The Scarlet and the Blue

Title - The Scarlet and the Blue
Contributors - Donald MacMartin
Reporters - Hamish Henderson

Summary - In this song, a Irish ploughman tires of his lifestyle and decides to enlist in the British Army; he praises the "scarlet and the blue" [the colours of the Union Jack], and recalls that "The watchword of a soldier is: 'We'll conquer or we'll die!'" His one regret is leaving behind his sweetheart, whom he hopes to marry on his return.

The contributor recalls that the song became popular in the bothies during the First World War, though it may have been older than that.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:02:48
Date Recorded - 1965
Language - English
Genre - Song, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 28056
Original Tape ID - SA1965.159
Original Track ID - SA1965.159.B14
Audio Quality - Fair
Audio Format - R2R

Classification - R163;

Recording Location:
  County - Berwickshire
  Parish - Coldingham
  Village - Coldingham

Item Notes - 3 verses of 4 lines with a chorus of 4 lines.
Both Roy Palmer and John Howson attribute this song to John J. Blockley in the 1870s.
'Off To Dublin In The Green' is an Irish republican parody of this song.
'The Rambling Soldier' (R. Palmer, 1977) pp. 59-60
'Songs Sung in Suffolk' CD with sleevenotes by John Howson (Veteran, 2001) p. 128

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