July 5, 2010

A Rare Musical Gem: The Miners' Strike

Hah, the old dog/new tricks paradigm takes a hit!

I'm practically a textbook model of what yer blunter geeks call a "Flashing 12" but I just managed (with considerable help from my technologically epter roomie, admittedly) to compose and post a YouTube video.

It is a wonderful tune by a Brit named Pete Fowler, released as a single in 1975 on the Oval Records label. "The Miners' Strike" pays tribute to the 1974 coalfields strike of the National Union of Mineworkers. It lasted 4 weeks and toppled the Tory Party government of Edward Heath. The Labour government elected in its stead settled quickly with the miners, who won 35% pay increases.

I learned about the song when Robert Christgau, the dude some bozo painted a target on by calling him "the dean of American rock critics," wrote an article in the old Village Voice about it. You can read it here and will perhaps understand why I hied my 25 year old ass posthaste to Bleeker Bob's shop where Christgau had left a bunch of them.

I bought it, played it, loved it and contacted Christgau and purchased the last 25 from the hundred he had dragged home from the UK! Most have gone over the years but I still have a few, and Dave Lippman cut me an MP3 from one. Using that, iMovie and some photos I swiped online, I was able to knock this sucker together.

I hope you like it and am looking forward to my next two YouTube projects, the Earth Island Orchestra, a splendid jazz/world music outfit out of Detroit, circa 1990 or so, and the mysterious Aberdeen Street Band, whose remarkable b-side, "Every Time My Mother Calls,) I'm Stoned," is a) just as good as the title suggests and b) so far below the radar that even Comrade Google draws a blank...

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