Lewis N. Papier

Lewis N. Papier

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Pop - Classic | New York, United States
Total Song Plays: 423   
Member Since: 2017
   Last Login: over 30 days ago
   Sounds Like: The Beatles

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Song Description

It's a fascinating narrative, set in Leicester, a place long associated with the anti-vaccine movement right from its earliest days. We may think that such movements are a recent development but the arguments swirling around the practice of vaccination date back to the early1800's when Jenner first sought to prove the validity of the idea. Here the story line starts small "Your son needs his treatment or else you'll go to jail" but soon takes us to national concerns "In the town of Leicester, such a mighty throng, arm in arm we marched against, the power of the state." And against these historical drawing of battle lines it raises the question, how much of the eradication of diseases such as smallpox and cholera was due to vaccination and how much was due to the advances in sanitation also taking place? The pro-vaccination side of the argument may have taken the credit but perhaps it is time that history was re-evaluated, re-examined and where necessary re-written? Jon Statham is again called on to provide the vocals and does so with conviction and that sense of the theatre which underpins much of Lewis' work. Guitars cascade and strings sweep and the vocal narrative takes centre stage for a story which comes from the medical battlegrounds of Victorian England as the arrogant march of the new sciences ran roughshod over the legitimate concerns and fears of the people and often turned a blind eye to the actual consequences of their actions. As always Lewis's song does something that most music doesn't, it makes you reach for the history books...or more likely the search engine...to find out more, research the back story, and in doing so reveals a chapter of history that has long been swept under the carpet of convenience. Music is great when it makes you feel something but very rarely does it make you think this much and for that Lewis Papier has my undying, and largely unvaccinated, gratitude.(Dave Franklin)

Story Behind the Song

Improvements in sanitation, not the vaccination campaign, led to the eradication of smallpox in the 19th century.

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A packet ship was steaming
'cross a sullen sea
A pestilence was raging
No one held the key
The pox was now upon us
But no one could agree
An unhappy story--from the 19th century

A mountebank was scheming
He had an awful plan
An ordinary surgeon
Proclaimed through the land
His cure was just a pinprick
Not much of a demand
"Lifelong protection"
Through a sleight of hand

Days of no immunity--you'll get
When all is said and done and the sun has set
Days of no immunity--you'll find
Fear defeats the skeptic's open mind

Now you'll take a needle
And stick it in your arm
A mild dose of cowpox
They say it does no harm
Inoculate just one time
It works just like a charm
My lover has a fever
No need to spread alarm

That mild dose of cowpox
Fluttered through her veins
Throughout the deadly summer
She endured such mortal pain
And though the storm had lifted
Her countenance was drained
The surgeon's mighty cure
Did it work as he had claimed?

Days of no immunity--you'll pray
Do whatever the physicians say
Days of no immunity--you'll hope
You've just gone down one slippery slope

Segue: The packet ship was standing in the bay
The guests arrived on board on our wedding day
Three years had passed without a hint of fun
Will the pox now take our sickly son?

The authorities were hardened
"we'll take you without fail"...
Your son needs his treatment
Or else you'll go to jail
We tried so hard to stop them
But to no avail
The mother of my son
Throughout our home she waled

You claim the cure effective
Restore the child's health
I say it is just poison
Worse then the pox itself
What right have you to come here,
Demand to intervene?
Not another fever
From your damned vaccine

Days of no immunity--so grim
Our little birthday boy--they injected him
Days of no immunity--can't save
Our precious son they laid him in his grave

Where had all the time gone, we grew old
The patch we hit was rough
But the younger generation
They held firm
Declared we've had enough

In 1885, we were 80,000 strong
In the town of Leicester, such a mighty throng
Arm in arm we marched against
The power of the state
Who were they tell us,
You must vaccinate!

Now the streets were languid
A cesspool oozing green
The lack of sanitation was decidedly obscene
The multitudes were praying
Make our water clean
And those who were infected
Were quickly quarantined

Chorus: Instrumental

Now the other towns did vaccinate
More disease was their sorry fate
Leicester's numbers were a bitter pill
In the cleaner city, few fell ill

Claiming victory, the vaccinators feigned
There is only one cure
We'll start a new campaign
All was soon forgotten the vaccinations grew
Claiming all the credit, where credit wasn't due

Chorus: Days of no immunity are here
When you give into your basic fears
Days of no immunity you'll smirk
When you find out, their cure will never work

Segue: Another day, another child sick
Another arm requested, they must prick
Healthy living is what you'll pursue
Then just don't get stuck with the witch's brew

Song Length
Folk - Traditional, Folk - Traditional
Tempo / Feel
Slow (71 - 90)
Incensed, Heartbreaking

Subject Matter
Freedom, History, Past

Similar Artist
Eliza Carthy
2000 and later

Lyric Credits Lewis Papier
Music Credits Lewis Papier
Producer Credits Jon Statham
Performance Credits Jon Statham