Song Lyric Sunday: Consequences

Good evening, Sunday Song Lyricists. Helen’s theme this week was consequences, and the first song I thought of on this subject was Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe, which I listened to earlier this week and always sends a shiver down my spine. But I decided against it, mainly because it’s such an American-sounding song and a lot of people who take part in this weekly music fest are from that side of the pond. I thought it might just be a bit obvious.

So here’s something very English instead, my favourite folkies, the OysterBand. I’ve been looking for an excuse to shoehorn them into Song Lyric Sunday for a few months now, because they’re rather brilliant IMHO, and this song, The Oxford Girl, seemed to be a good fit for the theme of ‘consequences’. Have a listen:

Personally I’ve always been in two minds about this song; it’s very tuneful and this is a really good live version but I somehow don’t feel comfortable with men singing about violence against women even when it’s sensitively done like this is. If you like their style and want to hear more, I’d recommend Put out the Lights, Hal-An-Tow, the Road to Santiago or Sail on By, my own favourites.

The Oxford Girl Lyrics: copyright the Oysterband, John Jones/ Ian Telfer, reproduced from LyricsMode.com

I met a man whose brother said he knew a man who knew the Oxford girl….
Is it true what you hear, did he do it out of fear?
Was the day drawing near when a child would start to show?
Was it rage or shame or damage to his name?
Was it something worse, does anybody know?
Did she pay a price for making them look twice?
Like a glimpse of paradise across a dull and bitter land?
Did she pass them by, did she dare to meet their eye?
Did she scorn them all and did they understand?
A grief to her father -did she really leave him?
A lover to her brother -yes we all believe him
Temptation to her betters -no better than she should be
Unfaithful to her lover -he always knew she would be
She says: I never had a chance to prove them wrong
My time was short, the story long
No I never had a chance to prove them wrong
It’s always them that write the song
Did he go to ground, was the suitcase ever found?
Did the police come swarming round on a trail already cold?
Did he lead them a dance, did he run away to France?
Or did he shop himself before the day was old?
O she was bound to lose if she set her face to choose
They never could excuse her for stirring up their fears
She was much too young, the earth has stopped her tongue
You can hear the voices calling down the years
She says: I never had a chance to prove them wrong
My time was short, the story long
No I never had a chance to prove them wrong
It’s always them that write the song
I met a man whose brother said he knew a man who knew the Oxford girl….

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