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Strawbs - Part of the Union CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars Bassist John Ford and drummer Richard Hudson had been members of STRAWBS since the beginning of the 70's, and before that they played together in Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera. Gradually they started writing and singings songs for Strawbs (which was practically led by Dave Cousins who wrote and sang most of the music). They found so much hit potential in themselves that after the 1973 album Bursting at the Seams they both left Strawbs to form Hudson-Ford.

'Part of the Union' appeared on Bursting at the Seams and was quite popular at the time. It's an upbeat song with an enormous amount of mind-sticking catchiness. As the title suggests, it's about working life, a celebration of individual worker's rights and safety as part of the union. "You won't get me, I'm part of the union - til the day I die", declares the very singalong type of the chorus. Judged in that context of empowerment, the song truly hits the bull's eye, but despite being so catchy, it strangely also manages to avoid being irritating piece of music, at least in my opinion. And I don't usually enjoy ear-worm hits.

The B-side of this single has an earlier "pre- Hudson-Ford" song 'Heavy Disguise' (penned by john Ford), which originally appeared on the previous Strawbs album Grave New World (1972). Unlike 'Part of the Union' this is not a catchy song seeking commercial success, not at all, instead it's just a well-done album track and its main purpose is to add variety to that very strong Cousins-centred album. It's interesting that Strawbs, or their record company, chose this song on the B-side instead of some other song from Bursting at the Seams, or a non-album song. Almost as if it was paving way for Hudson and Ford's decision to form a band of their own.

Hudson-Ford released four albums in 1973 - 77, but each subsequent album made smaller impact, and they called it a day in '77. But they continued working together: their next bands The Monks and High Society (I was reading while writing this) I've never even heard of.

Matti | 3/5 |


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