Sunday, September 5, 2010

Currently listening to Mark Knopfler: Piper to the End

Often the best song on a CD is the closing track. So it is with the final song on Mark Knopfler's 2009 album Get Lucky , which is titled Piper to the End. It is a wonderful song and performance. A fine, haunting, atmospheric song, beautifully performed by a cast of outstanding musicians and featuring Knopfler's very distinctive guitar work. 

The song (and the album) feature fine traditional Scottish and UK musicians including Scottish accordion craftsman Phil Cunningham and pipe and whistle player Michael McGoldrick. A number of clips of the song can be viewed on You Tube (here).

The song reminds me of the soundtrack from the magical 1983 film Local Hero which Knopfler composed and performed.

'Piper To The End,' was written in memory of Knopfler's uncle who was a piper of the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish, the Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment, who carried his pipes into action. He was killed with them at Ficheux, near Arras in May 1940, aged just 20.
 Piper to the End
lyrics courtesy Mark Knopfler
When I leave this world behind me
To another I will go
And if there are no pipes in heaven
I’ll be going down below

If friends in time be severed
Someday we will meet again
I’ll return to leave you never
Be a piper to the end

This has been a day to die for
Now the day has almost gone
Up above a choir of seabirds
Turns to face the setting sun

Now the evening dawn is calling
And all the hills are burning red
And before the night comes falling
Clouds are lined with golden thread

We watched the fires together
Shared our quarters for a while
Walked the dusty roads together
Came so many miles

This has been a day to die on
Now the day is almost done
Here the pipes will lay beside me
Silent will the battle drum

If friends in time be severed
Someday here we will meet again
I return to leave you never
Be a piper to the end
Be a piper to the end

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