Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Blog Kills Fascists

Watching Soul Brother Number Two, Wilson Pickett, on the weird and wonderful series All You Need Is Love: The Story of Popular Music, I got to thinking about other musical artists and songs with names and titles associated with unions.

There's the Flying Pickets.

There's Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers

There's Gary Puckett (b. Pickett?) and the Union Gap.

There's There Is Power In A Union by Billy Bragg.

There's Union City Blue by Blondie.

There's Part of the Union by the Strawbs.

My dad was a union man (at a non-union firm). He loved the Strawbs song as he loved his solidarity with his imaginary comrades. But were the band taking the piss? "The sight of my card makes me some kind of superman"?

Strawbs. True socialists or piss-taking wankers? What do you think?


  1. Anonymous10:30 PM

    The Strawbs were without a doubt taking the piss.

  2. Funny, I don't remember this cut on "Hero and Heroine".

  3. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Didn't it come out during the height of red union phobia around British Leyland?
    I bought it and I can't remember why unless I was going through a "boing" bass drum phase.

  4. Looking at this now I'd agree with Billy. But at the time I thought it was genuine so I'll stand by that gut reaction.
    Good on yer dad!

  5. Can I wheel in "100 tonnes and Vic Feather" ?

    Then there's NWA, which must be a Union somewhere. Probably affiliated to the PTW.

    So Solid Arity.

    Paul Simon & Art Scargunkel

  6. Billy - But don't they look like firebrands? I'd wager that an overwhelming majority of the public at the time couldn't see the irony. It was certainly played enough on the radio for everybody to learn all the words.

    MJ - You prog rocker, you. Away with the fairies at the time? This was biting political satire...ahem, I was busy with my Yes albums.

    Arabella - Didn't Red Robbo ask them to play a benefit and they refused? Or am I making that up? I didn't need to buy it as my dad wouldn't stop bloody singing it.

    Kaz - I wouldn't trust a folky prog rocker as far as I could throw him. My dad tried to organise a union and got the sack for his troubles. His men came out in solidarity for a week, drinking tea round our house. They went back to work when they sussed out they could lose their jobs, too. I've probably mentioned this before - in fact I think I've probably done a similar post before but I can't find it.

    Murph - There really should be a Len Murray Five if there isn't already. And Tom Jackson sang Is She Really Going Out With Him? of course.

  7. The Rolling Stones gather no Moss Evans. And it's a little-known fact that Rod Stewart's middle name is 'Bickerstaffe'.

  8. As rubbish piled up on the streets along came punk to blow the old order away.

  9. Piss-taking wankers. Some of the shits at the minor public school where I did a five-year stretch used to play it loudly when the cleaning or maintainence staff were about.

    Joe Jackson surely? Or was Tom his less successful younger brother?

  10. That's confirmed, then.

    Thanks, Malc.