclaiming the will and determination of ten young women and one young man.

Then here’s to the girls of Dublin City who stretched their hands across the sea,
Their action surely is a lesson in workers’ solidarity.
And here’s to the folk who heeded the boycott, who won’t buy Cape and spurn Outspan,
And also the lad who joined the lasses - ten young women and one young man.
Track Name: We're A Nation Of Animal Lovers
We don’t pretend we’re perfect but we have endearing features,
We’re honest and we’re always kind to God’s four-footed creatures;
Dogs and horses, hamsters, rabbits, little furry things -
Lousy Europeans can’t appreciate the pleasure that a little kindness brings.
We’re a nation of animal lovers.

When Greeks were being tortured then we always held our peace,
We used to like to spend our summer holidays in Greece;
Cats and ponies, budgies, moths and hairy caterpillars -
Lousy Europeans can’t appreciate the pleasure that these little creatures give us,
We’re a nation of animal lovers.

When there’s hangings in South Africa we just avert our gaze,
But we’re tender-hearted to a fault with alley cats and strays;
Remember how the nation nearly had a nervous spasm,
Breathlessly anticipating giant panda’s pleasure in a cuddly orgasm,
We’re a nation of animal lovers.

When there’s rioting in Brixton we’re impressively impassive,
But be cruel to a horse and our reaction then is massive;
Guinea pigs and painted terrapin, tropical fishes -
Lesser races cannot understand the simple fact that it would meet with all our wishes
If there were no human beings.
Track Name: Black & White
The apple’s ripe upon the bough, the orange on the tree;
The hands are black that pick the fruit for you but not for me.

Diamonds shining in the rock, gleaming white and blue;
Ten hours a day in the diamond mines for me but not for you.

A sea of grass and mountain ranges beckoning the free;
A place to walk with head held high for you but not for me.

The burning sun of Africa, the sky that’s always blue;
Apartheid and the pass law for me but not for you.

A big land, a rich land, stretched from sea to sea;
And all the riches of the earth for you but not for me.

A big land, a gracious land, a land where old meets new;
The bullets fired at Sharpeville were for me but not for you.

You’ve planted seeds of fear and hate in all who would be free;
At harvest time the fruit will be for you - and not for me.
Track Name: White Wind
I
Did you hear the wind that came in the night from the Northland?
We have heard, we have heard.
Did you hear the notes of the broken song of the wind of the Northland?
We have heard, we have heard.
Song of rust sung out of iron throats,
The rattling bones, lamenting flesh;
Chattering teeth of guns saluting death,
The crackling tongues of fire -
Cadaverous choir of worms.

Have you seen how the land was raped by the wind from the Northland?
We have seen, we have seen.
Have you seen the crops that were sown in the night by the wind from the Northland?
We have seen, we have seen.
The tortured land is lashed with iron rain,
The shuffling reapers harvest chains,
Skulls in the twisted trees are ripe with flame,
Whips bloom in the fields -
The land is bearing prisons.

Have you known the sickness borne on the wind from the Northland?
We have known, we have known.
Have you smelled the blood and known the hate that was born on the wind from the Northland?
We have known, we have known.
The white disease, the pestilence of greed,
The carriers of the taking plague,
Scavengers of the world condemned to feed
On everything that lives -
And kill what they don't need.

II
The warriors came,
They overran our land;
The landless poor of distant lands,
Red-coated poor,
The disinherited
Of northern lands,
The broken men
Of the white tribes.

The warriors came,
They overran our land;
Their only song the song of fire,
Red-coated slaves
Who bring enslavement,
Their only dance
The dance of death
Of the white tribes.

The warriors came,
They overran our land
With smoke and flame and reek of blood,
Their god of pain
Is fed on murder
And tortured flesh,
The gentle god
Of the white tribes.

The warriors came,
They overran our land;
And bloodless men came bearing laws,
The twisted laws
That make theft easy,
The law of chains
That made us slaves
Of the white tribes.

The warriors came,
They overran our land;
The hard-eyed men who worship gold,
They took the land
That bore and fed us
And made it theirs:
The ravaged earth
Of the white tribes.

The warriors came,
They overran our land
With shuffling priests of gods of pain,
And men with serpents' eyes -
Lawbearers
Of poisoned laws
That gave our land
To the white tribes.

THE SPOILERS CAME,
A RAVENING PLAGUE OF ANTS:
WHITE ANTS THAT FEED ON BLOOD AND GOLD,
DEVOURING MEN
AND PLAINS AND MOUNTAINS
AND GRASS AND TREES;
DRIVEN BY GREED
MADE MAD WITH NEED
OF DEAD YELLOW ROCK
AND CRYSTALS BURIED IN THE EARTH'S DRY GRAVE.

THE SPOILERS CAME,
RIDING A WHITE NIGHTMARE THROUGH EMPTY VIEWS,
KNOWING NO WARMTH, NO LOVE, NO KINSHIP,
ONLY PRIDE IN THE SKIN OF THE WHITE TRIBE.

III
Who are the people, the people of southern Africa,
The sons and the daughters,
The natural offspring of Africa's soil.
O -----
Who labours and toils so that Africa's soil
Might be fed with their sweat?
O -----
What are their names?
What are their names?

Xhosa and Swazi and Tswana, Mpondu, Mfengu,
Venda, Shangaan, Tsonga and Sotho, Africans all,
O -----
Coloured and Indian, one people,
The people of Africa's south,
O -----
These are their names
These are their names

Whose is the land and the riches of southern Africa?
The copper, the coal, the valuable diamonds, the glittering gold?
O -----
Is it the Zulu's, the Swazi's
The people of Africa's south?
O -----
Whose is the land?
Whose is the land?

Who digs the coal and the copper and gold of Africa?
Who are the toilers? Who digs the diamonds, uranium ore?
O -----
Who works in the fields
And who gathers a harvest that's none of their own?
O -----
What are their names?
What are their names?

Who plunders the land and the people of southern Africa?
Who are the spoilers? Who owns the diamonds, uranium ore?
O -----
Who takes the gold and the copper and coal,
All the fruits of the earth?
O -----
What are their names?
What are their names?

Vorster and Verwoerd and Smuts, the unholy trinity:
British investors, American, German, Belgian and French,
O -----
General Motors and Barclays and Rio Tinto and Shell
O -----
These are their names
These are their names

The prophets of progress have come to southern Africa,
Bringing apartheid, guns and the Pass Law
Prisons and slums,
O -----

IV
Where is your daddy, son?
Where has your daddy gone?
Why doesn't he live at home?
Why did he go away?
Why does he stay away?
Why does he leave you and your mammy alone?

Maybe he's down a mine
Or building a railway line,
Maybe he's hauling stone.
Maybe within a year
They'll let him come back here,
Give him a permit to visit his home.

How will he know you, son?
You've been a-growing, son,
He's been away so long.
So long since he's seen you,
They've bulldozed our lean-to,
So how will he know where you've gone?

How will you know him, son?
You've been a-growing, son,
He's been away so long.
He's poor and he's black
And the clothes on his back
And the pass in his pocket is all that he owns.

Maybe he'll never come,
Maybe he's on the run,
Maybe he's lost his pass.
Maybe he's gone to ground,
Hid in some shanty-town,
Waiting to earn enough cash.

Maybe they picked him up,
Questioned him, beat him up,
Then sent him on his way.
Maybe they weren't satisfied,
Maybe they thought he lied,
Maybe they put him away.

Maybe he got colour-blind,
Maybe he spoke his mind,
Maybe he didn't say "Please".
Maybe he saw the light,
Better to stand and fight
Than live all your life on your knees.

Maybe he's lying dead,
Hanged or shot through the head,
Killed in a prison cell.
Maybe he's fighting back,
Gone over to the attack,
Maybe he's learned to rebel.

Where is your daddy, son?
Where has your daddy gone?
Why doesn't he live at home?
He's learning to fight
For all black people's rights
And he'll never let up till we've won.

V
SIXTEENTH DAY OF JUNE
IN THE YEAR OF SEVENTY-SIX,
THE LONG HOT BLOODY YEAR,
THE YEAR OF SOWETO.

Soweto! Soweto! Soweto! Soweto! Soweto!
Sleepers stir and the dawn is breaking,
Soweto! Soweto!
Morning sun and the township waking,
Soweto! Soweto!
Through the streets black children walking,
Soweto! Soweto!
Rise and fall of voices talking,
Soweto! Soweto!
Down at the schoolhouse people waiting,
Soweto! Soweto!
Barefoot students demonstrating,
Soweto! Soweto!
Boys and girls they stand determined,
Soweto! Soweto!
Give us books, the tools of learning,
Soweto! Soweto!
Clouds of dust as the armoured cars pass,
Soweto! Soweto!

We ask for books and they give us tear-gas,
Soweto! Soweto!
Learn the lesson of apartheid,
Soweto! Soweto!
Tanks in the streets and the smell of cordite,
Soweto! Soweto!
Children who have known no childhood,
Soweto! Soweto!
Pledge their hope and give their life-blood,
Soweto! Soweto! Soweto!

Soweto: a word for murder,
Soweto means fascist terror,
Soweto: a word for death,
Tanks opposing naked flesh.
Soweto! Soweto!

Soweto: a word for courage,
Soweto means will to fight,
Soweto means end oppression,
Soweto: it spells UNITE!

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