Categories
Joe Hill songs

There Is Power In A Union

Tune: “There Is Power in the Blood”
First published in the March 1913 edition of the IWW’s Little Red Songbook.

Would you have freedom from wage slavery,
Then join in the grand Industrial band;
Would you from mis’ry and hunger be free,
Then come! Do your share, like a man.

CHORUS:
There is pow’r, there is pow’r
In a band of workingmen.
When they stand hand in hand,
That’s a pow’r, that’s a pow’r
That must rule in every land —
One Industrial Union Grand.

Would you have mansions of gold in the sky,
And live in a shack, way in the back?
Would you have wings up in heaven to fly,
And starve here with rags on your back?

If you’ve had “nuff” of “the blood of the lamb,”
Then join in the grand Industrial band;
If, for a change, you would have eggs and ham.
Then come! Do your share, like a man.

If you like sluggers to beat off your head,
Then don’t organize, all unions despise,
If you want nothing before you are dead,
Shake hands with your boss and look wise.

Come, all ye workers, from every land,
Come join in the grand Industrial band.
Then we our share of this earth shall demand.
Come on! Do your share, like a man.

Listen to performances by: U. Utah Phillips, Joe Glaser. Billy Bragg reworked the song as Power in a UnionFor sheet music and karaoke file click here.

Categories
Joe Hill songs

Casey Jones — The Union Scab

Tune: “Casey Jones”
First published in the 1912 edition of the IWW’s Little Red Songbook.

The Workers on the S. P. line to strike sent out a call;
But Casey Jones, the engineer, he wouldn’t strike at all;
His boiler it was leaking, and its drivers on the bum,
And his engine and its bearings, they were all out of plumb.

Casey Jones kept his junk pile running;
Casey Jones was working double time;
Casey Jones got a wooden medal,
For being good and faithful on the S. P. line.

The workers said to Casey: “Won’t you help us win this strike?”
But Casey said: “Let me alone, you’d better take a hike.”
Then some one put a bunch of railroad ties across the track,
And Casey hit the river bottom with an awful crack.

Casey Jones hit the river bottom;
Casey Jones broke his blessed spine;
Casey Jones was an Angelino,
He took a trip to heaven on the S. P. line.

When Casey Jones got up to heaven, to the Pearly Gate, He said: “I’m Casey Jones, the guy that pulled the S. P. freight.”
“You’re just the man,” said Peter, “our musicians went on strike;
You can get a job a’scabbing any time you like.”

Casey Jones got up to heaven;
Casey Jones was doing mighty fine;
Casey Jones went scabbing on the angels,
Just like he did to workers of the S. P. line.

They got together, and they said it wasn’t fair,
For Casey Jones to go around a’scabbing everywhere.
The Angels’ Union No. 23, they sure were there,
And they promptly fired Casey down the Golden Stairs.

Casey Jones went to Hell a’flying;
“Casey Jones,” the Devil said, “Oh fine:
Casey Jones, get busy shovelling sulphur;
That’s what you get for scabbing on the S. P. Line.”

See performances by: Mark RossBucky Halker, Haywire Mac McClintock;  in Swedish by Anders Wesslen. J.P. Wright remade the song to reflect continued union scabbing on the railroads. For sheet music and karaoke file click here.