Anniversary Post: Rex Noble

Talking Union BluesI guess we will end out this week of labor songs with “Talking Union Blues.” I love talking blues songs — they are one of the best forms for political songs. And this one is just perfect. It was written by Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, and Pete Seeger. I don’t have a lot to say about it. The great thing about talking blues songs is that they speak for themselves.

This performance is by a guy who calls himself Rex Noble — but his account actually indicates “Paul” as his first name. I have no idea who he is. He’s another example of these people with prodigious talent who somehow don’t have tens of thousands of screaming fans. At the same time, I can’t seem to go anywhere without seeing the tone deaf phenom Taylor Swift. Anyway, I like his version “Talking Union Blues.” He speeds it up and he gives it a bit more of that Bob Dylan sneer than Seeger did. Take a listen. It’s really great.

6 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: Rex Noble

  1. Being an old guy, I still prefer Pete’s version. This was very good and I am very happy that someone is still singing this song. You are right about the many people who have talent and receive no recognition on a large scale. My son Ryan lives in Denver and goes to the great E-Town concerts in Boulder. He sends me videos of wonderful performers singing folk, bluegrass etc. that no one has ever heard of. It has always been this way, as a kid growing up in the early and mid fifties, I found the great blues stations featuring talents like Big Joe Turner and Richard Berry. It sure beat the top ten stations playing Elvis and Pat Boone.

    • Norm: Of course Pete’s the best, but starting out doing passionate versions of other people’s songs is great practice. I love this kid! There’s another video somewhere around here of another kid singing “Kill The Poor.” I’m heartened by young people like this. I was irritated the other day by hearing a catchy pop song young people like, about the young creating a new, better world, that basically was about young people not wanting to be around corrupt older people. That kind of generic rebellion always strikes me as shallow. This guy’s into music that actually has history and a point to it. Well done!

      (Your son sounds like another bright one.)

      • Yeah, he’s great. I was well pleased to find that. At the same time, Seeger’s version is more upbeat. I think it was probably easier to feel positive about workers rights in the 1940s. Today, it is hard to be anything but angry. So it’s a good contrast.

    • Shake, Rattle, and Roll!

      There is no end to talent. This is why I get angry when people talk about us falling behind or companies complaining that they can’t find qualified employees. No, you just don’t want to pay for it! But the human drive to create is great. I’ve become convinced that our economic system does more harm than good in that regard.

  2. James, absolutely right. I too am happy that there are young people singing these songs. It gives me some hope that maybe someday there will be enough people who care that everyone gets a fair shot at life’s abundance. Music is such a great force for positive change.

    • I find it curious that people don’t think we can have a better economic system. Communism failed so our own screwed up form of capitalism must be perfect. This is when the Winston Churchill line is thrown in. It is possible to have a better system. We know that there are other systems that are similar to ours that produce better outcomes. But we can’t have those because we don’t live in a democracy.

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