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  1. Published on: 02/04/2024 06:47 PMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Harold Soref photo: Alchetron.com

    Who remembers a 'fun' record from 1973 which caused controversy nationally thanks to former Ormskirk MP Harold Soref?

    Played tonight on the brilliant Boom (digital station) was Strawbs 'Part of the union' which Soref wanted banned 51 year ago; I remember as a sixth former at Ormskirk Grammar School hearing it for the first time...

    From strawbs.net: Released as a single on 4 January 1973, the A&M copywriters, still full of the Christmas spirit, produced this for the promotional blurb: '"Part Of The Union" is the Strawbs' follow-up to their recent top-ten hit "Lay Down". Written by drummer Richard Hudson and bass player John Ford, it takes a light-hearted look at Britain's trade unions. Negotiations currently in progress at shop-floor level seem to indicate that this will be another huge hit."

    "Part Of The Union", Strawbs' biggest, though uncharacteristic, hit, had originally been recorded by Hudson, Ford, Weaver and Lambert, while Cousins was making his solo LP. John and Hud had intended to release it as "The Brothers"; in the end it was included on the album in a re-recorded version with a new honky-tonk piano break from Weaver; apparently, according to Hud, it came out quite a bit different from the original version.

    Hud explained: 'Dave Cousins went away to do his solo album and John and I had written this song a while before. We thought it was a strong song for a single and we recorded it ourselves. Dave Lambert and Blue helped us on the recording. Then Dave Lambert joined the band and things started happening with "Lay Down" and all of a sudden we needed to get an album out. Bursting At The Seams was in fact a very rushed album. Strawbs were very short of material and it was suggested that "Part Of The Union" should go on the album. We didn't really mind, we hadn't considered it to be Strawbs material and I expect we would have put it out under a different name anyway.'

    To some extent the song had been a send up of the then current union situation in the UK, but it rebounded on Strawbs by being taken seriously and causing ripples in British political life.

    John Ford commented: '"Part of the Union" wasn't as serious as it was taken to be, but people picked up on it. It was just a sort of mickey-take on how big the unions have become... The next thing we knew Harold Soref (a right wing Conservative MP) was saying it was propaganda - the only bloke who had the right idea was Jack Jones (the trade union leader, NOT the singer!) who said it should not be taken too seriously but it was a nice song anyway.'
        
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  2. WANTED: YOUR NEWS AND STORIES FOR ORMSKIRK
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