Song of Choice

Thinking about the subject of Saturday’s post, a song came to mind, Song of Choice. It recounts a warning to those who choose to ignore the rise of fascism, that you should keep your eyes open to the first signs of danger.

In January you’ve still got the choice
You can cut the weeds before they start to bud
If you leave them to grow high they’ll silence your voice
And in December you may pay with your blood

So close your eyes, stop your ears,
Shut your mouth and take it slow
Let others take the lead and you bring up the rear
And later you can say you didn’t know.

I heard the song originally by Dick Gaughan, an excellent Scottish folk singer; however, I see on his website that it was in fact written by Peggy Seeger. It is perhaps a sign of the timelessness of the words that made me think it had been written by Gaughan in the 1980s. Then seeing the name Seeger made me think of the first folk revival of the 1950s, but I was wrong again. It seems to have first been released by Peggy Seeger as a B-side single in 1977. Peggy’s own website doesn’t give any more details than that. Nevertheless, its call to attack intolerance whenever it shows itself is as valid today as it ever was.