Nov. 19th, 2015

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Today, it is exactly one hundred years since Joe Hill was murdered by the state of Utah, to some degree for the crime of filking. Salt Lake Tribune has a wonderful site documenting the events.

So last year I filked his songs "The Rebel Girl" and "It's a Long Way Down to the Soup Line". This year, I have written some new filks, and also found some old filk, based on songs written by Joe Hill.

Back in 1981, the Swedish fan, translator, and author Gunnar Gällmo was angry at Swedish sf publisher and author Sam J Lundwall due to crappy pay, so he wrote a song, first published in the fanzine Fanytt (edited by Swedish BNF Ahrvid Engholm). It's based on "Svarta präster", the Swedish translation of Joe Hill's most famous song, "The Preacher and the Slave" (which is itself based on "In the Sweet Bye and Bye").

Plankstek )

(I've done a few minor changes for better singability compared to Gunnar's first version.)

Of course, "The Preacher and the Slave" is an excellent song, so Kate Gladstone wrote a fabolous set of new lyrics for it as well, called "Brand Name Bullies". Lyrics and recording can be found on the FilkArchive. The good thing about these is that I can skip filking that song with a clear conscience.

Instead I have filked Joe Hill's "There Is Power in a Union", based on the old spiritual "There Is Power in the Blood".

There Is Power in a Fandom )

But once I started to explore Joe Hill's songs again, I found another great idea for a fan-topical song, this time in celebration of our own brand of community-focused and -run cons. It's based on Hill's "Nearer My Job to Thee", based on "Nearer, My God, to Thee".

Nearer My Con to Thee )

Feel free to replace Swecon with the name of another con that's important to you. "Kollektinbug" goes back to the old fan classic The Enchanted Duplicator. No insult intended to cosplayers, who I often have found to the wonderful people, but they tend to value other types of events and interaction than I do.

I do have a third Joe Hill filk, though this came about when I talked about the planets with my daughter, and decided to write a song about the planets. I wanted to write a reasonably short one, but when digging up for melodies I hit on Joe Hill's "The Tramp", based on the American Civil War Song "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!", and ended up writing a far too long song.

Planetsången )

It has proved to be quite the hit in my family, though I'm not that happy with the two last verses—they are a bit overlapping. I can recommend not singing every single chorus, unless one wants a pizza song.