Bob Tressell Festival Volume 1



1.Bob Tressell's pen - Stephen Smith

2.Letter to Kathleen - Alun Parry

3.I want Rosa to stay - Our Morals

4.Tolpuddle Man - Roy Bailey

5.Fat Black Heart - Pele (Ian Prowse)

6.Rambling through old England - Pete Morton

7.Poverty Knocks - Lizzie Nunnery and The Liverpool Socialist Singers

8.The world turned upside down - Leon Rosselson

9. Nana was a Suffragette - Our Morals

10.The Ship Song - Alun Parry

11.More than a paycheck - Sisters Unlimited

12.Our own worst enemy - Stephen Smith

13.Tom Paine's Bones - The Shee

14.The crooked man - Merry Hell

15.Welcome to Mugsborough - Robb Johnson

16.We were there - Sisters Unlimited

17.Bringing the news from nowhere - Leon Rosselson

18. Red Flag - Stephen Smith


We would like give special thanks to Alan Runswick for all his help in making this cd possible.

Massive thanks to Sally Hutchings for creating not only the fabulous artwork for the cd, but also creating our logo.


The festival CD draws from the work of some of the best musicians on the left. All the artists have donated their music to support the Festival. Many thanks to them, and to Fellside records for More than a paycheck and Rambling through old England. Where songs are not separately credited, they are by the artist. All the usual copyright restrictions apply.

With these online notes you can explore the story of the songs and find out about the artists, at your leisure by simply clicking on the name of the artist.


Alun Parry

Letter to Kathleen is from the album When the Sunlight Shines. It is based on Robert Tressell's last letter to his daughter,  

The Ship Song, from Corridors of Stone, explores in an amusing way what really has value. Get in touch with your inner 7 year old for the last chorus!

Both 'Letter to Kathleen' and 'The Ship Song' feature on Alun's radio ballad 'Tressell and me' which will be available in CD format from 28th April.

Ian Prowse and Pele

Fat Black Heart is from the album Does this train stop on Merseyside. A restrained comment on the empathy of our rulers for the population.

Leon Rosselson

Bringing the News from Nowhere explores the ideas of William Morris, who influenced Robert Tressell.  

The World Turned Upside Down is a tribute to the ideas and actions of the Diggers, radicals at the time of the English Civil War.

Lizzie Nunnery (with the Liverpool Socialist Singers)

Poverty Knocks, from the album Black Hound Howling, looks at how the bankers' crisis is being dumped on the most vulnerable.

Merry Hell

The Crooked Man is from the album Blink...and you miss it.  It's an angry rant at the perpetrators of the 2007/8 banking meltdown.

Our Morals 

I want Rosa to stay, written by Alun Parry, is from the album Our Morals - and Theirs. It comments on the myths around immigration and the divide and rule tactics of the wealthy.

Nana was a Suffragette, written by Jules Gibb, pays tribute to those who fought for the vote - and didn't stop there.

Pete Morton

Rambling through old England is from the album Frappin' and Ramblin' Pete Morton. There are too many heroic figures from English radicalism to link to here, but this is our history, so have a listen and look up any that interest you.

Robb Johnson

Welcome to Mugsborough, from the album Bring Down the Moon, relates some of the story form Tressell's book and refers to how similar conditions exist for some workers today.

Roy Bailey 

Tolpuddle Man, written by Graham Moore, is about the Tolpuddle Martyrs - Dorset farm labourers who formed an early Trade Union.

Sisters Unlimited

More than a Paycheck, from the album No Bed of Roses, looks at the issue of safety at work - see Workers Memorial Day.

We Were There, written by Sandra Kerr, charts the role of women in the struggle.

Stephen Smith

Bob Tressell's pen (written by Kevin Jones) Tells the story behind the logo and lapel badge of 'The Association of the Ragged Trousered' and explains why the book remains  relevant today.

Own Worst Enemy (Bob Tressell was right) refers to Tressell and his book as an inspiration to take action now to improve our situation.

The Red Flag, written by Jim Connell is one of the traditional songs of the labour movement. This is Steve's arrangement.

The Shee

Tom Paine's Bones, written by Graham Moore, is a tribute to the amazing ideas and activity of Thomas Paine. Take a few minutes to see more about the history-changing books referred to in the song, and the incredible life of this great radical who from an upbringing in Norfolk influenced the American and French revolutions.  



BTF front copy

Mourn for the dead, fight like hell for the living

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