Union Songs

Working Girl Blues

A review by Mark Gregory

One of the joys of any web site is the email you receive because people just find it. In the short life of the Union Songs web site I have received many emails from all over the world where such songs cherished. The evolution and development of the site has largely come from this correspondence. So I was pleased to hear from a member of a New Zealand choir called Choir Choir Pants on Fire, and even more pleased to receive a copy of their recent CD Working Girl Blues.

The CD has 18 songs more than half of which have been written by members of the choir. Some date back a century or more, the poem Step by Step from a US Trade Union rule book and the song Bread and Roses. There is the Italian Socialist song Bandiera Rossa and the Wobbly song Solidarity Forever. Songs that most of the union choirs that I have come across have in their repertoir. What is different about this choir is that it is an all women choir and as you would expect their material reflects that. Choir Choir Pants on Fire celebrate working women and their lives, or as they put it

"we bring our kids and families, our life experiences and our passion for what we do. Together we raise our voices in song ... union women singing passionately and proudly about working people and our lives."

I was particularly impressed with the choirs own songs Turn the Anger, Tucked Away and Labour Leading Labour, all new songs to me and all evidence that in spite of the battering the New Zealand labour movement has taken from the years of unbridled economic rationalism, the will to fight and organise lives on.

It was also good to hear Glen Tomassetti's Dont Be Too Polite Girls a song from the Australian fight for equal pay back in the 1960's.

In New Zealand Choir Choir Pants on Fire is available to sing at any event that promotes the rights of women and workers generally, for a negotiable fee.

Working Girl Blues can be otained for $20.00 (plus $5.00 p&p) from:
phone: 64 4 384 7957
email: lark@paradise.net.nz

or write to:
PO Box 7182
Wellington South
New Zealand

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