Trapeze Catalogue

Various - The Songs of Civil Rights & Protest

Various - The Songs of Civil Rights & Protest

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A significant strand of American music, especially in the folk and blues arenas, relates to what came to be known as protest songs when opinions on a number of key social and political issues during the post-war era. Civil rights, nuclear disarmament, industrial justice all found a unified voice in the musical protest movement. However, this was nothing new, and many of the songs associated with this era came from earlier decades, as blues singers chronicled experiences of racial prejudice, poor rural folk sang about the privations of the Depression, industrial workers railed against exploitation, and gospel singers sought solace in spirituals.

This 50-track, 2CD, set brings together a selection of recordings which, one way or another, relate to the idea of songs as a medium of protest and social and political commentary. Later incarnations represent the early stirrings of the classic folk protest movement which crystallised in the early ‘60s by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Odetta, Staple Singers and others. Many of the noted voices of protest are featured here – Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson, Josh White, Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte and many more, plus some of the more obscure but no less important recordings that set the tone and led the way for later artists. The collection opens with Billie Holiday’s haunting Strange Fruit. The song protests the lynching of Black Americans with lyrics that compare the victims to the fruit of trees and has been called “a declaration” and “the beginning of the civil rights movement”.

We hope our collection proves a fascinating and inspiring compilation, for listeners of all ages.


Disc 1
Track Title Artist
1 Strange Fruit Billie Holiday
2 Go Down Moses Southern Sons
3 The Bourgeois Blues Leadbelly
4 Uncle Sam Says Josh White
5 Song Of Freedom Paul Robeson
6 Dear Mr. President Pete Seeger & The Almanac Singers
7 This Land Is Your Land Woody Guthrie
8 We've Got A Plan (G.I. Joe And The C.I.O.) Tom Glazer
9 Atomic Energy Sir Lancelot
10 Amazing Grace Mahalia Jackson
11 I Shall Not Be Moved Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Coyal McMahan
12 When Do I Get to Be Called a Man? Big Bill Broonzy
13 The Death of Emmett Till Parts 1 & 2 The Ramparts
14 Which Side Are You On The Weavers
15 The Great American Bum Cisco Houston
16 The Alabama Bus Parts 1 & 2 Brother Will Hairston (Hurricane Of The Motor City)
17 We Are Americans Too Nat King Cole
18 Spiritual Trilogy: Oh, Freedom, Come and Go With Me, I'm on My W Odetta
19 We Are Soldiers In The Army The Caravans
20 Fair And Free Elections Oscar Brand
21 All My Trials Joan Baez
22 Oh Freedom Harry Belafonte
23 This Little Light Of Mine Sister Rosetta Tharpe
24 Free At Last Soul Stirrers
25 The Gospel Plow Bob Dylan
Disc 2
Track Title Artist
1 The Rich Man And The Poor Man Bob Miller
2 Joe Hill Paul Robeson
3 Defense Factory Blues Josh White
4 Cotton Mill Colic Dave Mccarn
5 Pity The Downtrodden Landlord Bob Hill
6 Judge Harsh Blues Furry Lewis
7 Black, Brown And White Big Bill Broonzy
8 Lift Every Voice And Sing Southern Sons
9 I've Got A Right Laura Duncan
10 We Shall Be Free Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston, Leadbelly, Sonny Terry
11 We Shall Not Be Moved Almanac Singers
12 The House I Live In Earl Robinson
13 Talking Atom Pete Seeger
14 Brown Baby Nina Simone
15 I've Been Scorned Staple Singers
16 Soup Song Cisco Houston
17 Please See That My Grave Is Kept Clean Dave Van Ronk Dave Van Ronk
18 Go Tell It On The Mountain Mahalia Jackson
19 Steal Away Sam Cooke
20 If I Had A Hammer Odetta
21 Wars of Germany Judy Collins
22 Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream The Weavers
23 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Kingston Trio
24 Song To Woody Bob Dylan
25 We Shall Overcome Guy Carawan
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    July 2022
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