> Martin Carthy > Songs > Aux Anciens Parapets

Aux Anciens Parapets

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 48329 ; words Miles Wootton / music Anton Karas]

There are two live recordings by Martin Carthy of Miles Wootton’s poem Aux Anciens Parapets recited to the music of the Harry Lime Theme, one, recorded in 1986 at the Cambridge Folk Festival, on the 1998 CD The Best of the Cambridge Folk Festival, the other, recorded in September 1988, on Carthy’s 1994 BBC album The Kershaw Sessions.

Greer Gilman commented:

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 Karas. An air of sauntering menace. The title is taken from Rimbaud’s Le bateau ivre: “Je regrette l’Europe aux anciens parapets!”


Martin Carthy performs Aux anciens parapets

For chewing gum, cola, brunch burgers and rye
Omertà, Sinatra, Mom’s apple pie
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

Dumbo, Rambo, Bonzo, Sue Ellen, J.R.
For Elvis and Bing and the Cadillac car
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

Nixon, Kissinger, bombs in Vietnam
That sly red-necked huckster they call Uncle Sam
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

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


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