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Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?

DigiTrad:
FREIHEIT
HANS BEIMLER
LA QUINCE BRIGADA
LOS CUATROS GENERALES
SI ME QUIERES ESCRIBIR
VENGA JALEO
VIVA LA QUINCE BRIGADA


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GeoffLawes 14 Dec 10 - 03:24 PM
GeoffLawes 15 Dec 10 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Robert Meeropol 19 Dec 10 - 10:36 AM
dick greenhaus 19 Dec 10 - 12:43 PM
GeoffLawes 20 Dec 10 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 20 Dec 10 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 20 Dec 10 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 20 Dec 10 - 05:18 PM
GeoffLawes 20 Dec 10 - 08:32 PM
GeoffLawes 21 Dec 10 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 21 Dec 10 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 21 Dec 10 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 21 Dec 10 - 03:28 PM
GeoffLawes 21 Dec 10 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,Peter Glazer 22 Dec 10 - 03:54 PM
GeoffLawes 22 Dec 10 - 06:00 PM
GUEST 27 Dec 10 - 02:38 PM
GeoffLawes 30 Dec 10 - 06:00 AM
GeoffLawes 13 Mar 11 - 07:46 PM
GeoffLawes 13 Mar 11 - 07:52 PM
Joe Offer 18 Oct 13 - 09:33 PM
GeoffLawes 20 Oct 13 - 07:55 AM
GeoffLawes 11 Nov 13 - 12:16 PM
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Subject: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 03:24 PM

Can anyone help me sort out the origins and provenance of the song Beloved Comrade. It has words written by Lewis Allen (aka Abel Meeropol) and music by Fred Katz and it was written in the early 1940's or possibly the late 1930's. I discovered it on Songs for Political Action where it is sung by Josh White. The tracklist HERE gives a date for the recording as c 1945

I want to know if Lewis Allen wrote the song specifically with the Spanish Civil War in mind or whether it is a more general lament for a lost comrade. Lewis Allen was the left wing songwriter from New York best known for writing Strange Fruit a song made famous by Billie Holiday. The song Beloved Comrade has certainly been interpreted as a Spanish Civil War song by many and appears on several Spanish Civil War albums such as George and Ruth- Songs and Letters of the Spanish Civil War where it is track 53 and where you can hear a sound clip. It is also a track on Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Michael Smith and Jamie O'Neil.Does anyone have either of these recordings and if so do the liner notes say when the song was written or anything else about the song?

The full song can be heard as a Youtube video sound track with clips from Ken Loach's Land and Freedom here JOSH WHITE sings Beloved Comrade on YouTube

Paul Robeson quoted a verse of Beloved Comrade in his much-condemned eulogy at the death of Joseph Stalin and I wonder if Robeson ever sang or recorded the song. Full Text of Eulogy to Stalin

Regards, Geoff


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 05:51 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Robert Meeropol
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 10:36 AM

Dear Geoff,

I am the son of Abel Meeropol, who wrote under the name of Lewis Allan (not Allen). For many years I thought of Beloved Comrade as a Spanish Civil War song. It was actually written in response to the death of Franklin Roosevelt!   However, I believe Abel was delighted to have it serve as a tribute to fallen Abraham Lincoln brigade soldiers.

Robert Meeropol


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 12:43 PM

Odd-
FDR died in 1945. The Josh White recording is dated 1944.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 09:36 AM

Hi Robert Meeropol, thank you for your post and I am sorry about the spelling mistake. As Dick says Josh White's recording of the song pre-dates the death of Roosevelt.

I have found this in the album notes of the CD Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 recorded by Jamie O'Reilly and Michael Smith.

Song: 'Beloved Comrade' (performed with a poem by Ernest Hemingway)
Words: Lewis Allan Music: Fred Katz. Written in 1936 for those killed in Spain, frequently sung in memory of President Roosevelt. Josh White was asked to sing this song for President Roosevelt. Tom, the father of director Peter Glazer, was the first to perform this song in public.


Peter Glazer does not mention Beloved Comrade or Robert Meeropol in his book Radical Nostalgia, which is a curious omission if the CD note is correct since the book (just re-issued in paperback)is essentially about the commemoration of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 05:10 PM

The recording of Beloved Comrade on the CD Pasiones -- which was originally a musical revue I directed and consulted on research for in Chicago - is available through Amazon, downloadable, etc. You can order the CD from CD Baby. Here are notes from the song from the CD Baby Website: "Words: Lewis Allan Music: Fred Katz. Written in 1936 for those killed in Spain, frequently sung in memory of President Roosevelt. Josh White was asked to sing this song for President Roosevelt. Tom, the father of director Peter Glazer, was the first to perform this song in public." I may have sheet music somewhere. It was included on another album recorded by American volunteer Max Parker called "Al Tocar Diana," available through Smithsonian Folkways, where I notice you can download the song. I didn't include it in my book only because I focused on the songs Seeger, my father and Butch and Bess Hawes recorded, and the German recording "Six Songs For Democracy," though it is a powerful song for sure.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 05:14 PM

So having read Robert Meeropol's helpful comment just now, I'm sure he's right though given its placement on Max Parker's album, it certainly became affiliated with the Spanish Civil War. It's been sung at many commemorative events of the Lincoln Vets over the last 30 years.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 05:18 PM

So it is published in the People's Song Book, which is where i saw the sheet music. I have it and can provide more information if needed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 08:32 PM

Hi PETER, thank you very much for taking the time to help sort this out. It now seems pretty certain that Beloved Comrade was written in 1945 as Robert Meeropol says above and that the 1944 date of the Josh White recording as given on Youtube is a mistake. The date given for that recording in the Songs for Political Action tracklist, to which I gave a link in my initial post, is c 1945.

I have just managed to read Abel Meeropol (a.k.a. Lewis Allan): Political Commentator and Social Conscience by Nancy Kovaleff Baker, American Music, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Spring, 2002), pp. 25-79, Published by: University of Illinois Press.

It is a long article about Abel Meeropol and his songs. There is only one reference to the song Beloved Comrade in this article and it is found in endnote 67. This is an endnote to Nancy Kovaleff Baker's discussion of another Meeropol song The House I Live In where she says:

The society described was, as the original lyrics state, "a promise for tomorrow," when we will realize the potential of American democracy. Meeropol believed that Roosevelt could realize that promise and wrote several songs praising his friendly personality and political stance.67


And the endnote says:

67. Meeropol (Allan) contributed the lyrics and Earl Robinson wrote the music to "Toward the Sun," the theme song of the documentary The Roosevelt Story, produced by Tola Productions, Inc., in 1947; he wrote the words to the songs "The Man with a Cigarette," music by Jay Gorney (1945); "That Man in the White House," music by Earl Robinson (n.d.); and "Beloved Comrade," music by Fred Katz (New York: Leeds Music Corp., 1945). Music manuscripts and sheet music in The Meeropol Collection.


Nancy Kovaleff Baker has examined the material in the The Meeropol Collection, in the Department of Special Collections at Boston University and therefore the (New York:Leeds Music Cor., 1945) reference which she gives is certain to be correct, I think.

PETER, does the People's Songbook have any more Spanish Civil War Songs in English which are not in the list in the Mudcat perma- thread HERE? And is the Pasiones album note correct in saying that your father was the first to perform Beloved Comrade?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BELOVED COMRADE (from Josh White)
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 08:57 AM

I have transcribed the lyrics in full from the Josh White recording.


BELOVED COMRADE

To you, beloved comrade, we make this solemn vow,
The fight will go on - the fight will still go on.

Like you, beloved comrade,we pledge our bodies now,
The fight will go on - the fight will still go on.

CHORUS
Rest, here in the earth, your work is done,
You'll find new birth, when we have won.
When we have won.


Sleep well, beloved comrade, the fight was just beginning.
The fight will go on - till we win - until we win.

Rest here in the earth, your work is done,
You'll find new birth , when we have won,
When we have won.


Sleep well......


1, Have I got it down right? I am not sure of line 2 in verse 3 becuase it varies from what is quoted by Paul Robeson in his tribute to Stalin ( Link given above)

To you Beloved Comrade, we make this solemn vow
The fight will go on - the fight will still go on.

Sleep well, Beloved Comrade, our work will just begin.
The fight will go on - till we win - until we win.


Were there variant forms of the song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 02:36 PM

Not sure about variants, though it was certainly typical of politically inflected songs of his era being adapted somewhat to suit certain situations. There are about 4 versions of "Jarama Valley," for example. My father told me he was very close to the song when he heard the recording of Pasiones, and did say at one point that he was the first to sing it, but i don't think he ever recorded it, and I have no other evidence that he was the first singer except for his anecdote. (He was certainly captivated by FDR and his policies, and had sung at the White House for the staff there - the workers, not the political people - with the Priority Ramblers at Eleanor's invitation.) Place a song like that in a specific context, as it was in Pasiones, and it immediately speaks to the loss of a comrade in Spain, and for some who knew it in connection to FDR, it might have carried traces of both losses. I do find the line "The fight will go on 'til we win" very resonant with the Spanish conflict and the anti-fascist struggle, whether the song was written to that purpose or not.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:16 PM

Note the following in Josh White's wikipedia page.

"Meanwhile, White's recordings of "Beloved Comrade" (the President's favorite song), "Freedom Road", "Free and Equal Blues", and "House I Live In (What is America to Me)", were great songs of inspiration to the Roosevelts and the country during World War II.[citation needed]"

This may be inaccurate as well, and as the page says, it lacks citational evidence, but I do love it when things get complicated. Josh White Jr, may be a useful resource in finding more information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 03:28 PM

Okay I really have to get to other work but this is so fascinating. I refer you all to the liner notes from one of Josh's recordings for Smithsonian folkways and the detailed description of the provenance of "Beloved Comrade." The Smithsonian folks make every effort at accuracy in their notes.

http://www.folkways.si.edu/TrackDetails.aspx?itemid=34999

To quote from the opening lines of the liner note for this song:

"This is dedicated to the late President. It was a favorite of his," Josh says in his introduction to an incomplete take of this song . . . Josh had performed the song more than a year earlier in Langston Hughes BBC radio play "The Man Who Went to War, which also featured Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry."

The plot thickens.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 21 Dec 10 - 08:13 PM

PETER that was a great piece of detective work.I have made a clickable link directly to the Smithsonian liner notes pdf HERE http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/smithsonian_folkways/SFW40081.pdf

I have also tried to find references to The Man Who Went To War on the net. Here are the most useful:

This site   http://research.culturalequity.org/home-radio.jsp
quotes bits of this book
Prospero and Ariel: The Rise and Fall of Radio (London: Victor Golancz, 1971 by Bridson ) and says

"In 1944, Bridson conceived of a series of ballad operas with folk music, "much in the eighteenth-century tradition of John Gay and Henry Carey," as a way to promote cultural and interracial friendship between the peoples of Britain and the United States. They were broadcast by the BBC Home Service (union disputes prevented their being heard stateside). The first of these, The Man Who Went to War, was written by Langston Hughes and starred Canada Lee, Paul Robeson, and Ethel Waters. Alan Lomax helped select the music. Bridson described this as one of the most popular programs he ever had on the air, "being heard by millions on its first broadcast alone" (Bridson, 1971, p. 111). Sadly, the glass masters for the program were accidentally broken before they could be preserved on tape."

This sitehttp://www.elijahwald.com/joshprotest.html is written by the man who wrote the liner notes for the Smithsonian record and discusses the play in the context of segregation in the US armed forces during WW2, which suggests that the song was about soldiers in WW2 not the SCW.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST,Peter Glazer
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 03:54 PM

So now I wonder in what context Hughes heard the song. Here's something from Rampersand's autobiography of Hughes, see Google Books, this link, page 82. It says he did the first draft in NYC in 1944, the same year the song was written. Here's the link.

http://books.google.com/books?id=WyC5910u1b4C


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 06:00 PM

I couldn't get that link to work Peter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 02:38 PM

Jamie O'Reilly here - who sang Beloved Comrade on the
1997 Pasiones recording to which Peter and you folks refer.
I am glad to see this history relayed about this powerful song.
Robert, it is always an honor to sing this ballad your father co-wrote, and I never take it lightly. It has been my choice of song
when we said good bye to the Veterans of the SCW here in Chicago, as they now "rest in the earth," their work now done. (Our Pasiones CDs aren't on Amazon anymore, though. You can order them from CD Baby.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 30 Dec 10 - 06:00 AM

Another Mudcat thread with information about Abel Meeropol


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 13 Mar 11 - 07:46 PM

This is the Fred Katz Official Website


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 13 Mar 11 - 07:52 PM

And this is interesting about Fred Katz


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Subject: ADD: Beloved Comrade (Allan/Katz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 09:33 PM

Here's the entry from the Peoples Songs Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 12, January 1947, page 9.

BELOVED COMRADE
(Words by Lewis Allan, music by Fred Katz)


To you, beloved comrade, we make this solemn vow,
The fight will go on, the fight will still go on;
Like you, beloved comrade,we pledge our bodies now -
The fight will go on, the fight will still go on!

CHORUS
Rest here in the earth, your work is done,
You'll find new birth when we have won, when we have won;
Sleep well, beloved comrade, our work will just begin,
The fight will go on till we win, until we win.


Copyright, 1945, by the Leeds Music Corporation

Notes: There have been many requests for this song, written in 1936 in memory of the brave anti-fascists who fell in Spain. Josh White and other singers have made it well-known. However, it has come to stand for all men who have fought for freedom, and before President Roosevelt's death became one of his favorite songs.

Click to play (joeweb)



Identical lyrics appear on page 40 of the People's Song Book, published by Boni and Gaer in 1948 and reprinted in 1956 by People's Artists, Inc.

Here are the notes from the People's Song Book: Of the songs that Josh White sang for him, this was one of President Roosevelt's favorites. Though it was written in 1936 for the anti-fascists who were killed in Spain, it is frequently sung in memory of President Roosevelt.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 20 Oct 13 - 07:55 AM

Thank You Joe, I have added your information about Beloved Comrade to the big Mudcat thread on Spanish Civil War Songs Songs In English About The Spanish Civil War Mudcat Thread


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beloved Comrade: Spanish Civil War Song?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 11 Nov 13 - 12:16 PM

I have just discovered that the Video of the song to which I gave a link in my initial post above is no longer available on YouTube but here is a link to a video which is available with Josh White singing the song.
BELOVED COMRADE - Josh White


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