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After reading Ten Men Dead (great book) I had to write a song about one of the hunger strikers and this is what happened.
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Genre:
Acoustic - Folk
Songs by artist:
264 songs
Upload date
July 10, 2010
Meta data
MP3 6.5 MB
160 kbps bitrate
5:41 minutes
Words/music
david rovics © david rovics all rights reserved 2010
Story behind the song
After playing a gig at Roddy McCorley's on the Falls Road in West Belfast, spending the entire night after the gig singing rebel songs with members and relatives of a band called the Irish Brigade, and then reading an excellent book I bought at the Sinn Fein book store about the 1981 hunger strike in the prisons there (Ten Men Dead, great book) I had to write a song about one of the hunger strikers and this is what happened.
Lyrics
He grew up on a farm in a troubled Irish land Under foreign rule and the British Crown's command His father fought for Ireland fifty years before But the Free State cut their losses and the English won the war And when internment without trial was the order of the day When his brother was arrested and his friends were blown away When he was beaten near to death he decided come what may He would throw his lot in with the Provos and he joined the IRA In the Occupied Six Counties perhaps it never will be known All the foreign soldiers in Armagh and Tyrone Who decided to head back across the Irish Sea So they wouldn't have to meet the man from south of Derry He never wavered in his battle for Irish liberty And the Crown would soon regret the day they made him their enemy The Brits called it “bandit country” and it filled them all with fright In the border lands, he who walked the hills at night “Up the Provos,” that's what he said Three little words that filled the British Crown with dread With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes Once he was surrounded by the SAS How he might escape was anybody's guess In his boots and camouflage he didn't miss a beat He walked right past the soldiers and out into the street Once he came upon a checkpoint, the soldier didn't want to die He recognized our Francis and the soldier waved him by He didn't want to find out if he could take what he could give He knew there'd be a shootout and the soldier chose to live “Up the Provos,” that's what he said And from this farmer's son better men had fled With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes He was the North's most wanted man with his photo everywhere But he eluded capture with his wit and dyed blond hair For six years he was active, three times as long as most He became a legend, north to south and coast to coast He came upon two soldiers out one night on patrol They shot him in the firefight and the bullets took their toll He crawled off into the bushes but they found him the next day Put him on a stretcher and they carried him away “Up the Provos,” that's what he said With a shattered bone and a body full of lead With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes They beat him and they tortured him and they gave him eighty years When they brought him to the H-Blocks he was greeted there with cheers He went right onto the blanket and when the hunger strike began He was the first to volunteer along with Bobby Sands He was an Irish soldier and that's how he did his time He knew he was no criminal when occupation was the crime Bobby Sands had passed beyond us, where Francis soon would be And although he couldn't stand and he could barely see “Up the Provos,” that's what he said As they carried him to hospital to lay in his death bed With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes