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Words & music

 Ed Pickford © prs


Women raising hell I find have always cast a spell

I will tell of some I know and you might know as well

People called them red they say but that’s all right by me

All they did was point the way to make the world more free

Florence Reece was one of those - she helped the striking men

From the heart she wrote a dart that flew straight from her pen

Harlan County USA in 1931

Florence wrote her famous song - asked “Which Side Are You On?”


Chorus:

Rebel girls, girls, girls - Rebel girls, girls, girls

Rebel girls, girls, girls and union maids

Rebel girls, girls, girls - Rebel girls, girls, girls

Rebel girls, girls, girls and union maids


Mary Harris Jones was born with protest in her bones

Miner’s angel to the men who dug coal mining stones

Mother Jones they called her for she led the picket line

Facing up to thugs with guns at every striking mine

Mother to the silk mill slaves - the kids who were ill-used

Marched some up to Roosevelt to show they were abused

Ludlow up to Washington she fought for all who live

Rode her train and raised some Cain and always sought to give


Chorus:


Hazel Dickens sprung to life from West Virginia soil

She left Mercer County and the miners’ life of toil

Turned her feelings into songs defiant straight & plain

Truth can be a lethal tool when forged by years of pain

In a lonesome bluegrass voice that pierced the hearer’s soul

Hazel Dickens sang her songs of hardship wrought by coal

Never Keep Us Down she sang a pretty bird flies free

No more women’s calloused hands the prize for slavery


Chorus:

                      

Molly Jackson, Sarah Gunning rebels to the core

Molly Jackson was supposed to rob a grocery store

To feed hungry kids she said and left an I.O.U

That’s the story she put out and I hope that it’s true

Molly’s sister Sarah Gunning sang about hard times

Starving children constant sorrow East Kentucky mines

Rebel girl a mountain pearl a wild bird in a cage

Took a life of toil and strife and sung it out on-stage



Rebel Girls & Union Maids Hazel Dickens  1925 - 2011

Florence Reece

1900 - 1986

Mary Harris Jones

1837 - 1930

Aunt Molly

 Jackson

1880 - 1960

Sarah Ogan

Gunning

1910 - 1983