Amoeblog

May Day 2014: Songs That Celebrate and Defend The Rights of Workers Everywhere

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment
        Common a month ago doing a free show in support of workers at the Nissan car
        plant in Canton, Miss. who are pushing for a vote to organize as part of the UAW


In light of the ever increasing war being waged against unions and in turn the stripping of the basic rights of the working class in this country and elsewhere, this year's May Day (the internationally recognized day to celebrate and to defend the rights of workers everywhere from Modesto to Moscow) seems extra significant on this May 1st, 2014; perhaps even as significant as that very first mass US May Day protest back in 1886 when hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers across the US, in a fight for an 8 hour work day, walked off their jobs in protest. Hence for this May Day I have assembled a selection of songs/videos that reflect the plight of struggling workers in a time when the gap between the rich controlling class and the rest of us gets wider and wider. 

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Black Jack Davy in His Various Forms

Posted by Miss Ess, April 7, 2009 03:16pm | Post a Comment
In many ways, the creature known in traditional folk songs as "Black Jack Davy," among other variants,bob dylan good as i been to you is one of the original bad boy rebels. His story has been passed down in poem and song since possibly the early 1700s, or, if you listen to Nick Tosches, since the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Gypsy Davy wins the heart of an upper class maiden merely by letting his song ring through the woods. With one listen she is spellbound, leaving her fine feather bed/husband/baby (different objects in different versions, often all three), all for the love of Black Jack Davy, a rogue gypsy. "Black Jack Davy" can, and has, been reawhite stripesd approximately a zillion different ways over the aeons, and that is part of the enjoyment of the piece. I see it as a liberation in a way for the young maiden, who chooses to run off with a cunning and poor man she is (rather joltingly) in love with instead of remaining "kept" by her wealthy husband. Other interpretations of the story are all up to you.

Among the various permutations of "Black Jack Davy"...

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woke up in an odd state of mind

Posted by Whitmore, September 12, 2007 08:50am | Post a Comment


I woke up in an odd mood and while I was grinding   coffee this morning, for some unknown reason, I  started thinking about the legendary folk musician
Woody Guthrie and that sign he often painted on his
guitar.

“This Machine Kills Fascists”

And no, I don’t mean my  Italian espresso maker …

In this frame of mind, I don’t even dare open the paper … not today.

Woody once wrote, "I took a bath this morning in six war speeches, and a sprinkle of peace.”  

Yeah, I know that mood.

I’m thinking, what could throw me even deeper into this funk?  Maybe the right song and I can revel in this shithole state of mind for a while; I do have the morning  to myself!

So I went digging though a few boxes of 45’s  for this minor keyed, slow funky version of  “This Land Is  Your Land” by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings originally released in 2006 as a 7-inch single with a red, white, and blue label (and a flip side of  What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?). It’s a masterpiece, if not the modern definitive version of Woody Guthrie’s classic paean to the America he saw in his travels in the 1930’s. Guthrie originally wrote this song in 1940 in response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," which Guthrie considered unrealistic, self-satisfied and smug.


Sharon Jones’ version of This Land should be the one sung in grammar schools, especially since she includes the seldom sung verses about private property and government relief. She’s brought back the anger, the defiance and rebelliousness that had been lost; trashing the soft-pedaled, whitewashed, yankee-doodle dandy edition we’ve heard for decades.

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