WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON
    “Which Side Are You On?” was a song written by Florence Reece in 1931. She was the
    wife of a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. In
    1931 the miners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle with the mine
    owners. In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, deputies hired by the mining
    company illegally entered and searched the Reece family home. Sam Reece had been
    warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his
    place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to “Which Side Are
    You On?” on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home. She took the melody from a
    traditional Baptist hymn, “Lay the Lily Low”, or the traditional ballad Jack Munro“.
    Florence recorded the song and it can be heard on the CD “Coal Mining Women”.
    Come all you good workers
    Good news to you I’ll tell
    Of how the good old union
    Has come in here to dwell
    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?
    My daddy was a miner
    He’s now in the air and sun
    He’ll be with you fellow workers
    Until the battle’s won
    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?
    They say in Harlan County
    There are no neutrals there
    You’ll either be a union man
    or a thug for J.H. Claire
    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?
    Workers can you stand it?
    Oh, tell me how you can
    Will you be a lousy scab
    or will you be a man?
    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?
    Don’t scab for the bosses
    Don’t listen to their lies
    Poor folks ain’t got a chance
    Unless they organize
    Which side are you on boys?
    Which side are you on?