Music Mondays: The Marion Massacre

From Gene at Harry’s Place:

“The Marion Masscre,” recorded in 1929 by the duo of Welling and McGhee, is about the deaths of striking textile mill workers in Marion, North Carolina, in a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies.

‘Tis ere the same old story
With the laborers of our land.
They’re ruled by mighty powers,
And riches they command.

If Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans think that requiring the very rich to pay at least the same rate of taxes as the middle class is class warfare, imagine how they would react to words like those.

Note the remarkable combination of class warfare and old-time gospel, of a kind regrettably rare these days.

Why is it over money,
These men from their friends must part,
Leaving home and loved ones
With a bleeding, broken heart?

But some day they’ll meet them
On that bright shore so fair,
And live in peace forever,
There’ll be no sorrow there.

Credits: Welling and McGhee (Billed as The Martin Brother)(Frank Welling [vocal, steel guitar], John McGhee [vocal, guitar]) New York c October 1929. On Paramount Old Time Recordings box set 2006.

More about Benjamin Franklin (Frank) Welling here.

A third type of material was hard-hitting labor songs such as “North Carolina Textile Strike,” which the record company felt was a bit controversial and thus slipped out under the name of the Martin Brothers.

And on John (JL) McGee here. Listen to “He Abides” (1928) at Archive.org.

Partial discography:

  1. Are You Washed in the Blood [of the Lamb]?Paramount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #C.01 [1928]
  2. Busted Bank BluesParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #B.03 [1931]
  3. Marion MassacrePoor Man, Rich Man: American Country Songs of ProtestRounder 1026, LP (198?), trk #B.05 [1929]
  4. Marion MassacreParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #B.01 [1929]
  5. My Mother’s BibleParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #C.04 [1928]
  6. North Carolina Textile StrikeParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #B.02 [1929]
  7. Old Account Was Settled [Long Ago]West Virginia Hills. Early Recordings from West VirginiaOld Homestead OHCS 141, LP (1982), trk # 12 [1930]
  8. Picture on the WallParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #B.04 [1931]
  9. What a Friend We Have in JesusParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #C.02 [1928]
  10. When the Roll is Called Up YonderParamount Old Time RecordingsJSP 7774A-D, CD( (2006), trk #C.03 [1928]
I will post more from Poor Man, Rich Man: American Country Songs of Protest in later Music Mondays. Read the review at No Depression.
Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://poumista.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/3150/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: