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Commemorations Joe Hill songs

The Joe Hill Revival – a musical

Joe Hill Revival cast

The Joe Hill Revival musical will be performed Sunday, February 6, at 2 pm at the Triad Theater in New York City. In-person and streaming tickets are available.

“The Joe Hill Revival,” is a new musical that brings back to life the story of labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill, framed up and executed by the state of Utah in 1915. This will be an encore one-night-only performance at the Triad Theater in Manhattan on Sunday, February 6, 2-4pm. The book and original music and lyrics are by Dan Furman, with additional lyrics by Joe Hill and others. The musical is directed and choreographed by Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, with a cast featuring Laurént Grant Williams as Joe Hill and Caitlin Caruso Dobbs as Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. They are joined by Nicola Barrett, Laura Bright, Curtis Faulkner, Julia Fein, Drew Hill, Christopher Isolano and Ace McCarthy and supported by a 4-piece band.

The show was first performed at the Outdoor Patio @ Rustik Tavern in Brooklyn, Sept. 14-Oct. 6, 2021. A song from the musical is available online (as is more information on the show and links to purchase tickets) at: http://www.brooklyntaverntheater.com/the-joe-hill-revival.html?fbclid=IwAR0n0s3zf9YD16OLJJmR-fq6pWz4KEswkaMXP1FH8YtiLwMGrQ-80cNRdjY

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Commemorations Joe Hill songs

Remembering Joe Hill on May Day

https://medium.com/@luciuspapyrius/joe-hill-or-mayday-with-the-wobblies-b7c2cfba8982

Joe Hill, or Mayday with the Wobblies

Born in Sweden, in 1879, as Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, he and his brother Paul Elias moved to the United States in 1902. There, he lived as an itinerant worker, going where he could find work and facing periods of unemployment. In 1910, as he worked the docks in San Pedro, CA, he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), commonly referred to as Wobblies, an international labour union established in Chicago in 1905. He, then, spent the next few years travelling the country, helping workers organize in unions and writing songs of protest. In early 1914, Joe Hill was working near Salt Lake City, UT, when a grocer and his son were killed in their store by a couple of armed intruders. Although the evidence pointed to Joe’s innocence and despite a large mobilization of the people in favour of his acquittal, he was nonetheless sentenced to death by firing squad, which took place in late 1915. This leads us to conclude that his condemnation was motivated by a desire to silence his activism for the rights of workers.

One of the most notorious songs by Joe Hill is The Preacher and the Slave, written probably around 1910 or 1911, during the time of his early activity in the IWW. This song is a parody of the religious hymn In the Sweet By-and-By, written and composed by S. F. Bennett and J. P. Webster in 1868. The subject of the song is how religion and its ministers use the people’s faith — their fear of God and the promise of a better life in Heaven — as a mean to keep them obedient and servile under the yoke of their oppression.

Let us enjoy a rather recent interpretation of this song by synthpop creator Intellectual Dark Wave (video at the bottom):

Long-haired preachers come out every night
Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
But when asked how ‘bout something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet:

CHORUS
You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
(That’s a lie)

And the Starvation Army, they play
And they sing and they clap and they pray
Till they get all your coin on the drum
Then they tell you when you’re on the bum:

CHORUS

Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out
And they holler, they jump and they shout
Give your money to Jesus, they say
He will cure all diseases today.

CHORUS

If you fight hard for children and wife
Try to get something good in this life
You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell
When you die you will sure go to hell.

CHORUS

Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When the world and its wealth we have gained
To the grifters we’ll sing this refrain:

You will eat, bye and bye
When you’ve learned how to cook and how to fry
Chop some wood, ‘twill do you good
Then you’ll eat in the sweet bye and bye.
(That’s no lie)

Lucius Papyrius

28M | Portugal

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Commemorations

German-language broadcast on Joe Hill’s ashes

German public broadcaster SWR is airing a German-language program on its internet radio station SWR2 this Sunday: “The Ashes of Joe Hill – The Resurrection of a Legend” Sunday, December 6, 2020 2:05 p.m., SWR2 Feature on Sunday, https://www.swr.de/swr2/doku-und-feature/die-asche-von-joe-hill-swr2-feature-am-sonntag-2020-12-06-100.html?fbclid=IwAR2c-eQ-7tx4rVEiekdkY0Zj61r7PFuy3Sygi6IcAKhwARs4dYB-RBOTkxI

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Commemorations Joe Hill songs

Joe Hill Roadshow live broadcast, Saturday May 30

https://youtu.be/4NfL9QNKmuc

Michael & Nell will do a YouTube Live broadcast of their acclaimed Joe Hill Road Show on Saturday May 30, 8 pm central time.
This entertaining multimedia show consists of oral history, live music and over 75 historical images. After the show we will have a discussion, based on your Chat comments, about  the relevance of this history to what is going on today. We need a strong labor movement now more than ever!   Please mark your calendar and join us.  Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/4NfL9QNKmuc
Categories
Commemorations Media

Magpie’s “When We Stand Together” a noble effort in the Wobbly song tradition

 By FW Greg Giorgio, Industrial Worker Fall 2017 

Magpie, the folk duo Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, wear their working class roots and union memberships proudly. The native Ohioans met at Kent State, where Terry dodged National Guard bullets in the infamous murders of four students in 1970. The social justice and environmental activists began performing together soon after and have never wavered from their strong messages for freedom. 

When We Stand Together, subtitled Songs of Joe Hill, the IWW, and Fellow Workers, is a noble effort in the history of Wobbly songs. Its broad vision that includes songs penned by Ronnie Gilbert, Tish Hinojosa, and Si Kahn, Phil Ochs, and others closes a circle to incorporate the vision of a world where there is room for the justice around which we organize. Greg and Terry have added an important new take on the singing union tradition of the IWW. 

Two years ago Magpie signed on to tour with FWs Charlie King and George Mann for the “Joe Hill Road Show,” during the centenary of the Wobbly bard’s execution in Utah. They had already fallen in love with many of Joe’s songs. They were so thrilled, in fact, they took out red cards on the tour, adding to their credentials as stalwarts in AFM Local 1000, the traveling musicians’ local. It’s exciting to hear them lead off this CD with Hill’s “Workers of the World Awaken.” Joe’s reboot to the “Internationale” riffs some of its lines but adapts it to a higher plane. One verse (“If the workers take a notion they can stop all speeding trains,” etc.) outlines the mechanics of stopping exploitation in the workplace and ending war. Magpie’s revelatory attempt here illustrates how their musicianship and sense of history are second to none in modern folk music. 

Hill’s best efforts expropriated the boss-class popular culture and accentuated themes of “building a new society within the shell of the old,” as stated in the IWW Preamble. Hear Greg and Terry’s spirited offerings on Hill’s “It’s a Long Way Down to the Soup Line” or the anti-war anthem “Don’t Take My Papa Away from Me.” Terry’s vocal on the latter is rich, emotional, and evokes the era in which it was penned. While many have recorded Joe’s “The Rebel Girl,” Magpie treats it with a reverence they share about Hill’s compositional prowess. 

Magpie’s originals show their strengths as songwriters. “Poor Old Dobbin” is a tribute to the IWW that could have been written a century ago. And “Canton 1918” chronicles the famous speech by Gene Debs that resulted in his lockup in the federal pen for “sedition.” You can hear the emotion coming through your speakers with Greg’s lead vocal as he sings so reverently about the time and the town as it was then. 

The 19 cuts that grace the recording include songs by many non-IWW authors, but their inclusion enriches the mix. Like Flo Reece’s “Which Side Are You On?” where Terry embodies Flo’s unique vocal style, working-class imperatives in “Build High the Bridge,” environmental justice in “Something in the Rain,” solidarity in “Links on the Chain,” and immigrants and labor in “Borderlines” are all powerful reminders of the work that still needs to be organized. Do you know “Paper Heart”? Si Khan and Charlotte Brody wrote this about Joe Hill, and Magpie’s heart-tugging harmony is sad and beautiful. And now the circle is complete.

Please see www.magpiemusic.com for information on this and other recordings by Magpie. 

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Commemorations

Joe Hill concert with the U-Liners

We continue to add new Joe Hill events to our calendar as we learn of them.  The latest:

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. 4:00 pm. Joe Hill commemoration concert with the U-Liners. Fundraiser for Marc Elrich, candidate for Montgomery County Executive. Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle, 4844 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, Maryland.

We’ve also added the 2018 Solidarity Forever Labor History calendar to our web store. This year’s calendar commemorates workers’ struggles against fascism and bigotry around the world, and the power of workers’ solidarity.

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Commemorations

Joe Hill exhibit in Bishop Hill, IL

Workers of the World, Awaken!: The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill exhibit opened on Saturday, June 3, at the Steeple Building Museum in Bishop Hill, Illinois. The exhibit will close on September 30, 2017.

This traveling display, consisting of 5 text panels and over 25 stand-alone images with music, was created by the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia. After a year in Philadelphia, the exhibit has also appeared at Nordic Northwest, in Portland, OR.

For more details about the exhibit or the concert, please call 309-927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net.

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Commemorations Concert tour

Joe Hill musical history show set for Louisville on April 7

By John Paul Wright 

Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin) will perform their entertaining, multimedia educational show, A Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement in Louisville April 7. The show is set for 7 to 10 p.m. at Lettersong, 1501 Story Ave.

Tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended. Click here for tickets.

Their companion CD Joe Hill Roadshow will be available at the show. Special guest will be Louisville’s John Paul Wright, Railroad Engineer, Songwriter, Drummer, Poet, Activist. www.railroadmusic.org

Songwriter Joe Hill is the precursor of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. He was immortalized when Joan Baez sang “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. A Swedish immigrant, Hill was a member of the international labor group, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies), active in the decade leading up to World War I. In 1914, Joe Hill was framed for two murders he did not commit. He was executed by a firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 19,1915. He subsequently became a labor icon.

Our Musical History includes live performances of Joe Hill songs along with a talk and images about Hill’s life, early labor struggles and the influence of the IWW’s innovative organizing strategies on movements today. Our goal is to share this vital slice of labor history with a wide range people so that we can all better understand why the revolutionary creativity exemplified by Joe Hill and the Wobblies is still relevant. In 2015, 100 years after Joe Hill’s execution, 40 concerts were held around the country celebrating his legacy. Shelby Bottom Duo organized and performed at the Nashville concert and performed at the Knoxville concert.

A Musical History has received funding for our performances from Metro Nashville Arts Commission THRIVE and Humanities Tennessee.

“Shelby Bottom Duo: Entertaining, irreverent social commentary, humanity and humor.” Bill Friskics-Warren, correspondent for the New York Times

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Commemorations

Utah Phillips’ rail car to be restored

by Ron Kaminkow, Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture

Last Fall, I spoke with Duncan Phillips – the eldest son of the late folk musician and fellow Wobbly Bruce “Utah” Phillips – who I have known since April 2008, when his Dad’s health was in an irreversible state of decline. Duncan had some interesting news. It turns out that the old caboose-like rail car known as a flanger,” once owned and rehabilitated by Utah nearly 50 years ago in Vermont, had been put up for sale. We both agreed that we must do whatever it takes to acquire the car, that it should serve as the Bruce “Utah” Phillips Library, and that it should be trucked across the country to the place where Utah would have wished it –  the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture in Weed, CA.
So, the great news since then is that Duncan has set up a tax-exempt non-profit 501c3 called The Long Memory, and he was able to obtain the rail car! Now we need to raise roughly $25,000 to prepare the car for the move, build a track pad and other onsite infrastructure, rent the cranes to lift/drop it and the semi-trailers to haul it, and then restore it upon arrival to its condition in the early 1970s when Utah first lived in it.  Check out the comprehensive website that Duncan has put together, a virtual treasure trove of information, not just about the caboose/flanger and its history, but about Utah Phillips –  his life, music, ideas, recordings, wisdom, poetry, writings, radio shows, and more. Take your time, there is a lot to see, listen to and think about.
I hope you are as inspired as I am about this project. If you are, please consider the following:
1 — Make a donation – no matter how small – to help us bring this project to fruition. You can do that HERE.
2 — Post a Blog entry on the Long Memory website, and share any stories, thoughts, and/or reminiscences that you may have about Utah Phillips. You can do that HERE.
3 — (Musicians) Give a verbal plug from the stage for the project (and possibly pass out flyers) at your upcoming shows throughout this year.
4 — (Musicians) Play a benefit concert in the coming months to help us raise the necessary funds for the transport and rehab of the rail car and to raise awareness of the project.
5 — Join us at the ceremony and celebration this summer at the Bruce “Utah” Phillips Library on the grounds of the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture in Weed, California at the foot of Mount Shasta (tentatively planned for late summer 2017).
6 — (Musicians) Perform on-stage on the grounds of the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture at the ceremony/celebration.
7 — Forward this email to fellow musicians, union activists, Wobblies, historians, and supporters of the arts who might be interested in this endeavor.
For further information see the website and/or fundraiser. Your support, advice and encouragement is much appreciated!
Categories
Commemorations Concert tour Joe Hill songs

Support Joe Hill CD/Tour

Nashville-based Shelby Bottom Duo (Michael August and Nell Levin)  have launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $5,000 to fund their Musical History of Joe Hill and the Early Labor Movement Tour and a companion CD of Joe Hill songs.

The project includes live performances of Joe Hill songs recorded on the CD along with a talk about Hill’s life, early labor struggles and the influence of the IWW’s innovative organizing strategies on movements today. Their goal is to share this vital slice of labor history with a wide range people so that we can all better understand why the revolutionary creativity exemplified by Joe Hill and the Wobblies is still relevant.

To support the project, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/shelbybottomduo