“But here in this graveyard it’s still no mans land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation that were butchered and dammed
Well Will Mc Bride I cant help wonder why
Do those that lie here know why did they died?
And did they believe when they answered the call
Did they really belive that this war would end war?
Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain
the killing, the dying, WAS ALL DONE IN VAIN
For young Willy Mc Bride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.”
“So then, to the most asked questions about this affair:
Was my permission sought when they decided to record this song? – No
Did I know what they proposed to do with the song when they decided to record it? – No
Do I approve of what they have done to the song ? (missing verses, rock’n’roll arrangement, etc) No, believe it or not I wrote the song intending for the four verses of the original song to gradually build up to what I hoped would be a climactic and strong anti-war statement. Missing out two and a half verses from the original four verses very much negates that intention. As to the musical arrangement, it’s really about whatever floats your musical boat. I would have thought a strong mostly acoustic version would have done a better job of getting the message across, but that’s just my personal preference, and I’m a bit of an old fart folkie. But then to do an acoustic version and include all four verses and choruses would have made the song nearly 7 minutes long, making it of doubtful commercial appeal in today’s modern music market, given that the average attention span of that market’s consumers is rarely more than three minutes or so. There’s not much doubt that the shortened, up-tempo, bluesy version that Joss does will probably appeal to a much broader cross-section of the listening public, certainly to those who did not know the song existed until they heard Joss’s version.
Is the strong anti-war message in the original song diminished in this recording? Yes, missing some crucial verses does not help. But then this diminishment is only in the eyes (or ears) of people who have heard the original version of the song. Those who have not heard the original cannot make the same comparisons or judgements. They must take Joss’s version on it’s own merits and make their own interpretation.Does it follow then that this version glorifies war instead of condemning it? – No, in my opinion it certainly doesn’t glorify it, but doesn’t condemn it either, it just sort of starts off promisingly enough and then turns into a sing- along chorus type of song. Sentimentalising perhaps, but not glorifying. Will me or my publisher be suing Joss Stone, Jeff Beck or the British Legion? — No, you have to be joking. I would have wished for a version of my song that could have been more true to my original intention in writing the song, but if Joss’s version touches heart [sic] or two here and there and makes some people reflect, perhaps for the first time, on the true price of war, then her version is as valid as anyone else’s.”