Oh Ma Corazon

Some kind soul has uploaded The Clash’s 1979 song Spanish Bombs onto Youtube alongside newsreel footage from the Spanish Civil War. Their most folk-punk moment (English Civil war excepted maybe), this song is a sublime piece of Strummer-Jones songwriting and playing. It’s all about the ratatattat drumming and the multi-tracked acoustic guitars and Joe’s timeshifting lyrics- jumping back and forth between the days of ’39, Federico Lorca dead and gone, and the ETA bombings of discos and casinos, all as imagined by Joe while flying in on a DC10 tonight. There’s also a theory that in this song, during the chorus, Joe is bidding farewell to ex-girlfriend Paloma (Palmolive of the Slits).

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!No Pasaran!

I started May by wittering on about a Spanish Civil War themed mix tape and which songs might go onto it. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about other songs- Drew, Davy H, Helen and Suggestedformaturereaders. Thus, I can start June with a better, more expansive Spanish Civil War mixtape.

Durutti Column- Sketch For Summer
Manic Street Preachers- If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
The Clash- Spanish Bombs
The Pogues- Lorca’s Noveno
Billy Bragg- Jarama Valley (available here from The International Brigades website)
Leonard Cohen- Take This Waltz (based on Lorca’s words)
O’Luge and Kornertrone Allstars- Spanish Bombs (cover of The Clash song)
Christy Moore- Viva La Quinta Brigada
The Stone Roses- Guernica
Maxine Peake and Urban Roots- speech by Dolores Ibarruri (aka La Pasionaria, from the Billy Bragg cd linked above)

Can we make a case for Jonathan Richman’s Pablo Picasso on the grounds that Picasso painted Guernica? Reckon so.

Viva La Quinta Brigada

The photo of the militiawoman in heels with a pistol was taken by Gerda Taro, Robert Capo’s partner. Between them they covered the war and helped invent photo journalism. Gerda was killed during the war, run over by a tank accidentally. Stunning picture isn’t?

They Shall Not Pass

I was thinking, following Sunday’s post, about whether I could put together a Spanish Civil War themed mixtape. Stick with me, these are the things that sometimes occupy my mind when driving. I’ve got this far-

1. Durutti Column- Sketch For Summer (it could be any Durutti track really, but this one’s my favourite unless anyone can think of a more appropriate one. Durutti was an anarchist-syndicalist leader during the war, as I’m sure you knew)
2. Manic Street Preachers- If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next (see Sunday’s post)
3. The Clash- Spanish Bombs (obviously)
4. The Pogues- Lorca’s Noveno (posted here a long while back, the song tells of the murder of poet Federico Garcia Lorca by the Francoist Falange)

And that’s it. A fairly short mixtape unless anyone’s got any other suggestions.
I wondered about ABBA’s Fernando but I’m not convinced it’s about Spain.

This could go on actually if we don’t have a rule about the same song featuring in different versions- a dub cover of The Clash’s Spanish Bombs by O’ Luge and Kornerstrone Allstars from a dub tribute album to The Clash called Shatter The Hotel (a line from Spanish Bombs).

Spanish Bombs

Lorca’s Corpse Just Walked Away

I had a ‘when did I put this on my mp3 player?’ moment in the car this morning-The Pogues’ mournful, stirring and elegant (not a word usually associated with the Pogues) tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca. Starting with a military drum beat and building slowly, while Shane sings about Lorca’s murder at the hands of Genral Franco’s falangists during the Spanish Civil War. Lorca was an internationally acclaimed poet and playwright, outspoken critic of Franco and fascism, and a leading light of the Spanish Generation of ’27. Franco’s men took him at some point in August 1936 from a friend’s house and along with three others shot him at Fuente Grande on the road betweenViznar and Alfacar. His body was buried somewhere in the vacinity, and despite recent attempts has not been found.

In Shane’s hands the lyric is full of drama and symbolism, and some insensitivity (‘the faggot poet they left til last, blew his brains out with a pistol up his arse’) but there’s no doubt where Shane’s sympathies lie, and at the end when the killers come to mutilate the dead and terrorise the town, Lorca’s corpse gets up and walks away. History lesson over- Lorca’s Novena is from The Pogues’ Hell’s Ditch album, produced by Joe Strummer.

The Pogues – Lorcas Novena.mp3