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The Joe Stalin Blues (Pete Seeger)

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Stringsinger 02 Sep 07 - 01:14 PM
alanabit 02 Sep 07 - 11:37 PM
Folk Form # 1 03 Sep 07 - 07:00 AM
Wolfgang 03 Sep 07 - 08:07 AM
dick greenhaus 03 Sep 07 - 11:15 AM
Charley Noble 03 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 07 - 06:06 PM
Joe_F 03 Sep 07 - 08:28 PM
Janice in NJ 04 Sep 07 - 09:35 AM
Stringsinger 04 Sep 07 - 11:08 AM
Thomas Stern 27 Apr 14 - 08:00 PM
Joe Offer 27 Apr 14 - 08:51 PM
Young Buchan 28 Apr 14 - 06:29 PM
keberoxu 17 Apr 16 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 27 Mar 17 - 01:36 PM
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Subject: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Sep 07 - 01:14 PM

(from Sunday's Chicago Tribune):

Seeger protests Stalin --better late than never

ALBANY, N.Y. - Pete Seeger has the Joe Stalin blues.

Decades after drifting away from the Communist Party, the 88-year-old banjo-picker has written a song about the Soviet leader that's as scathing as any tune in the folk legend's long career.

"I'm singing about old Joe, cruel Joe. He ruled with an iron hand. He put an end to the dreams of so many in every land," Seeger wrote in "The Big Joe Blues."

Seeger said he left the Communist Party around 1950 and apologized years ago for not recognizing that Josef Stalin was a "very cruel misleader." But he told The Associated Press on Friday that the song he finally finished this year is a first for him, despite three visits to the Soviet Union beginning in the '60s.

"It's the first overt song about the Soviet Union," Seeger said during a phone interview from his Hudson Valley home in Beacon. "I think I should have though, when I was in the Soviet Union -- I should have asked, 'Can I see one of the old gulags?'"

Seeger calls it a yodeling blues song and said it's the sort of song his old buddy Woody Guthrie might have written in the '50s.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: alanabit
Date: 02 Sep 07 - 11:37 PM

Yes, a lot of good people were fooled by Stalin at the time. However, most of them, like Pete Seeger, told the truth when they realised what he was.
I fear we may have to wait a good bit longer for the Pinochet apologists to appreciate that the guy did have his flaws...
There seems to be someting about the word "communist", which puts you beyond redemption. I suspect Pete Seeger has enough sense of humour not to be bothered too much by this.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Folk Form # 1
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 07:00 AM

Didn't Ewan Maccoll (I know I've probably mis-spelt his name) write a song called The Ballad of Joe Stalin in the 50s? Knowing Maccoll, it was probably less critical than Seeger's song.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 08:07 AM

Ballad of Stalin (MacColl)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 11:15 AM

Finally! an answer to "When will they ever learn?"


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM

Be nice to see the rest of the lyrics.

Charley Noble


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Subject: ADD: The Joe Stalin Blues (Pete Seeger)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 06:06 PM

JOE STALIN BLUES
(Pete Seeger, 2007)

I'm singing about old Joe, cruel Joe,
He ruled with an iron hand
He put an end to the dreams
Of so many in every land
He had a chance to make
A brand new start for the human race
Instead he set it back
Right in the same nasty place
I got the Big Joe Blues
(Keep your mouth shut or you will die fast)
I got the Big Joe Blues
(Do this job, no questions asked)
I got the Big Joe Blues.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 08:28 PM

Penguin Egg: Yes, Ewan MacColl did write a song in praise of Stalin, "The Ballad of Stalin". Peggy Seeger included it, with due apologies, as an appendix to _The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook_. The copyright date is 1992, but he seems to have written it in 1956, after Stalin's death but before Khrushchev's denunciation.

John Manifold, the Australian Communist poet to whom we are indebted for "The Griesly Bride" and "The Bunyip and the Whistling Kettle", wrote a treacly elegy at about the same time.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 09:35 AM

If you read the entire article in the August 31 issue of The New York Sun by historian (and Friends of Old-Time Music founder) Ron Radosh, you will discover that Pete Seeger wrote The Big Joe Blues in 1982. The condensation in The Chicago Tribune is old news. As other people have pointed out, what Seeger said to Radosh is substantially the same as what he wrote in the first edition of Where Have All the Flowers Gone? in 1993: "At any rate, today I'll apologize for a number of things, such as thinking that Stalin was simply a 'hard driver' and not a supremely cruel misleader."

That being said, Radosh is the latest in a group of critics who have raised an important issue. That is, why do so many biographers, journalists, filmmakers, and historians tread so lightly (if at all) when dealing with subjects who have a Communist Party past? Not all of the critics who have raised this issue have been on the political right. Some have been independent socialists, Trotskyists, or anarchists. Others have simply been people of all political leanings who feel the issue is important enough to deal with squarely.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Stringsinger
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 11:08 AM

"Uncle Joe" even fooled FDR. Man, the naievete of the Left folkies in those days was amazing!

I always had doubts about Stalin and never praised him even if I didn't know what was really going on. I don't like militarists of any stripe whether they emerge as monsters like Stalin or not. I go with Smedley Butler.

I think that biographers, journalists, filmakers and historians who are sympathetic to Progressive ideas are afraid of the Rethuglicans making hay out of the excesses of the Political Left which apparently they have done successfully.

That said, there is no Centrist position. It's a myth.

"They say in Harlan County, all centrists are in flight.
You'll either be in the Union
Or a thug for the political Right."

Which side are you on?

Frank


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 08:00 PM

Tuesday, October 09, 2007
An open letter to Pete Seeger: About your Stalin song
by Karl Dallas

http://folknews.blogspot.com/2007/10/open-letter-to-pete-seeger-about-your.html


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 08:51 PM

I got this article from the Washington Post, but I guess I have to admit it probably caught more attention on the Fox News Website.

Pete Seeger Sings Out Against Stalin
By MICHAEL HILL
The Associated Press
Friday, August 31, 2007; 3:26 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Pete Seeger has the Joe Stalin blues.

Decades after drifting away from the Communist Party, the 88-year-old banjo-picker has written a song about the Soviet leader that's as scathing as any tune in the folk legend's long career.

"I'm singing about old Joe, cruel Joe. He ruled with an iron hand. He put an end to the dreams of so many in every land," Seeger wrote in "The Big Joe Blues."

Seeger said he left the Communist Party around 1950 and apologized years ago for not recognizing that Josef Stalin was a "very cruel misleader." But he told The Associated Press on Friday that the song he finally finished this year is a first for him, despite three visits to the Soviet Union beginning in the '60s.

"It's the first overt song about the Soviet Union," Seeger said during a phone interview from his Hudson Valley home in Beacon. "I think I should have though, when I was in the Soviet Union - I should have asked, `Can I see one of the old gulags?'"

Seeger calls it a yodeling blues song, and sings the chorus so it sounds like "I got the Big Joe Bloo-ew-ew-ews!" He said it's the sort of song his old buddy Woody Guthrie might have written in the '50s.

The song's existence also touches on a sensitive political issue: the view by critics on the right that the left recognized Stalin's tyranny only belatedly. Partial lyrics were cited Friday by author Ron Radosh in a New York Sun column.

Radosh, an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, accused Seeger in the newspaper two months ago of failing to criticize the communist regimes he once backed.

Radosh took banjo lessons from Seeger in the '50s - two dollars for three hours - though Radosh took a very different political path from his childhood hero.

In a follow-up column Friday, Radosh said he was tickled to receive a warm letter last week from his old idol with a copy of the song attached. He provided a copy of the song to the AP on Friday, and said he still admires Seeger.

"I think he is a man of principle," Radosh said. "He's often wrong."

Seeger said he hopes to publish the song in the folk magazine "Sing Out." Though Seeger's voice has been reduced to a throaty croak, he said he has performed the song for friends.

Seeger is still politically active, concerned about the fate of humanity - and puckish. He agreed to answer questions on the phone from an AP reporter only if the story included lines from a song he wrote after the Sept. 11 attacks about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It goes like this: "Don't say it can't be done, the battle's just begun, take it from Dr. King, you too can learn to sing. So drop the gun!"

"I get the whole crowd singing on it," Seeger said. "I've never failed to get an audience singing, whether they're 8 years old or 80 years old."

As far as I can tell, the lyrics posted by McGrath of Harlow above, are the entire song.


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues
From: Young Buchan
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 06:29 PM

'Yes, Ewan MacColl did write a song in praise of Stalin, "The Ballad of Stalin".'

He is also sometimes attributed (whether accurately or not, I don't know) with the song that begins:

Hitler's a non-smoker and Churchill smokes cigars;
They're both as keen as mustard on imperialistic wars.
But Uncle Joe's a worker and a very decent chap;
He even smokes a pipe and wears a taxi-drivers cap.

The German drive on Stalingrad is ging mighty slow;
They've got a room in no. 9 of Slobaskaya Row.
Hitler makes the blunders and his generals take the rap;
But Joe just smokes his pipe and wears his taxi-driver's cap.

It would be difficult today to say which is less PC - the attitude to Stalin or the attitude to pipe smoking.



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Subject: RE: The Big Joe Blues (Pete Seeger)
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Apr 16 - 03:14 PM

I wonder if this has been actually published as a song. If it has, I fail to locate it in my search just now.

The lyrics turn up in news-media articles online (which is where I first saw them, in 2007). There is a website called unionsongs which lists the words. Does this thing have a tune?


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Subject: RE: The Joe Stalin Blues (Pete Seeger)
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 27 Mar 17 - 01:36 PM

Never mind whether or not the lyric has a tune.

What bothers me today, is this:

Stalin was Uncle Joe to FDR, I guess to Truman as well.

Today, it is more like Cousin Vladimir, according to US President Trump.

Wonder if people will be writing songs about Putin one day?


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