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The Battle Of Epping Forest

This song is by Genesis and appears on the album Selling England by the Pound (1973).

(Taken from a news story concerning two rival gangs fighting over East-End Protection rights)

Along the Forest Road
There's hundreds of cars
Luxury cars

Each has got its load
Of convertible bars
Cutlery cars

For today
Is the day when they
Sort it out
Sort it out
'Cause they disagree
On a gangland boundary
Yes, they disagree
On a gangland boundary

There's Willy Wright and his boys
One helluva noise
That's Billy's boys!

With fully-fashioned mugs
That's Little John's thugs
The Barking Slugs

For today
Is the day when they
Sort it out
Sort it out
Yes, these Christian soldiers fight
To protect the poor
East end heroes got to score in...

The Battle of Epping Forest
Yes, it's the Battle of Epping Forest
Right outside your door
You ain't seen nothing like it
No, you ain't seen nothing like it
Not since the Civil War

Coming over the hill
Are the boys of Bill
And Johnny's lads stand very still
With the thumpire's shout, they all start to clout
There's no guns in this gentleman's bout

Georgie moves in on the outside left
With a chain flying round his head
And Harold Demure
From Art Literature
Nips up the nearest tree
(Here come the cavalry!)

Amidst the battle roar
Accountants keep the score:
They've never been alone
After getting a radiophone
The bluebells are ringing
For Sweetmeal Sam
Real ham
Handing out bread and jam
Just like any picnic

It's 5-4 on William Wright
He made his pile
On Derby night
When Billy was a kid
Walking the streets
The other kids hid
So they did!
And now
After working hard
In security trade
He's got it made
The shops that need aid are those
That haven't paid

"I do my double-show quick!"
Said Mick the Prick
Fresh out of the nick
"I sell cheap holiday
The minute they leave
Then a visit I pay
And does it pay!"

And his friend
Liquid Len by name
Of Wine, Women and Wandsworth fame
Said "I'm breaking the legs
Of the bastard that got me framed!"
"I'm breaking the legs
Of the bastard that got me framed!"

They called me the Reverend
When I entered the Church
My employers have changed
But the name
Has remained

It all began
When I went on a tour
Hoping to find some furniture
I followed a sign
It said "Beautiful Chest"
It led to a lady
Who showed me her best

She was taken by surprise
When I quickly closed my eyes
So she rang the bell
And quick as hell
Bob the Nob
Came out on his job
To see what the trouble was

Is the Reverend hard to please?"
"You're telling me!"
"Perhaps, sir
If it's not too late
We could interest you
In our old-fashioned Staffordshire plate?"

"Oh no
Not me
I'm a man of repute."
But the Devil caught hold of my soul
And a voice called out

To save my steeple
I visited people
For this I'd gone
When I met Little John
His name came
And I understood
When the judge said
"You are a robbing hood."

He told me of
His strange foundation
Conceived on sight
Of the Woodstock nation
He'd had to hide his reputation

When poor
'Twas salvation from door to door
But now
With a pin-up guru every week
It was Love, Peace and Truth Incorporated
For all who seek

He employed me
As a karma mechanic
With overall charms
His hands were then fit to receive
Receive alms

That's why we're in
The Battle of Epping Forest
Yes, it's the Battle of Epping Forest
Right outside your door

We guard your souls for peanuts
And we guard your shops and houses
For just a little more

In with a left hook
Is the Bethnal Green Butcher
But he's countered on the right
By Mick's chain-gang fight

And Liquid Len
With his smashed bottle men
Is lobbing Bob the Nob across the gobbler

With his kisser in a mess
Bob seems under stress
But Jones the Jug
Hits Len right in the mug
And Harold Demure
Who's still not quite sure
Fires acorns from out of his sling
(Here come the cavalry!)

Up, up above the crowd
Inside their Silver Cloud
Done proud
The bold and brazen brass
Seen darkly through the glass

The butler's got jam on his Rolls
Roy doles out the lot
With tea from a silver pot
Just like any picnic
Picnic, picnic, picnic

Along the Forest Road
It's the end of the day
And the Clouds roll away
Each has got its load
They'll come out for the count
At the break-in of day

When the limos return
For their final review
It's all through
All they can see is the morning goo

"There's no one left alive
Must be draw."
So the Blackcap Barons toss a coin
To settle the score