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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Views and Review : 'Joe Hill' by Bruce Springsteen

I am so glad that I've got to speak about this song in particular today.Out of all the songs that I have talked about and am going to talk about in this series,this is the song I am most emotionally connected to.In times I couldn't think of standing up on my own,two feet again and speak for the deprived,this was my inspiration,the instinct that still made my reflex respond.Respect is instinctive,indeed for men of honour like this.To remind us all and our minds that this is the 100th year of his execution,his will,last and final will needs to be mentioned before we get to the song.

Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle, Sweden, and also known as Joseph Hillström (October 7, 1879 – November 19, 1915) was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, familiarly called the "Wobblies").A native Swedish speaker, he learned English during the early 1900s, while working various jobs from New York to San Francisco. Hill, an immigrant worker frequently facing unemployment and underemployment, became a popular songwriter and cartoonist for the radical union. His most famous songs include "The Preacher and the Slave" (in which he coined the phrase "pie in the sky"), "The Tramp", "There is Power in a Union", "The Rebel Girl", and "Casey Jones—the Union Scab", which express the harsh and combative life of itinerant workers, and call for workers to organize their efforts to improve working conditions

My will is easy to decide 
For there is nothing to divide
My kin don't need to fuss and moan
"Moss does not cling to rolling stone"

My body? Oh, if I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my Last and final Will.
Good Luck to All of you
Joe Hill

Joe hill002.jpg

Joel Emmanuel Hägglund (Joe Hill)

(Photograph Source)

Urge,perhaps is the only immortal element on earth.In a flow,in the millions of statutory points of time,that consist of flow and constitute flow in turn,the urge lives as a permanent part of it.Perhaps the only permanence we can ever think of.The flow is known in many names,as streams,as rivers,as rain,as music.All of them have words,comprehensive or not to us apparently.In this song,in these words,in every single blow of the trumpet and every single note of the mouth organ and in every turn of tune,you can nearly visualise Joe Hill.A man who stood tall,a man who stood rather than bowing down his head to the masters.A man who lives amidst the revolutionary part of every heart.Of every soul.And the concept is so beautifully performed in the song.

'Joe Hill' Lyrics
(Credit :

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead,"
"I never died," says he.
"I never died," says he.

"In Salt Lake, Joe," says I to him,
Him standing by my bed,
"They framed you on a murder charge,"
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead,"
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead."

"The copper bosses killed you, Joe,
They shot you, Joe," says I.
"Takes more than guns to kill a man,"
Says Joe, "I didn't die,"
Says Joe, "I didn't die."

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Says Joe, "What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize,
Went on to organize."

"Joe Hill ain't dead," he says to me,
"Joe Hill ain't never died.
Where working men are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side,
Joe Hill is at their side."

From San Diego up to Maine,
In every mine and mill -
Where working men defend their rights
It's there you'll find Joe Hill.
It's there you'll find Joe Hill.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead",
"I never died," says he.
"I never died," says he.

Joe Hill, organizer of Industrial Workers of the World, executed in Utah, USA, in 1915.

Music: Earl Robinson

Song Review

Recently,I listened to Bruce Springsteen's version of the song performed in 2014 in Tampa,Florida and the overflowing crowd,their enlightened faces,the singer's eyes spoke of illumination.This is indeed an amazing performance,of the kind that makes your ears go warm and your face flushed and eyes teary.

The harmonics used were mostly vocal instrumentation and material instruments were simply a few trumpets,a mouth organ and an acoustic guitar played by Springsteen himself.The range is apt,the accordion is perfect,the instrumentals are great,the arrangement is just as you want it to be for a song like this.
It is going to be a shameful task to judge the lyrics,so I am not going to judge.All I can say about the lyrics is that they sort of remind a lot of people the reason behind their existence.The melody is enchanting.There is nothing,absolutely no flaws I can figure out about the song.Here goes the scores - 

Lyrics - 5/5
Instrumentals - 5/5
Melody - 5/5
The voice behind - 5/5

As a song - {(20/20 * 100)%} = 100%

Below is provided the video originally uploaded by the artist on his YouTube Channel.I recommend a watch,at least if you are into country music .

Data Credit : Wikipedia
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