Working River - Songs and Music of the River Thames

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Songs and Music of the River Thames

A CD of 21 songs about the life of working people along the Thames over the centuries is released today exactly 50 years after the last working Thames barge, The Cambria, loaded her cargo at Tilbury before being laid up.

The vast majority of these songs and tunes have been recorded especially for this project including many penned by the performers themselves dealing with mutinies, migration, strikes, disasters, the barge and fishing trades, smugglers, mudlarkers and lovers.

GFTU general secretary Doug Nicholls said: “We are thrilled to release this diverse, engaging and hard-hitting collection which I think will become an instant classic for lovers of traditional music and those hearing it for the first time. The added bonus of buying this CD is that proceeds will go to the GFTU Educational Trust to support its provision of free trade union education.”

Working River curator Brian Denny explained that the river’s position as a major maritime route had put it at the centre of many events of national significance, leading the early trade unionist and historian John Burns to describe it as ‘liquid history’.

The Thames runs deep in the national psyche and forms a fundamental part of our identity. As such is has inspired artists for centuries yet the many times voices of the working poor are lost on the tide but not today.

The fact that we have many new songs and young performers alongside established songs and veteran singers really shows that this is a living tradition which keeps giving.

Watch a promotional video for the CD on YouTube

Available To Buy Today

Copies of the CD and accompanying educational booklet are available for £12.99 from GFTU at:

A full track listing and samples are available from

For more information contact Brian Denny 07903376303

Read more on the Working River project

Read a review of the CD here

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