Seize the (Labor) Day

Picknickkoffer / Picnic hamper

Happy Labor Day!

If you are lucky, you’re celebrating Labor Day on a lake or a boat or a hammock somewhere.  You’re firing up the grill or packing up the picnic basket.  You’re carrying a watermelon to your in-laws and hoping your three-year-old will take a really long afternoon nap.  (Pro Tip: That last one is me.)

If you are less lucky, you’re laboring on Labor Day.  If that’s the case–or if you’ve fired up the computer before hitting the lake or the backyard–please enjoy these labor-themed folk songs.  At my house, we sing them every Thanksgiving, sliding seamlessly from Christmas carols to Union Maid.  (And if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.)

Local 12103 on strike

First up: Pete Seeger singing Union Maid to a Very Reserved bunch of Australians in 1963.  I forgot about the last verse of this one.  It’s a little . . . retro.  But classics are like that, aren’t they?  Anyway: hit it, Mr. Seeger:

Next, Utah Philips singing the great Joe Hill song “There is Power in the Union”:

Finally, something light and not, technically, a folk song: Newsies.  Because how else are twelve-year-old girls going to get their consciousness raised?  YouTube let me down a little, so this is not the 1992 movie version but the 2012 Broadway version.  Which, I will admit, is still pretty great.  Let us seize the day:

What are you doing or not doing this Labor Day?  


Filed under Movies and TV, Music!

5 responses to “Seize the (Labor) Day

  1. Those Aussies were uncharacteristically quiet…they’re dressed like they’re in church. Pete should have waited till evening, when they’d had six or eight Fosters. As for Utah Phillips’ “Power in the Union,” I love the hymn it’s based on, “Power in the Blood.” Which, oddly enough given the singer’s name, I first heard in Utah in 1968. Power to the People! Poder al Pueblo!


  2. Liz L.

    Thank you for reminding me I need to rewatch Newsies! Also, didn’t listen to union songs, but did listen to some folk songs from John Prine after firing up the grill.


  3. So here’s an interesting note: When you wrote if you’re laboring on labor day . . . I thought you were going to talk about giving birth and being in labor. My son was born on Labor Day (Sept. 5, 2011). Funny how that changes how you hear things. 😉 I did appreciate your reminder, though, that not everyone gets the day off.


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