Labor's Troubadour

Labor's Troubadour

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Spiced with colorful anecdotes, leavened with humor, and rich with compassion for the struggles of the rank-and-file worker, "Labor's Troubadour" traces the life and work of labor balladeer Joe Glazer. For more than half a century, armed only with his guitar, reams of songs, and conviction, Glazer has marshaled the power of music to fight for union representation in mills, mines, factories, and offices all over the country. A performer, educator, and "musical agitator for all good causes," Glazer has sung on picket lines, in worn-out union halls, and at elegant dinners, using humor, irony, and pathos to drive home the message of unionism. With the ease and lan of a seasoned storyteller, Glazer tells of sharing platforms with political powerhouses including Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, Adlai Stevenson, George McGovern, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ladybird Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. With sparks of humor, he describes his encounters with Jackie Kennedy, Rudolf Serkin, and other celebrities, as well as his relationships with Walter Reuther, George Meany, Cesar Chavez, Philip Murray, John Sweeney, and other outstanding leaders of the labor movement.During half a lifetime of rubbing shoulders with the powerful, however, Glazer's focus has never wavered from supporting workers' efforts to secure fair wages and decent working conditions. His reward has been to see his music bring unity out of discord, galvanize union support, and lift the spirits of striking workers who were running low on every resource except a shared faith in the strength of unity. In a career that has taken him all over the world to sing, write, and collect songs about the common human condition of working, Glazer has seen songs about the battle for the eight-hour day give way to songs about automation and cheap imports, with a constant refrain of union busters, scabs, solidarity, plant safety, and retirement benefits. Seventy of these songs are included in the book. An enthusiastic recruiter and promoter of new talent, Glazer has also drawn a number of new labor balladeers into the limelight, some of whom he profiles here. A lively and moving testament of "sticking to the union," "Labor's Troubadour" reveals the powerful role music can play in the serious business of changing the world. U.S. Supreme Court decisions change the lives of Americans for better or worse. Obviously, the stakes are high for litigants, but the outcomes also affect economic, social, and political life as the Court's actions direct law interpretation throughout the American legal system. Year after year the Supreme Court makes decisions that twist or turn American politics. In 2000, the Court decided the outcome of a presidential election. By doing so, some commentators claimed that the Court veered off its chartered constitutional course. Other commentators maintained that the Court brought needed stability to a political process that required finality. How it happens that a vote of nine justices substituted for the votes cast by citizens is not easily explained. In "Bush v. Gore" you can read and reflect on the entire proceedings, from the initial petitions urging the Supreme Court review through the briefs and reply briefs to the Court's opinions and dissents. More than that, you can listen to the proceedings as the justices ask questions and the attorneys answer. The recordings demonstrate as no transcript can the tension in the Court while it heard the arguments and the emotions that ran high as the justices dealt with each other. This is the first in a series of compact discs on major decisions made by the U. S. Supreme Court. "Bush v. Gore" takes full advantage of digital technology to allow access to each case as it was presented as well as to the decisions and dissents that came from it. Hardly an austere and impersonal body, the Supreme Court will come alive as individuals passionately involved in the logic, precedents, and consequences of law in the United States argue the great issues in our time.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 154.4 x 228.1 x 21.6mm | 485.35g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 025207095X
  • 9780252070952

Review quote

"Glazer's aptly titled volume captures well his six-decade career as a labor performer and organizer... Highly recommended for libraries with an interest in musical history particularly in the context of recent social, labor, political, and cultural issues. " -- Choice "Makes you feel like you're there -- singing the songs and struggling for justice, dignity and respect." -- Solidarity ADVANCE PRAISE "In the years since Joe Glazer got his first mail-order guitar for $5.95, he's been singing the music of working people--everywhere from picket lines in the snow to giant union picnics to the White House lawn. In Labor's Troubadour Joe tells his own fascinating life story, which is both a great adventure and a journey for justice." -- John J. Sweeney, president, AFL-CIO "I've known Joe Glazer for fifty years. He's done an extraordinary job in his life, not letting people forget the great union songs." -- Pete Seeger "There is no better way to experience the excitement of the American labor movement, its victories and its defeats, than by reading Joe Glazer's Labor's Troubadour. It is a serious book; you relive labor and political history while turning its pages. But it is highly entertaining, a joy to read." -- Douglas Fraser, president emeritus, United Auto Workers "Joe Glazer has left a legacy of lasting value to the labor movement through his own songs and his recordings of union classics. In this book he shows how the songs came out of specific historical conditions and yet how they continue to express the aspirations and emotions of working men and women today. His story is unique and heartwarming, and he tells it with zest and brilliance in Labor's Troubadour. This is a major contribution to the musical folklore of the labor movement." -- Archie Green, labor folklorist "I first heard Joe Glazer perform his musical magic in 1944 when he began working for the Textile Workers Union of America. As a teacher, lecturer, and musician, he has been an inspiration to thousands of working people, blue collar and white collar alike. This book ... should be read by every trade union leader and made available to all local union officers." -- Sol Stetin, president emeritus, Textile Workers Union of America "Joe Glazer's memoir vividly recalls many of the central labor struggles of the last half-century and brings the reader to a renewed appreciation of the role of music in building social movements. Glazer's two chapters on younger singers shows the varied ways the generations that followed him are carrying on that tradition. An informative and engaging read!" -- Nick Salvatore, author of Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist "Although there are plenty of musicians who are performing labor songs, Joe Glazer is the only person around who worked within the mainstream union structure and kept music at the forefront of his work. The story of his life as a labor songsmith is absorbing and important." -- Bucky Halker, author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95show more