An effort is underway to raise money to produce an album of labor songs to observe the 100th anniversary of the execution of musician and labor organizer, Joe Hill next month.
The album, Rhymes to Fan the Flames of Discontent, which is the brainchild of Carl “DJ Juke” Greer from Kansas City and Not4Prophet of the bands Ricanstruction and X-Vandals, will feature 13 songs that were originally done by artists such as Pete Seeger, Utah Phillips, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke and Hill himself. The Fundly page they had set up for the project is seeking $5,000 in donations which will go toward mastering and manufacturing the album.
Joe Hill was a Swedish-American member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and a popular labor songwriter and poet who was executed on Nov. 19, 1915 for the murders of a police officer and his son. The trial was very controversial and appeals to spare his life from the Swedish ambassador and fellow-IWW member Helen Keller were unsuccessful. Questions about Hill’s guilt remain to this day, and over the years he has become a folk hero among labor, and a quote in a final letter to IWW member and friend “Big Bill” Haywood, “Don’t waste any time in mourning. Organize…” has been paraphrased and is now iconic as “Don’t mourn, organize.”
After this project, Greer and Not4Prophet plan to release an album of original labor songs, six of which have already been recorded. Both are members of the Ida B. Wells Coalition.
Zero Prophet aka Not4Prophet’s cover of the classic (I dreamed I saw) Joe Hill, in honor of musician and labor organizer, Joe Hills’ birthday and the 100th anniversary of his execution.