A Closer look at Acker Bilk’s ‘Marching Union’ Record

Acker Bilk, the legendary jazz musician passed away last weekend. In tribute, the Modern Records Centre will take a look at the ‘Marching Union’ single that it holds in its archives…


For this song, Acker Bilk adapts “Marching Through Georgia” into a trade union anthem by singing new lyrics over the original tune:

back of record cover

The record comes inside a recruitment booklet, called ‘Blowing Our Trumpet’ produced by the National Union of Boots and Shoes Operatives in the 1960s, which was aimed at young people.

acker bilk 1

The booklet gives a brief bio of Acker Bilk:

‘Jazzman MR. ACKER BILK whose Edwardian costume, bowler hat and archaic, traditional-style music have made him the undisputed idol of Britain’s teenage trad fans, was born in 1929 in the village of Pensford, Somerset. A prodigious cider drinker, he had tried his hand at a sawmill and a smithy’s (besides a stint with the army in Egypt) before his successful Paramount Jazz band in 1958. He has no less than three jazz records into the pop Top Twenty: Summer Set White Cliffs of Dover and Buona Sera’.Acker Bilk 2

The pages of the booklet promote the Union. Here are some select pages from a digitised copy of the booklet:

acker bilk 2
Click to Enlarge
acker bilk 3
Click to Enlarge
acker bilk 4
Click to Enlarge
acker bilk 6
Click to Enlarge

‘For shorter hours and higher pay

let’s sing our workin’ song


We’d love to hear your memories on Acker Bilk – leave them in the comments!  

You are welcome to come into the centre to view this booklet.

Reference code: 597/100


4 thoughts on “A Closer look at Acker Bilk’s ‘Marching Union’ Record”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s