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Every once in awhile, in the midst of our faxing and calling and writing and picketing and working for change, we need an uplifting break, and I find that there are a lot of music videos out there of progressive songs that fit the bill.

I guess it's because my grandad was a union man, but I've always liked songs about and for working people. Previously, I've offered up several versions of "Which Side Are You On?", a traditional union song from the 30s.

Today, in the interest of promoting our struggle, in honor of all the ordinary working people (who, unlike the Wall Street crowd and corporate CEOs, have to work every day to eke out a bare living), and in honor of the real Norma Rae who died just last week, I'd like to give you "Millworker," a song written by my own era's master songwriter James Taylor.

Follow below the fold for links to some of the many versions of this song I like best.

First, to start us off, how about a lyrical one from songbird Emmy Lou Harris:

Emmy Lou's version of "Millworker"

Then of course there is the version by the very songwriter himself:

James Taylor's version

One for the more alt style folks from Nicola NYC:


Who could pass up one from The Boss:

Bruce Springsteen version

Here's a video version from the short-run show the song was written for, "Working," based on the great book by Studs Terkel. The actress is Eileen Brenann, the singer is Jennifer Warnes:

Jennifer Warnes/Eileen Brennan

A version from West Virginia's favorite daughter Kathy Mattea and Milladoiro:

Kathy Mattea

Here's a wonderful British songstress named Barbara Dickson, which I think is my most favorite:

Barbara Dickson version

Finally, do you like Eddie Vedder?

Eddie Vedder

Hope you've found at least one version to enjoy. Several other songs from "Working" are on YouTube, so seek them out.

Originally posted to VA gentlewoman on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 02:10 PM PDT.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Here Is A Protest Song For You (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, carpunder, catchaz, trs

    Early 90s I'm walking back from class and I could hear this song blocks and blocks away. It had to be the sound system from my frat, which I was the President of. We had so many sound tickets I was pretty sure the next one I'd be going to jail.

    My pace picked up from a walk, to jog, to sprint.

    I walked in ready to bang some heads together and found out two of my close friends had just be called up for the first Gulf War. This song played on repeat for at least an hour as they threw everything they owned into a military issue duffel bag and left.

    BTW: The James Taylor version of Millworker is just wonder. Huge fan of his and not even sure I had heard it before. So thanks!

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 02:19:54 PM PDT

  •  A millworker tune from Barclay James Harvest. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, catchaz, trs

    "Mill Boys" is in here between 2 other songs, about 3:05. I like the others as well, so I don't mind. :*)

  •  Cris Williamson's version (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, carpunder, trs

    is lovely too.  This is one of my favorite songs.  Actually--I performed it solo at a concert a couple of years ago myself...unfortunately, I can't post a Two Moms version, I don't have an audio recording of it.  

    "I will sing you a song no one sang to can be anybody that you want to be

    by two moms in Az on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:46:21 PM PDT

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