Tag Archives: folk music

Grassroots music & politics – 2

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

Having started with the far right, now for the not quite so far right…the Labour Party.

Are musicians and creative people generally more likely to lean to the left, politically speaking ? It does generally seem that way.

Labour once had a good relationship with musicians – I’m particularly thinking of their engagement with Red Wedge, the collective of musicians who attempted to engage young people with politics in general, and the policies of the Labour Party in particular, during the period leading up to the 1987 general election, in the hope of ousting the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

Fronted by Billy Bragg (whose 1985 Jobs for Youth tour had been a prototype of sorts for Red Wedge), Paul Weller and The Communards lead singer Jimmy Somerville, they put on concert tours and appeared in the media, adding their support to the Labour Party campaign.

Artists…

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Almanac – April 03

1882 – Jesse James died.  American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber and murderer, and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death.

 He was killed by Robert Ford,  a member of the gang living in the James house,  who was hoping to collect a state reward on James’ head.

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1949 – Richard Thompson born. British songwriter, guitarist and recording and performing musician. Highly regarded for his guitar techniques and strange, darkly-funny lyrics, Thompson’s music has been consistently lavished with praise by critics and by his peers throughout his long career.

He made his debut as a recording artist as a member of Fairport Convention in September 1967, and continues to write and record new material regularly and performs live frequently throughout the world.

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1950 – Kurt Weill died.  German composer, active from the 1920s, and in his later years in the United States.

 He was a leading composer for the stage who was best known for his fruitful collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, with whom  he developed productions such as his best-known work The Threepenny Opera, a Marxist critique of capitalism, which included the ballad “Mack the Knife”.

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