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Harlan County Blues

George Davis
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(anonimo)


[1940]
Parole e musica di George Davis (1906-1992), minatore, cantautore, conduttore radiofonico, testimone della lunghissima lotta dei minatori del Kentucky e, in particolare, di quelli della contea di Harlan, detta non a caso “Bloody Harlan County”, dove il confronto sanguinoso tra lavoratori, compagnie e strikebreakers durò quasi ininterrottamente dai primi del 900 fino agli anni 70 e alla crisi mondiale dell’estrazione del carbone.



Nel disco di George Davis intitolato “When Kentucky Had No Union Men”, pubblicato nel 1967 dalla Folkways Records.



Interpretata anche da Mike Seeger nel disco “Tipple, Loom & Rail - Songs Of The Industrialization Of The South” (Folkways Records, 1966)

Poi anche nella raccolta “Songs And Ballads Of The Bituminous Miners” edita nel 2002 dalla Biblioteca del Congresso USA.



Sono moltissime le canzoni già presenti sul sito dedicate alla “Harlan War”. Se mettete “Harlan County” o “Bloody Harlan” nel motore di ricerca dovrebbe risultarvi almeno una dozzina di record. Piuttosto mi preme qui consigliare caldamente la visione di “Harlan County USA”, un film diretto nel 1976 dalla regista Barbara Kopple, presentato a Cannes nel 1977 e vincitore quell’anno del premio Oscar per il migliore documentario. Nel 1990 è stato inserito nel National Film Registry, come film fondamentale nella storia del cinema americano.

A bunch of fellers the other day
O'er to Harlan went;
They told me about the fun they had--
All the time in jail they spent.

Most of the fellers were like me
Who didn't go along;
If you want the story, boys,
Just listen to this song.

"You didn't have to be drunk," they said,
"To get throwed in the can;
The only thing you needed be
Was just a union man."

None of the boys didn't like it much,
They said they's treated bad;
They took their knives or pocket books,
Or anything they had.

They throwed Bill Wheeler in the can,
With all his p'ison gases;
He had no money to pay a fine
So they just took his glasses.

Then Kelly said, "You can't do this to me,"
When they come to get his name;
"The hell they can't," the jailer said
"You're in here just the same."

Walter he's a funny chap,
With me you'll all agree;
He wants some one to hold to him,
When he gets on a spree.

Delmos he went down the street,
To a restaurant was bent;
When two fellers picked him up
And to the jail he went.

Put Bill Sheets in the jailhouse,
For reckless walking, so they say;
They can't hold Old Bill for that,
'Cause he always walks that way.

Sam Ward went to the jailhouse,
And the jailer twirled his keys;
Sam said, "Mr. Jailer,
Now won't you listen, please."

Everything grew quiet, boys,
You couldn't hear a sound;
"Turn 'em out," Sam Ward yelled,
"Or I'll turn this jail around."

When they all was freed again,
You could hear them all take on:
"Just thik of the fun that we'd a missed,
If we hadn't come along."

Then our president he asked our vice:
'How'd you get along so well?"
And Taylor Cornett laughed and said,
"Why, I was drunk as hell."

Lloyd Baker went over there,
To dodge the jail, he did;
He said, "They'd all stayed out of jail,
If they'd kept their buttons hid."

Now my song is ended,
And I hope no one is sore;
If there is, then please speak up
And I won't sing no more.

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 19/5/2015 - 14:52


Per fortuna, vedendo il fil della Kopple ho scoperto che la foto di cui sopra non ritrae gun thugs al soldo dei padroni, ma minatori dell'UMW'A che difendono in armi lo sciopero... così si faceva... tempi eroici, non lontanissimi...

B.B. - 27/9/2019 - 22:37



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