Monday, May 18, 2015

Music Monday ~ Songs about Workers

There were a couple of songs about the lives of workers in last Monday's post - those on the trucker and the lineman. Here's another good workers' song, written and sung by the late Rita MacNeil.

From the Rita MacNeil Wikipedia page linked above:
"Working Man" is a song that sparked from a visit to the Princess Colliery in Sydney Mines. For Rita MacNeil it was the stories of hardships the miners had faced on a daily basis, the prompted her to write this song. In her autobiography she notes that the tour guide was suffering from Throat Cancer, and she had remembered her mother's struggles with it, and as he talked the melody for the song began in her head, complete with lyrics. The song would eventually become a world wide sensation, peaking at number 11 in the UK charts, and the unofficial anthem for coal miners everywhere.

Thinking on that song, and the photographs in the video, reminded me of another video I featured in an archived post about a lovely semi-classical piece, Concierto de Aranjuez HERE

SNIP from that post:
Of all the beautiful renditions of Aranjuez available on video, from classical through middle-of-the-road to jazz-inspired, I've picked the one that made me weep as I listened and watched the images. Reading comments afterwards, it appears that I wasn't the only one. It's the "Orange Juice" version by Yorkshire's Grimethorpe Colliery Band, featured in the movie
Brassed Off, with images of Yorkshire and from the British miners' strikes in 1984/5. Dark days. Many in Britain will never forget them. A way of life for a generation of brave men was lost then, as the Conservatives' economic policies closed coal mines around the country in favor of nuclear power. Our strong support for the miners meant exactly nothing to demon Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. I still cringe at the thought of her - to this day! Nowadays coal mines are not the way ahead, but for decades we depended on what those men risked their lives to provide.

I believe Rodrigo would be pleased that this music can still help to evoke strong emotion.
Are there songs about workers that you find especially memorable?


James Higham said...

What an interesting angle.

JD said...

here are three for you, I'm sure you will know them all :)

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ :-) Ta!

Twilight said...

JD ~ Two on shipbuilding and a new one on miners. Many thanks JD!

I hadn't heard the second and third songs before, but thank you for introducing me to them.

I've heard/seen the clip from Sting's Broadway Show, "The Last Ship" (1st link) on TV just once before.
Lovely to see Jimmy Nail there!

mike said...

"Pick a Bale of Cotton"

"Blazing Saddles"

Bob said...

Johnny Cash-Legend of John Henry's Hammer

Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford

Merle Haggard - Workin' Man Blues

Bob said...

pete seeger which side are you on

mike (again) said...

The oldest profession:

"Lady Marmalade"

"Honky Tonk Woman"

Bob said...

Donna Summer She Works Hard For The Money

Dolly Parton - 9 To 5

Huey Lewis And The News - Workin' For A Livin'

Sonny G said...

Big Bag John--Jimmy Dean 1961

Twilight said...

mike, Bob, Sonny ~~

Wow! Had a busy morning, came back to find a goodly crop of workers' songs - thank you muchly! I shall now sit and listen to them with a nice cup of tea.

Nice to see some female workers represented too.

I'll enjoy them all!


Looking for something to represent the city where I was born, I found Mark Knopfler's Trawlerman's Song:

That's another occupation that used to be a dangerous one. Men who lived in a certain area of Hull, East Yorkshire all worked on the trawlers in one way or another many years ago. Not so much any more.

Anonymous said...

I say, old sport ...
(I wonder what movie I just watched?)

"Daylight come, and I wanna go home"

"... and I've been working like a dog"

"That's the sound of the men ... Working on the chain ... gang"

.... and

"Dip dip dip dip dip dip dip dip ... Mum mum mum mum mum mum ... Get a job"
(love those lyrics)

(Two? Hamburgers in the Captcha?) :)


Twilight said...

Anonymous/kidd ~

You were watching something featuring Terry-Thomas? :-)

Now, what have we here? A Banana Boat,
a Hard Day's Night, a Chain Gang...and
one I'd never heard before with rather intricate lyrics.

"Two Hamburgers in the Catchpa" - sounds like a song title, ripe for the writing doesn't it?

Twilight said...

We shouldn't forget the farmers and the ranchers - they're not quite like they used to be but.....

"The farmer and the cowman should be friends"

Anonymous said...

I say ...

What's that word you said?


Two Hamburgers in the Catchpa ... Two Fries in the Post.
A Spicy comment for the Archive ... Stored on the server host.


Twilight said...

Anon/kidd ~

Ah! The G.G! I'd forgotten about his penchant for that phrase - saw the movie last year.

kidd = budding songwriter no less!

(I hope those silly catchpa pics don't start getting into more complex high-fallutin' dishes than now. So far I've been confronted with find the: bread, meat, hamburgers, sandwiches, cakes, ice cream; and... sushi (dang, but that one was tricky - I wouldn't touch sushi with a barge pole so not certain what all varieties look like.)

JD said...

here you are Twilight and Anon/Kidd

as featured in the movie "American Graffiti"

your reference to the trawlermen in Hull reminded me that my grandfather, a coalminer, said he thought fishermen had a far more dangerous job than he had!

Great post by the way - nostalgia ain't what it used to be :)

Twilight said...

JD ~ Thanks for "Get a Job" - I don't recall ever seeing the movie "American Graffiti", but husband remembers it well as "a classic" and explained the song (teenagers of that era always being told to "get a job". Back then I dare say it would have been much easier! Some great old cars in the video! Husband wandered into the garage and came back with several LPs of songs from the film's soundtrack. :-)

I think your grandfather was being far too modest. There have been a lot more mining disasters than trawlers lost I reckon. I suppose one difference is that when a trawler is lost ALL crew are gone with it, whereas there's still a bit of hope for miners in certain areas of a mine (though not much).

The trawler disaster I recall is the loss of the Hull vessel "Gaul" and all the crew in the 1970s. the wreck wasn't found for over 20 years.