"Fierce and funny, this memoir in essay and song is full of wonderful tales of art and protest. Leon Rosselson's Where Are the Elephants? is a rare behind-the-scenes look at the life and times of one of England's foremost songwriters. This clear-eyed portrait of a creative activist who never gave up and whose talent, wit, and verve brought the world into finer focus provides a model for a whole new generation of radicals. Filled with glimpses of the stories and events that inspired his songs, Rosselson's story of becoming a modern troubadour up against the barricades is a tale for the ages. The book concludes with an intimate and wide-ranging interview by Rosselson's longtime friend and collaborator Robb Johnson."
Writing and performing for more than 50 years in every plausible venue across the UK, the US, and other European countries, his songs have been covered by Billy Bragg, Dick Gaughan, and Chumbawumba.
As his official bio states, "In the early days of the folk revival, he was a member of the Galliards with whom he made numerous radio and TV broadcasts and concert appearances. He started writing songs seriously (and humorously) in the early 1960s and hasn't stopped yet. His early songs were topical-satirical (some of them were featured on TV's satire show That Was The Week That Was) but he broadened out from there, absorbing different influences, from Music Hall to French Realist Song, and experimenting with different song forms."
"And that's it. At eighty-one, after some sixty years of songwriting, trying to find the story, to avoid the obvious, to shun the predictable, after hundreds of songs, numerous records and CDs, this is my final recording. Thanks for listening."
"Robespierre is wagging his finger
Karl Marx is scratching his head.
But they're giving them money instead.
The plebs should be storming the ramparts
And whetting the guillotine's blades.
Singing "Capitalism is in crisis
So where are the barricades?"
On December 26, 2021, folk singer Nancy Kerr released the tribute "The Poor Shall Wear the Crown: Songs by Leon Rosselson." In this interview with Folk Radio, Kerr discusses nature, folk music, and culture. Check out Leon's blog here.