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Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?' (Reece)

DigiTrad:
JACKARO
JACKAROE
JACKIE FRAZIER (Jackie Monroe, Jack the Sailor)
WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Which Side Are You On -- topical lyrics (8)
(origins) Origins: Lay the Lily Low / Jack Munro (8)
Which Side Are You On? - Deacon Blue (3)
Jackaroe - English version? (10)
Lyr Req: Jackaro / Jackaroe / Jack Monroe / Munro (4)
(origins) Origin: Jack the Sailor / Jack Monroe / Jack-a-Roe (4)


JohnnyBGoode 26 Aug 02 - 07:57 PM
Janice in NJ 26 Aug 02 - 09:15 PM
GUEST 26 Aug 02 - 09:20 PM
masato sakurai 27 Aug 02 - 12:24 AM
Joe_F 27 Aug 02 - 06:58 PM
Mark Ross 27 Aug 02 - 09:47 PM
Joe_F 28 Aug 02 - 06:54 PM
JohnnyBGoode 28 Aug 02 - 07:44 PM
Bennet Zurofsky 28 Aug 02 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Pat Darlington 29 Aug 02 - 03:15 AM
Paddy Plastique 29 Aug 02 - 04:48 AM
Bennet Zurofsky 30 Aug 02 - 05:23 PM
musicmick 31 Aug 02 - 12:05 AM
masato sakurai 31 Aug 02 - 02:52 AM
masato sakurai 31 Aug 02 - 03:08 AM
Nigel Parsons 31 Aug 02 - 10:11 AM
Charley Noble 31 Aug 02 - 02:23 PM
Venthony 01 Sep 02 - 02:36 AM
Charley Noble 01 Sep 02 - 11:50 AM
masato sakurai 01 Sep 02 - 01:20 PM
masato sakurai 02 Sep 02 - 03:06 AM
masato sakurai 02 Sep 02 - 03:22 AM
masato sakurai 02 Sep 02 - 03:44 AM
Charley Noble 02 Sep 02 - 09:16 AM
Wolfgang 02 Sep 02 - 10:01 AM
masato sakurai 02 Sep 02 - 12:18 PM
masato sakurai 03 Sep 02 - 02:20 AM
masato sakurai 03 Sep 02 - 02:46 AM
sledge 17 Oct 03 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Rick Lee 13 Jun 08 - 10:41 AM
Effsee 13 Jun 08 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Tinker in Chicago 13 Jun 08 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,Michele Callaghan 13 Jun 08 - 04:50 PM
mark gregory 14 Jun 08 - 12:13 AM
masato sakurai 14 Jun 08 - 01:49 PM
Joe Offer 25 Nov 15 - 11:04 PM
Joe Offer 25 Nov 15 - 11:48 PM
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Subject: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 26 Aug 02 - 07:57 PM

Wondering about versions of "Which Side are You On?" by Florence Reese, especially it being adapted to various circumstances...


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 26 Aug 02 - 09:15 PM

Way down in Hinds County,
No neutrals have I met,
You either are a freedom man,
Or a Tom for Ross Barnett.


--- Mississippi, early 1960s

Ross Barnett was the state governor who, among other things, tried to halt the desegregation of Ole Miss. That incident inspired Bob Dylan's Oxford Town. Today Ross Barnett has a reservoir named after him.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Aug 02 - 09:20 PM

The Boston area folk-punk band The Dropkick Murphys did an excellent cover of "Which Side Are You On?" on their album "Sing Loud...Sing Proud".


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (James Farmer)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 27 Aug 02 - 12:24 AM

As a Civil Rights movement song (a stanza being quoted by Janice in NJ above) from Guy & Candie Carawan, Sing for Freedom (Sing Out, 1990, p. 45). Recording is on Sing For Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs (Smithsonian Folkways 40032).

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (James Farmer)
Original verses by Florence Reese, new verses by James Farmer (CORE).

"I rewrote the old labor song by Florence Reece 'Which Side Are You On?' on the spur of the moment in the Hinds County Jail, after the Freedom Riders who were imprisoned there had been discussing and speculating about the attitude of local Negroes regarding the freedom Riders. We had learned through trustees in the jail that most local Negroes were with u, but afraid to do anything because of fear of reprisals. They told us that, of course, there were a lot of Uncle Toms around and it was hard to tell who was and who was not." -- James Farmer

Come all you freedom lovers, and listen while I tell
Of how the freedom riders came to Jackson to dwell.

CHORUS:
Oh, which side are you on, boys,
Which side are you on, (tell me)
Which side are you on, boys,
Which side are you on.

My daddy was a freedom fighter and I'm a freedom son
I'll stick right with this struggle until the battle's won.

Don't 'tom for Uncle Charlie', don't listen to his lies
'Cause black folks haven't got a chance until they organize.

They say in Hinds County, no neutrals have they met
You're either for the Freedom Ride or you 'tom' for Ross Barnett.

Oh people can you stand it, tell me how you can
Will you be an Uncle Tom or will you be a man?

Captain Ray will holler 'move on', but the Freedom Riders won't budge
They'll stand there in the ternimnals and even before the judge.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Joe_F
Date: 27 Aug 02 - 06:58 PM

In _The Bosses Songbook_, which I believe is available on the Web, there is a parody, "Which Side Are We On?", which begins

My father is a member
Of the bourgeoisie,
And I will talk for freedom
While he's supporting me.
He's a bourgeois slob,
But I don't have a job.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 Aug 02 - 09:47 PM

Where on the web is the BOSSES SONGBOOK available?

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Joe_F
Date: 28 Aug 02 - 06:54 PM

Mark: I could have sworn I saw it somewhere, but Google only brings up mentions (including one or two by me). That is a shame. I have a copy that I bought in 1958. What would be a good place to harbor it if I got it scanned?


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: JohnnyBGoode
Date: 28 Aug 02 - 07:44 PM

Thanks for the excellent posts. Any more versions?


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Subject: Lyr Add: I AM A UNION WOMAN
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 28 Aug 02 - 11:50 PM

Aunt Molly Jackson, who was, I believe Florence Reese's sister-in-law (?), had her own radical song to the same tune. Its title is "I AM A UNION WOMAN":

I am a union woman
Just as Brave as I can be
I do not like the bosses
And the bosses don't like me.

Join the CIO, Join the CIO

I was raised in Old Kentucky
Kentucky born and bred,
But when I joined the union,
They called me a Russian Red.

Join the CIO...

This is the worst time on earth
That I have ever saw,
To get killed out by gun thugs
And framed up by the law.

Join the CIO...

If you want to join a union,
As strong as one can be
Join the dear old CIO
And come along with me.

Join the CIO...

We are many thousand strong,
And I am glad to say
We are getting stronger
And stronger every day.

Join the CIO...

The bosses ride fine horses
While we walk in the mud,
Their banner is the dollar sign,
Ours is striped with blood.

Join the CIO...

Those lyrics come from "Carry It On," a fine songbook of working people's songs edited by Pete Seeger and others.

As I recollect the version that appears on Aunt Molly Jackson's Library of Congress Recordings (Rounder LP in my collection, I don't know if its on CD), the refrain is "Join the NMU" instead of CIO. I believe that stands for the National Miners Union, which may have been a communist-led union.

As I heard the story, there was quite a bit of family rivalry between Aunt Molly Jackson and Florence Reese about which one of them really deserved the credit for turning this particular hymn tune into a union organizing song. History seems to have awarded the prize to Reese. It was quite a musical family. If I'm not mistaken, Jim Garland, another fine singer and composer of radical songs, was also part of the family (Aunt Molly's brother?)

Whoever had this particular idea first, I have to say that I enjoy Aunt Molly Jackson's singing and fighting lyrics. It is really a pity that she is all but forgotten today. She wrote and sang some of the most powerful labor songs ever composed in the US and she also knew how to sing traditional songs and ballads with the best.

I am pretty much writing from dim memory here, although I did refer to a personal songbook I have handy for the lyrics above. If someone knows something about Aunt Molly and her kin, I would certainly appreciate their sharing it here. Including any checks on the accuracy of what little I have written here.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: GUEST,Pat Darlington
Date: 29 Aug 02 - 03:15 AM

Dick Gaughan does a (then British topical) version on his album "Live in Edinburgh" with references to the Thatcher government (unfavourable references, natch)


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 29 Aug 02 - 04:48 AM

There's a version by Billy Bragg from the mid-80s - again, like Gaughan, it talks of the Thatcher regime. Here's the lyrics from his site:
Bragg - Side


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 30 Aug 02 - 05:23 PM

In my earlier entry I wrote that I thought that Florence Reese and Aunt Molly Jackson were related either by blood or marriage. That still may be correct, but it is also possible that I was confusing Florence Reese with Sarah Ogan Gunning, another fine Kentucky singer of traditional and radical songs who I believe was Aunt Molly's sister.

I seem to have been correct in my belief that Jim Garland was Aunt Molly's brother. If anyone knows Aunt Molly Jackson's family tree and the relationships, if any, among these four fine singers, I would appreciate a posting here.

Upon reflection, I am going to start a new thread on the subject.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: musicmick
Date: 31 Aug 02 - 12:05 AM

Looking through my neglected songbook collection, I discovered a Xeroxed copy of the Boss's Songbook. I can, thus, confirm the parody words but there was more. Instead of the "Which side are you on" refrain, they sang, " Join the YSL/ See you first in Hell" For the benefit of those Mudcatters who are not, yet, geriatric, YSL was the Young Socialists League, a slinter group who had left the YPSL, the Young People's Socialist League. (We pronounced it yips'l. Ah, sweet youth.)

I have played at many solidarity meetings and strike rallies and I always use Which Side Are You On to rouse the crowd. I change the words to fit the occasion. I also use We're Gonna Roll The Union On and We Shall Not Be Moved, adding the names of the "heros" and "villains".


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (updated)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Aug 02 - 02:52 AM

An updated version:

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (updated)

Which side are you on, now?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

The miners on the picket line
Have Eastover on the run
Until they sign with the union
They will not mine a ton.

The miners down at Brookside
Are a courageous bunch of men
And with their women by their sides
Each has the strength of ten.

Duke Power thought they'd win this strike
With the miners in misery
But the union will shove it down Duke's throat
With a miner's victory.

Which side are you on, now?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

From: Guy and Candie Carawan, Voices from the Mountains (1975; University of Illinois Press, 1982, p. 203).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Aug 02 - 03:08 AM

This may not be a version. From HERE.

"Which side r U on?" [realaudio]
Written and adapted by Paula "Bomba" Gonzalez, produced by UFCW Canada


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 Aug 02 - 10:11 AM

Of course, when Godiva made her famous ride through Coventry, she rode side-saddle. Hence the expression "Hurrah for our side!"

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Aug 02 - 02:23 PM

One of my verses, composed back in the 1970's, which unfortunately is not obsolete runs:

We've fought in many a battle,
We're not done fighting yet;
As long as injustice roams this land,
We never shall forget!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Venthony
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 02:36 AM

A little something from a capitalist perspective:

They call in sick on Monday.
They're always late for work.
If it wasn't for the shareholders,
I'd fire the lazy jerks.

CHORUS: I'm paying for their bass boats.
I'm paying for their 'Vettes;
And if I die a-tryin',
I'll break their union yet.

Bosses, can you stand it?
How can these things be?
I just want to hire a working man
Who can type on a PC.

Been working 80 hours a week,
But I took an evening off
And dreamed of new robotics
So I can lay the bastards off.

I've seen the bottom line, boys.
Let the union do its will;
But if they vote to strike,
They'll be picketing in Brazil.

I've got bright, young workers
I really should promote;
But if I buck seniority,
They'll sink my corporate boat.

LOL,
Tony


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 11:50 AM

A breath of fresh air, Tony, or shall we say put it on the ground, spread it all around, did it with a toe, it will make your flowers grow?

Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHICH SIDE ARE WE ON?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 01:20 PM

From The Socialist Songbook:

WHICH SIDE ARE WE ON?

My father is a member
Of the Bourgeoisie,
And I will talk for freedom
While he's supporting me.
He's a bourgeois slob,
But I don't have a job.

Time was when people thought,
In days that now have passed,
That Socialism was a movement
Of the working class.
That was long ago,
Marx should only know.

We always thought that Stalin
Carried things a mite too far.
Now Stalin is a fascist
And we don't know where we are.
Which side are we on?
Which side are we on?

Now come you Village loafers
And join our happy band.
We'll show the world and Mom and Dad
Just where the hell we stand.
Join the New Yipsel,
See you first in hell!

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON (Ali Hughes)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 03:06 AM

From: EAST LOTHIAN SCOTTISH SOCIALIST PARTY site.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON

New words by Ali Hughes.
The tune: Which side are you on : trad.

AM...................DM
Come all you working people.
AM..........E.......AM
Good news I have to tell.
AM
Of how the SSP.
DM.......E......AM
Has come here to dwell.

AM.................G
Which side are you on.
DM.........EM......AM
Which side are you on.
AM.................G
Which side are you on.
DM.........EM......AM
Which side are you on.

They say in UK, PLC.
Thereare no neutrals here.
Your either with the working class.
Or the bosses and Tony blair.

We wont to scrap the council tax.
But Labour says that its quit fair.
To tax the working people.
More than the millionares.

We wont to get rid of trident.
But Tony says no way.
He'd rather stick with NATO.
Untill our dying day.

We give millions to the railways.
Hoping the trains will run no time.
But the tracks belong to the profiteers.
Whos pckets they must line.

How come every winter.
Thousnda of people die of the cold.
While the power companys.
Make millions from the old.

So who'll stand up for working people.
When there back are agaist the wall.
Only the Scottish Socialist Party.
Will be ready for the call.

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? (a strike song)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 03:22 AM

As a strike song, from HERE.

CHORUS:
Which side are you on? (4)

Come all Memorial workers, good news to you I bring,
It's all about our union, it's unity I sing.

My parents had commitment, they never were outdone,
And I'll stick with the union, till every battle's won.

They say that at Memorial, there can't be neutrals there,
It's either for the union or for yourself you care.

Oh workers can you stand it? They play us as their fools;
If you're not for the union, divide and conquer rules.

Don't settle with the bosses and leave your friends alone,
Your conscience will torment you, you'll reap the pain you've sown.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JOIN THE MUA
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 03:44 AM

From: Union Songs:

JOIN THE MUA
New words by Mark Gregory

Come all of you good wharfies
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how that good old MUA
Has come in here to dwell

Chorus:
Join the MUA
Come and join the MUA
Join the MUA
Come and join the MUA

My daddy was a wharfie
And I'm a wharfie's son
I'm sticking to the MUA
Till every battle's won

On wharves around Australia
There are no neutrals left
You'll either be a union man
Or a thug for the NFF

Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?

When Patrick sacked the wharfies
They thought it was a joke
But world wide solidarity
Is causing them to choke

Don't scab for the bosses
Don't listen to their lies
Us working folks haven't got a chance
Unless we organize

Notes

MUA is the Maritime Union of Australia, an amalgamation of the old Waterside Workers Federation and the Seamen's Union of Australia.

The NFF is the National Farmers Federation, representing the large agribusiness interests. The present Federal Government of Australia (1998) is politically and financially linked to the NFF, and together they have organised an onslaught on the unionism in Australia, most spectacularly attacking union rights on the waterfront, with the forced removal of 1400 workers (April 9th 1998) from Patrick docks and their replacement with scabs "trained" by NFF, the government acting as cheerleader.

Industrial Relations Minister Peter Reith, both designed the new laws to curtail workers rights and advised Patrick on ways to circumvent the little worker protection remaining in those laws.

The sackings have led to 2 weeks of picketting at Patrick docks around Australia, with the whole community joining in, and even police ignoring demands by Prime Minister John Howard to break up picket lines.

Internationally dockers in Japan, South Africa, United States are refusing to unload Patrick cargo, and there is a growing boycott of Australia farm produce (April 23rd 1998) in a number of countries.

I [the editor] have taken 2 songs for this one, "Which Side Are You On?" by Florence Reece and "Join the NMU" by Aunt Molly Jackson.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 09:16 AM

Amazing!


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 10:01 AM

The song seems to be very alive with so many new versions. May I add part of a German version from environmentalists' fight against the nuclear power plant in Wyhl:

Im Elsaß und in Baden
war lange große Not
da schossen wir für unsre Herrn
im Krieg einander tot.

Jetzt kämpfen wir für uns selber
in Wyhl und Marckolsheim
wir halten hier gemeinsam
eine andere Wacht am Rhein.

R.:
Auf welcher Seite stehst du? He!
Hier wird ein Platz besetzt.
Hier schützen wir uns vor dem Dreck
nicht morgen, sondern JETZT!

Wolfgang


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 12:18 PM

From HERE:

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

February 23, 2002 Victoria rally song
This song is not specifically about teaching or the public school education system. But some of you may find it useful at future events with other groups of workers or sections of our society that have come under attack and want to protest or just do some empowering singing. Please feel free to bend, mutilate or otherwise change the words to suit your purpose. E-mail me for the chords if you need to.
--Jim Edmondson, Surrey

Come all you BC People,
A story I will tell
About how a people's movement
Has come in here to dwell.

Chorus:
Which side are you on? x 4

The Liberals got elected.
They told a pack of lies.
We citizens don't have chance
Unless we organize!

The Liberals and their bankers
They just don't give a hoot.
They follow Michael Harris
And the Fraser Institute

They say that in old Lotusland
You'd better get well quick.
They're selling health like real estate
It's enough to make you sick

Now Christy Clark's got child care
For her kid right down the hall
While Westcoast Child Care Resource
Centre will get no cash at all.

The Liberals are like Wal-Mart
With their slimy, lying ads.
They'll take the heart and soul
Out of our caring neighbourhoods!

Oh people can you stand it?
Oh listen to me well!
Let's sink this Liberal government
In the deepest pits of hell!

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: WTO
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 02:20 AM

A New Green Alliance song, from: HERE

"WTO"
Dave Greenfield
To the tune of "Which Side are You On".

Refrain:
Time to overthrow
The WTO
Time to overthrow
The WTO

Come all you good people
The choice is up to you
A world for the good of everyone
Or the profits of a few.

The business people gather
The politicians too
They sign away our future
And don't give a damn for me and you.

We will not be subservient
To the corporate bottom line
We are standing up and fighting
For a future that's yours and mine.

Universal education
Universal medicare
The world belongs to everyone
Its wealth is ours to share.

You who say that there is nothing
We can do we've no control
I say as long as we can think
Nothing is inevitable.

You who call yourselves progressive
And hail a brighter dawn
It's only fair to ask you
Which side are you on?

Democracy's a fire
That's burning in our souls
We will not let the flame be doused
By corporate control.

We will stand and face the tear gas
Rubber bullets pepper spray
To tell the multi-nationals
We're not gonna go away.

From the battle of Seattle
To the edges of the globe
When turtles join with teamsters
Look out WTO!

We will burn down your McDonalds'
KFC's and Burger King's
Till we have peace and justice
For everyone and everything.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 03 Sep 02 - 02:46 AM

DISTECT SONG (from HERE):

This is a song of the underground Distect.
Tune: "Which Side Are You On"/"Lay The Lily Low"/"Jack Munro".
Dedicated to the memory of Florence Reece.

Come all you Gens and renSimes,
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how the good old Distect
Has come in here to dwell.

CHORUS:
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

My daddy was in Rior,
And I'm in Rior too,
And we will fight the Tecton
Till they see our point of view.

They say in border country
There are no neutrals there.
You're either for the Distect
Or that lorsh Controller Nair.

Oh channel can you stand it?
Oh tell me how you can?
Will you be a Tecton slave
Or will you be a man?

Don't donate through the channels,
Don't listen to their lies.
We have no hope of freedom
Unless we organize.


One verse only of another song, from HERE:

As singer and transit rider Stephen Aberle put it so melodiously (with apologies to the author of the tune Which Side are You On): "They have to cut a leg off/It simply must be done/And since they love democracy/They'll let us pick which one."


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: sledge
Date: 17 Oct 03 - 03:25 PM

Just discovered this song for myself, Listening to Natalie Merchant's version on her new CD The house carpenters daughter. Looking at the version in the Digital tradition thats the version she's singing word for word. Good solid song.

Cheers

Sledge


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Subject: Join the NMU / Union Woman
From: GUEST,Rick Lee
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 10:41 AM

Thanks to you all on this thread over the years, especially Bennet Zurofsky for the lyric closest to what I remember from hearing a recording of Aunt Molly Jackson singing her earlier version.

There was a verse, I believe, something like:

My husband asked the boss for a job
These were the words he said:
"Bill Jackson, I can't work you sir,
"Your wife's a Russian (Rooshin) Red."

And the repeating chorus was:

Join the NMU.
Come and join the NMU

Also, the last verse as I remember it was stronger:

The bosses ride the big fine white horse
While we step in the mud.
Their flag's the old Red White and Blue
And ours is dipped in blood.

Has anyone a complete transcription of these early lyrics?
I wonder what I may have misremembered or forgotten.


Thanks,

Rick
ricklee@pobox.com

..........

Subject: Lyr Add: I AM A UNION WOMAN
From: Bennet Zurofsky
Date: 28 Aug 02 - 11:50 PM

Aunt Molly Jackson, who was, I believe Florence Reese's sister-in-law (?), had her own radical song to the same tune. Its title is "I AM A UNION WOMAN":

I am a union woman
Just as Brave as I can be
I do not like the bosses
And the bosses don't like me.

Join the CIO, Join the CIO

I was raised in Old Kentucky
Kentucky born and bred,
But when I joined the union,
They called me a Russian Red.

Join the CIO...

This is the worst time on earth
That I have ever saw,
To get killed out by gun thugs
And framed up by the law.

Join the CIO...

If you want to join a union,
As strong as one can be
Join the dear old CIO
And come along with me.

Join the CIO...

We are many thousand strong,
And I am glad to say
We are getting stronger
And stronger every day.

Join the CIO...

The bosses ride fine horses
While we walk in the mud,
Their banner is the dollar sign,
Ours is striped with blood.

Join the CIO...


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 11:28 AM

Peggy Seeger sang this on "The Angry Muse" LP Argo, ZDA 83.
Lyrics from the booklet with the album:-

1. I am a union woman, as brave as I can be,
    I do not like the bosses, and the bosses don't like me.

Refrain: Join the N.M.U.
Come and join the N.M.U.

2. I was born in old Kentucky, in Kentucky born and bred,
    And when I joined the union, they called me a Rooshian red. (ref.)

3. My husband asked the boss for a job, this is what he said:
    "Bill Jackson, I can't work you, sir, your wife's a Rooshian Red." (ref)

4. These is about the worst times that I have ever saw,
    To get shot down by gun thugs or framed up by the law. (ref)

5. Now if you want a union as fine as one can be,
    Just join the dear old N.M.U., and come along with me. (ref)

6. We are many thousand strong, I am glad to say,
    We are getting stronger and stronger every day. (ref)


7. The bosses ride fine horse, while we step in the mud,
    Their banner is the dollar sign, while ours is striped with blood. (ref)


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: GUEST,Tinker in Chicago
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 12:31 PM

Well, I just have to add that the recently and dearly departed Utah Phillips was the only guy I ever worked with who told Unitarian jokes. And he told one of Unitarians singing, "Which side am I on, boys, which side am I on?"


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: GUEST,Michele Callaghan
Date: 13 Jun 08 - 04:50 PM

The Weavers have an excellent version on their Carnegie Hall record, now available on CD.

Michele C.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: mark gregory
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 12:13 AM

I'm interested (and honoured) to see that Masato Sakurai has included my 1998 version titled JOIN THE MUA! It was one of 30 or more songs and poems written and performed during the Howard government attempt the destroy the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) by bankrolling a lockout of MUA members by the employer Patrick beginning on the Easter holiday weekend ten years ago.

Back in the early 1970s I wrote a version that was in a Cinema Action documentary in London one of the I wrote verses was

The bosses down in Fleet Street
We gave them a surprise
Our brothers pulled the switches there
And stopped they bleeding lies

Florence Reece was the wife of a union organiser who was so angered that the sheriff J.H. Blair and his pose of hired gun thugs were out to kill her husband she tore an old calendar off the wall and wrote the song. She sang the song in her 80s over 60 years later in the famous 1976 Barbara Kopple documentary Harlan County, U.S.A.

Just over 10 years ago I got an email from Florence Reece's granddaughter who was asking about where she could get a copy of the film as a birthday present for her father! I was able to find the address and phone number of a US company that sold video copies of the film.

More recently (2006) I sang the original song on a picket line in Japan ... the picket of Tetsuro Tanaka who writes his own songs and tunes to sing and play to the arriving workers each morning at the gate of the factory that sacked him over a quarter of a century ago! I was sure Florence Reece would have been amazed that her song had travelled so far.

see also http://tanakasanwillnotdocallisthenics.com/

cheers

Mark


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Jun 08 - 01:49 PM

Mark, thank you for the additional info.

~Masato


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Subject: ADD Version: Which Side Are You On (Billy Bragg)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 11:04 PM

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
(Florence Reece, adapted by Billy Bragg)

This government had an idea
And parliament made it law
It seems like it's illegal
To fight for the union any more

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

We went out to join the picket line
For together we cannot fail
We got stopped by police at the county line
They said, "Go home boys or you're going to jail"

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

It's hard to explain to a crying child
Why her Daddy can't go back
So the family suffer
But it hurts me more
To hear a scab say Sod you Jack

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

I'm bound to follow my conscience
And do whatever I can
But it'll take much more than the union law
To knock the fight out of a working man

Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on
Which side are you on, boys
Which side are you on

WORDS & MUSIC – Florence Reece
Adapted 1984 by Billy Bragg
© 1946 Stormking Music Inc
assigned to Harmony Music Ltd
Reproduced by kind permission of Harmony Music Ltd

(lyrics taken from Billy Bragg Website)

I first heard this version on Billy Bragg's Back to Basics album in the 1980s. Note that the melody is somewhat different from the usual way of singing this song.


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Subject: RE: Versions of 'Which Side Are You On?'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Nov 15 - 11:48 PM

I think it's clear that the spelling of the songwriter's name is Florence Reece.

Here's a video of Florence Reece singing "Which Side Are You On?": Wikipedia says:
    Florence Reece (née Patton; born April 12, 1900, died August 3, 1986) was an American social activist, poet, and folksong writer. Born in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, the daughter and wife of coal miners, she is best known for the song, "Which Side Are You On?" which, according to folklorist Alan Lomax who collected it from her in 1937, she wrote at age 12 when her father was out on strike. In 1931, during the Harlan County War strike by the United Mine Workers of America and the National Miners Union in which her husband, Sam Reece, was an organizer. She wrote it out on a calendar, possibly updating it, and that's the version known today.


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