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Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please

Stower 19 Apr 16 - 07:08 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 16 - 08:35 AM
Stower 19 Apr 16 - 11:48 AM
Stower 19 Apr 16 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 16 - 12:03 PM
Jack Campin 19 Apr 16 - 12:26 PM
Stower 19 Apr 16 - 05:56 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 16 - 04:53 AM
Stower 22 Apr 16 - 04:04 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 16 - 05:22 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Stower
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 07:08 AM

I've been booked for a gig to sing Edwardian folk songs, that's British traditional songs from 1901-1910. That's a thrilling challenge. I'll be focussing on Sharp's and others' collecting of songs and morris dances from that era and playing examples. Since this was also the era of the great struggle for women's suffrage, I'd really like to sing a song - a broadside? music hall? - that reflects that, but I'm drawing a blank. I'd prefer a pro-suffrage song, but I'm assuming if there's an anti-suffrage song it will patently undo itself in the singing and therefore still be worth performing. I'd be very grateful if anyone can point me in the right direction.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 08:35 AM

Don't know if this is what you're looking for Stower.
Can let you have a tune if you PM me
There may be a couple more where this came from in @My Song Is My Own   100 women's Songs Kathie Henderson, Frankie Armstrong and Sandra Kerr
Jim Carroll

It's Women This and Women That

We went up to Saint Stephen's with petitions year by year;
'Get out! ' the politicians cried, 'We want no women here! '
M. P. S behind the railings stood and laughed to see the fun,
And bold policemen knocked us down, because we would not run.

For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman, go away! '
But it's 'Share and share alike, ma'am! ' when the taxes are to pay;
When the taxes are to pay, my friends, the taxes are to pay,
O it's 'Please to pay up promptly! ' when the taxes are to pay.

We went before a magistrate, who would not hear us speak,
To a drunken brute who beat his wife he only gave a week,
But we were sent to Holloway a calendar month or more
Because we dared, against his will, to knock at Asquith's door.

For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman, wait outside! '
But it's 'Listen to the ladies! ' when it suits your party's side;
When it suits your party's side, my friends, with M. P. s on the stump
And shaking in their shoes at how the cat is going to jump!

When women go to work for them the government engage
To give them lots of contract jobs at a low starvation wage,
But when it's men that they employ they always add a note —
'Fair wages must be paid' — because the men have got the vote.

For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman, leam your place! '
But it's 'Help us, of your charity! ' when trouble looms apace;
When trouble comes apace, my friends, when trouble comes apace,
Then it's 'O, for woman's charity! ' to help and save the race!

You dress yourselves in uniforms to guard your native shores,
But those who make the uniforms do work as good as yours;
For the soldier bears the rifle, but the woman bears the race —
And that you'd find no trifle if you had to take her place!

0 it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and 'Woman cannot fight! '
But it's 'Ministering Angel! ' when the wounded come in sight;
When the wounded come in sight, my friends, the wounded come in sight,
It's a 'ministering angel' then who nurses day and night!

We may not be quite angels, - had we been we should have flown!
We are only human beings who have wants much like your own,
And if sometimes our conduct isn't all your fancy paints,
It wasn't man's example could have turned us into saints.

For it's 'woman here', and 'woman there', and 'Woman on the streets!
And it's how they look at women with most men that one
With most men that one meets, my friends, with most men that one meets
It's the way they look at women that keeps women on the streets.

You talk of sanitation, and temperance, and schools,
And you send your male inspectors to impose your man-made rules,
'The woman's sphere's the home, ' you say, then prove it to our face.
' Give us the vote that we may make the home a happier place.

For it's 'woman this', and 'woman that', and Woman, say your say!
Rut it's 'What's the woman up to? ' when she tries to show the way;
When she tries to show the way, my friends, when she tries to show the way
And the woman means to show it — that is why she s out today.

Most of the\many songs to come out of the campaign for the vote were hallmarked with religious and middle class origins. Set to hymn tunes and heavily literary in style, they were markedly different from the strike and other songs in this collection and are not easy to sing today.
C. 1916. This 'echo of a barrack room ballad, with acknowledgements to Mr Rudyard Kipling', by Laurence Housman, is one of the 'lightest', perhaps because of its third-hand ballad
origins. Many thanks to the Fawcett Library for their help in tracing the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Stower
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 11:48 AM

Jim, that's perfect! The author, Laurence Houseman, father of A. E. Houseman, was from Bromsgrove, not far from where I'll be singing, so even better. This site suggests the tune is the traditional Irish Little Beggar Man. Is that the tune you have? :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Stower
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 11:56 AM

Yes, it's come to me now: the Little Beggar Man tune, but possibly better known as the tune to Roving Journeyman.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 12:03 PM

It certainly fits the words
I only have the printed tune in a book - musically illiterate, I'm afraid.
Happy to scan the pages and e.mail them to you if you PM me an E-mail address.
There are also a few squibs from the lady Chainmakers strike of 1909 and an interesting song from -the 1910 womens' strike at the Idris soft drinks factory (to the tune of 'All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor) if they're of any use to you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 12:26 PM

Quite a few American numbers at the Lester Levy site.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Stower
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 05:56 PM

Thanks, Jim, that very generous. I've sent you a PM.

Thanks, Jack. Since this is an Edwardian event, I'm looking for specifically British songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 16 - 04:53 AM

A few more bits from the period
Jim Carroll

Strike, Strike, Strike
Tune John Brown's Body
At the beginning of this century chainmaking was one of the worst sweated trades and, as in others, women predominated. Largely homeworkers, they struck out the chains in forges in their backyards for up to 14 hours a day for five or six shillings a week, their babies slung in cradles above the hearths. But though their situation eventually stirred the conscience of the liberal establishment, the protective legislation, when it came, was just a token gesture until these women showed their strength.
In 1909 the Trades Boards Act fixed minimum wages in four sweated trades: chainmaking was the first, the new rate constituting a 100 per cent rise for many workers. The employers, however, were allowed six months' grace and quickly took advantage of it to stockpile goods at the old rate. With the backing of the National Federation of Women Workers and the Chainmakers and Strikers' Association the women refused to work for less than the new minimum and, despite their domestic burdens, their previous lack of organisation and their isolation as homeworkers, they came out on strike, marching through the streets and singing. These are two of their songs. Within two to three months all the employers had conceded.

The Lady chainmakers have gone on strike
The Gaffers think they can pay what they like
They work 'em so hard by night and day
And for it they get such terrible pay

Stnike! Strike! Strike! a blow for freedom every time,
Cast your chains away from you upon the ground;
Strike! Strike! Strike! a blow for freedom every time,
As you go marching round.

Now come along and join the union,
Don't let us have to ask you twice:
Come along and join the union,
All fighting for our price.

Tune Yankee Doodle
The chain masters came along
With their fine agreement
They asked us all to sign our names
For taking lower payment.

Then the union came along
Said 'Do you want your price, 0?'
We said, 'We do!' — They didn't have
To ask the question twice, O.

The Idris Strike Song
In 1910, women at the Idris soft drinks factory, organised by The Federation of Women Workers, successfully resisted two attempted wage cuts. So the following year, the management tried instead to make them 'pay' for the improved sanitary conditions the union had forced them to install, and when the Federation succeeded in resisting that too, sacked their leader, Mrs Lowin, a widow with two children and 14 years with the company, for being three minutes late.
The women struck in solidarity. They picketed the works singing this song to the tune, Every Nice Girl Loves a Sailor.
The management went to great lengths to bring in men and boys to do the women's jobs and eventually succeeded in breaking the strike.


Have you been to work at Idris?
No, we won't go in to-day —
For we're standing by a comrade,
And we'll never run away;
She stood bravely by the Union,
And she spoke up for us true,
And, if she gets the sack, no we
never shall go back,
Whate'er they do, whate'er they do.

Now you girls who do the labelling,
And you girls in ginger beer
When you see us stick together.
Don't you feel a little queer,
Don't you think it would be braver
To join nobly in the fray,
So that we all may stand, right firmly hand in hand
For our rights and our pay?

Now, you boys who're washing bottles,
It really is a shame,
To take the place of women,
Don't you think you are to blame?
Come with us and join the Union,
Never heed what Idris say.
We are out to right the wrong, and now we shan't be long,
Hip hurray! Hip hurray!

Master Willie! Master Willie!
You must give in once again,
It was wrong to sack a woman
With two children to maintain;
Thirteen years she's faithful served you,
Though she was three minutes late;
But our little sister Anne, why she never checked the man
At the gate. At the gate.

Oh you great king in the palace,
And you statesmen at the top,
When you're drinking soda water,
Or imbibing ginger pop,
Think of some who work at Idris
For very little pay;
And who only get 9 bob for a most unpleasant job,
A lack a day! A lack a day!

Now then girls all join the Union.
Whatever you may be:
In pickles, jam, or chocolate,
Or packing pounds of tea.
For we all want better wages,
And this is what we say —
We're out to right the wrong, and now we shan't be long,
Hip hurray! Hip hurray!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Stower
Date: 22 Apr 16 - 04:04 AM

That's great - thanks, Jim. Are both the songs above anonymous, or does the book mention authors?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Edwardian suffrage songs, please
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 16 - 05:22 AM

Both anonymous
I seem to remember there's a song about the Bryant and May matchworker's strike (the first industrial action by women), but I don't think we have it here
will check later.


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