Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tribute CD in memory of Alastair Hulett (1951-2010)

Pleased to hear of the tribute album to the Scottish singer songwriter and revolutionary socialist Alistair Hulett who died in January 2010.  

Hulett, who lived in Australia for 25 years, was a Scottish born folk singer who used his music to educate, inform, inspire and confront.

The CD Love, Loss and Liberty is a collection of Hulett's songs performed by musicians including June Tabor, Roy Bailey, Nancy Kerr and Rory Mcleod. Reviews can be read here  and here.

Hulett wrote many songs about the silences and forgotten events in Australian history- about unions and the labor movement, racism, refugees, Indigenous struggles and capitalism. As well as writing and singing songs in the acoustic folk tradition, Hulett was instrumental in the Australian punk scene during the 1970s and 80's.

His song He Fades Away is a powerful indictment of the greatest industrial and corporate crime in Australian history- the deaths and suffering of millions of Australians due to exposure to asbestos. 

He Fades Away” is about an Australian miner dying young of asbestosis, from exposure to asbestos. The song is written from the perspective of the wife of the miner who is dying of asbestosis. The English singer June Tabor does a powerful performance of Hulett's song.
He Fades Away
Alastair Hulett

There's a man in my bed I used to love him
His kisses used to take my breath away
There's a man in my bed I hardly know him
I wipe his face and hold his hand
And watch him as he slowly fades away
And he fades away
Not like leaves that fall in autumn
Turning gold against the grey
He fades away
Like the bloodstains on the pillow case
That I wash every day
He fades away
There's a man in my bed, he's on a pension
Although he's only fifty years of age
The lawyer says we might get compensation
In the course of due procedure
But he couldn't say for certain at this stage
And he's not the only one
Who made that trip so many years ago
To work the Wittenoom mines
So many young men old before their time
And dying slow
He fades away
A wheezing bag of bones his
Lungs half clogged and full of clay
He fades away
There's a man in my bed they never told him
The cost of bringing home his weekly pay
And when the courts decide how much they owe him
How will he spend his money
When he lies in bed and coughs his life away?

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