Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Balladeer of Revolution

The current issue of the Socialist Standard has a sympathetic review of a Dick Gaughan gig. So Socialist Courier thought a clip of Dick singing about the major topic of the media since Russell Brand's Paxman interview and a subject that this blog has had several posts about - a song about revolution. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Workers Song

The Workers Song

Yeah, this one's for the workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead

In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines
We've often been told to keep up with the times
For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job
And with slide-rule and stop-watch our pride they have robbed

We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And we're always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about

And when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
Who's given a gun and then pushed to the fore
And expected to die for the land of our birth
Though we've never owned one  handful of earth?

All of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun
We've been yoked to the plough since time first began
And always expected to carry the can

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Battle Hymn of Cooperation

Next time you pop into your local co-op sing this song while you wait for your divi.

Battle Hymn of Cooperation

Oh, we are a mighty army, though we bear no sword and gun,
We’re enlisted ’till the struggle for cooperation’s won,
And beneath our banner blazoned “One for all and all for one,"
Consumers marching on!

Come and let us work together
Come and let us work together
Come and let us work together
Consumers marching on!

It was long ago in Rochdale that our cause saw first the light,
We were sadly few in numbers but our principles were right,
But today we count our millions as we girt ourselves to fight:

Consumers marching on!

Oh, the world today is suffering filled with poverty and pain,
And the day has come for freedom from the curse of private gain,
For all may live in comfort ’neath Cooperation’s reign.

Consumers marching on!

Oh we know our scheme is righteous and we know our cause is just;
For upon the brotherhood of man we firmly base our trust:
Let us strive to win the victory, for win we can and must.

Consumers marching on!

Elizabeth Mead  and Carl Ferguson, 1932
I confess that i have not previously known about this little known song which like the more popular Solidarity Forever is based upon the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

If only we could substitute that word "consumers" for "communists" !

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Rid, Rid Rotten Revue show

This legendary show put on by the Glasgow branch of the Socialist Party back in the early/mid 1980s, has now been transferred from tape cassette to digital and can be accessed following the links below. The venue was The Admiral Bar. It was a 'revue' show, described as "An evening of music, songs, sketches and humour, and just a wee bit of social comment." It's all very skilfully joined together by the Master of Ceremonies, Richard Donnelly.

Peter Ross, a contemporary of a young Billy Connolly and worked with him in his pre-comedy days, plays guitar and sings.

The files have been uploaded to a site called 'DropBox', but you don't have to be a member to access them - they are publicly available to anyone with the correct web address:

The MP3 digital file for Side A can be played or downloaded from Side B is at

Alternatively, there's a link for each individual song/sketch etc.

If you click on:
this opens up all 23 tracks and a note file with track info on it. You can choose to download each one individually, or do the whole lot in one download as a 'zip' file.

Here's the track listings
01 Introduction Dick Donnelly
02 The Red, Red, Rotten Revue Peter Ross
03 That's Why the Worker is a Slave Hughie Armstrong
04 The News at Ten Terry Ross
05 Survivors Terry and Ken
06 Knocking at Heaven's Door Hughie and Dick
07 Going up to Heaven Peter Ross
08 Pie in the Sky Peter Ross
09 Flash Harry Vic Vanni
10 What a Swell Party Hughie Armstrong
11 Introduction Dick Donnelly
12 Ah Wis Like That... Ken, Hughie, Ian, Campbell & Terry
13 Tra-la-la, twiddle-dee dee-dee Peter Ross
14 Drinking Doubles Peter Ross
15 The Craven Vic Vanni
16 You're a Worker... Peter Ross
17 Unemployment Blues Peter Ross
18 The Ultimate Nationalist Hughie Armstrong
19 Home Rule for Govan Peter Ross
20 A Lass in Plunderland Terry
21 Boring Employment Hughie Armstrong
22 The Red, Red, Rotten Revue (Reprise) Peter Ross
23 Closing Comments Dick Donnelly

Monday, January 21, 2013

O Dear me, The Jute Mill

"O Dear me the World is ill-divided...Them that work the hardest, are aye the least provided"
 The Jute mill song is based on the experience of women workers in Dundee who would work up till they had their babies and then had to scrape a living from pitiful wages. It reflects on the deep inequality in society. It speaks to a great many people then and now on how working for a wage feels like degradation with little to show for it at the end of the day. The lyrics manage to convey the lack of time in the workers life. Wage labour swallows it up and divides it into blurry sections called work and rest. They are always on the clock.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The times aren't a-changin

Under European copyright law, copyright lasts between 50 and 70 years, but only to recordings that have been released within 50 years of them being made.

Sony have released just one hundred  copies of a new Bob Dylans early music sub-titled“The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol 1”. Compromising 86 songs recorded between 1962 and 1963, the box set is spartan with plain packaging and few explanatory notes. According to Rolling Stone’s sources at Dylan’s record label Sony, the compilation was not “meant” for wider release. The release is an attempt to stop the tracks entering the public domain and being available for free download.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Woody Guthrie

Both the Observer  and the Independent on Sunday carry  articles on Woody Guthrie who was born 100 yrs ago this month.

Socialist Courier draws attention to the insightful  Socialist Standard article written by Glasgow branch member Andy Armitage which is slightly less hagiographic than the above.

Phil Ochs’s tribute to Guthrie, “Bound for Glory” culminates with the lines: “Why sing the songs and forget about the aim / He wrote them for a reason why not sing them for the same.”

Woody Guthrie may have been a fellow-traveller of the Communist Party at times but a helluva lot of his songs reflect the thoughts and aspirations of socialists everywhere.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Music to their ears

Scotland's biggest music festival, T in the Park, was worth more than £40 million to the Scottish economy last year, according to organisers.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Socialist A.B.C. by Alex Glasgow

We may not accept it as 100% politically correct but it brings a smile

When that I was a little tiny boy
Me daddy said to me
'The time has come, me bonny, bonny bairn
To learn your ABC'
Now daddy was a Lodge Chairman
In the coalfields of the Tyne
And that ABC was different
From the Enid Blyton kind

He sang A is for Alienation that made me the man that I am
and B's for the Boss who's a bastard, a bourgeois who don't give a damn
C is for Capitalism, the boss's reactionary creed
and D's for Dictatorship, laddie, but the best proletarian breed
E is for Exploitation, that the workers have suffered so long
and F is for old Ludwig Feuerbach, the first one to see it was
G is for all Gerrymanderers, like Lord Muck and Sir Whatsisname
and H is the Hell that they'll go to, when the workers have
kindled the flame
I is for Imperialism, and America's kind is the worst
and J is for sweet Jingoism, that the Tories all think of first
K is for good old Keir Hardie, who fought out the working class fight
and L is for Vladimir Lenin, who showed him the Left was all right
M is of course for Karl Marx, the daddy and the mammy of them all
and N is for Nationalisation, without it we'd crumble and fall
O is for Overproduction that capitalist economy brings
and P is for Private Property, the greatest of all of the sins
Q is for the Quid pro quo, that we'll deal out so well and so soon
when R for Revolution is shouted and the Red Flag becomes the
top tune
S is for sad Stalinism, that gave us all such a bad name
and T is for Trotsky the hero, who had to take all of the blame
U's for the Union of workers, the Union will stand to the end
and V is for Vodka, yes, Vodka, the one drink that don't bring the bends
W is for all Willing workers, and that's where the memory fades
for X, Y and Z, me dear daddy said, will be written on the street

But now that I'm not a little tiny boy
Me daddy says to me
Please try to forget the things I said
Especially the ABC
For daddy's no longer a Union man
And he's had to change his plea
His alphabet is different now
Since they made him a Labour MP