Song of the Day, November 8: Stand Up For Judas
November 8, 2013 Leave a comment
Today’s song is Stand Up For Judas, written by folk satirist and activist Leon Rosselson. The noted singer and songwriter worked with many of the luminaries of the British folk revival in the 50s and 60s, contributing songs to a variety of singers. He also recorded and performed is own work, his wry delivery and unprepossessing vocals serving as a wonderful decoy for his skewering wit and sharp observations.
Always fond of subverting conventions and expectations, Rosselson outdoes himself on this magnificent song. A stark, socialist look at the Gospels, the song ponders how much the preachings of Jesus supported a class system and how much the zealotry of Judas was a true call for reform. One needn’t take the analysis too literally to enjoy the raw condemnation of how messages of peace and caring have been co-opted by forces of greed and oppression.
And Jesus knew the answer –
“All you who labour, all you who suffer
Only believe in me”
But Judas sought a world where no-one
Starved or begged for bread
“The poor are always with us, ” Jesus said
So stand up, stand up for Judas
And the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word
A number of artists have covered this Rosselson masterpiece. No-one comes close to the magnificent, powerful delivery of Dick Gaughan on his stunning album A Different Kind of Love Song. Enjoy Gaughan’s stirring performance today.