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Songs about jobs

al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003

 


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al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003
I was listening to The Toy Dolls' "Barry the Roofer" this afternoon, which got me thinking that babble needs a thread on songs about various occupations.

Here are a few I thought of:

Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs
The Old Lamplighter by various artists
Song of the Volga Boatmen ibid
Rosie the Riveter ditto
If I were a Carpenter Johnny Cash and June Carter
The Bad Humour Man Kay Kyser


Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001
"When I'm Cleaning Windows" and Mr. Woo's a Window Cleaner Now", both by George Formby.

M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005
The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel

Lovely Rita (Meter Maid) - The Beatles

Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan

Mr. Bass Man - Johnny Cymbal

Mr. Spaceman - The Byrds

Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes

Jazzman - Carole King

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves - Cher

Soldier Boy - The Shirelles

The Pied Piper - Crispian St. Peters

Secret Agent Man - Johnny Rivers


pogge
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Joined: Mar 25 2002
(Going To Work) In Tall Buildings - John Hartford

Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004
Takin Care of Business - BTO

Money for nothing - Dire Straits

Banana boat song(Day O) - Belafonte

16 Tons - T.E. Ford

Sheep - Pink Floyd


oldgoat
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Joined: Jul 27 2001
We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in our mine the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig is what we really like to do
It ain't no trick to get rich quick
If you dig dig dig with a shovel or a pick
In a mine! In a mine! In a mine! In a mine!
Where a million diamonds shine!

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig from early morn till night
We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig up everything in sight
We dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies, sometimes more
But we don't know what we dig 'em for
We dig dig dig a-dig dig

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It's home from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It's home from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
Heigh-ho hum

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho
It's home from work we go
(Whistle)

Heigh-ho


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005
You'll be hearing from Disney's IP lawyers in the morning.

pogge
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Joined: Mar 25 2002
Workin' In A Coal Mine - Lee Dorsey

Scott Piatkowski
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Joined: Sep 3 2001
Here's just a few off the top of my head...

Michelle Shocked - The L and N Don't Stop Here Anymore

Bruce Springsteen - Working on the Highway

Bruce Springsteen - My Hometown

Billy Joel - Allentown

Billy Joel - Piano Man

Jackson Browne - Shaky Town

Jackson Browne - The Load Out

Rita MacNeil - Working Man

China Crisis - Working With Fire and Steel

Depeche Mode - Working On The Pipeline

John Mellencamp - Pink Houses

John Mellencamp - Rain On The Scarecrow

John Mellencamp - Check It Out


al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003
quote:Originally posted by Fidel:

16 Tons - T.E. Ford

I'll see your "16 tons" and raise you a "Nine-Pound Hammer."

quote: Workin' In A Coal Mine - Lee Dorsey

"Dark as a Dungeon Way Down in the Mine" -Johhny Cash

(I worked underground for two years; this tune nails it)

[ 03 November 2008: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004
Buddy o mine was almost wiped out by a giant piece o loose. Came back from lunch, and his scaffold was a pancake. I was on surface one afternoon, and the man-yaks blew up the core shack from below. Crazy bastards everywhere on that job

al-Qa'bong
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Joined: Feb 27 2003
I was once hit by a piece of loose, but since it fell from where the wall and the back meet it didn't do anything more that scrape the skin on my forearm.

A couple of guys on my crew (one the Dad of a former NHLer) just missed being flattened by a huge piece of loose right at the face. The ground is usually pretty safe and solid right after being cut, which makes this a strange case.

The miner operator was tramming to the face to cut first pass, and the belt operator had just pulled the exhaust tubing behind the brattice (on the left side of the conveyor) and jumped back over the belt to the right side when the back dropped, covering most of the left side of the belt.

Neither guy was touched, but the compression of the air blew the operator's gloves off. Both guys were so spooked that they just sat at the bottom of the shaft until the shift ended.

[ 04 November 2008: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001
quote: "Dark as a Dungeon Way Down in the Mine" -Johhny Cash

I've never been down a mine, but I just knew this song "nailed it" when I first heard it on my brother's copy of "Folsom Prison Blues". And it was a "new release" at the time.

And you know what? It's one of the very few songs I can do justice to with my voice.

"Takin Care of Business" is actually about not working. A better BTO song about work is a personal anthem of mine, "Blue Collar". If you've ever worked night shift-- not swinging through but as a permanent thing-- it's your song.

"The air is clear under diamond skies and I'm glad to be alive."

"Little Black Fly" comes to mind as a song about both work and Nordern Hontario.

And, dealing in illicit substances can be a job, and a family business, as witnessed in Steve Earl's "Copperhead Road".

Stompin' Tom... it might be quicker to list the song he wrote that wern't about work.

Then there's CCR's "The Workin' Man."

Here's a top 25 list from Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part it's shite, as most lists of this nature are.


Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001
Earn Enough for Us - XTC

Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001
Lard Tunderin' Jezus!

You missed the obvious: I'se the B'y.

For shame, Lard, for shame.

[img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]


Cueball
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Joined: Dec 23 2003
Welcome to the Working Week -- Elvis Costello
Horses -- Rheostatics

Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005
Millworker-James Taylor
(From the stage musical based on Studs Terkel's WORKING: )

Now my grandfather was a sailor
He blew in off the water
My father was a farmer
And I, his only daughter
Took up with a no good millworking man
From Massachusetts
Who dies from too much whiskey
And leaves me these three faces to feed

Millwork ain't easy
Millwork ain't hard
Millwork it ain't nothing
But an awful boring job
I'm waiting (on) a daydream
To take me through the morning
And put me in my coffee break
Where I can have a sandwich
And remember

Then it's me and my machine
For the rest of the morning
(and) the rest of the afternoon
And the rest of my life

Now my mind begins to wander
To the days back on the farm
I can see my father smiling at me
Swinging on his arm
I can hear my granddad's stories
Of the storms out on Lake Eerie
Where vessels and cargos and fortunes
And sailors' lives were lost

(Yeah), but it's my life has been wasted
And I have been the fool
To let this manufacturer
Use my body for a tool
(I'll) ride home every evening
Staring at my hands
Swearing to my sorrow that a young girl
Ought to stand a better chance

So may I work your mills just as long as I am able
And never meet the man whose name is on the label

(it's still)me and my machine
For the rest of the morning
And the rest of the afternoon (and on and on and on...)
for the rest of my life


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005
This song by Ewan MacColl, about a young person leaving school(as working-class kids did at age 15, like Ewan himself, did in Britain, in this case to go work in the mines)

Schoolday's over, come on then John
Time to be getting your pit boots on
On with your sack and moleskin trousers
It's time you were on your way
Time you were learning the pitman's job
And earning the pitman's pay

Come on then Jim, it's time to go
Time you were working down below
Time to be handling a pick and shovel
You'll start at the pits today
Time you were learning the collier's job
And earning the collier's pay

Come on then Dai, it's almost light
Time you were off to the anthracite
The morning mist is on the valley
It's time you were on your way
Time you were learning the miner's job
And earning the miner's pay

Schoolday's over, come on then John
Time to be getting your pit boots on
On with your sack and moleskin trousers
It's time you were on your way
Time you were learning the pitman's job
And earning the pitman's pay


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005
We Work the Black Seam Together-Sting:

This place has changed for good
Your economic theory said it would
It's hard for us to understand
We can't give up our jobs the way we should
Our blood has stained the coal
We tunneled deep inside the nation's soul
We matter more than pounds and pence
Your economic theory makes no sense

One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can't control
And bury the waste in a great big hole
Power was to become cheap and clean
Grimy faces were never seen
Deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen
We work the black seam together
We work the black seam together

The seam lies underground
Three million years of pressure packed it down
We walk through ancient forest lands
And light a thousand cities with our hands
Your dark satanic mills
Have made redundant all our mining skills
You can't exchange a six inch band
For all the poisoned streams in Cumberland

One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can't control
And bury the waste in a great big hole
Power was to become cheap and clean
Grimy faces were never seen
Deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen
We work the black seam together
We work the black seam together

And should the children weep
The turning world will sing their souls to sleep
When you have sunk without a trace
The universe will suck me into place


One day in a nuclear age
They may understand our rage
They build machines that they can't control
And bury the waste in a great big hole
Power was to become cheap and clean
Grimy faces were never seen
Deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen
We work the black seam together
We work the black seam together


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005
Oh, and while Tennessee Ernie Ford and Johnny Cash may have sung "Sixteen Tons" and "Dark as a Dungeon", both of those songs were written by the great Merle Travis, who was also known as the inventor of "Travis-style" guitar picking.

Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004
quote:Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
"Takin Care of Business" is actually about not working[/URL]

[img]confused.gif" border="0[/img] I think the first ten lines of the song are about the daily grind of working nine to five. But then the song suggests if we're fed up with nine to five and think their jobs as musicians is a life of leisure, then we should give it a try. But I tend to think that the path to becoming a good musician might require dedication and some work.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002
I think "Taking care of business" is very much about working. It is also about popular perceptions about musicians and artists in general, lying about and not having "real" jobs. The rhythm and conclusion of the song "working overtime" makes it pretty clear that the musicians are working hard when the other working people are partying, late into the night, as in "Blue Collar".

jrose
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Joined: Oct 24 2006
I'm Gonna Be an Engineer, by Peggy Seeger.

I can't find the video that I know exists of her singing it, so here is Pete Seeger's version:


torontoprofessor
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Joined: Jun 20 2007
9 to 5, by Dolly Parton

Michelle
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Joined: May 10 2001
Morning Train, by Sheena Easton, which is about her husband's job and how hard he works, and her job, which is apparently to greet him in Saran Wrap with a cocktail at the end of the day, after spending "all day thinking about him, dreaming of him constantly".

Left Turn
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Joined: Mar 28 2005
Back in 2005, on Canada day, I heard a song on CBC called the "Steveston Salmon Cannery Song". FYI, Steveston is a former village on the lower fraser river, and is now a part of Richmond. Fishing, and the salmon cannery, are the main industries in Steveston. The Steveston Salmon Cannery is the last working salmon cannery left in BC. The song was written in the 1970s.

I don't remember the words to the whole song, and it's not available online, but here's the words to the chorus:

"High is the smell, low is the pay
Long are the hours, why do we stay
Somewher outside a whole summer slips away
While we're stuck in here canning salmon"


scott
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Joined: May 20 2001
Hallelujah! I'm a Bum

1. Oh, why don't you work
Like other men do?
How the hell can I work
When the skies are so blue?
Chorus:
Hallelujah! I'm a bum,
Hallelujah bum again,
Hallelujah! give us a handout
To revive us again.

2. Oh, I love my boss
And my boss loves me,
And that is the reason
I'm so hungry.

3. Well, springtime has come
And I'm just out of jail,
Without any money,
Without any bail.

4. Oh why don't you save all
The money you earn?
Well if I didn't eat,
I'd have money to burn.

5. Oh, I like my boss,
He's a good friend of mine,
And that's why I'm standing
Out in the breadline.

6. I can't buy a job
'cause I ain't got the dough
So I ride in a boxcar
'cause I'm a hobo.

7. I went to a house and
I knocked on the door,
The lady said, "Scram, bum,
You've been here before!"

8. I went to a house, and
I asked for some bread;
A lady came out, says,
"The baker is dead."

9. I went to a bar and
I asked for a drink,
They gave me a glass
And they showed me the sink.

10. Oh why don't you work
Like other folks do?
How can I get a job
When you're holding down two?

11. Whenever I get all
The money I earn,
The boss will be broke
And to work he must turn.

12. When springtime does come,
Oh won't we have fun,
We'll throw up our jobs
And we'll go on the bum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOscaTfHLFs


Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001
Westray, by Weeping Tile.

And Murray McLaughlin wrote many classics, such as Hard Rock Town and The Farmer Song. But my favorite is On The Boulevard, about the quiet desperation of city dwellers

quote:
Sellin' shoes in the afternoon
Makin' french-fries in a greasy spoon
The assembly line keeps turnin'
Until they make you swoon
And it always won't be long
'Til somethin' better comes alomg

Did you see them on the Boulevard
Did you see them on the Promenade
When the lights come on
They can forget
That they ever had to work so hard


Tommy_Paine
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Joined: Apr 22 2001
Some business to take care of, apparently.

quote: Look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

Now, it can be said that the previous two stanza's above those lines describe work, or more specifically, the commute to work and work associated behaviors.

As far as the song being about the "work" of being a musician, I have no doubt Randy Bachman "worked" and continues to "work" at music. However, in my mind, the last two stanza's aren't about that kind of musician. I think-- understanding that being a sucessfull musician requires a level of activity most of us would consider "work", the line about picking up a second hand guitar (listeners to Bachman's CBC radio show know how Bachman reveres quality guitars) was tongue in cheek. The guitar being a prop for a poser who just love lyin'in the sun all day, taking care of business, which is, nothing.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004
If it were easy as fishin'
You could be a musician

What do you make of this stanza, Tommy? Personally, I think I might not starve as a fisherman, if I had to choose.

quote:Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Randy Bachman has become a legendary figure in the rock and roll world through his talents as a guitarist, songwriter, performer and producer. He has earned over 120 Gold and Platinum album/singles awards . . .

Randy's career has been built upon his unstoppable drive to work at creating music. He has released numerous solo albums throughout his career, and has simultaneously worked at producing for other artists. His production/writing work with Canadian rock band Trooper generated gold and platinum record in the 1970's.

aHA! I didn't realize it all those times hearing it played, but I realize only now they were fuckin' with us. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


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