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Voice and Vision: Songs of Resistance, Democracy and Peace

Voice and Vision (Topic TSCD774D)

Voice and Vision
Songs of Resistance, Democracy and Peace
Various Artists

GFTU / Topic Records TSCD774D (2 CD, UK, 13 October 2014)

Voice and Vision (Topic TSCD774D)

The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) approached Topic Records with a view to reconnecting trade unions with a long-standing song tradition and a truly independent label with its political roots. This collaboration has resulted in a wonderful collection of songs highlighting Topic’s long-standing commitment to ‘Political’ song, with material linked to social justice, democracy and the resistance of class oppression.

Legendary artists who have recorded for Topic Records including Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Pete Seeger, Louis Killen and Anne Briggs feature alongside newer voices like Fran Morter and Adam Rees, Kiti Theobald, Jack Forbes, and 17 year old Piers Haslam.

The songs selected here are mostly from a tiny cross-section of material from Topic’s vast back-catalogue which describe events across hundreds of years of struggle for social fairness, respect and collective will. Dick Gaughan’s version of ’The World Turned Upside Down, a reflection on the Diggers and Levellers of the mid-seventeenth century, is the opening track. The Internationale, sung by the Topic Singers & Band, which as the B-side of The Man That Waters the Workers’ Beer, was on the first ever release by the label. The plight of the miners in the 1980s is represented by Norma Waterson with her moving rendition of the poem by miner’s wife Kay Sutcliffe, Coal Not Dole.

A collection of songs that form a history of dissent, collaboration and the collective drive for social justice, Voice and Vision is a double CD set of music and words that speak across generations and boundaries of the basic human right to dignity.


CD 1

  1. Dick Gaughan: The World Turned Upside Down (2.48)
    from Handful of Earth (Topic 12TS419, 1981)
  2. Chumbawamba: The Diggers’ Song (3.29)
    from English Rebel Songs 1381-1914 (Prop 3, 1988)
  3. Roy Bailey: Hard Times of Old England (Roud 1206) (4.21)
    from Freedom Peacefully (Fuse CF386, 1985)
  4. Ewan MacColl: To the Begging I Will Go (Roud 286; G/D 3:488) (2.34)
    from The Manchester Angel (Topic 12T147, 1966)
  5. Anne Briggs: The Recruited Collier (Roud 3503) (2.38)
    from The Iron Muse (Topic 12T86, 1963)
  6. Shirley Collins: The Rigs of the Time (Roud 876) (3.08)
    from The Sweet Primeroses (Topic 12T170, 1967)
  7. The Copper Family: The Month of May (Roud 153; Henry H697) (2.02)
    from Traditional Songs From Rottingdean (EFDSS LP1002, 1963)
  8. Bob Davenport: Jerusalem (1.18)
    from The Common Stone (Topic TSCD552, 2004)
  9. Brian Denny: Captain Swing (3.03)
  10. M.G. Boulter: General Ludd’s Triumph (3.53)
  11. The Oldham Tinkers: Four-Loom Weaver (Roud 937) (2.51)
    from Best o’ t’ Bunch (Topic 12TS237, 1974)
  12. Roy Harris: Poverty Knock (Roud 3491; TYG 14) (3.41)
    from The Bitter and the Sweet (Topic 12TS217, 1972)
  13. Fran Morter & Adam Rees: The Song of the Lower Classes (3.44)
  14. The Topic Singers & Band: The Internationale (2.54)
    from Topic’s first 78rpm record (TRC1, 1939)
  15. Louis Killen: Blackleg Miner (Roud 3193) (1.17)
    from The Iron Muse (Topic 12T86, 1963)

CD 2

  1. Piers Haslam: Free & Easy (4.30)
  2. Leon Rosselson: Bringing the News from Nowhere (6.28)
    from Bringing the News from Nowhere (Fuse CF390, 1986)
  3. Kiti Theobald: Alice White (2.40)
  4. Paul Robeson: Joe Hill (3.00)
    from a 78rpm record (Topic TRC95, 1956)
  5. Pete Seeger: Talking Union Blues (3.08)
    from a 78rpm record (Topic TRC92, 1956)
  6. Paddy Ryan: The Man That Waters the Workers’ Beer (Roud 31289) (3.06)
    from Topic’s first 78rpm record (TRC1, 1939)
  7. Martin Carthy: The Dominion of the Sword (Roud V3219) (3.33)
    from Right of Passage (Topic 12T452, 1988)
  8. Martin Simpson: Palaces of Gold (3.40)
    from Vagrant Stanzas (Topic TSCD589, 2013)
  9. Banner Theatre: Saltley Gates (3.42)
    from Here We Go (Banner Theatre, 1984)
  10. Norma Waterson: Coal Not Dole (3.03)
    from Mighty River of Song (Topic TSFCD4002, 2004)
  11. John Tams: Harry Stone (Hearts of Coal) (5.59)
    from Unity (Topic TSCD508, 2000)
  12. Jsck Forbes: Rolling Down the River (2.14)
  13. Peggy Seeger: If You Want a Better Life (2.54)
    from An Odd Collection (Rounder, 1996)
  14. The First of May Band: War (4.36)
    from Rise Up (Banner, 2013)

All other tracks listed without source were recorded in 2014 specially for this project