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The Butcher's Bill - collab


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Another from the Distant England cycle.

Many, many thanks to my collaborators on this song and to Paul Page who gave me some useful suggestions on what I should leave out!

The singer is Samantha Dixon who played accordion and sang in the last incarnation of Tricks Upon Travellers.

The intro was written by my old friend Graham Hodges and voiced by another old friend John Locke

Graeme Hobbs wrote most of the lyrics and he and I did the music. Drums are a mixture of Band in a Box, Apple loops and manually created ones. The rest is me. The ukulele is real the other instruments aren't!

It's set during the first World War.

In the UK, at least, the music halls were used as recruitment centres. Check out Vesta Tilley, a male impersonator who was known as “Britain's finest recruitment sergeant”.

The BBC used to have a program called “The Good Old Days”. It was a recreation of a Victorian music hall and was presented by a guy called Leonard Sachs who was noted for elaborate and alliterative introductions 56 secs into this clip for example (although the acts were not always up his standard)

The photo is from the collection put on-line by The British Library

The Butcher's Bill © Hobbs/Langford 2014

Now don't you worry Charlie, it's just a bit of fun
It will all be done by Christmas and you'll be home again my son
With tales of death and glory, and how you beat the Hun
So don't you worry Charlie, it's just a bit of fun

Do your bit for king and country and once the battle's wo
With your kitbag bound for Blighty home in time for tea with mum
And your sweetheart will be waiting there on platform number one
So don't you worry Charlie, it's just a bit of fun

So they all joined up together Charlie and his chums
They took the King's own shilling and went off to face the guns
The krump and roar of cannon soon woke them from their dream
And life from young boys bodies flowed in a never ending stream

As they wept and cried in terror and they were swallowed by the mud
The flower of a generation cut down and lost in blood
The troops were soaked and freezing and slept amongst the dead
And the General's distant thunder with French tarts to warm their bed

Well Charlie came home yesterday he didn't know his mum
And Charlie's mum cried yesterday, didn't recognise her son
They tried to stop him shaking and ease the horror from his brain
And in another twenty years Charlie we'll do it all again

The generals talked of glories won not their strategies of slaughter
Mens' minds and bodies turned to pulp by howitzer and mortar
And the generals went home heroes given lordships every one
So don't you worry Charlie, it's just a bit of fun

Queue up at the back there and prepare to meet your maker
For the generals have a lot of boys to kill
We paid the baker and paid the candle maker
But the young men have to pay the butcher's bill

Now don't you worry Charlie it's just a bit of fun …..
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Song Stats
Hits: 2273
Comments: 38
Fans: 24
Plays: 95
Downloads: 14

Uploaded: Apr 05, 2015 - 06:25:02 AM
Last Updated: Apr 05, 2015 - 06:27:07 AM Last Played: Aug 11, 2017 - 02:04:46 PM
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Comments
TobinMueller said 870 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
Hobbs and Locke
...Man, you have lofty philosophical and deeply funny friends! An unusual Easter Morning throwback tune. I love Vaudeville. Cheers to all the chummy Charlies and happy-go-lucky Huns still out there...! Thanks for the great refresh.
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DWL said 870 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
Happy Easter Tobin!
Thanks for the comments Mr M. I very much appreciate them. I also developed a real love for the old music hall (or vaudeville) songs and performers when I was researching orchestration and arrangements for this.

I had some very fine collaborators on this as you have noted!

Thanks for the listen :-)

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
lengold said 869 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
Different!
Can always expect something different from you and your collaborators Dick.
Superb.
Cheers
Len

Check out my latest song called Decent Girl
DWL said 869 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
Thanks Len!
Different to be sure. We don't like to be boring.

Much appreciated.

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
MacFerret said 869 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
Applause
Fantastic writing, performance and recording. Hats off to all.
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DWL said 869 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
Thanks Tim
It took a while but got there in the end so thanks for stopping by.

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Philip18 said 869 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
The Butcher's Bill
It is amazing that after what happened in the first world war there were still people mad enough to want a second one - and they collected followers who agreed with them. Some echoes of what's going on in some parts of the world today. Great production - I love everything about it. Great work, Dick! Entertaining and though-provoking.
Check out my latest song called First Night Alone
DWL said 869 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
Yes, it is amazing
but no matter what happens man seems to have a in-built desire to kill his fellow man for one reason or another.

Thanks for the listen and I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Cheers

Dick


Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Daugrin said 869 days ago (April 5th, 2015)
British House
The commons are indeed the most fun. Sorry, I don't understand British whimsy, which I relate to this kind of lamplight cut time.
Thanks for keep the traditions growing. There is something eternal about the stiff upper lip crowd I think.

Daug
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DWL said 869 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
Eternal?
Must be our role in life.

Memories mean a lot and yes, it's important to keep the traditions flowing.

Thanks Daug, much appreciated

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
PeterB7858 said 869 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
The Butcher's Bill
Savage commentary on the senseless slaughter of millions of people at the alter of imperialism. The cheerio, she'll be right grin of the old music hall setting just adds to the poignancy. Australia is all geared up to honour the death of thousands of Anzacs who rushed headlong at machine guns, ordered by their British overlords. It is hard to imagine how people could be so gullible... Wonderful performance by all involved. Thanks, Peter.
Check out my latest song called Ships In The Night (w Sam D)
DWL said 869 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
They're still gullible I'm afraid
We only have to look at the rise of the various flavours of extremists and the people that want to follow them. The world seems saddled with hatred sometimes.

Thanks for stopping by Peter.

Cheers

Dick


Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
davajonah said 869 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
Political commentary
in your usual light-hearted way.

My grandfather lost all his hair in the trenches of WW1. He was lucky to survive I suppose. Sadly, I didn't really get to know him; I was only five when he died.

Excellent song Dick.
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DWL said 869 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
Lucky indeed
although those that survived were scarred for life even if it wasn't visible.

Thanks for taking the time to listen Dave.

Cheers

Dick


Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
KCsGROOVE said 868 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
the butcher's bill
what a wonderful piece
loved the vocals
a fine collab
made me smile all the way :-)
KC
Check out my latest song called HEARTS ON FIRE
DWL said 868 days ago (April 7th, 2015)
Thanks Cees
It was a bit of a departure for me so I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Cheers

Dick

Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Les_Kloo said 867 days ago (April 8th, 2015)
Bit of fun
I remember reading about England's entry into WW I, and the high morale that pervaded the new recruits. I recall that the historian estimated that the high spirits lasted an average of three days after deployment. Being in the proximity of an artillery shell blowing the crap out of everything turned enthusiasm into instant, permanent horror. Well, what a shitstorm that turned into. It's debatable whether or not our young men have lost their naiveté (I think many have), but the old men continue to beat the drums of war. Thank you, MIC.

The production here is brilliant. Tip o' the hat to you and your collaborators. Serious fun.
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DWL said 858 days ago (April 16th, 2015)
Thanks Les
and apologies for the late reply.

I would think the high spirits were probably less than 3 days!

The old men do indeed continue to beat the drums and judging by the number that are still being lost in pointless conflicts the young men are still joining up.

Thanks for the listen and thoughtful comments Les.

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
grah3am said 864 days ago (April 10th, 2015)
Great intro
I remember hating TGOD when I was a kid. I might have more time for it nowadays. As for this one - O, what a beautiful ... tune. My only criticism would be the instrumentation, which seems to include keyboard approximations of real instruments. But I also know how hard it is to find a clarinetist when you need one. Great vocals!
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DWL said 858 days ago (April 16th, 2015)
I don't think so
I watched a lot of TGoD researching this and some of the acts were not exactly top class. Solid but un-inspiring. Typical end of the pier variety I suppose.

Yeah, midi I'm afraid. No way I was going to get the orchestra I really needed....

Thanks Graham.

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Bob Rodgers said 863 days ago (April 12th, 2015)
Sorry
for my late arrival here Dick.
This is very different from you and an excellent piece of writing, love the vocals and every part of this was very much enjoyed.
Excellent work from everyone involved.

Bob
Check out my latest song called The Lonely Man
DWL said 858 days ago (April 16th, 2015)
No problems Bob!
Thanks for the listen and those comments Bob. It was a different experience working with Sam again and stretched me quite a lot!

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
alackbass said 863 days ago (April 12th, 2015)
The Butcher's Bill
Once again your brilliance shines!
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DWL said 858 days ago (April 16th, 2015)
Thanks Andrew!
You are too kind :-)

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
stevel said 859 days ago (April 15th, 2015)
Retro goodness
Sorry for my late arrival to the comments lounge....this is a really good production. You could be giving Ray Davies a run for his money in the rock opera/social comment game here. Nice vocal performance and cinematic production techniques.
Check out my latest song called Broken Toy
DWL said 858 days ago (April 17th, 2015)
If only ....
Ray Davies is one of my inspirations and he's just won a BAFTA for his Sunny Afternoon musical hasn't he?

Sam has got a wonderful voice and I'm hoping I can persuade her to do so more songs with us.

Thanks Steve :-) Hope to see you in May.

Cheers

Dick




Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Char said 858 days ago (April 16th, 2015)
New take
on an old idea. You really work hard at this stuff. Satire, at its finest. Thanks.
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DWL said 853 days ago (April 22nd, 2015)
Thanks Char
I always appreciate a listen and comment from you :-)

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Vic Holman said 854 days ago (April 20th, 2015)
Butcher's Bill
sorry to be late... i guess the time i took off lasted longer then i thought it would.

now this is a fantastic piece. many hours must have been spent on this i would imagine. the composition and orchestration is nicely detailed.
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DWL said 853 days ago (April 22nd, 2015)
No worries Vic!
I'm taking breaks without even realising!

Yes, a lot of time was spent on this but it was fun listening to songs of the period to try and work out what sort of orchestration I should use.

Thanks for the listen and comment.

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
woofer3 said 839 days ago (May 6th, 2015)
The Butcher's Bill - collab
Forgive - listened to this earlier but got sidetracked and didn't have time to comment - I love it Dick - overwhelmingly entertaining from the writing to the wonderful vocals of Samantha. It truly is a movie for the ears. Great production too.
Check out my latest song called Drunken bakers [08-01]
DWL said 837 days ago (May 7th, 2015)
Thanks John!
I very much enjoyed putting this together and it was great to work with Sam again.

Thanks for the listen and comments!

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
Ultrabeast said 839 days ago (May 6th, 2015)
Wow, this is epic in scope and sounds authentic.
Sounds exactly like songs from the 20's. Great job!
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DWL said 837 days ago (May 7th, 2015)
Thanks!
I listened to a lot of "period" songs to try and get a feel for arrangements and orchestration so it's good that it got somewhere near!

Thanks for the listen and comments, much appreciated!

Cheers

Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
mfwmiles said 753 days ago (July 31st, 2015)
war...ain't it grand?
you are a genius!
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DWL said 749 days ago (August 3rd, 2015)
Thanks Michael
I think it's more Graeme and my collaborators that deserve the plaudits but I'll borrow some of theirs. Much appreciated.

Cheers
Dick
Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
J.A.Stewart said 735 days ago (August 17th, 2015)
C'est la Guerre des Genteel
Hahahahaha... Gulp! What am I laughing at? There's nothing funny about war.

Well you set us up with that grandiloquent intro and while seating us in the front row of that old English Music Hall.

A splendid production, Dick. I could almost smell Samantha's perfume. ;)

--- Joe
Check out my latest song called Crankenhurst Challenge - Verse 1-7 (Inst. Break)
DWL said 735 days ago (August 18th, 2015)
Thanks Joe!
Everything I've seen or read suggests those music halls were quite "boisterous" so you're lucky you got out in one piece ;-)

I'm hoping Sam and her perfume will lend her voice to another song very soon.

Cheers

Dick

Check out my latest song called This Empire's State
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Name: Dick langford
Location: Everywhere and nowhere baby
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10 years here (at time of writing!) - it doesn't seem that long ago I wrote "it doesn't seem that long ago I wrote 5 years"... Older but no wiser. The musical projects that make up Amokopera are now complete and Distant England (the story of... [see more]

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