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Classic Labor Songs from Smithsonian Folkways

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01
Joe Hill
Artist: Paul Robeson
3:04
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02
Bread and Roses
Artist: Bobbie McGee
2:33
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03
Casey Jones (The Union Scab)
Artist: Pete Seeger and The Almanac Singers
1:59
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04
We Shall Not Be Moved / Roll the Union On
Artist: Joe Glazer
2:26
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05
Roll the Union On
Artist: John Handcox
1:10
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06
Cotton Mill Colic
Artist: Mike Seeger
2:40
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07
The Mill Was Made of Marble
Artist: Joe Glazer
4:02
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08
Aragon Mill
Artist: Peggy Seeger
3:13
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09
Talking Union
Artist: The Almanac Singers
3:05
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10
1913 Massacre
Artist: Woody Guthrie
3:39
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11
The Preacher and the Slave
Artist: Utah Phillips
2:23
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12
Which Side are You On?
Artist: Florence Reece and the Almanac Singers
2:39
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13
Hold the Fort
Artist: Joe Uehlein
4:01
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14
Union Maids
Artist: The New Harmony Sisterhood Band
3:09
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15
Too Old to Work
Artist: Joe Glazer
2:55
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16
Black Lung
Artist: Hazel Dickens
3:27
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17
Been Rolling So Long
Artist: Larry Penn
4:04
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18
VDT
Artist: Tom Juravich
2:00
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19
Automation
Artist: Joe Glazer
2:37
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20
I’m Union and I’m Proud
Artist: Eddie Starr
3:01
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21
I’m a Union Card
Artist: Kenny Winfree
2:30
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22
Carpal Tunnel
Artist: John O'Connor
2:41
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23
We Just Come to Work Here, We Don’t Come to Die
Artist: Anne Feeney
2:53
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24
One Day More
Artist: Elaine Purkey
3:42
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25
We Do the Work
Artist: Jon Fromer
2:45
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26
De Colores
Artist: Baldemar Velasquez and Aguila Negra
3:03
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27
Solidarity Forever
Artist: Joe Glazer
2:28
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 27   Total Length: 78:09

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Great listen

aruvqan

Excellent collection of labor music. One of my favorite sing along collections for long road trips! It has an amazing version of Joe Hill sung by Paul Robeson and that amazing voice of his. 1913 Massacre by Woodie Gutherie is phenomenal, waltz time and poignant. Union Maids is just a seriously perky version of an old classic...Get it, you won't regret it!

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They Say All Music Guide

In the era of the sound bite, when songs are used to hawk everything from shampoo, soap, and cars to wine coolers, dating services, and Viagra, it is easy to lose sight of the more noble utilitarian use songs can have, and this haunting collection of 20th century labor songs calling for fairness, dignity, and a just wage is a compelling document of the power of songs to unite and enable. Drawn from Smithsonian Folkways’ vast collection and from Joe Glazer’s Collector Records, which in 2006 became a part of the Smithsonian Folkways catalog, Classic Labor Songs from Smithsonian Folkways is by turns spirited, uplifting, wry, and ironic, and if some of these songs seem quaint in the light of today’s complicated global economic landscape, the issues they raise for the fair and just treatment of labor continue to be extremely vital ones. Among the highlights here are Paul Robeson’s stately “Joe Hill,” which opens the sequence, John Handcox’s unaccompanied field recording of his own “Roll the Union On” (based on the gospel song “Roll the Chariot On”) from 1937, Woody Guthrie’s heart-breaking “1913 Massacre” (based on a true incident during a miner’s strike in Calumet, MI where 73 children lost their lives), and a shaky yet riveting version of Florence Reece singing her “Which Side Are You On” from a 1971 archival tape (she actually wrote the song during a miners’ strike in Harlan County, KY in 1931) that dovetails seamlessly into the Almanac Singers’ 1955 version of the same song. But not everything here deals with miners and mill workers. Some of the songs have a distinct contemporary feel, like Tom Juravich’s “VDT,” which pleads the case of cubicle workers who spend all day entering data on a video display terminal, and John O’Connor’s unaccompanied “Carpal Tunnel,” which explores the health issues that stem from workplace tasks that require continual repetitive movement. In an era when label-created hipsters rap on about getting personal respect all day over the airwaves, these songs seem unadorned and out of touch by comparison. But there is a quiet strength to them, and a deep understanding of what respect really means, and long after today’s flavor of the week drops from sight (utility isn’t always measured by chart position), these songs will still be sung. – Steve Leggett

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