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It was Wilfried Drygala, who was also a military buff, who gave me a faded photocopy of this song to work out an arrangement for the "Idle Fellows" which I duly did. We never actually performed it but after putting so much work into it I sometimes sing it for my own pleasure.
"Balaclava" is gung-ho Victorian ballad (my guess) glorifying the senseless slaughter of 400 out of 600 English cavalrymen in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War. I've yet to perform it in public and I cannot imagine that it would go down too well here in Germany. As a song it's fine rousing stuff but is completely out of touch with the times, the concept of honour having gone perhaps forever. In my mind's eye, I can readily summon up a scene whereby Crimean War veterans in Victorian times would belt out this song with pride and pleasure in some soldier's pub or canteen in a garrison town.
"Balaclava" has been recorded by:
Roy Harris on "The Rambling Soldier" CD(s) & MP3 Album(s)
Scorpion on "Why? Why, Soldier"