WITH BANNERS HELD HIGH 2019

WBHH

I was asked by the amazing people at With Banners Held High to write a poem to sum up the festival and what it stands for.
So I did.
It has been incorporated into these posters to help promote the event which takes place in Wakefield on Saturday May 18th.
In exchange we have been offered a stall for WE SHALL OVERCOME 2019, so anyone attending the event can drop off donations of food, warm clothing, toiletries and sanitary towels for #WSO2019 and we will distribute them according to need.
Here goes:
WITH BANNERS HELD HIGH
A gang of young lads laughed
And passed round a joint:
“It’s just a rag and two poles!”
One said, “What’s the point?”
With a shrug and a sneer
They were walking away,
When I saw an old man move
To stand in their way.
Though frail and outnumbered
That man stood his ground,
And with fire in his eyes
He said: “Boys, turn around.
And I’ll tell you a tale
From a time long ago.
You asked: ‘What’s the point?’
When I’ve finished you’ll know.
For hundreds of years
People like you and me,
Have been crushed in the spirit,
And kept in poverty.
In August of 1819 fifteen died,
And that Peterloo banner?
Their ghosts stand at its side.
The Tolpuddle Martyrs 1834,
They spoke up in hunger
When that broke the law;
They were shipped to Australia
But did not stand alone,
And it was people with banners
Who had them shipped home.
There were Matchgirls and Dockers
And Suffragists who
Fought for votes and fair wages,
Bank Holidays too;
There were marchers from Jarrow,
Petition in hand;
Folk who kept Mosley’s Blackshirts
From taking this land;
When times grew still harder,
And fascism came,
There were brave men and women
Who fought it in Spain;
They marched and they rallied,
They fought and they died;
They stood up for truth
When their government lied;
From tap on the shoulder
To Dock Labour Scheme;
From starving in squalor
To daring to dream;
From Headscarf Revolution,
Back to George Square;
From Orgreave to Wapping
These banners were there.”
With that he fell silent,
And after a pause
Said: “This Struggle is not only theirs, boys,
It’s yours.
It’s beats in your hearts
It runs through your veins,
It’s a yearning for justice,
To be rid of these chains.
It’s a burning defiance
That’s locked in your soul
And it’s raised up as that there:
‘A rag and two poles’.
When we’re dead and gone
They’ll be marching here still
Cos we’re part of something
That power can’t kill.
We are the spirit
That will never die.
And that’s why we march here
With Banners Held High.”
Join us on the day and let’s celebrate the achievements of Working Class unity and solidarity, together.

Hull International Brigade Memorial: The Unveiling

Monument and Flag

Saturday was marked by an incredible unveiling ceremony for Hull’s new monument to the ten International Brigade volunteers who left the city to fight fascism in Spain during the civil war.

Eleven years in the planning, this stunning piece of architecture was designed by Dan Jones and will remind generations to come of the sacrifice of ten brave souls willing to give their lives in the fight against tyranny and oppression.

Monument

The ceremony itself was moving beyond belief as family members recounted memories and told us stories passed down the generations. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I must pay tribute to Hull and District Trades Council and the Hull International Brigade Memorial Group who have worked tirelessly for so long to make this happen. I have been proud to campaign alongside them over this last four or five years and to see this amazing project finally come to fruition is a tribute to their dedication and determination that Hull needed to remember its heroic anti-fascist history now perhaps more than ever.

Motley Crew 2

I sang ‘No Pasaran’ at the unveiling ceremony and I will always remember it as one of the proudest moments of my life.

 

 

If you get the chance, I urge you to pay the monument a visit and spend a moment remembering Jim Bentley, Rob Wardle, Frida Stewart, Richard Mortimer, Morris Miller, Joe Latus, Bert Wilson, Sam Walters, Clive Smith and, of course, Jack Atkinson who gave so much for peace, democracy and freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

INCOMING!! Limited Edition ‘No Pasaran: Hull Memorial Edition’ and badge

This is the incredible limited edition badge to commemorate the unveiling of Hull’s brand new memorial to the city’s 10 International Brigade heroes.
 
Hull International Brigade Memorial Group and Hull and District Trades Council have very kindly donated 10 of these badges to WE SHALL OVERCOME. Together we recognise that fascism preys on poverty, and when times are hardest, its poisonous ideology spreads furthest. With this in mind I have set up limited edition bundle of a badge, plus a copy of the ‘No Pasaran: Hull Memorial Edition’ CD with all money raised being donated to Pauline Town to help her combat the effects of extreme poverty and homelessness in Greater Manchester.
 
Strictly first come, first served, and strictly limited to 10.
 
There is more than one way to fight fascism. You end the worst excesses of #ToryNeglect and you cut it off at source. Enough is enough. #FoodBankBritain is not a place to raise children able to hope and dream and thrive; it is a place where an endless race to the bottom divides communities like never before. It was exactly this process, division and hatred, that those ten volunteers travelled to Spain to fight.
 
No Pasaran.
 
Not then. Not now. Not ever.

MASSIVE WEEKEND COMING UP!

NP Hull Memorial Edition

This weekend will be  a blinder.

On Saturday we finally unveil the new monument to Hull’s ten International Brigade volunteers, who left the city between 1936 and 1938 to fight Franco’s fascists in Spain; including, of course, the hero of my song ‘No Pasaran’, Jack Atkinson.

The ceremony is midday on Saturday March 16th, and there will be speeches and messages of support plus words from each of the families. I’ll be there to sing that song too.

Hull IBMT Monument Event

It will be followed by an evening event at Tigers Lair on Anlaby Road where I’ll be singing and taking part in a panel on the fight against fascism past and present.

Then Sunday I’m heading back to London, this time to play the legendary Walthamstow Folk Club. If you’re in the area I would massively appreciate the support. I know it falls hot on the heels of the sold-out show at Greenwich Theatre, but this will be a slightly more intimate gig and I’d love to have your company.

Let the mischief and mayhem continue apace x

 

Music & Merch- 2019 Releases Explained.

It has been a bumper start to 2019 when it comes to releases, but I have received a few messages from people struggling to keep up, so here’s the lowdown on what has been released and why.

On January 1st I released two brand new CDs. The first, ‘Headscarves & Hurricanes’ is an album of songs telling the story of Hull’s fishing industry and the Hessle Road community which supported it, set against the backdrop of the 1968 Triple Trawler Tragedy and the subsequent campaign by the Headscarf Revolutionaries which went on to become the most successful UK civil campaign of the 20th century.

Album Thumbnail Headscarves

Inspired by reading Brian W. Lavery‘s book on the subject, this album contains eleven songs including collaborations with Rebekah Findlay and Commoners Choir and you can get that on download or CD here:

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/album/headscarves-hurricanes

Poetry Logo

Alongside that I released an 8-track extended EP called ‘The Past Won’t Last Forever’ containing collaborations with the Hatfield Brigade and Rebekah once more. That one is only a fiver and you can bag it here:

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-past-wont-last-forever-ep

As if that wasn’t enough, 6th March saw the release of the crowdfunded special edition re-issue of ‘Never Be Defeated’, my album telling the stories of the Hatfield Brigade back in 1984-85 and released to mark the 35th anniversary of the Miner’s Strike. Now a 2-CD set, this package contains the original album on disc one plus my other mining songs and the Hatfield Brigade recordings, plus a very special closer from former miner Mick Lanaghan.

NBD Special Edition

I crowdfunded this to keep it 100% independent of me financially, meaning every single penny raised from sales of both CD and download go to the community whose stories it tells. Half to the DN7 Hardship Fund for people struggling to make ends meet in the former pit villages of South Yorkshire, and half to the Save The Hatfield Main Headgear Campaign, looking to build a vital community resource from the old pit head and inspire generations to come.

The music is one thing, but the beautiful 16-page booklet designed by Kevin Pearson makes the whole package pretty stunning, and you can bag yours safe in the knowledge that your money will be put to immediate use here:

https://joesolothehatfieldbrigade.bandcamp.com/album/never-be-defeated-special-edition

And lastly, we will be unveiling the long-awaited monument to Hull’s 10 International Brigade volunteers on Saturday March 16th at midday outside Guildhall; and to mark the occasion a very special ‘Hull Memorial Edition’ of ‘No Pasaran’ has been commissioned.

NP Hull Memorial Edition

Essentially this is for family members of those 10 heroes of the city, but a strictly limited number have been put on sale for people who want one as a souvenir. It’s the original album in a cardboard overlay, but it looks stunning thanks to Kevin and is well worth adding to the collection here:

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/album/no-pasaran-hull-memorial-edition

So that’s the music.

I’ve also released four ‘Album Sleeve T-Shirts’ featuring the sleeves of ‘No Pasaran’, ‘Not On Our Watch’, ‘The Future Needs Us Now, and ‘Never Be Defeated’. These are £12 each plus postage and you can bag them here:

https://joesolomusic.bandcamp.com/merch

Complicated, maybe, but there’s loads of music new and old and I’ll be on the road all year ramming it down your throat.

Would appreciate your support with it all.

Thanks
Joe

Paul Rutland 1

 

Never Be Defeated- Special Edition TONIGHT!

NBD Special Edition

Officially released at midnight tonight to mark the 35th anniversary of the exact moment Cortonwood walked out and set in motion the Miner’s Strike 35 years ago tonight.
 
I could not be prouder of these songs, or of calling the people whose stories they tell my comrades and friends.
 
The strike was my political awakening. I was 14 years old. I began to question the role of government and police and media, and the answers I was faced with remain the truth I live by; that none can be trusted and none are worthy of our respect as institutions.
 
But it wasn’t all bad. I saw too the community spirit that inspires me to this day. I saw the sacrifices made to stand by a principle you know to be right. I saw the courage of people the State had waged all-out war on for a full year and who hadn’t buckled. And I saw their dignity in a defeat that wasn’t theirs and was utterly undeserved.
 
The Hatfield Brigade mean the world to me, and these are their stories, their voices, and I want you to hear them, to appreciate them, and to learn from them.
 
Folk music is a People’s History of the World.
 
This is an important chapter.
You can order the album here:

Lithium Joe are BACK!

Last night it finally happened. After 19 years Lithium Joe were back in a rehearsal room and kicking up a racket once more. Never thought it would happen, never thought it COULD happen, but I loved every second and can’t wait to do it all again.

Haven’t made music with Dave, Ian and Aidy since 2001 but such is the way with bands who spent so many years stuck in the same van driving up and down the country, the jokes are the same as ever and it took about 10 seconds to start where we left off.

Five songs came together last night and the rest will surely follow.

We are initially playing only one show, a We Shall Overcome all-dayer at The Station in Ashton-Under-Lyne on Saturday November 30th to put my 50th birthday to good use and hopefully pack the place to raise a stack for Pauline Town‘s ongoing work supporting the homeless of Greater Manchester. We are also booked into the studio to record that week so news of a brand new single will follow as soon as we have details.

Top fun. Loved it.

Good to be back.