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  • Now Available: Songs of the Spanish Civil War

    Songs of the Spanish Civil War is now available on CD and digital formats. The album is a historically vital collection of songs from the 1930s that reintroduces the hymnal of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, more than 2,600 American volunteers who fought General Francisco Franco in support of a democratic Spain.

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    Featuring Pete Seeger, Tom Glazer, Butch and Bess Hawes, Woody Guthrie, Ernst Busch, and Bart van der Schelling, this two-volume, single-CD album aims, as scholar Peter Glazer’s enriching liner notes explain, to “bring this activist history forward at a time when the causes are no less urgent, and the enemies of freedom no less dangerous.”

    Ranging from stirring folk melodies to adamant rallying cries, ‘Songs of the Spanish Civil War’ serves as a cultural touchstone. “Viva La Quince Brigada (Long Live the 15th Brigade),” sung by Pete Seeger, contains one of the most recognizable refrains of any song from the era: “Rumbala, rumbala, rumba-la!” Woody Guthrie provides a version of “Jarama,” which was the most popular American song brought back by veterans.

    Inspired by this reissue, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) will host a tribute to Pete Seeger at its annual celebration at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA, on Sunday, October 5. The event will feature singer/songwriter Bruce Barthol, a founding member of Country Joe and the Fish, joined by Velina Brown, Randy Craig, Tony Marcus, and Barrett Nelson.

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    Songs of the Spanish Civil War Volume 1 was originally released on Moses Asch’s Folkways Records in 1961. It combined two separate recordings: Six Songs for Democracy, recorded in Spain in 1938 in the middle of an air raid on Barcelona, and Songs of the Lincoln Brigade, recorded by Pete Seeger and friends in 1944. Songs of the Spanish Civil War Volume 2 was released on Folkways Records in 1962 and was divided into three sections. The first was originally pressed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the war and features Woody Guthrie, the second was recorded in the 1930s and released as Songs We Remember, and the third was recorded in New York City in 1938 and released as From Behind the Barbed Wire. By popular request, and for the first time, these two volumes will be paired together on one album.

    The reissue includes 40 pages of newly written liner notes by Peter Glazer, son of American folk singer Tom Glazer and author of Radical Nostalgia: Spanish Civil War Commemoration in America.


    VOLUME 1:

    Part 1: ‘Songs of the Lincoln Brigade’ performed by Pete Seeger, Tom Glazer, Baldwin (Butch) Hawes, Bess Hawes

    1. Jarama Valley
    2. Cookhouse / The Young Man from Alcalá
    3. Quartermaster Song
    4. Viva la Quince Brigada (Long Live the 15th Brigade)
    5. El Quinto Regimiento (The Fifth Regiment)
    6. Si Me Quieres Escribir (If You Want to Write to Me)

    Part 2: ‘Six Songs for Democracy’ sung by Ernst Busch and chorus

    1. Los Cuatro Generales (The Four Generals)
    2. Die Thälmann-Kolonne (The Thaelmann Column)
    3. Hans Beimler
    4. Das Lied von der Einheitsfront (Song of the United Front)
    5. Lied der Internationalen Brigaden (Song of the International Brigades)
    6. Die Moorsoldaten (The Peat Bog Soldiers)

    VOLUME 2:

    Part 1: Woody Guthrie; Ernst Busch accompanied by chorus and orchestra

    1. Jarama
    2. On the Jarama Front
    3. Ballad of the XI Brigade
    4. Hans Beimler, Comrade
    5. Die Thälmann-Kolonne (The Thaelmann Column)

    Part 2: ‘Songs We Remember’ sung by the people of Catalonia, Seville, and Asturias, Spain

    1. Santa Espina
    2. Sevillanos
    3. The Road to Avilés

    Part 3: ‘From Behind the Barbed Wire’ sung by Bart van der Schelling and the Exiles Chorus

    1. La Guardia Rossa (The Red Guard)
    2. Wie Hinterm Draht (Behind the Barbed Wire)
    3. La Joven Guardia (The Youthful Guardsmen)
    4. Au Devant de la Vie (Toward the New Life)
    Now Available: Songs of the Spanish Civil War | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings