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What Went Right With… Colonel Bagshot & Six Day War?

An image of a calendar marking six days with a mushroom cloud behind it by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

Very much like the underground Hip-Hop groups I write about on this site, there’s also some Rock bands that are underexposed and underrated. Colonel Bagshot, a rock band from Liverpool are an example of this, they’re often overlooked despite writing one of the best anti-war songs of all time.

Originally named “Colonel Bagshot’s Incredible Bucket Band” (a name that sounds very much like an album by fellow Liverpudlians The Beatles) it’s very difficult to find information about this group. All I can glean from the internet is that the members were Brian Farrell, Dave Dover, Ken Parry, and Terry McCusker, that they were active during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and that they only released one album in 1971 titled “Oh! What A Lovely War”. If you have any other information on the band please leave a comment below.

Because information is sketchy at best, I have no idea if this album title was referencing the satirical play (and film) of the same name. With elements of the LP being obviously anti-war and with the title track sporting the brilliantly sarcastic lyric “Oh what a lovely war, what was it for? Let’s have another one!”, it must have at least been inspired by the musical.

Although structurally, Colonel Bagshot’s album isn’t the best around, songs such as “I’ve Seen The Light”, “Lord High Human Being”, “That’s What I’d Like To Know”, and the title track are decent songs. Their standout song is without a doubt “Six Day War”. I’ve included a YouTube video but listening to the track on Spotify will give the band some cash, albeit fractions of a penny. Hopefully with enough streams it’ll add up to something meaningful…

Once again, because details are scant, I have no idea whether the title or the lyrics to this song were referring to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War which was dubbed the “Six-Day War” and which kick-started a major illegal occupation of Palestine that sadly continues to this day. Whether or not Bagshot’s song had anything to do with this specific conflict however, it still remains a classic anti-war anthem. Check out the lyrics below which describe a progressively worsening situation lasting six days beginning with peace talks and ending with the aftermath of dropping a bomb. With each verse punctuated by the line “Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late”, this pessimistic yet truthful line suggests that people who hope for a better tomorrow may find the next day bringing a worse set of circumstances. And with each day escalating in tension and violence, when it comes to an unfolding war, even six short days can feel like they have no foreseeable end other than death…

At the starting of the week
At summit talks you’ll hear them speak
It’s only Monday
Negotiations breaking down
See those leaders start to frown
It’s sword and gun day

Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late

You could be sitting taking lunch
The news will hit you like a punch
It’s only Tuesday
You never thought we’d go to war
After all the things we saw
It’s April Fools’ day

Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late

We’ll all go running underground
And we’ll be listening for the sound
Its only Wednesday
In your shelter dimly lit
Take some wool and learn to knit
‘Cause it’s a long day

Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late

You hear a whistling overhead
Are you alive or are you dead?
It’s only Thursday
You feel the shaking of the ground
A million candles burn around
Is it your birthday?

Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late

Although that shelter is your home
A living space you have outgrown
It’s only Friday
As you come out to the light
Can your eyes behold the sight
It must be doomsday

Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late

Ain’t it funny how men think
They made the bomb, they are extinct
Its only Saturday

I think tomorrow’s come I think its too late

I think tomorrow’s come I think its too late

Think tomorrow’s come I think it’s too late

The sentiment of this track is still pertinent today which is bittersweet given that despite many of us having an anti-war point of view, we have yet to convince any country or leader to avoid war (not even once in the five decades since this track was first released). I have to say that the sound hasn’t lost anything over the years; 47 years after it was first released this song is still credible, relevant, and a pleasure to listen to. This song contains some very understated music; other than a guitar, an intermittent drum, and a faint organ, there’s nothing that overpowers the meaning. Instead, “Six Day War” focuses on the power of the vocals along with the message which I have to say are both fantastic. I’ll admit that I don’t know which two vocalists sang the two segments of the song, so again, if you know who sang what, leave a comment below.

Given that the band only released one album, on Spotify there seems to be a compilation containing some decent material that I’ve never heard before including two noteworthy songs “Sometimes” and “April Lady”. Regardless of the strength of Colonel Bagshot’s other efforts however, nothing compares to their greatest track “Six Day War”, this song has stood the test of time and is therefore a true classic. It’s as good today as it was back in the 70s and it will continue to live on especially when war seems to be an unfortunate part of our everyday lives.

I Think It’s Too Late.

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