Part of the Union

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"Part of the Union"
Part of the union.jpg
Single by Strawbs
from the album Bursting at the Seams
B-side"Will you Go"
ReleasedJanuary 1973 (1973-01)
GenreProgressive folk, folk rock
Songwriter(s)Richard Hudson, John Ford
Strawbs singles chronology
"Lay Down"
"Part of the Union"
"Shine on Silver Sun"

"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. It also reached number 10 in the Irish 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' 1940 song "Union Maid". The lyrical resemblance is striking although the tune is different.

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.

Although it was believed that the song was intended to ridicule the powerful British trades unions of the time, the song (especially its chorus "You don't get me I'm part of the Union") quickly became popular as an unofficial anthem of the trades union movement.[1] Subsequently, however, the Strawbs have stated that the song was written with genuine celebratory intent.[2]

The song resurfaced on the UK television advertisement for insurance company Norwich Union in 1998.[citation needed]

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 the band's appearance on BBC's Top of the Pops, keyboardist Blue Weaver appeared with both piano and pedal harmonium 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 1973 Party Sing-a-long album.[3]

Recorded by The Hindle Strikers with T.B.E. in 1984 on the Catch 22 label (CTT001A) - originally they recorded it on cassette unaware that DJs required it on vinyl to play it on the radio.[4]

From 2007 to 2016 the song has been included as a standard part of the Strawbs' live set[citation needed] and was included in their live DVD The Strawbs - Lay Down With The Strawbs, filmed and recorded live at The Robin 2 in Bilston, UK on 5 March 2006.[5]



  1. ^ Frith, Simon. Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 165. ISBN 9780674661967.
  2. ^ "Part of the Union - We All Stand Together, The People's Songs - BBC Radio 2". BBC. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Cockerel Chorus - Party Sing-A-Long". Discogs. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  4. ^ "The Hindle Strikers With T.B.E. Discography - UK - 45cat". Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  5. ^ "The Strawbs - Lay Down With The Strawbs - DVD". Secret Records. Retrieved 19 June 2017.

External links[edit]