If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loose

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openclashXX
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If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loose

Post by openclashXX »

So says Will Carling
On Monday it will be 30 years since the first rendition of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot rang from the Twickenham stands, triggered by  a hat-trick from England wing Chris Oti.

It was an extraordinary coincidence that the spiritual slave song was sung as Oti was England’s first black player for more than 80 years.

And it is unthinkable in this day and age that it would be sung for the first time and not spark a social-media storm.

That is not lost on Will Carling, who was alongside Oti as Swing Low started to be heard. The former England captain said: “It was something that was sung when drinking and I heard it and thought ‘they are drinking!’

Scan shows no serious damage but Daly is still a doubt for Irish test

“If you hadn’t been in the middle of the game you may have thought ‘bit inappropriate really’ when Chris has just scored a hat-trick. 

“Can you imagine if that started up now at Twickenham for the first time — all hell would be let loose. But, I really don’t believe there has ever been any connotations about it being sung and I think there was just a group of guys drinking and singing at the game with all kinds of forfeits.” 

While Swing Low remains a fixture in the English game, the whereabouts of the player who inspired the tribute remain a mystery. Oti, who is of Nigerian descent, is believed by former Wasps team-mates to be living in Africa but attempts to track him down by the club and Cambridge University, where he was a student, have drawn a blank.

In 1988 England had not scored a try at Twickenham for two years and were one game away from becoming only the third team in Five Nations’ history to go through the entire competition without crossing the try line. 

However,  England won 35-3  thanks to Oti scoring the first hat-trick at Twickenham for 64 years, leading to the singing of Swing Low, a 19th-century African-American spiritual. 

It’s use in rugby has been attacked in America where Josephine Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio, said: “Such cross-cultural appropriations of U.S. slave songs betray a total lack of understanding of the historical context in which those songs were created by the American slave.”

The question of who started the song almost 30 years ago has not provided a definitive answer. 

Dave Hales, from Market Bosworth Rugby Club, claims members from his clun were responsible. He told BBC Radio Leicester: “We were in the North Stand having a bit of a good time, a good day. We started trying to get a few songs going. Various ones didn’t really catch on. All of a sudden I started singing Swing Low and the next thing you know the crowd round us was singing it, then the whole North Stand seemed to be singing it, and then the whole ground seemed to be singing it. The atmosphere was just absolutely brilliant really.”

However, another theory is that it was started by a group of boys at the game from Douai School in Berkshire who used it to celebrate tries scored by the first XV at school. 

A version called Swing Low (Run With The Ball) was recorded by the England squad for the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Other versions have been made for subsequent Rugby World Cups, including those by UB40 and Russell Watson.

Now, 30 years on, England have been urged to recapture the attacking magic that saw  ‘Swing Low’ sung at Twickenham for the first time.  Simon Halliday, who gave Oti the pass to score his second try, wants England to unleash the same kind of attacking power to ruin Ireland’s bid for the Grand Slam at Twickenham on Saturday. 

Halliday, now president of European Professional Club Rugby, said: “What happened that day is that nobody thought England could play and we got a bit of quick ball and it all clicked. On Saturday, we need to face Ireland down and we cannot allow the Irish to come to our place and play their game.

“We got rid of a lot of demons against the Irish in 1988 and found one or two stars. Let’s hope that England do the same on Saturday.”
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Flametop
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Flametop »

Never mind that. What have you guys done with Chris Oti?
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Brazil »

Flametop wrote:Never mind that. What have you guys done with Chris Oti?
When Simon Halliday coached me as a colt he started the session with "I know we're all hungover..." so it's possible he's just misplaced him.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Toro »

Two years without scoring a try at home :lol: :lol:
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by backrow »

Flametop wrote:Never mind that. What have you guys done with Chris Oti?
did he have some property & nice watches ? if so I fear he may be under a flower bed in East Anglia :(
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by rett »

Toro wrote:Two years without scoring a try at home :lol: :lol:

Even for England, that’s fecking ridiculous. :lol:
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by jolindien »

i'm sure we french didn't even do it after 1 year without victory ??

but we have to be grateful to the likes of england, without characters like this the rugby world would not be the same.

long live an england without try at home !
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Womack »

Comparing the situation in 88 with now (in terms of England fortunes on the pitch I mean, not whether or not it's OK to sing 'Swing Low') seems a bit of an overreaction.

"Hopefully England can unearth one or two stars on Saturday" - er OK Simon.

As for Swing Low, the fact that inspiring it has caused Oti to go into Keith Murdoch-like exile in the African outback should tell you all you need to know about whether it's appropriate or not.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Traveller »

Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Sandstorm »

Scan shows no serious damage but Daly is still a doubt for Irish test
Damn, that song is more dangerous than we thought.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by globus »

Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by danny_fitz »

globus wrote:
Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
It really isn't, its cringe worthy in the extreme
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globus
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by globus »

danny_fitz wrote:
globus wrote:
Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
It really isn't, its cringe worthy in the extreme
I take it that you are taking holy vows then.
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Keith
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Keith »

Toro wrote:Two years without scoring a try at home :lol: :lol:
The dark days of English rugby. Looking back at the 80s makes the 2015 RWC side look competent :(
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by rett »

globus wrote:
danny_fitz wrote:
globus wrote:
Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
It really isn't, its cringe worthy in the extreme
I take it that you are taking holy vows then.
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Da iawn diolch
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Da iawn diolch »

One of my least favourite songs in rugby - usually belted out with gusto by the Barbour bores whose only contact with rugby comes at HQ in February or March (aside from those "BaaBaa" tickets they scored from a mate a few years ago).
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danny_fitz
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by danny_fitz »

globus wrote:
danny_fitz wrote:
globus wrote:
Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
It really isn't, its cringe worthy in the extreme
I take it that you are taking holy vows then.
Not really, I find most old school bar room rugby songs a bit naff, especially so when they are being sung by a bunch of pissed middle aged old farts wearing beer stained 'BT Cellnet' England rugby shirts who simultaneously think they are being hilarious.
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globus
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by globus »

danny_fitz wrote:
globus wrote:
danny_fitz wrote:
globus wrote:
Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
It really isn't, its cringe worthy in the extreme
I take it that you are taking holy vows then.
Not really, I find most old school bar room rugby songs a bit naff, especially so when they are being sung by a bunch of pissed middle aged old farts wearing beer stained 'BT Cellnet' England rugby shirts who simultaneously think they are being hilarious.
I've got a proper cream one. I suppose things move on, not necessarily for the better.

I used to sing the songs on the coach back. I expect that is now not de rigueur.

Along with not having a crate of beer on it.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by SilverGrin »

Seneca of the Night wrote:Lucky escape really. Scunthorpe ruggers would no doubt sung a different tune.
'Oh Lordy - pick a bale of cotton...'
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by DOB »

A very close friend and former teammate is a black 2nd row, who always does it, with gestures, as his post-match party piece. He was taught it by an Englishman in the 90s some time. It’s sometimes entertaining, sometimes a little much.

I’ve since found that a lot of American clubs have a middle-aged old boy type who loves to belt it out. That and Jesus Can’t Play Rugby.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by LandOTurk »

globus wrote:
danny_fitz wrote:
globus wrote:
Traveller wrote:Cultural appropriation aside, it would be less grating when the braying masses started up if they could remember more than one line....
The bar room version with all the hand gestures is quite amusing.
It really isn't, its cringe worthy in the extreme
I take it that you are taking holy vows then.
No, it's just a bit shite Globus.
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Plato'sCave »

Decent song, a whole group of us Welsh and Irish sang it amongst other rugby songs in Dublin in the past. Everyone had a good time. A song’s a song, and rugby’s rugby. Good strong melody and also simple enough for a whole bunch of us drunkards to improvise at least a four part harmony. Fun song. Went down as well as Waltzing Matilda (harmonies only on chorus).
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Womack »

But did you progress to the second verse?
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Plato'sCave »

Womack wrote:But did you progress to the second verse?
Yeah
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Womack »

:thumbup:

I’d be happier with it at Twickenham if the England faithful could manage that. As for harmony...

Although occasionally it does inadvertently develop into a round which would probably lead to some interesting counterpoint if it wasn’t being indistinctly bellowed by 60-odd thousand
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by backrow »

I hate all comedic rugby songs, together with forfeits for getting the actions wrong or not putting your cock on the table fast enough - just feck off and let me get drunk without all this forced fun rubbish.

Was once doing very well post match trying to pull this very attractive Sloaney type in a relatively upmarket bar in Ealing. Already had a few cheeky snogs, could well have had a “don’t worry about me lads” happy ending to the night - all of a sudden I hear a bellow of “Gulag 2-4-2 SCHNELL !!!!” And turn round to see about ten teammates with their cocks out and holding them on top of a table.

About a nanosecond before we were all booted out I realised my Sloane had done a runner and shouted out “dickheads !” And left with her fit mates.

Comments like “ah she was really fit, shame you blew it” didn’t exactly help the coach ride home either
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Plato'sCave
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Plato'sCave »

Womack wrote::thumbup:

I’d be happier with it at Twickenham if the England faithful could manage that. As for harmony...

Although occasionally it does inadvertently develop into a round which would probably lead to some interesting counterpoint if it wasn’t being indistinctly bellowed by 60-odd thousand
You’d have been happy with the Welsh Irish rendition. We gave it the works. There was the odd frown as we started but that soon gave way to “whey-heyyy!! fudge it!! Another drinky song!! Wooo hoo” etc. It was that sort of evening.
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Plato'sCave
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Re: If Swing Low was started today, all hell would break loo

Post by Plato'sCave »

backrow wrote:I hate all comedic rugby songs, together with forfeits for getting the actions wrong or not putting your cock on the table fast enough - just feck off and let me get drunk without all this forced fun rubbish.

Was once doing very well post match trying to pull this very attractive Sloaney type in a relatively upmarket bar in Ealing. Already had a few cheeky snogs, could well have had a “don’t worry about me lads” happy ending to the night - all of a sudden I hear a bellow of “Gulag 2-4-2 SCHNELL !!!!” And turn round to see about ten teammates with their cocks out and holding them on top of a table.

About a nanosecond before we were all booted out I realised my Sloane had done a runner and shouted out “dickheads !” And left with her fit mates.

Comments like “ah she was really fit, shame you blew it” didn’t exactly help the coach ride home either
The bravado forfeit songs are shit. Proper songs however, now they are good.
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