Album Chart of 1945

<1944 1946>

  • This chart features albums released in 1945 and is limited to all of the albums in my collection which have “A-list” status.
  • Elsewhere, the Albums released in 1945 page shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1945-a-woody-guthrie.jpg

MASSACRED CITIZENS REMEMBERED

Pictured are children of striking miners who had been at a party; The Christmas Eve Calumet massacre, 1913.

As an astute internet commentator, Brandon Weber, noted: “Nobody was ever prosecuted or even arrested for causing the massacre. It is always thus: Those with money and power control the narrative, silence the truth, and thwart justice.”

The story, with many others, was retold in “the singing newspaper” conceived and produced this year by Moe Asch and Woody Guthrie. Sadly, the documentary album “Struggle” would be one of the last to be released on Asch Records before the label went bust (although it would immediately rise again as “DISC”) – but they went out on a brand high.

It’s the only set to feature in my “A-list” album chart of 1945 – but it’s a stone classic, and stands every bit the equal of “Dust Bowl Ballads” as a near masterpiece in the highly potent Woody Guthrie catalogue. Press play and read all about it…

The Jukebox Rebel
20-Sep-2015

TJR says:

8.92 “A classic”

The set features 3 songs from the marathon sessions of April 1944 as well as 3 songs newly recorded in May 1945; “Buffalo Skinners”, “1913 Massacre” and “Ludlow Massacre”, which are the best of the bunch. Moe Asch is on record as saying that this album was issued in 1946 but, as is often the case with albums that are so old, such information has been muddy and contradictory over the years, even from expert historians. I plump for 1945 on the grounds that, in a letter dated 6th December 1945, Woody wrote to his would-be lover, Charlotte Strauss, and proudly talked of “a new album of my own [that] came out a couple of weeks back. It is on Asch Records. The name of it is Struggle and the songs are based mainly on actual scenes out of our struggle to build on trade unions.”

In their regular project chit-chats, Moe Asch had told Woody of his plans to publish a “singing newspaper” which came to be known as his “American Documentary” series. “Struggle” would be the first in the series and Woody got straight to work on writing a series on labour martyrs. He had recently read a book by labour activist Mother Bloor (Ella Reeve Bloor, 1862–1951) called “We Are Many”. It recounted the tragic story of a Christmas party held for a group of striking mine workers in Michigan. Copper mining had become big business in Michigan, drawing workers into the state. Many joined the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World, or the Wobblies. The WFM separated from the Wobblies and went on strike against the Michigan mines. Intent on discouragement at every turn, the intimidatory tactics employed by the hired company thugs were despicable; unspeakably evil deeds. The incident eye witnessed and described by Bloor and retold in Guthrie’s “1913 Massacre” happened on Christmas Eve, 1913. During the party, these thugs were milling outside. One of them yelled, “Fire!” and locked the doors. 73 folks, 59 of whom were only children, were trampled to death trying to escape.

Elsewhere, “Ludlow Massacre” tells another true story, this time from the 1913–14 Colorado Coal Strike. The United Mine Workers of America struck against the large coal companies in Colorado. On 20th April 1914, 12,000 striking miners living in a tent city were attacked by the Colorado National Guard. During a party to celebrate Greek Easter, twenty-one people—including women and children—perished. The mostly immigrant workers were being paid an average daily wage of $1.60. The Ludlow Tent Colony Site where these miners lived is now a National Historic Landmark. Moe Asch was an innovator in the use of cover art on his records, and the “Struggle” album featured a beautiful illustration by David Stone Martin which depicted the burial at Ludlow.

These acts were amongst the most violent in the age old struggle between corporate power and labouring men. The poor folks lost, as they usually do. These are the stories which the authorities try to sweep under the carpet; to limit the damage done by means of spin, but Woody’s straight talking prosecutes these brutes with no histrionics. The great thing about a singing newspaper is that can be “re-read” by successive generations – and thanks to Woody (and Moe) these matters of great national import stay remembered well into the 21st century.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Jun-2012

chart first published 20 Sep 2015; last edited 6 Dec 2015

Album Charts

by year…

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Comments…