IWW organizer Ben Fletcher was one of the organizers of the country’s first integrated longshore locals. Shortly before serving as secretary for the San Pedro, California, longshore strike committee, Joe Hill met with Ben Fletcher and other Philadelphia IWW organizers.
Folksinger John McCutcheon has released a new album, Joe Hill’s Last Will, marking the centenary of his execution. His blog describes the album this way:
Joe Hill was a songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies, back in the early 20th century. He was the ultimate utilitarian songwriter, composing pieces to be used at meetings and picket lines and rallies. He wrote songs to be sung and to be used. To be useful.
His songs “The Preacher & the Slave” and “Casey Jones, the Union Scab” are what some people know of his work. But veteran folk musician and longtime labor activist, John McCutcheon, has released an album bringing Joe Hill’s music to a whole new audience. With fresh arrangements, stunning musicianship, and released on a palette that makes these songs feel as though they were written today rather than a century ago, there is a life and vitality that is both rare and refreshing.
Joe Hill was executed by a Utah firing squad at dawn, November 19, 1915. This album is being released in honor of the centenary of Hill’s death.
Songs on the album: Casey Jones, It’s a Long Way Down to the Soup Line, The Tramp, Joe Hill’s Last Will, Mr. Block, What We Want, The Preacher & the Slave, Overalls & Snuff/The Connaughtman’s Rambles, The Wooden Shoe/Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay, The Rebel Girl, Stung Right, Where the Fraser River Flows, There Is Power in a Union
Saturday, June 6, Sutter Creek Theater, 44 Main St., Sutter Creek CA
Sunday, June 7, Grass Valley Center for the Arts 314 W Main St., Grass Valley CA
Monday, June 8, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company 1075 E 20th St., Chico CA
Wednesday, June 10, Fresno CA
Thursday, June 11, Church of the Brethren, 2301 Woodland Ave., Modesto CA
Friday, Jun 12, St. James Episcopal Church, 37051 Cabrillo Terrace, Fremont CA
Saturday, June 13, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison, Berkeley CA
Sunday, June 14, Sebastiani Theater, 476 First St. East, Sonoma CA
Friday, June 19, Singleton Center for Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave., Richmond, Virginia