Henry's Songbook

© All original copyrights respected / For private use only
previous page / vorherige Seite  back / zurück

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk

Back Home in Derry

  • [Bobby Sands / Gordon Lightfoot]
  • In eighteen-o-three we sailed out to sea
    Out from the sweet town of Derry
    For Australia bound, if we didn't all drown
    The marks of our fetters we carried

    In our rusty iron chains we cried for our weans
    Our good women we left in sorrow
    As the main sails unfurled, our curses we hurled
    On the English and thoughts of tomorrow

    At the mouth of the Foyle, bade farewell to the soil
    As down below decks we were lying
    O'Doherty screamed, woken out of a dream
    By a vision of bold Robert dying

    The sun burnt cruel as we dished out the gruel
    Dan O'Conner was down with a fever
    Sixty rebels today, bound for Botany Bay
    How many will reach their receiver

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry
    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    I cursed them to hell as our bow fought the swell
    Our ship danced like a moth in the firelight
    White horses rode high as the devil passed by
    Taking souls to Hades by twilight

    Five weeks out to sea, we were now forty-three
    We buried our comrades each morning
    In our own slime we were lost in the time
    Endless night without dawning

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry
    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

    Van Diemen's Land is a hell for a man
    To end out his whole life in slavery
    Where the climate is raw and a gun makes the law
    Neither wind nor rain care for bravery

    Twenty years have gone by, I have ended my bond
    My comrades' ghosts walk beside me
    A rebel I came, I'm still the same
    On the cold winds of night you will find me

    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry
    Oh oh oh oh oh I wish I was back home in Derry

As sung by Christy Moore

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • english [1984:] Written by Bobby Sands for his comrades from Derry who were in the H-Blocks. He performed this song at the nightly concerts they used to have in the Blocks, singing it out through the keyhole. (Christy Moore Songbook 103)

  • english [1979:] Australia quickly found a new population with the English courts' vicious sentences which ripped families and communities apart in all parts of the empire, usually for crimes as trivial as poaching or the theft of a bread. (Loesberg II, 65)

  • english [1982:] Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) was first colonised by the British in 1803. In 1807 the first convicts, transported from Britain, arrived, and thousands more were to follow - fifteen thousand in four years alone - until 1853 when the transportation system was abolished. Many of the prisoners were from the English shires, convicted of such rural offences as poaching and sheep stealing, and the effect on them of being dumped on an island where the aborigines were hostile and the planters treated their workers like cattle can be imagined. (Pollard, Folksong 36)

  • english [1989:] Two of the most powerful political songs in [Christy Moore's] repertoire are not directly political in their subject matter, and these are the two tunes by Bobby Sands. Moore learned them from two men who had just been released from the H-blocks. One night, in the Bogside, he was taught Sands's ballad about Irish prisoners sent to Australia in the nineteenth century, Back Home In Derry [...] Bobby Sands may have been regarded (with good reason) as a dangerous IRA terrorist by the British authorities, but he was also a keen Planxty fan, who used to sing Planxty songs in the H-blocks. [...] Christy Moore performs Bobby Sands's tunes 'because they are very good songs', but he is well aware that in so doing he is asking his audiences to reconsider their view of a man remembered, particularly in Britain, as a dangerous killer. So, is he trying to show Sands as a sensitive man, not a monster? 'Obviously. And I often don't mention that it's a Bobby Sands song. I just let it filter through. [...]' (Denselow, Music 165f)

  • deutsch [1991:] Als Entdecker Tasmaniens gilt der 40.000 Jahre später als die Aborigines eingetroffene holländische Seefahrer Abel Tasman, der die Insel 1642 erreichte. England nutzte von 1788-1868 die Insel, um dort Sträflinge unterzubringen. Insgesamt sollen 180.000 'convicts' nach Australien und Tasmanien verschleppt worden sein, von denen sehr viele im Land blieben. (Theo Dorant, taz, 31. August)

See also

Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore description
Edmund Fitzgerald (on the tune's origin)
Gordon Lightfoot: Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - Song Lyrics
Back Home In Derry for Sands' original poem, 'Voyage'
1981: Hunger striker elected MP for Bobby Sands
Back Home in Derry Christy Moore

Quelle: Ireland
Tune: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

go back de  B-Index uk

© Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (D-21435 Stelle)

04.04.2003, aktualisiert am 06.04.2010,