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Spanish Civil War Jacob's Ladder Parody

16 Nov 10 - 07:16 PM (#3033928)
Subject: Spanish Civil War Jacob's Ladder Parody
From: GeoffLawes

Duncan Longstaff sent me an email about the song Jacob's Ladder. In the email Duncan says that he was told by Chris Coe that she knew Bob Cooney ( a former Commander of the British Battalion which fought in the Spanish Civil War) and had heard him sing this song at a folk club in Birmingham and that Bob said that it was sung by the British Battalion in the Spanish Civil War.Duncan said that he didn't know the actual words sung by Bob Cooney or the British Battalion but sent the words of a version sung by Pete Seeger

You can see a performance of these words on YouTube here PETE SEEGER

On Mudcat Dick Greenhaus says that there was 1930's union parody called WORKERS OF THE SOUTH

There are also words in the DIGITRAD for an earlier parody of Jacob's Ladder called WE ARE BUILDING A STRONG UNION This is another possibity for the lyrics of the 'Bob Cooney' song.

A different connection of this song with the SCW is through Paul Robeson who sang Jacob's Ladder and would probably have known of the parody versions of the song. He may even have sung a parody version when he was in Spain entertaining the British Battalion during the SCW - but that is pure speculation.

I would be grateful if anyone can give more information about the version of Jacob's Ladder as sung by Bob Cooney or anyone else connected to the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. If a definite connection can be made I shall inclde the song in the list of Spanish Civil War Songs in English in the Mudcat thread HERE

Regards, Geoff

17 Nov 10 - 06:32 PM (#3034693)
Subject: RE: Spanish Civil War Jacob's Ladder Parody
From: GeoffLawes


22 Nov 10 - 06:43 AM (#3037863)
Subject: RE: Spanish Civil War Jacob's Ladder Parody
From: mikesamwild

Bob was Political Commissar of the British Battalion. I did hear him sing the song but it was the 'spiritual' rather than a parody as I remember but he said some of the licon Barttalion sang one which was more of a 'Wobbly' song IWW, Joe Hill's Big Union

Geoff , I'm still trying to root out that tape of Bob, my Mum and Dad I made out our house in the early 80s. Please PM me your address.