From The Hood : The Battle Of No Oil

Naif balladeer has mandolin, and a story to tell

I don’t normally pay much attention to such unsolicited overseas musical compositions as cross my desk from time to time.

In this case, perhaps it was the element of social commentary that piqued my interest; perhaps it was the attached note from the author offering to “feed [my] guts to the gators and stew the rest of [me] in lye” if I did not publish it.

Accordingly, I now present “The Battle of No Oil, Please”, by Mr Curly Dustfoot. Actually, I forget what the man was called – the computer that received the original email was deepwatered by a chianti spill – but it was definitely one of those Country/Western/Hobbit names. I recall he also described himself as “not one of your fancy big-city song slingers”.

In the absence of further instructions I’ve recreated the song from memory. Which is, I think, doubly unfair as I am not a professional musician and wouldn’t have felt obliged to, except technology has made music production so tragically available to the masses.

Anyway, I hope, for my intestines’ sake, that this is sufficient.

Click here to download the MP3
In tribute to our lads’ victory in South Africa, here’s a Bonus World Cup Remix
and much like BP, I’m keen to use the internet to find people who think they can do a better job: Audacity files (.zip, 2.8MB)

THE BATTLE OF NO OIL, PLEASE
by Lightning Sideburns

In twenty ten BP caused a slick
With an oil well they built off the mighty Mississip’.
The platform blew apart at the seams
And sank in a fire you could see from New Orleans.

CHORUS
Tried to stop the oil, but the oil kept a-gushing
There’s sure more round than there was a while ago
Tried once more, the oil went on rushing
Out a hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

So they tried to thin that oil with toxic crud
And they tried to plug the hole with some souped-up mud
The best plan they had was gonna take a month or three
So they made the well top hat and they set fire to the sea.

CHORUS
Tried to stop the oil, but the oil kept a-gushing
There’s sure more round than there was a while ago
Tried once more, the oil went on rushing
Out a hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama came on down to see the slick
Then went chasin’ his own tail lookin’ for an ass to kick
The birds was fouled up, the fishes was screwed
Even ole Yes We Can couldn’t stop that crude
[Oil, that is. Black sludge. Gulf goobers.]

CHORUS
Tried to stop the oil, but the oil kept a-gushing
There’s sure more round than there was a while ago
Tried once more, the oil went on rushing
Out a hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

CHORUS 2
Well they cleaned up for the cameras and then laid off all the workers
They tried to hide the evidence and tried to lie low
They lied about risks and they lied about the leak rate
And they made their bed and lied there in the Gulf of Mexico

When Congress looked BP in the eyes
Joe Barton took the chance to apologise.
Yeah it aint happened prior and it caused ’em distress
Someone made Big Oil pay for its own mess

CHORUS
Tried to stop the oil, but the oil kept a-gushing
There’s sure more round than there was a while ago
Tried once more, the oil went on rushing
Out a hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

CHORUS 2
Yeah! They cleaned up for the cameras and then laid off all the workers
They tried to hide the evidence and tried to lie low
They lied about risks and they lied about the leak rate
And they made their bed and lied there in the Gulf of Mexico
[Y’all come back now, hear?]

***

Readers may note a resemblance – for the sake of my intestines I will suggest it is conincidental – to The Battle of New Orleans, a song celebrating the epinymous incident in the American War of Independence.

Coming as it did just after peace was concluded in negotiations in far-off Europe, the battle – with its famous routing of the British – both marked the start of a new nation and provided a memorable example of that nation’s traditional gratuitous violence.

The song was apparently written by a schoolteacher and as performed by Johnny Horton in 1959 it became a hit. This may make it the most successful song ever written for educational purposes.

It was brought to the Empire by Lonnie Donegan’s version, which was in turn parodied in New Zealand by the Howard Morrison Quartet as The Battle of the Waikato. So my correspondent Mr Thunderpants, or whatever his name is, is in good company – though I’m not sure he’d have the wit to appreciate it.

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