May Day Playlist

1 May
Walter Cranes' International Solidarity of Labour 1889

Walter Cranes’ International Solidarity of Labour 1889

The first of May – or May Day, has a load of stuff pinned to it – from way back to raucous pagan celebrations, the Celtic fest of Beltane – or in central northern Europe ‘Walpurgisnacht‘. For me it contours images of getting in a tangle round the school Maypole.

Regarded today as International Workers Day. 1st May celebrations were born out of of commemoration for the Haymarket Martyrs, 1886 in Chicago. As a demonstration gathered during a general strike for the eight-hour day, a bomb was thrown while police tried to disperse crowds – police reacted with pistol fire and 4 demonstrators were killed. Hence, a whole load of demo-ing went on between then and 1904, when the Socialist Party and Trade Unions were called in by the Second International Congress to kind of promote – in all countries, energetic demonstration, for the legal establishing of the eight-hour day, also to respect the class demands of the proletariat and let’s not forget universal peace. Quite a tall order.

As for todays playlist – eight in all, and keeping with the general theme. Never Been In A Riot by the Mekons, written in response to White Riot by The Clash seems like a good place to start.

  1. Mekons Never Been In A Riot
  2. Lee Dorsey Working In A Coal Mine
  3. Merle Travis Sixteen Tons
  4. Woodie Guthrie Talkin Hard Work
  5. The Vogues Five O’Clock World
  6. Jimmy Dean Big Bad John
  7. Merle Haggard Working Mans Blues
  8. Bob Dylan Maggie’s Farm (a totally not-fitting-into-the-dylan-60s poet image – 80’s rendition for Farm Aid)

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