Part of the Union

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"Part of the Union"
Single by Strawbs
from the album Bursting at the Seams
B-side "Will you Go"
Released January 1973 (1973-01)
Format 7"
Genre Progressive folk, folk rock
Label A&M
Writer(s) Richard Hudson, John Ford
Producer(s) Strawbs
Strawbs singles chronology
"Lay Down"
(1972)
"Part of the Union"
(1973)
"Shine on Silver Sun"
(1973)
Bursting at the Seams track listing
"The River"
(5)
"Part of the Union"
(6)
"Tears and Pavan"
(7)

"Part of the Union" is a song by English band Strawbs featured on their 1973 album Bursting at the Seams and was the band's most successful single, peaking at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart. The writing credits are given to Richard Hudson and John Ford, but the song may be an adaptation of the Woody Guthrie/Almanac Singers' song "Union Maid". The lyrical resemblance is striking although it is set to different music.

The song was included on the album Bursting at the Seams but is not considered typical of the songs on that album. Indeed, the track was originally recorded without a contribution by band leader Dave Cousins and was to be released under the name of "The Brothers". It demonstrates the different, more commercial direction the writing partnership of Hudson and Ford was taking within the band.

The song was unofficially adopted by the trade union movement, and it is widely considered to be a proud folk anthem for the working man. The lyrics may also be read, however, as somewhat sarcastically anti-trade union.[1]

The song resurfaced on the UK television advertisement for insurance company Norwich Union in 1998. The song is also currently being played in the stadium at the conclusion of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union games.

B-side[edit]

The B-side track "Will You Go" is an arrangement of the Irish folk song "Wild Mountain Thyme" written by Belfast musician Francis McPeake, dating back to the repertoire of The Strawberry Hill Boys (the original name of Strawbs)

Top of the Pops[edit]

In their appearance on BBC's Top of the Pops, keyboardist Blue Weaver appeared with both piano and pedal hamonium and drummer Richard Hudson appeared with a marching bass drum emblazoned with the words "The Associated Union of Strawbs Workers".

Other recordings[edit]

The original "Brothers" recording can be found on the box set A Taste of Strawbs. Cockerel Chorus (of "Nice One Cyril" fame) also recorded the song for inclusion on their Party Sing-a-long album.

Recorded by The Hindle Strikers with T.B.E. in 1984 (CTT001A) - originally they recorded it on cassette unaware that DJs required it on vinyl to play it on the radio.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett Faber & Faber 2009

External links[edit]