Why, Aye Man, Why Aye

I don’t know what brought this to mind – probably all the talk about Germany and the “need” for workers. A sad, sad song from way back; this is probably the most recent rendition. I was a long time finding a plain version without lots of noise and lights…this is a song meant for a small, reflective venue.

The album:

The Ragpicker’s Dream

The image for that CD cover is amazing; it’s of Spanish origin and has been used in other non-music ventures.

I received “Ragpicker” as a Christmas present one year and fled from it. Even now I can only listen to it when I’m not dolorous. Which means not after we pass the Autumn Divide. Such are the corkscrewed bends of chronic trauma.

This song (along with “Fare Thee Well Northumberland”) leaves me in a sodden lump for so many reasons. As someone said in the comments on one of the versions of Northumberland, “we Geordies have always been the negroes of England”. Geordies are the native negroes perhaps, but the Irish in, say, Liverpool and elsewhere, are the imported version. See Tommy Robinson.

At least such groups give the middle class someone to step on…the class divides in England are deep chasms that will probably hurry its demise. In America those divides are more subtle but just as deadly. See Donald Trump.

I think “Aye” was written – or at least first performed – in 2002. How far we have fallen from where we’d already fallen…

The lyrics are below the fold.

We had no way of staying afloat
We had to leave on the ferry boat
Economic refugees
On the run to germany
We had the back of maggie’s hand
Times were tough in geordieland
We got wor tools and working gear
And humped it all from newcastle to here

Why aye man, why aye, why aye man
Why aye man, why aye, why aye man

We’re the nomad tribes, travelling boys
In the dust and dirt and the racket and the noise
Drills and hammers, diggers and picks
Mixing concrete, laying bricks
There’s english, irish, scots, the lot
United nation’s what we’ve got
Brickies, chippies, every trade
German building, british-made

Why aye man, why aye, why aye man
Why aye man, why aye, why aye man

Nae more work on maggie’s farm
Hadaway down the autobahn
Mine’s a portacabin bed
Or a bunk in a nissen hut instead

There’s plenty deutschmarks here to earn
And german tarts are wunderschoen
German beer is chemical-free
Germany’s alreet with me
Sometimes I miss my river tyne
But you’re my pretty fraulein
Tonight we’ll drink the old town dry
Keep wor spirit levels high

Why aye man, why aye, why aye man
Why aye man, why aye, why aye man

8 thoughts on “Why, Aye Man, Why Aye

  1. An odd ode to the human state of affairs. This could apply to so many of us. Clever, clever Baron.

  2. Northumbrians would not call themselves Geordies – that is a title reserved for those born in Newcastle “within the smell of the Tyne” (doesn’t smell anymore and is the best Salmon River in England. 50 yards and a fishing licence and I can catch)

  3. Mark Knopfler can sure make you think with his gentle voice and melodious guitar picking, he makes me listen with both ears. Thanks for introducing me to a fine ballad and interesting look at both the UK and Germany. I learn so much here, one way and another.

  4. I lived in England for five years and while it is still pretty divided by class – that seems to be breaking down more and more all the time. Ditto for the USA. But I really don’t know how you can say that – the USA is divided between the elites and the rest of us. There are elites of all classes and colors, and income levels (Rush Limbaugh is a non-elite and so is Trump, although with their money and influence some might think differently). But if we can get a non-elite president and get rid of (ideally all) the insanity of the Obama years this country might just get back on track. As the late, great Winston Churchill (himself half-American) said, “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”

Comments are closed.