Bye, Bye, Big Blue

Words & Music : Brian McNeill
©1994 Brian McNeill - all rights reserved

If you were a bird, if you were a buffalo
They'd paint your silhouette against the sky
Gather your bones on the day you died
And hold them up with tears and cries
To mourn forever more
And there were those who were glad to see you go
All the ones with their eyes on a golden past
Who turned their backs while you breathed your last
Who would rather view a nation through a parting glass
Than watch the hot steel pour

Bye, bye, Big Blue,
Now your working days are through
You stood too proud, you stood too long
Heard too many hammers ringing out their song
And if I had a hammer I would right your wrong
With one stroke bold and true
Bye, bye, Big Blue

The forge was father to the furnace
The clachan child was father to the steel age man
Who wed the song of science to the lore of the land
Shaped the soul of the lowlands with a moulder's hand
And a spirit none could tame
And his heart came to be burnished
In shipyard, in mine, in bothy and in byre
Who trusted it to workers who would never tire
And they welded it to Scotland with the brightest fire
In the history of flame

Do they never think to count the cost for us?
Broken promises discarded in the dust
How many lives sacrificed to trust
And how cold the calculation
Of a hard humiliation
That leaves only sentiment and rust
Bye, bye, Big Blue

As I walk the streets that surround you
I think of the talk of a nation once again
In a hard-headed steel town defiant in the rain
No paradise lost but what could there be to gain
For the likes of me and you?
I'll be there when the wreckers gather round you
When the fire that built you brings you to your knees
But the torch and the cutter will pay no heed to me
And when I look up to the sky all that I will see
Will be the wrong shade of blue


Song Notes

Big Blue was the affectionate name given to the Ravenscraig Steelworks, shut down - with most of the rest of British industry - by the 1979-1997 Conservative government, the greatest period of economic vandalism and short-term profiteering ever to strike these islands.


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