Babylon Updated (Leslie Fish) 


Leslie Fish

"Babylon Updated" (karaoke)

"Babylon Updated" (sheet music)


Welcome, day so long awaited!

Welcome, hour of great release!

See all peoples liberated

Stand in freedom, walk in peace.

Fallen are the chains that dragged us

Down to slav’ry, off to war.

Babylon is fallen, fallen, fallen;

Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

 

Masters in your high stone tower,

You who order us here below,

You who drive us for your power,

You who shaped the world we know,

Turn and face your victims’ fury,

Face the wolf pack at your door.

Babylon is fallen, fallen, fallen;

Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

 

We who served you, poor and driven,

We who suffered the laws you made,

We reclaim the years we have given,

Smash your pow’r and break your blade.

See your doom reach out to take you

With the empires gone before.

Babylon is fallen, fallen, fallen;

Babylon is fallen to rise no more.


 

Aristocracy Forever (Judi Bari) 


Judi Bari

"Aristocracy Forever" (karaoke)

"Aristocracy Forever" (sheet music)


When the union leaders’ payoffs by the bosses have begun,

There will be no labor trouble anywhere beneath the sun,

For the AFL trade unions and the management are one:

The union keeps us down.

Aristocracy forever, Aristocracy forever,

Aristocracy forever, the union keeps us down.

 

It is we who have to suffer through the daily drudgery

While Lane Kirkland pulls a hundred thousand dollar salary;

Though he claims to lead the workers, he is just a bourgeoisie;

The union keeps us down.

Aristocracy forever, Aristocracy forever,

Aristocracy forever, the union keeps us down.

 

What do workers hold in common with a labor bureaucrat

Who’s a class collaborationist and bosses diplomat?

With the money from our paychecks, he is sitting getting fat

While the union keeps us down.

Aristocracy forever, Aristocracy forever,

Aristocracy forever, the union keeps us down.

 

They’ve aligned us with the mafia, the CIA, and more

Serving counterrevolution and oppression of the poor

‘Til the union doesn’t represent our int’rests anymore:

The union keeps us down.

Aristocracy forever, Aristocracy forever,

Aristocracy forever, the union keeps us down.

 

In our hands, we hold a power they don’t even know about;

They’ve forgotten that the workers are the union’s source of clout;

When the rank-and-file workers kick the union bosses out,

Again, we will be strong.

Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever,

Solidarity forever, again, we will be strong.


 

A Las Barricadas! (Anonymous Worker) 


An Anonymous Worker

English Paraphrase by Jan Oosting & Carlos Cortez

"A Las Barricadas!" (Spanish karaoke)

"A Las Barricadas!" (English karaoke)

"A Las Barricadas!" (sheet music)


Negras tormentas agitan los aires,

Nubes oscuras nos impeden ver;

Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte,

Contra el enimigo nos llama el deber.

 

E bien mas preciado es la Libertád,

Luchemos por ella con fe y valór,

Alta la bandera revolucionaria

Que llevera el pueblo a la emancipación.

Alta la bandera revolucionaria

Que llevera el pueblo a la emancipación.

 

En pie el pueblo obrero, a la batalia,

Hay que derrocar a la reacción.

A las barricadas, a las barricadas,

Por el triunfo de la Confederación!

A las barricadas, a las barricadas,

Por el triunfo de la Confederación!

 

Malicious torments hang in the air;

Clouds of obscurity dim our sight.

Though we’re to meet pain and death,

Against the enemy, we must call the debt.

 

By far, freedom is the most precious thing,

So let’s fight for it with faith and valor.

Raise high the flag of revolution

Which will carry our people to emancipation.

Raise high the flag of revolution

Which will carry our people to emancipation.

 

On your feet! March into battle, working people.

We must defeat the reaction.

To the barricades, to the barricades,

For the triumph of our Confederation!

To the barricades, to the barricades,

For the triumph of our Confederation!


Hedy West 


Hedy West (1938-2005) was an American folksinger and songwriter.


“Singer and banjo player Hedy West passed away on July 3, at the age of 67. Born in Cartersville, Georgia, her father, Don West, was a well-known poet and trade union organizer. Although her repertoire included everything from ballads, broadsides, industrial songs, and dance tunes to original compositions, Hedy’s emphasis was always on traditional music, learned primarily from her maternal grandmother in North Georgia. In 1959 she went to New York to study music and drama and quickly became involved in the folk movement there. Pete Seeger, a friend of her father’s, had invited her to participate in several performances, including a Sing Out! hootenanny at Carnegie Hall. By the mid-’60s Hedy had performed at all the major folk festivals, given concerts all over the country, and made several recordings on labels such as Vanguard and Folk-Legacy.”

The Old Time Herald


Cotton Mill Girls


 

 

Jean Hart 


Jean Hart is an English actress and singer and co-founder of the Women's Theatre Group.


“Jean was born in East Ham sometime before World War II. Hers was the first generation of working class children to receive full time education. A State Scholar, she went from East Ham Grammar School for Girls to St Martin’s School of Art … then on to Reading University where she gained a BA in Fine Art, then on to Ruskin College, Oxford. Despite her intellectual and artistic talents, music was her true love and she successfully pursued a career as a singer, sometimes at Peter Cook’s famous Establishment Club, sometimes in theatres. She sang Brecht as understudy to Lotte Lenya at the Royal Court Theatre.”

—Malcolm Hart


The Bosses' Darling


 

 

Leslie Fish 


Leslie Fish is an American IWW member, anarchist political activist, author, and filk musician.


“Born in New Jersey, 11 March 19-something, to a mundane dentist father and singer mother. Learned to sing and to read at a very young age; started playing guitar at 16; started writing the first of hundreds of songs shortly thereafter, including her first settings of Rudyard Kipling’s poetry. Went to her first con at 16; saw Martin Luther King Jr. speak at 17; went to college, majoring in English and minoring in psychology, protest and politics. Paid hard dues in the Civil Rights and anti-War movements; joined the Industrial Workers of the World; did psych counseling for vets (among many other jobs including railroad yard clerk, go-go dancer, computer keypuncher and social worker). Wrote her first filksong of dozens, ‘Fellowship Going South,’ in 1963. Saw the Apollo 11 landing in 1969, and then began her most famous (and best-loved) filksong, ‘Hope Eyrie’ [a.k.a. ‘The Eagle Has Landed’]; that took six years to write.”

—Mary Creasey, Random Factors


Babylon Updated


 

 

Judi Bari 


Judi Bari (1949-1997) was an American IWW organizer and a fighter for many environmental justice, labor, and social causes.


“Music was an integral part of Bari’s organizing style. She had taken violin lessons while growing up, and her violin was transformed into her ‘fiddle’ when she moved to California. She rarely showed up at any rally, demonstration, or public appearance without breaking out the fiddle and joining others in playing a few songs. She used songs as a unifying tool in the tradition of labor organizing, but also as a weapon on the front lines against her targets, and as a morale booster around the campfire or while on the road. There is an Earth First! songbook published including some of her songs, titled Up Rise Singing (the title a take-off on Rise Up Singing, the classic folk song book).”

—Nicholas Wilson, Albion Monitor, March 1997


Aristocracy Forever


 

Universal Soldier (Buffy Sainte-Marie) 

Buffy Sainte-Marie

"Universal Soldier" (karaoke)

"Universal Soldier" (sheet music)


He’s five foot two, and he’s six feet four.

He fights with missiles and with spears.

He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen.

He’s been a soldier for a thousand years.

 

He’s a Cath’lic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,

A Buddhist, a Baptist, and a Jew.

And he knows he shouldn’t kill, and he knows he always will

Kill you for me, my friend, and me for you.

 

And he’s fighting for Canada; he’s fighting for France.

He’s fighting for the USA.

And he’s fighting for the Russians, and he’s fighting for Japan.

And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

 

And he’s fighting for Democracy; he’s fighting for the Reds.

He says it’s for the peace of all.

He’s the one who must decide who’s to live and who’s to die.

And he never sees the writing on the wall.

 

But without him, how would Hitler have condemned him at Labau?

Without him, Caesar would have stood alone.

He’s the one who gives his body as a weapon of the war.

And without him, all this killing can’t go on.

 

He’s the universal soldier, and he really is to blame.

His orders come from far away no more.

They come from here and there and you and me.

And, brothers, can’t you see?

 

This is not the way we put an end to war.


Buffy Sainte-Marie 


Buffy Sainte-Marie (b. 1941) is a Canadian Cree composer, educator, musician, pacifist, singer/songwriter, social activist, and visual artist.


“‘I loved coming across genuine British and Irish folk songs and they included a lot of protest. It didn’t all start with Bob Dylan! They realized hundreds of years ago that they had to speak up about bad leadership and bad management. There’s no sense in keeping quiet about it.’ This returns [Buffy] Sainte-Marie to her main theme: for all the anger on social media, there’s a dearth of good protest music. ‘I constantly ask myself. Where are the great protest songs of today? Are people deaf and blind’ she says. ‘How can they not be writing such songs today? And that includes Bob Dylan. I don’t see young people acting as empowered as they could be. I wish that it would become very fashionable again. I want to see 11 to 16 year olds writing their own songs.’”

—Spencer Leigh, Independent (9 January 2018)


Universal Soldier


 

Millworker (James Taylor) 

James Taylor

"Millworker" (karaoke)

"Millworker" (sheet music)


Now, my grandfather was a sailor;

He blew in off the water.

My father was a farmer,

And I, his only daughter,

Took up with a no-good mill workingman

From Massachusetts

Who dies from too much whisky

And leaves me these three faces to feed.

 

Millwork ain’t easy;

Millwork ain’t hard.

Millwork, it ain’t nothing

But an awful boring job.

I’m waiting for a daydream

To take me through the morning

And put me in my coffee break

Where I can have a sandwich

And remember.

 

Then, it’s me and my machine

For the rest of the morning,

For the rest of the afternoon,

And the rest of my life.

 

Now, my mind begins to wander

To the days back on the farm.

I can see my father smiling at me

Swinging on his arm.

I can hear my granddad’s stories

Of the storms out on Lake Erie,

Where vessels and cargoes and fortunes

And sailors’ lives were lost.

 

Yes, but it’s my life has been wasted,

And I have been the fool

To let this manufacture use

My body for a tool.

I can ride home in the evening,

Staring at my hands,

Swearing by my sorrow

That a young girl ought to stand

A better chance.

 

So, may I work the mills

Just as long as I am able

And never meet the man

Whose name is on the label.

 

It be me and my machine

For the rest of the morning,

For the rest of the afternoon,

And the rest of my life.


James Taylor 


James Taylor (b. 1948) is an American guitarist and singer/songwriter.


“A self-proclaimed ‘unabashed liberal,’ [James] Taylor’s views have grown from more than 40 years of roaming the globe to perform his confessional songs. Yet they began to take shape during his boyhood in Chapel Hill where…his doctor father, Ike, launched a lifelong crusade for quality health care for everyone, and his New Englander mother, Trudy, was part of a movement to integrate local schools and facilities…. ‘My parents’ commitment to education and public health—to the civil rights movement—was something I was aware of at a very early age.... That kind of altruistic gene is something I’m very proud of. It rubbed off…. Dad promoted socialized medicine back then as a moral calling…. That had an impact….’ The advances weren’t embraced by everyone, including a young Raleigh TV journalist and executive named Jesse Helms…. Helms often referred to…Chapel Hill as ‘Communist Hill’ and UNC as ‘The University of Negroes and Communists.’ He suggested the state build a wall around the UNC campus to prevent ‘liberal views’ from infecting the rest of the state. Medicaid, passed with Medicare in 1965, was a leap ‘into the swampy field of socialized medicine.’ ‘Those early Jesse Helms commentaries made me aware of the political divisions and how counterproductive they can be,’ Taylor said. ‘My father would get incredulous at the politics of fear and division, as opposed to the idea of public service and working together…. I’m not a political scientist or an expert. I’m a singer and basically I write personal stuff. I’m a citizen.”

—David Perlmutt, “James Taylor’s N.C. Roots Shaped ‘Unabashed Liberal,’” Charlotte Observer (3 September 2012)


Millworker


Part of the Union (Strawbs) 

Strawbs

"Part of the Union" (karaoke)

"Part of the Union" (sheet music)


Now, I’m a union man,

Amazed at what I am.

I say what I think, that the company stinks.

Yes, I’m a union man.

When we meet in the local hall,

I’ll be voting with ‘em all.

With a helluva shout, it’s “Out, brothers, out!”

And the rise of the factory’s fall.

 

Oh, you don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union

Till the day I die, till the day I die.

 

As a union man, I’m wise

To the lies of the company spies.

And I don’t get fooled by the company rules

‘Cause I always read between the lines.

And I always get my way

If I strike for higher pay.

When I show my card to the Scotland Yard,

This is what I say:

 

Oh, you don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union

Till the day I die, till the day I die.

 

Before the union did appear,

My life was half as clear.

Now, I’ve got the pow’r to the working hour

And ev’ry other day of the year.

So, though I’m a working man,

I can ruin the government’s plan.

I’m not too hard, but the sight of my card

Makes me some kind of superman.

 

Oh, you don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union

Till the day I die, till the day I die.

 

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union.

You don’t get me; I’m part of the union

Till the day I die, till the day I die.


I Ain't Marching Anymore (Phil Ochs) 

Phil Ochs

"I Ain't Marching Anymore" (karaoke)

"I Ain't Marching Anymore" (sheet music)


Oh, I marched to the Battle of New Orleans

At the end of the early British wars.

The young land started growing; the young blood started flowing.

But I ain’t a-marching anymore!

 

For I killed my share of injuns in a thousand diff’rent fights.

I was there at the Little Big Horn.

I heard many more a-lying; I saw many more a-dying.

I ain’t a-marching anymore!

 

It’s always the old to lead us to the wars;

Always the young to fall.

Now, look at all we’ve won with a saber and a gun.

Tell me, is it worth it all?

 

For I stole California from the Mexican land,

Fought in the bloody Civil War.

Yes, I even killed my brothers and so many others.

But I ain’t a-marching anymore!

 

For I marched to the battles of the German trench

In a war that was bound to end all wars.

Oh, I must have killed a million men, and now they want me back again.

But I ain’t a-marching anymore!

 

It’s always the old to lead us to the wars;

Always the young to fall.

Now, look at all we’ve won with a saber and a gun.

Tell me, is it worth it all?

 

For I flew the final mission in the Japanese skies,

Set off the mighty mushroom roar.

When I saw the cities burning, I knew that I was learning

That I ain’t a-marching anymore!

 

Now, the labor leader’s screaming when they close the missile plant.

United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore.

Call it peace or call it treason; call it love or call it reason:

I ain’t a-marching anymore!

 

No, I ain’t a-marching anymore!


Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day (Paul Robeson) 

Paul Robeson

"Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day" (karaoke)

"Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day" (sheet music)


Evening breezes sighing,

Moon is in the sky.

Little man, it’s time for bed.

Daddy’s little hero

Is tired and wants to cry.

Now, come along and rest your weary head.

 

Little man, you’re crying.

I know why you’re blue.

Someone took your kiddy car away.

Better go to sleep now.

Little man, you’ve had a busy day.

 

Johnny won your marbles.

Tell you what we’ll do.

Dad’ll get you new ones right away.

Better go to sleep now.

Little man, you’ve had a busy day.

 

You’ve been playing soldiers.

The battle has been won.

The enemy is out of sight.

Come along there, soldier,

Put away your gun.

The war is over for tonight.

Time to stop your scheming.

Time your day was through.

Can’t you hear the bugle softly say,

"Time you should be dreaming"?

Little man, you’ve had a busy day.

 

Little man, you’re crying.

I know why you’re blue.

Someone took your kiddy car away.

Better go to sleep now.

Little man, you’ve had a busy day.

 

Johnny won your marbles.

Tell you what we’ll do.

Dad’ll get you new ones right away.

Better go to sleep now.

Little man, you’ve had a busy day.

 

You’ve been playing soldiers.

The battle has been won.

The enemy is out of sight.

Come along there, soldier,

Put away your gun.

The war is over for tonight.

Time to stop your scheming.

Time your day was through.

Can’t you hear the bugle softly say,

"Time you should be dreaming"?

Little man, you’ve had a busy day.


Freedom Come-All-Ye (Hamish Henderson) 

Hamish Henderson

"Freedom Come-All-Ye" (karaoke)

"Freedom Come-All-Ye" (sheet music)


Roch the wind in the clear day’s dawin

Blaws the cloods heelster-gowdie ow’r the bay

But there’s mair nor a roch wind blawin

Through the great glen o the warld the day.

It’s a thocht that will gar oor rottans

A’ they rogues that gang gallus, fresh and gay:

Tak the road and seek ither loanins

For their ill ploys, tae sport and play.

 

Nae mair will the bonnie callants

Mairch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw,

Nor wee weans frae pit-heid and clachan

Mourn the ships sailin doon the Broomielaw.

Broken faimlies in lands we’ve herriet

Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair;

Black and white, ane til ither mairret

Mak the vile barracks o their maisters bare.

 

So come all ye at hame wi Freedom,

Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom

In your hoose a’ the bairns o Adam

Can find breid, barley-bree and painted room.

When MacLean meets wi’s freens in Springburn

A’ the roses and geans will turn tae bloom,

And a black boy frae yont Nyanga

Dings the fell gallows o the burghers doon.


Hamish Henderson 


Hamish Henderson (1919-2002) was a Scottish communist, intellectual, poet, and songwriter.


“Hamish Henderson (1919-2002) first heard the name of Antonio Gramsci mentioned when he fought alongside the Italian partisans during the liberation of Florence in 1944. The Italian communist would become a major influence on the work of Scotland’s preeminent folklorist, poet, songwriter and political activist of the twentieth century. Not necessarily, or primarily, the Marxist theoretician, but rather the Sardinian soul mate, whose fate in Mussolini’s prisons reminded Henderson of the similar martyrdom of one of his other great heroes, the Glaswegian socialist and home ruler John Maclean…. Henderson could immediately bond with Gramsci, seeing the linguistic, cultural and political parallels between Sardinia and Scotland, in their relationship with Italy and Britain, respectively. For Henderson, who used the prize money of the Somerset Maugham Award (1949) he received for his Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (topped up with a fortuitous win on the horses) to return to Italy and finish his translation of Gramsci’s Prison Letters, the Italian’s interest in culture as an agent, and particularly his interest in popular and folk culture, established an immediate affinity with Henderson’s thinking. It was one of the misfortunes of Henderson’s life that his translation had to wait for nearly thirty years before it was published; thus, his pioneer role in introducing Gramsci to the British left is often overlooked. Gramsci helped Henderson to formulate his agenda which, after the War, was increasingly the promotion of the Scottish Folk Revival. For Gramsci as for Henderson, folk culture presented an alternative, a ‘subaltern’ view of society and history, alternative to the ‘official’, ‘bourgeois’ or ‘establishment’ version of the rulers. Folklore was to be understood as ‘a reflection of the conditions of [the] cultural life of the people,’ and thus representing ‘a conception of the world’ in opposition to ‘official’ conceptions of the world. Or, in Hamish Henderson’s words: ‘Folk art is an implicit—and in many aspects an explicit—challenge to the ruling class way of looking at the world.’ He saw folk art as the manifestation of a rebel ‘underground’.”

—Eberhard Bort, Review of Corey Gibson's The Voice of the People: Hamish Henderson and Scottish Cultural Politics, The Bottle Imp (Issue 19, June 2016)


 Freedom Come-All-Ye


Dirty Old Town (Alistair Hulett) 

Alistair Hulett

"Dirty Old Town" (karaoke)

"Dirty Old Town" (sheet music)


I met my love by the gasworks’ wall,

Dreamed a dream by the old canal,

I kissed my girl by the fact’ry wall,

Dirty old town, dirty old town.

 

Clouds a-drifting across the moon,

Cats a-prowling on their beat,

Springs a girl from the streets at night,

Dirty old town, dirty old town.

 

I heard a siren from the docks,

Saw a train set the night on fire,

I smelled the spring on the smoky wind,

Dirty old town, dirty old town.

 

I’m goin’ to make me a big, sharp axe,

Shining steel tempered in the fire,

I’ll chop you down like an old, dead tree,

Dirty old town, dirty old town.

 

I met my love by the gasworks’ wall,

Dreamed a dream by the old canal,

I kissed my girl by the fact’ry wall,

Dirty old town, dirty old town.

 

Dirty old town, dirty old town.


 

An Eriskay Love Lilt (Paul Robeson) 

Paul Robeson

"An Eriskay Love Lilt" (karaoke)

"An Eriskay Love Lilt" (sheet music)


Vair me oro van o

Vair me oro van ee

Vair me oru o ho

Sad am I without thee.

 

When I'm lonely, my dear heart,

Dark the night or wild the sea,

By love's light my foot finds

The old pathway to thee.

 

Vair me oro van o

Vair me oro van ee

Vair me oru o ho

Sad am I without thee.

 

Thou'rt the music of my heart,

Harp of joy, oh cruit mo chridh,

Moon of guidance by night,

Strength and light thou'rt to me.

 

Vair me oro van o

Vair me oro van ee

Vair me oru o ho

Sad am I without thee.