> Martin Carthy > Songs > Company Policy

Company Policy

[Martin Carthy]

Martin Carthy sang his own song Company Policy on his 1988 album Right of Passage; it was re-released in 1993 on Rigs of the Time: The Best of Martin Carthy and on the Topic anthology The Folk Collection. A BBC live recording from July 1987 was published on The Kershaw Sessions and reissued in 2001 on the anthology The Carthy Chronicles. Martin Carthy commented in the The Kershaw Sessions sleeve notes:

The wounds sustained in the Falkland War were mainly burns because men were left off shore in boats and landing crafts, waiting for the invasion. They were sitting targets for such Exocet missiles as the Argentinas could lay their hands on. The boats were of super-lightweight construction so they could carry all the electronic hardware that they needed.

Maggie Holland recorded Company Policy for her 1992 album Down to the Bone. She sang it (and her own Perfumes of Arabia) live in Antwerp, Belgium, at Folk in 't Stad on March 30, 2012:

Lyrics

Right of Passage version The Kershaw Sessions version

I saw her by the showroom window,
Standing alone on a market quay.
As I passed her by I heard her sigh
As the military parade came on TV.

I saw her by the showroom window,
All and alone on a market quay.
As I passed her by I could hear her sigh
As the victory parade passed on TV.

There were twenty screens in the showroom window,
Victors marching large and small.
As they wheeled on by I heard her sigh,
Oh, and oh for my darling boy.

There were twenty screens in the showroom window,
Victors marching large and small.
As they wheeled on by you could hear her sigh,
Oh, and oh for my darling boy.

They called him Jack, they called him John,
He was there sat tight offshore.
They caught him cold in the heat of a battle
For a South Atlantic company store.

Mama told me, don't you wed a soldier
Don't ever marry your heart's delight
He will be gone when the fighting's done
And you will be left for to mourn in the light.

Mama told me, don't you wed a soldier
Don't ever marry your heart's delight
For he'll be gone till the fighting's done
And you will be standing alone in the light.

Every night I dreamed that I saw him,
Dreamed I never would see him more.
In my dream his body come floating
Away where the ocean rise and fall.

Every night I dreamed that I saw him,
Dreamed I never would see him more.
In my dream his body come floating
Away where the ocean rise and fall.

For they called him Jack, they called him John,
He was there sat tight off shore.
They caught him cold in the heat of a battle
For a South Atlantic company store.

But it was not death that bawled in the alley
Came skittering up to my love's door.
It was not death that cried and howled
In the teeth of a South Atlantic roar.

But it was not death that bawled in the alley
Skittering the way up to my love's door.
It was not death that cried and howled
In the teeth of a South Atlantic roar.

But the bomb bounding down on the alley,
The bomb wrapped in a silver shell,
The bomb that plucked the face from my love,
Spread it wide on the face of the swell.

But the bomb bounding down the alley,
Wrapped up neat in a silver shell,
The bomb that plucked the face from my love,
Spread it wide on the face of the swell.

Oh, sweet and soothing showers,
Breathe upon his burning head,
Ease among his waking dreams
Whose tears nightly drench my bed.

Oh, sweet and soothing showers,
Breathe upon his burning head,
Mourners all do you pass by
For the living don't need your tears yet.

For it was all a case of saving face
When they sent my love to the war
For eighteen hundred landless tenants
Of a South Atlantic company store.

It was all a case of saving face
When they sent my love to the war
For eighteen hundred landless tenants
Of a South Atlantic company store.

Eighteen hundred landless tenants,
Eighteen hundred landless poor,
Eighteen hundred waking dreams
Of Empire long gone before.

Eighteen hundred landless tenants,
Eighteen hundred poor of the poor,
Eighteen hundred waking dreams
Of an Empire long gone before.

In my dream I stand at Bluff,
I've an empty shell up to my ear,
The only sound the sound of cash
Being wrung from the snows of Antarctica.

In my dream I stand at Bluff,
I've an empty shell up to my ear,
The only sound the sound of cash
Being wrung from the snows of Antarctica.

Ring-a-ring-a city roses,
Victors march, and markets bloom.
The flame that melted my love's cheek
Come a-dancing the Iron Lady too.

Ring-a-ring-a city roses,
Victors march, and markets bloom.
The flame that melted my love's cheek
Come a-dancing the Iron Lady too.

Acknowledgements

Garry Gillard thanks, for transcriptions and notes, Wally Macnow, Susanne Kalweit, and the other mudcatters at The Mudcat Café, and Wolfgang Hell.