Which Side Are You On?
September 1, 2018 9:09 AM   Subscribe

“Reece couldn’t have known that what she created would become the most durable anthem of the labor movement, and a template for protest songs for decades to come. “Which Side Are You On?,” written from acute personal trauma, has been universalized, both in lyric and musical modality. After making its way out of Harlan County and into a New York recording studio, it got modified to fit the message of countless underdog protagonists.” The history of ‘Which Side Are You On.’ (Longreads). Florence Reece’s original recording. As performed by Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Dropkick Murphys, The Weavers, Billy Bragg, sampled by Talib Kweli
posted by The Whelk (8 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
... and Panopticon, from the amazing mine-labor epic, Kentucky.
posted by multics at 9:25 AM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


And another cover/version (with lots of uncivil words in it) by Rebel Diaz ft. Dead Prez and Rakaa Iriscience.

B. Dolan (more incivility).

Natalie Merchant also did a cover.

Live version from Ani DiFranco.

A video short featuring Billy Bragg and Hazel Dickens (a short bit of "Which side are you on" starts at 1:17).
posted by kalessin at 10:22 AM on September 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Praise be to Nero's Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody's shouting, "Which side are you on?!"
And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers

posted by EarBucket at 10:43 AM on September 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


From Anne Feeney another cover. Heard her at the 2006 URI Honors colloquium, Songs of Social Justice which was as amazing as it looks, and free.
posted by Botanizer at 12:30 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Learned this song as a kid. Off the union songs album my parents got. Of course we learned the other songs as well.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:02 PM on September 1, 2018


There ain't no way they can ever keep us down - Hazel Dickens
posted by Ansible at 4:56 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ani DiFranco is amazing.

Gosh this is like, when you feel as if you'd lost the heart, you realize that you do have the heart.
posted by runcifex at 12:52 AM on September 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


We sang this, and several other union songs, at church this morning. Given that my union and employer just declared an impasse in negotiating our new contract, it felt very relevant (also of course Labor Day weekend). Excited to learn more about it!
posted by lazuli at 5:14 PM on September 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


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