Out of the Fires and Smoke of History
Leon's stirring tribute to the anarchist Emma Goldman (1869-1940). Leon shares lead vocal with Liz Mansfield, who speaks for Goldman, in a song of contrasting sections. In the version made for Wo Sind Die Elefanten?, Dave Swarbrick (ex-Ian Campbell Folk Group) guests, with his dancing fiddle tracking Leon's vocal melody lines.
"I've been trying for a long time to write a song about Emma Goldman, that extraordinary, passionate, complex, indomitable woman whose anarchist speeches and writings aroused in the American establishment a mixture of fear, loathing and admiration... This isn't the song I intended to write but it's the best I can do in the way of a tribute." - LR (sleevenotes to Wo Sind Die Elefanten?, 1991)
"'Out of the Fires and Smoke of History' is framed by an allusion to the Gulf War but the song itself is a tribute to that indomitable anarchist, feminist and fighter against war and capitalism Emma Goldman and to all the women and men, most of them nameless who, like her, never surrendered their vision." - LR (Turning Silence Into Song (songbook), p1)
Version 1 (1991)