> Martin Carthy > Songs > Aux Anciens Parapets

Aux Anciens Parapets

[words Miles Wootton / music Anton Caras]

There are two live recordings by Martin Carthy of this poem by Miles Wootton, recited to the music of the Harry Lime Theme, on, recorded in 1986 at the Cambridge Folk Festival, on the CD The Best of the Cambridge Folk Festival, the other, recorded in September 1988, on the BBC album The Kershaw Sessions.

Greer Gilman notes:

Aux anciens parapets is a poem by Miles Wootton, a savage bit of satire on American fatcattery, spoken over a tour de force rendering of the Harry Lime Theme from The Third Man, a tune for the zither by Anton Caras. An air of sauntering menace. The title is taken from Rimbaud's Le bateau ivre: “Je regrette l'Europe aux anciens parapets!”

Lyrics

For chewing gum, cola, brunch burgers and rye
America
Honor tarts, Sinatra, Mom's apple pie
America
For the death of the buffalo, the birth of the blues,
For high balls and hot dogs and bootlegger's booze
Honest John, Minuteman, Trident and Cruise
America

Dumbo, Rambo, Bonzo, Sue Ellen, J.R.
America
For Elvis and Bing and the Cadillac car
America
For space age technology, for stone age finesse,
For getting us all in one hell of a mess,
With your God save America, God damn the rest
America

Nixon, Kissinger, bombs in Vietnam
America
That sly red-necked huckster they call Uncle Sam
America
For the sake of the thousands of children who died,
For your generals, your senators, your presidents who lied,
For their Mickey Mouse morals, Neanderthal pride
America

Showbiz and all of the razzamatazz
America
Uncle Toms cabin, chain gang, Alcatraz
America
Peanuts, popcorn, B movies and glamour parades,
Las Vegas, and crap and amusement arcades
Ku Klux Klan, Billy Graham and moral crusades
America
We stand against you

Acknowledgements

Lyrics found at the Mudcat Café and slightly adapted to Martin Carthy's singing on The Best of the Cambridge Folk Festival by Reinhard Zierke. Thanks to Greer Gilman for the note and to Bob Lerwill for help.