Valentine’s Day programme, 2012
A special St Valentine’s Day broadcast, featuring mainly songs and poems of Karl Dallas, with additional music by George Gershwin, Rahel Guzelian, Kurt Weill, and Wagner.
There is also an audio-only version at
Necessity – a semi-autobiographical song by Karl Dallas
My father was an engineer, my mother was a clerk.
They taught me right from wrong when clouds of war were growing dark.
I saw the hunger marchers charged by mounted cops with clubs
And millions drawing dole because there wasnt any jobs.
I saw the fascists marching and my cousin went to Spain
And the bishops blessed the bombers and their deadly metal rain.
In Moscow men were shot because their faces didnt fit
And in Paris Hitler danced and Churchill said his little bit.
And where were you, Jesus, when we needed you?
Where was your church when the Gestapo searched and the piles of bodies grew?
The people fought and died; the Pope was on the other side,
And alone we turned the tide till Dover skies turned blue.
But some of us survived to raise a people’s flag of red:
From Peking to Berlin no fascist dared to raise his head.
The French were driven home by the people of Vietnam
But the Yankees took their place and it all began again.
The Moscow apparatchiki had big black limousines
And the people queued for hours to get a lousy tin of beans.
In Berlin they built a wall to keep the people in
And in France de Gaulle was fearing for his skin.
And how can you dream when the dream goes sour?
Where can you look when the thug and the crook have taken away your power?
Some people gave up hope and they turned to smoking dope,
And the rest, we learned to cope and waited for the hour.
In pubs around the town we floated rhetoric on booze
And jumped into each others beds, what had we got to lose?
But women started saying they werent taking any more
And Martin Luther King reminded us what Bible readings for.
In Africa Mandela served a quarter century
But Fidel sent his lads to save Angolas liberty.
In Chile Victor Jara and a million comrades died
But the priests took up the gun and went to join the peoples side.
How can you pretend it doesn’t matter what you do?
How can you show your latest video and say its all the same to you?
You may frequent the smartest bar, and drive the smartest car,
But I dont care who you are, you know whats really true.
And now I’m over eighty and I’m such a bitter sod
Because I’ve fought for righteousness but I turned my back on God,
And everything I tried to do was ashes in my mouth
Until I listened to the voice of reason from my youth.
Battles I have fought I tied one hand behind my back
As if a man was only meat and bones within a sack.
Leaders that I trusted have betrayed and let me down
But there’s a spark in all of us that keeps us coming round.
How could I deny what makes my true humanity?
I’ve got a hole inside my soul that’s called divinity.
We’re never on our own, we never fight alone
Or die without the one who sets the captive free.
So open up your eyes, there;s just one way to win the prize,
Don’t mourn — organise, accept the reason why you be.
The struggle never ends, you’ve got to know your proper friends,
Accept the weapons heaven sends and learn from history.
As someone said (it was Frederick Engels): (spoken) the only freedom is the recognition of necessity.
Bradford, July 2, 1990
Words & music © Copyright 1990 Karl Dallas/EMI Music