A listen to an a capella version of “Ho Lily Ho” by Appalachian singer Sarah Hawkes reveals the song’s origin. Even though they didn’t change Reece’s original melody or lyric, the Almanac Singers took “Which Side Are You On?” from the personal to the universal. Grande confirmed this very meaning of the song to reporters at the MTV Video Music Awards, where the video premiered. Just as we were in the 1930s and ’60s, America is suffering a moral crisis. And all you could do was go over and help wash and dress ‘em and lay ‘em out and sit with the mothers until they could put ‘em away. The question renews itself as each generation struggles against inequality. Which side are you on boys? The struggle in Harlan County emerged from the depths of the economic crisis in the coal fields in the early 1930s, which produced successive wage cuts and layoffs for miners. Which side are you on, boys? The characters in the song - Crazy Chester, Luke, Anna Lee, are based on friends of the band. Original release by Florence Reece. “The Bible to help ’em to the next world. Which Side Are You On? Seeger had a knack for popularization. Which Side Are You On? Because some people are afraid of the dark,and some people are afraid to be themselves,so I think the light is suppose to be representing a cover some peoople put on to hide who they really are. “Which Side Are You On?” quickly became an anthem in the union halls and picket lines. “Which Side Are You On?,” written from acute personal trauma, has been universalized, both in lyric and musical modality. tells the story of the classic union song that was written in 1931 by Florence Reece in a rain of bullets. Learn more. He likes how one informs the other. Will you be a lousy scab Or will you be a man? Definition and synonyms of whose side are you on? Although the Great Depression left no American untouched, those who lived in the penury of Kentucky coal country bore a greater burden. View by: Highest Rated; Most Recent; Oldest First; No Comments Add your thoughts. Which Side Are You On song meanings Add your thoughts No Comments. It’s axiomatic: In hard times, the vulnerable suffer most. They certainly employed, to great effect, the Almanac Singers’ call and response arrangement, bringing altogether more church into the proceedings. Even if Florence Reece, the young and beleaguered Kentucky housewife, did not know the original song’s themes of transformation and bravery when she wrote her lyric, she carried them forward nonetheless. “You have to be on one side or the other,” she once said. Come all you good workers Good news to you i'll tell Of how the good old union Has come in here to dwell. The miners responded by organizing a union. (Again, think of a Beatles song, with chord changes and harmonies.) Come all you Negro people, lift up your voices and sing. “In Harlan County there wasn’t no neutral. “Which Side Are You On?” quickly became an anthem in the union halls and picket lines. On February 16, 1931, the Harlan County Coal Operators’ Association reduced their employees’ wages — already at subsistence level — by 10 percent. After making its way out of Harlan County and into a New York recording studio, it got modified to fit the message of countless underdog protagonists. The sheriff’s department acted as enforcers for the mine operators. “Which Side Are You On?” was the last of its six songs. If you wasn’t a gun thug, you was a union man. Which side are you on? “Rather than walking up to a gun thug and saying, ‘You’re a bastard,’ which might have resulted in a shooting, we could express our anger much more easily in unison with song lyrics.”. Finally, we were blessed with “Side to Side,” a catchy pop tune featuring Nicki Minaj that’s all about having so much sex you can’t walk straight. Remember, it was he who changed “I Will Overcome” to “We Shall Overcome.” Seeger also identified “Which Side Are You On?” as being pliable to other applications. Oh workers can you stand it? Which side are you on? Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Which side are you on? They performed “Which Side Are You On?”, where it ultimately caught the ear of Pete Seeger. On your side definition: If something is on your side or if you have it on your side , it helps you when you are... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples First, Reece, singing her composition in later years. Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert Songfacts - the stories and meanings behind the songs, with songwriter interviews and lyrics. 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