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Analyse The Lyrics in Roots by Show of Hands

Jack Todhunter | Friday August 07, 2009

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Watch the video and analyse the lyrics. What does this song say about our culture in Britain today?


Why is the songwriter angry?

Roots by Show of Hands

Now it’s been 25 years or more
I’ve roamed this land from shore to shore
From Tyne to Teign, or Severn to Thames
From moor to vale, from peak to fen

Played in cafes, pubs and bars
I’ve stood in the street with my own guitar
But I’d be richer than all the rest
If I had a pound for each request

For ‘Duelling Banjos’, ‘American Pie’
It’s enough to make you cry
‘Rule Britannia’, or ‘Swing low…’
Are they the only songs we English know?

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
They’re never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
They need roots

After the speeches, when the cake’s been cut
The disco’s over and the bar is shut
At christening, birthday, wedding or wake
What can we sing ‘til the morning breaks

When the Indians, Asians, Afro-Celts
It’s in their blood, below their belt
They’re playing and dancing all night long
So what have they got right that we’ve got wrong?

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
They’re never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
They need roots and

Haul away boys, let them go
Out in the wind and the rain and snow
We’ve lost more than we’ll ever know
‘Round the rocky shores of England
We need roots

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wales
Well, I’ve got a vision of urban sprawl
There’s pubs where no-one ever sings at all

And everyone stares at a great big screen
Overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens
Australian soap, American rap
Estuary English, baseball caps

And we oughta be ashamed of all we walk
Of the way we look, at the way we talk
Without our stories or our songs

How will we know where we come from?
I’ve lost St. George and the Union Jack
That’s my flag too and I want it back

Seed, bark, flower, fruit
Never gonna grow without their roots
Branch, stem, shoot
We need roots

Haul away boys, let them go
Out...


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