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Cornelius Cardew / Peoples Liberation Music /
Progressive Cultuaral Association Band/ Fight Back Band / Thomposon / DeGale / Jackson / others

tracks are roughly chronological from the early years of Peoples Liberation Music to PCA band which superseded it towards the end of 1978.
information on musicians and lyrics

1. Consciously - Cardew
This live recording from a 1986 memorial concert in London brings out the energy behind this strikingly harmonic song, a real fervour in both words and music. The combination of Huw Warren's intelligent Piano/Synth work, the intensity of Vicky Silva's voice, with Walter Cardew (bass) and Nick Connors (drums), evokes an urgent pulse needed for this song. Nothing should be left to chance is Cornelius Cardew's message, there can be no revolutionary change without consciousness.
1986 memorial concert, London
2. The Spirit of Cable Street - Baker
The opening ostinato creates a momentum and Cardew's voice prepares us for the journey. Raising high the banner from Cable Street in the East End of London where Moseley's Black Shirts were defeated in 1936, through the call No Pasaran! (They Shall not Pass!) of the Spanish Civil War (1936/9), to the anti-racist demonstrations of 1974, and the death of student Kevin Gateley at Red Lion Square, London.
1976 studio47, London
3. We People - Burgie/Jackson
This well known Caribbean tune is used to explain racism of the state. The opening lines refer to the use of the police Special Patrol Group's 'stop and search' during the 70s when they tended to stop people on the basis of their colour. It doesn't stop at opposing attacks on minority communities, but broadens it out "all nationalities join together as one".
1978 studio47, London
4. Solidarity Song - Brecht/Eisler
This famous anthem from the 1932 film Kuhle Wampe conjures up the zeitgeist of pre-Nazi Germany in the increasingly bitter struggles against the growing power of fascism. From the enduring partnership of Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht, still popular in Germany and many other countries.
1976 studio47, London
5. Bold Fenian Men - Trad/Kearney Arr: Marcangelo/Baker/Silva
PLM at its lyrical best. This evocative song, beautifully sung by Vicky Silva with keyboard settings by John Marcangelo and empathetic bass playing, is a fitting memorial to all those who fought, suffered and died in the centuries-long struggle for Irish freedom. Written by Peadar Kearney (1883-1942), uncle of Brendan Behan.
1974 studio47, London
6. Join in the Fight - Trad/Robeson Arr: Silva
Paul Robeson turned the spiritual Heaven Bound Soldier into the antithetical Join in the Fight, saying that it is pointless hoping for heaven in a world crying out for unity, justice, freedom. Robeson, like many artists, Hemingway, Eisler, Busch, etc, visited the fronts of Madrid and Teruel during 1937-8, singing for International Brigades. The Lincoln Battalion included Afro-Americans and a black officer, Oliver Law, led black and white troops into battle. Recorded at Unity Theatre, 1975, where Robeson had performed in 1938.
1975 Unity Theatre, London
7. Take Up the Fight - Baker
Pip Pyle's energetic drumming drives the unequivocal call for people to 'take up the fight' against the nazis and their protectors. Recorded in 1976 at a joint production Remember Cable Street by Recreation Ground Theatre Company and PLM at the historic Unity Theatre, London. Originally a railway workers' chapel before becoming a workers' theatre, it was used by a broad spectrum of performers. Pip nearly left his drums to collect next day on his way to a session in central London. Fortunately he took them with him as the theatre 'mysteriously' burnt to the ground in the early hours of the morning Nov 6th. PLM/Rec' were due to perform at Unity that night too, but didn't due to a double booking.
1976 Unity Theatre, London
8. Himno de Riego - Machedo/Esplá arr: Baker/Silva
A popular patriotic song written in the 1820s named in honour of Colonel Rafael del Riego. It was the national anthem of Spain during the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939). After Franco falangists overthrew the elected government in the Spanish Civil War, a precursor to WW2, this song and many others were banned under pain of death until 1976.
1976 Unity Theatre, London
9. We're Not Afraid - Dermot Arr: Baker
A song of defiance coming from the depths of solitary confinement in an British jail from inmates who refused to wear the prison uniform. In the 1974 General Election, whilst canvassing for a Marxist-Leninist candidate, election workers were apprehended on trumped up charges during which they were attacked by both police and fascists. Battersea constituency was one of the first to have a communist MP, Dr Saklatvala, in the 1920s. The song looks towards the future and, although he didn't write it, Cornelius sings in a forthright manner.
1976 studio47, London
10. Golden Mountain in Beijing - Trad arr. Rowe/Marcangelo/Baker
A relaxed PLM effort featuring Keith Rowe's guitar treatment which floats above Marcangelo's and Baker's harmonic reconstruction of this famous Tibetan folk song. In 1963 it was used in the pre-cultural revolution production The East is Red, a large scale song and dance event, popularised all over China by the Tibetan singer Cedai Drolma. (Cornelius Cardew also composed a piece "East is Red" for violin and piano in 1973).
1976 studio47, London
11. The Blackleg Miner - Trad: Arr: Baker
The delicate opening figures on clavinet and synth belies the violent content of this early 19th century industrial folk song. John Hewitt's gentle northern accent carefully intones the lyrics in a matter-of-fact Yorkshire manner, and perhaps the relentless bass gliss is a portent of the scab's fate, to be thrown 'down the pit of hell'. Evan Parker's soprano saxophone is both sensitive and fitting, evoking images of striking miners families evicted and living on the moors, as in a similar ballad the Oakey Strike Evictions. The increasing tempo towards the end accelerates the urgency to join the struggle before it's too late. The British working class had a militant history in organising themselves, with the odds stacked against them, and many were transported to Australian penal colonies. Going on strike for the greater good, risking destitution and seeing your children starve is an heroic action. "Boulavogue" for two pianos has echoes of this tune, Cornelius Cardew piano music CD 1991)
1976 studio47, London
12. Mr. Media Man - Baker/Tilbury
This was PLMs '73 attempt at a single, never released. The Media Man is derided as an arrogant self loving fighter for the cause of the bourgeoisie and backwardness, his rotten soul covered only by a Savile Row suit. John Marcangelo's gravelly voice and the deliberately 'sexy' backing vocals aping his every word, identifies the attitudes of the capitalist media barons, and their downright lies and half-truths felt expedient to keep the old order in power.
1973 studio47, London
13. Fight the Cuts - Thompson Arr: Marcangelo/Baker, TRAD
PLM's reworking of Hold the Fort by Phillip Bliss, a 19thC civil war hymn adopted by workers in the USA and Transport workers in UK. A fanfare motif opens the first verse, making the opening words appear unexpectedly gentle. There was a severe economic crisis during most of the 1970s with trade deficits, rising unemployment, inflation of 10-20%, a falling pound against other currencies and government loans leading to greater debt repayments, etc. Working people saw a marked decline in their conditions with wage restraint that amounted to a real reduction in wages at a time when inflation was rife, and profits for the top companies rose inexorably. Fighting cuts in wages and public spending by the Labour Government was essential to prevent the erosion of living standards that had been fought for and achieved in previous decades.
1978 studio47, London
14. The Lords of Labour - Thompson
The fabled 'Labour Aristocracy' is the target of this unashamedly polemical song, in the same vein as Cardew's Smash the Social Contract on We Only Want the Earth CD. Working people had been pushed into a corner by negotiations that held down their wages while inflation rose. The song clearly identifies the problem "This system is called wage slavery, but democracy sounds a bit more polite".
1977 studio47, London
15. Cripplin' Blows - DeGale
This street-wise reggae song, exhibits an authoritative political awareness, written in the context of the severe police brutality against the poorest communities in the city centres of Manchester, Liverpool, and London. Putting the police under "heavy discipline" was exactly what was needed to force them to do their job in a responsible way acknowledging that both black and white youths were defending themselves from racists, either in uniform or plain clothes.
16. The Worker's Song - Thompson Trad: arr Baker
Based on a traditional tune The Coal Owner and the Pitman's Wife collected by the elder statesman of modern British folk music, the communist A. L. Lloyd. Cornelius used to visit Bert Lloyd's house in Greenwich to use his vast library of collected songs and tapes. This song is thought to originate from the painful twenty-week miners strike of 1844, with mass evictions by Lord Londonderry and others in the North East. It has its own solemn, even staid momentum, since originally, the 'pitman's wife' is a ghost returned from hell to haunt the coal owner. Many of these industrial broadsheet ballads were composed by women. This version has a different sort of ghost haunting the rich and it finally condemns monopoly-capital institutions to their own 'hell' of proletarian revolution. Many trade union leaders and politicians in the 70s were telling people not to 'rock the boat' of the then Labour prime minister Callaghan and his government, not unlike recent times. (Cornelius composed the "Workers Song" for solo violin 1979.)
1980 studio47, London
17. Hammer of the Working Class - Trad: Jackson
Based on the old hymn Roll Jordan Roll sung by slaves. Cardew was participating in a silent (no slogans allowed) anti-racist demonstration in west London, 1980, when he started singing this and the chorus was readily taken up. This galvanized the procession, epitomised its raison d'etre, transforming the passive atmosphere of the march. The racist killing of Steven Lawrence in London and the unjust stifling legal process that followed, unfortunately make this song very topical.
18. People of St Pauls, Bristol - DeGale
An atmospheric recording from a concert in East London Youth in Struggle for Democracy and Freedom. Written to commemorate and extol 1980's resistance of the people to heavy-handed policing when both black and white youths took to the streets in defence of their community. There is a strange impressionistic industrial ska feel to the track, and the lyrics are succinct.
19. In Imperialist Wars - Thompson
The message is as apposite as it was in 1979 given the present-day wars and increasing threats. Imperialist interventions around the world have been about control of resources and markets, whose enormous costs have only increased the financial burdens on the people, while increasing profits for the already wealthy. The position of labour leaders who went along with the 1st WW have not changed much! Maybe not the best of live recordings but the gentle feel heightens its profound desire for peace.
20. Song for the British Working Class - Baker/Thompson
On this live recording Cardew announces to the British ruling class, 'you have got to go'! and straightforwardly says that people in Britain need and desire a socialist society, and that the whole history of the working class in Britain from the Levellers who published "The Agreement of the People" in 1647, through the Owenites to the Working Mens' Association and the Chartists 1836, all points to this. The Communist manifesto was published in London in 1848, picked up in the 3rd verse which states that Marx and Engels hammered out the laws propelling history and the song is resolute that an alternative future is realisable.
21. The Workers of Ontario - Cardew/CCWC/arr: Lamburn
In October 1979, Cardew led a Progressive Cultural Association delegation to Canada which took part in a country wide tour with the Canadian Cultural Workers Committee. New songs were jointly written, including ones about the different areas where concerts took place, exploring issues of the time and the question of Canadian identity. Maria Lamburn's skilful arrangement of this revolutionary prose with music by Cardew gives an edge to this live recording from the 1986 Cardew memorial concert. An upbeat, optimistic and highly descriptive, account of the reality for the working class in Ontario in particular, and Canada in general is given.
1986 Cardew memorial concert, London
22. Montreal Textile Worker - Shrapnel/CCWC
Cornelius announced the 2nd International Sports and Cultural Festival, of which he was secretary, at an Anti-Fascist concert just before he was killed. The recording is from this festival, at a concert held in Coventry 1982. A poignant story about economic immigration. The initial optimism at the prospect of a making a new life is told, but the reality a few years down the line is unemployment and rejection. The textile industry, controlled by big retailers and brand based companies, switch their production in the global market in the interests of higher profit margins leaving the immigrant far from home in an alien culture with few prospects.
1982 Coventry
23. The Dream of the Generations - Devenport/CCWC
Performed by the composer Pete Devenport at a live concert in London it depicts the harsh realities of past revolutionary struggles and the distinguished inheritance of the working class. The younger generation now hold this precious legacy in their hands, in the struggle for the new. Lyrical, with flowing harmonic elements and use of ensemble the song is reminiscent of the best of Brecht and Eisler.
1980 London
24. There You Will Find My Bones - Thompson/CCWC
The music sets this poem of identity well with its moody atmosphere, arousing images of the railways, prairies, mines and forests of Quebec, the Great Canadian Shield, and devastation of the working classes and native, First Nation peoples of Canada. It looks ahead whilst remembering all those destroyed in the quest for capitalist profit.
25. Song of the CYUB - Cardew/Devenport
An historical example of an ex-tempore collaboration written for the founding of the Communist Youth Union of Britain. Worked out on the day, it ardently proclaims its doctrine 'friendship and peace we're fighting for' and that the Internationalism of the workers is the key to the end of exploitation and imperialist war in which the people and youth are the cannon fodder. Cardew and Devenport wrote other songs in this way including 'The Ford Workers Song' which PLM played on a march to support a strike at the Dagenham plant in East London and 'Virk Brothers Song' for the campain to free two brothers jailed for defending themselves against racist thugs outside their house.
1980 London
26. Founding of the Party - Cardew
Cardew was a founder member of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and on its central committee until his death. In 1996 Peter Devenport said, "He (Cardew) was living in Leyton at the time of his death and was active as a party organiser . . . in my view Cor was a communist composer and as a communist was completely committed to that path of development at the time when he died". Sung here by the composer, upbeat and musically clear in its approach to the problem at hand: the necessity of a professional revolutionary party.
1980 London
27. Sing for the Future - Cardew/Bains
Cardew wrote this song with Hardial Bains on the day of the last concert of the cross Canada tour 1979, it crystalizes the essence of the music and poems produced. Cardew's last piano variations was based on this song which he began while in prison. Pete Devenport remembered "Cardew said being in prison was like a holiday, as he got time to sleep and write music. He came to an arrangement with the chaplain that he would play for services if he could utilise the instruments at other times and he started writing 'Sing for the Future' piano variations. The original sketches were made on prison notepaper." Cardew was still revising it when he died and wrote of it: "We Sing for the Future is a composition based on a song. The song is for youth who face bleak prospects in a world dominated by imperialism, and whose aspirations can only be realised through the victory of revolution and socialism. In the framework of a solo piano piece something of this great struggle is conveyed. The music is not programmatic, but relies on the fact that music has meaning and can be understood quite straightforwardly as part of the fabric of what is going on in the world."
1986 memorial concert, London

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