Bread and Roses: The Song

I’m doing a little research on the song Bread and Roses in anticipation of this Sunday’s sermon, the title of which is derived from the poem by James Oppenheimer, written in 1911, and which has become a classic labor song.

It was first set to music by Caroline Kohlsaat. The text and setting appears in the current Unitarian Universalist hymnal “Singing the Living Tradition,” listed as “As We Come Marching, Marching.” I was unable to find a Youtube version, and mentioned that in the first iteration of this posting. Thanks to Justin Whitaker, here’s that version sung by Utah Phillips.

The song was recast a bit in 1974, and set to music by Mimi Farina. This is the version most of us know, sung by many different voices since Mimi channeled the great spirit of the song.

Here’s that version, sung by Mimi and her sister Joan Baez.

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  • Justin Whitaker

    I think I first heard of this from Utah Philips, on a CD co-produced with Ani Difranco. Wonderful stuff all around – I highly recommend it:

  • Ellen Livingston

    I love that song–it brings me to tears and shivers. I wish we would sing it more at our Monte Vista church. Every word carries meaning and the history of Justice. Thanks, James

  • Conor C.

    I’m trying to trace the origin of the great image you used to illustrate this article. Could you tell me who it is by? Is it a photo of an outside mural somewhere?
    Thanks for any help!

  • James

    I’m sorry, Conor, but I pulled it from a google image search based on “bread” and “roses.” If you find out, please tell me, I’d love to credit…