Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Loafers Glory the Hobo Jungle of the Mind

My introduction the IWW was the film Reds, I liked what they seemed to stand for but since I hadn't heard of them before I assumed they were one of those radical groups that became a casualty of the Red Scares. Letter on I found they were still around an while much smaller had actually spread to other nations including the UK.

My introduction into the Wobbly philosophy was the songs and little stories of Utah Phillips, a folk singer, song writer and Father Christmas impersonator. I love his songs and covers, and I really liked the little bits of story he'd use to book end them in many of his recordings. My favourite album by him Fellow Workers for this reason.

Later another Wobbly shared an archive of a community radio show Utah did in the 90's, Loafers Glory. It was weekly, around an hour, lasted 100 episodes and is just fascinating to listen to. Since I have a bit (ok a lot) more free time at present I've been making videos of them like I did for Free Speech Radio News. Which has made a comeback.

The program was a mix of folk songs -some of which hadn't been heard before at the time- and stories about important but overlooked people and events, many of whom Utah had a personal connection too.

Here's the first one.

The introduction is a bit less focussed then the other episodes, the others focus on a particularly theme, for example episode 2 is about the West (as in Cowboys). The introduction includes everything from the life and death of Mother Jones, Tom Scribbner and the art of musical saws (yes that's right using saws to play music), to the Spanish Civil War with a beuatiful rendition of Freiheit (freedom) by Eddie Balchowsky, and some quite sad but sweet tributes to Utah's deceased friends from his hobo days.

 Since I do still have some work to do and am prone to distraction finishing the other 98 (I already did Episode 88) may take sometime but the full archive is freely available on the Long Memory.

Here's the playlist to be updated as and when.

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