Labor Songs - You Pick The Music Week Two!!!

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Country is the next best thing when one can't find a progressive station. I heard this song traveling in WI Sunday SW of Madison near New Glarus & Mt. Horeb on AM 1260 WEKZ.

"Daydreams About Night Things" by Ronnie Milsap

Feb. 27, 2011 4:55 pm

Street Dogs

Modern Day Labor Anthem

Has a great speech at the end. I'm not sure if it's an original part of the song or recorded from somewhere else. Here's the text.

Today's organized worker is an endangered species.
For corporate terrorism is cloaked in the guise of fiscal downsizing amidst a company recording huge profits. For today's worker, fair and humane treatment with adequate wages are now just old memories, nailed into an outdated history book. Which doesn't help the current masses of mistreated workers, who are unable to organize because of fear of reprisals, from profit hungry greedsters ala Gordy Gecko. How do these CEO thugs and mobsters in good conscience export American jobs day after day?
How much is enough?
Or to these robber barons is there such a thing or a concept of enough?
How many cars do you need?
How many boats?
How many houses?
How many financed mistresses?
How do you look in the mirror?
How can you sleep at night?
Well just remember this, all that you self-righteously stand for...

Crease's picture
Nov. 2, 2010 4:38 pm

Which Side Are You On Pete Seeger

All You Facists Bound To Lose Woody Guthrie

Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Don't know if it realy fits but I like it...

malvina reynolds the judge said

The Judge Said

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1977 Schroder Music Company, renewed 2005. In 1977 a decision by one Judge Simonson of Madison, Wisconsin, relieved some young men of responsibility for a sex crime they committed on the basis of rather dubious reasoning. The story was quickly picked up by the national news. Malvina's song was written in response to his decision and contributed to a recall campaign that eventually removed Simonson from the bench.

The judge said "Screw 'em!
Boys, you're only human.
They brought it on themselves
By being born a woman.
Like a mountain's there to climb
And food's there to be eaten,
Woman's there to rape,
To be shoved around and beaten."

The judge took his position,
The judge he wouldn't budge,
So we've got out this petition,
And we're going to screw the judge.

Now if you beat a horse or dog
Or violate a bank,
Simonson will haul you in
And throw you in the clink.
But violate a woman,
Your equal and your peer,
The judge will slap you on the wrist
And lay the blame on her.


To draw a true conclusion
From what Simonson has said,
Woman has to live in fear
And cover up her head.
She has to dress in purdah
And lock herself in cages,
And this kinky judge in Madison
Is from the Middle Ages.

The judge took his position,
The judge he wouldn't budge,
So we've got out this petition,
And we're going to dump the judge.

ShroomDuke's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

New by Tom Morello: Worldwide Rebel Song played in Wisconsin - caught it on Laura Flanders' show, found it also on YouTube: 

Kate Anne's picture
Kate Anne
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Boys on the Docks by Dropkick Murphys

Hey all, seen a lot of posts for Dropkick Murphys. Here's another great labor song by the band that always stands for workers rights. A great live version on the Live on St. Patrick"s Day album or the original off Do or Die.

Say hey Johnny boy, the battle call.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we are what we can't be alone,
We came to this country, you made it our home.

This man so humble, this man so brave.
A legend to many, he fought to his grave.
Saved family and friends from the hardship and horror,
in a land of depression he gave hope for tomorrow.

Say Johnny me boy, this ones for you.
With the strength of many and the courage of few.
To what do we owe this man who's fight
was for the masses, he gave his life.

Say hey Johnny boy, the battle call
United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we are what we can't be alone,
We came to this country, you made it our home.

A friend to the locals who dabbled in crime.
He'd give you a job and he'd give you his time.
He wasn't a crook, but he couldn't be conned.
John knew the difference between right and wrong.

Say Johnny me boy, you live no longer,
Others forgotten, your memory's stronger.
Lets drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

Say hey Johnny boy, the battle call.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we are what we can't be alone.
We came to this country, you made it our home.

And the boys on the docks needed John for sure.
When they came to this country he opened the door.
He said "Man I'll tell ya, they don't like our kind.
Though it starts with a fist it must end with your mind."

Say hey Johnny boy, the battle call.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Together we are what we can't be alone.
We came to this country you made it our home.

tugboat's picture
Feb. 28, 2011 7:59 am

We the People - Billy Ray Cyrus

The farmers rise up every morning at five
The truckers drive them eighteen wheelers all night
The factory workers they build it with pride
Twenty four-seven down the assembly line
In every city, in every town
Somebody's gotta make the world go 'round
We the people move it, we the people know
We the people we run the country
We the peole prove it we're the heart and soul
We the people we run the country
Here's to every salesman on the telephone line
And every waitress working hard for those dimes
The middle managers who punch overtime
And anyone fighting wars fires and crimes
Day after day, year after year
The mint might print it but the buck stops here

Avilyn's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

40 Hour Week - Alabama

There are people in this country who work hard every day
Not for fame or fortune do they strive
But the fruits of their labor are worth more than their pay
And it's time a few of them were recognized
Hello Detroit auto workers, let me thank you for your time
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line
Hello Pittsburgh steel mill workers, let me thank you for your time
You work a forty hour week for a livin', just to send it on down the line
This is for the one who swings the hammer, driving home the nail
Or the one behind the counter, ringing up the sale
Or the one who fights the fires, the one who brings the mail
For everyone who works behind the scenes
You can see them every morning in the factories and the fields
In the city streets and the quiet country towns
Working together like spokes inside a wheel
They keep this country turning around

Avilyn's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Working for the Clampdown - The Clash

Hello all

I have always felt that The Clash was the voice of the struggle and voice of the people.

Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were setting the stage that U2 would then take even to a grander scale.

The song, Clampdown is perfect for these times.

Hey, hey!
the kingdom is ransacked
the jewels all taken back
and the chopper descends
they're hidden in the back
with a message on a half-baked tape
with the spool going round
saying im back here in this place
and i could cry
and there's smoke you could click on

What are we gonna do now?
Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
’Cos working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

The judge said five to ten but I say double that again
I'm not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown
Kick over the wall 'cause government's to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D'you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time, there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, so boy get runnin'
It's the best years of your life they want to steal

But, you grow up and you calm down and
You're working for the clampdown
You start wearing the blue and brown and
You're working for the clampdown
So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
You made your first kill now

In these days of evil presidentes
Working for the clampdown
But lately one or two has fully paid their due
For working for the clampdown
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
Working for the clampdown
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!
Working for the clampdown

Yeah I’m working hard in Harrisburg
Working hard in Petersburg
Working for the clampdown
Working for the clampdown
Ha! Gitalong! Gitalong
Begging to be melted down
Gitalong, gitalong
And I give away no secrets – ha!
More work


Jul. 16, 2010 9:32 am

A good mine labor song: "Pound a Week Rise" sung by Dick Gaughan

jsaunder's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Hard Travlin' by Woody Guthrie

sample lyrics:

I've been working that Pittsburgh steel, I thought you knowed
I've been a dumpin' that red-hot slag, way down the road
I've been a blasting, I've been a firin', I've been a pourin' red-hot iron
I've been hittin' some hard travelin', lord

shick's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Worker's Song by Dropkick Murphys

Yeh, this one's for the workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead

In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines
We've often been told to keep up with the times
For our skills are not needed, they've streamlined the job
And with sliderule and stopwatch our pride they have robbed
[ Lyrics from: ]
We're the first ones to starve, we're the first ones to die
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
And we're always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat's about

And when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
Who's given a gun and then pushed to the fore
And expected to die for the land of our birth
Though we've never owned one lousy handful of earth?

[Chorus x3]

All of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun
We've been yoked to the plough since time first began
And always expected to carry the can

Commissioner P's picture
Commissioner P
Jul. 13, 2010 8:44 am

Can you play "america" by Erika Luckett???

carolef's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Tomorrow's Industry by Dropkick Murphys

Young kids in Catholic schools
Elderly parents living under your roof
You pay the bills and you pay the price
You don't back down and you won't play nice
The disgraced values of the company man
Are why you fight and sacrifice
Don't bed or break for their one-way rules
Or run from battles you know you'll lose

Greed is blinding you
But we can see
He's got yesterday's values
Living in tomorrow's industry
[ Lyrics from: ]
They see your eyes, they see your face
But it's your soul they wanna take
Yeah, welcome to the future it don't seem fair
But this is your struggle, the cross you bear
They know your paying, they don't think twice
There's a dollar value on your life
You don't compromise and you don't break
Yeah, it's your principles at stake


The daily outlook it's so bleak
Saving every dollar of the week
Living month to month, you've got to get ahead
But all the while falling deeper in debt


The weight falls hard on the stand up gy
The one you can count on you can rely
This is your future it don't seem right
But this is your battle, this is your fight
Something in this country has got to change
If we're ever gonna see those days again
Your parents may have done it with just one job
But now we're working for less and twice as hard.

Commissioner P's picture
Commissioner P
Jul. 13, 2010 8:44 am

Which Side Are You On? by Dropkick Murphys

Our father was a union man some day i'll be one too.
The bosses fired daddy what's our family gonna do?
Come all you good workers good news to you
I'll tell of how the good old union has come in here to dewll.

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?

My daddy was miner and I'm a miner's son
and I'll stick with the union 'til every battles done.

They say in Marlan County there are no neutrals there
you'll either be a union man or a thug for J.H. Blair

Oh workers can you stand it?
Oh tell me how you can will you be a lousy scab or will you be a man?
Don't scab for the bosses don't listen to their lies
us poor folks haven't got a chance unless we organiz

Commissioner P's picture
Commissioner P
Jul. 13, 2010 8:44 am

Here's a good union song: "Wang Dang Doodle" performed by Koko Taylor

AnzaSummer's picture
Feb. 28, 2011 10:55 am

Tower of Power: I've Got Work to Do.

nathnlee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

DEVO — Workin' in a Coal Mine

nathnlee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Cannonball Adderley — Work Song.

nathnlee's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

11th Hour by Rancid

"Do you know where the power lies?

And who pulls the strings?

Do you know where the power lies?

It starts, and ends, with YOU!"

In other words: "Now get out & get active, tag, you're it." :-)

PS Apologies to Louise for first submitting this request by e-mail like normal bumper music requests. I just found before I found this page.

Reed.Young's picture
Apr. 5, 2010 9:24 am

The Have Nots by X

bar anything but
the bottom step of the ladder
it keeps getting
higher and higher
Dawn comes soon enough
for the working class
it keeps getting
sooner or later
This is the game
that moves as you play
How does it feel
to have you own
bottle of booze behind the bar
How does it feel?
to play cards
with the barmaids
while they work
at Jacko's Rocketship
and The One Eye Jack
My Sin &
The Lucky Star
A steady place to study and drink
Day old days ancient
bloody mary bastards
in a hardcore
blue collar bar
Here we sit -
a shot and a beer
after another hard earned day

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renee in dc
Feb. 28, 2011 10:50 am

Labor song to play this week: Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford

LadyLiberty4's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

another labor song='16 tons'

ya load 16 tons whaddya get--another day older and deeper in debt

st peter don't call me 'cause i can't go--i owe my soul to the company store...

Jan. 27, 2011 6:01 pm

String Cheese Incident-- Work.

sween_66's picture
Apr. 7, 2010 8:45 am

This has probalby been done already...However, I have been dancing around the house to it.

Ladyhawke1's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Muevan Las Industrias by Los Prisioneros

Under PopRock from Free Market Economics-ridden 1980's Chile.

It's in Spanish, but it rants about the widespread closing of factories.

You need some RageAgainstTheMachine as well for sure.

WorkindField's picture
Feb. 28, 2011 10:46 am

A song I am requesting is "War Sucks", by Spectrum.

IamPete's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


There are so many so here will be my two cents for the week

And No Nos Moveran -

Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Jacob!!!!! Please play "God's Away on Business" by Tom Waits. I've always wanted to hear you guys play that as a bumper. I interpret it as a great allegorical song about Wall Street and the "establishment."

Creolqween's picture
Jul. 21, 2010 10:12 am

Money For Nothing - Dire Straits

politicalview's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Labor Song: "Get A Job" by the Silhouettes

stopgap's picture
May. 25, 2010 11:41 am

Can't Make It Here Anymore
James McMurtry

It is probably the best modern-day jobless/labor/anti-war song.


Feb. 21, 2011 1:57 pm

King Harvest (Has Surely Come) by The Band

Corn in the fields
Listen to the rice when the wind blows 'cross the water
King harvest has surely come

I work for the union
'Cause she's so good to me
And I'm bound to come out on top
That's where she said I should be

I will hear every word the boss may say
For he's the one who hands me down my pay
Looks like this time I'm gonna get to stay
I'm a union man, now all the way

The smell of the leaves
From the magnolia trees in the meadow
King harvest has surely come

Dry summer, then comes fall
Which I depend on most of all
Hey, rainmaker can't you hear my call?
Please let these crops grow tall

Long enough I've been up on skid row
And it's plain to see, I've nothin' to show
I'm glad to pay those union dues
Just don't judge me by my shoes

Scarecrow and a yellow moon
And pretty soon a carnival on the edge of town
King harvest has surely come

Last year this time, wasn't no joke
My whole barn went up in smoke
My horse Jethro, well he went mad
And I can't ever remember things bein' so bad

Then there comes a man with a paper and a pen
Tellin' us our hard times are about to end
And then if they don't give us what we like
He said, "Men, that's when you gotta go on strike"

Corn in the fields
Listen to the rice when the wind blows 'cross the water
King harvest has surely come

Bugging Out's picture
Bugging Out
Feb. 28, 2011 1:34 pm

Love Pete. Worked with him during the Reagan years. My song "Solidarity" is in his song book. Pete liked it because it's a labor song with a funky beat that would galvanize young as well as us boomers. You can check it out on youtube. SOLIDARITY BY BILLY BROWN.wmv.

Ever since Reagan it's been: "Take it from the needy, give it to the greedy".

Pete is the best!

billleebrown's picture
Feb. 26, 2011 1:23 am

Also, Rage Against the Machine's version of Maggie's Farm is great.

shick's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Black Lung by Hazel Dickens

he went to the bossman but he closed the door

it seems you're not wanted when you're sick and you're poor

you're not even covered under their medical plan

and you're life depends on the favor of man

thanks to everyone who picked Woody Guthrie and Utah Phillips!

mtdon's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Remeber that our forefathers in the union movement sacrificed their lives. In Everett Washington on Nov. 5 1916 union members lost their lives in what was known as the Everett Massacre or "Bloody Sunday". As the IWW members boat full of strike supporters reached the dock they were singing the song "Hold the Fort", a union anthem of the day. They were met by the sheriff and local businessmen. In the resulting gunfire 5 IWW members died and 27 were wounded. In their memory and in support of the Wisconsin strikers please play "Hold the Fort".


We meet today in freedom's cause
And raise our voices high.
We'll join our hands in union strong
to battle or to die.


Hold the fort for we are coming.
Union men be strong.
Side by side we battle onward.
Victory will come.

(Repeat after each verse)

See our numbers still increasing.
Hear the bugles blow.
By our union, we shall triumph
Over every foe.

Fierce and long the battle rages,
But we shall not fear.
Help will come whenever needed.
Cheer, my comrades, cheer.

Rick Johnston
Feb. 28, 2011 4:41 pm

What about 16 Tons, by Merle Travis in 1946 then recorded by Tennesse Ernie Ford in 1955? Did a quick lookup on Wikipedia for above, the link below is to the lyrics that sound like Ford had done it:

Grandparents were settled in Pennsylvania, I was born and grew up in Michigan so ties to both the UAW and UMW in my family history.

shayes's picture
Feb. 24, 2011 10:53 am

Which Side Are you On - Natalie Merchant version

Steve.I.Am's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

2 more songs (one of women working, and one of coal miners):
1) Women Around the World at Work by Martha and the Muffins

In a hundred wars across the earth,
Men and guns are thought to prove their worth,
Women stay behind and grow the food,
Placing soldiers in a dangerous mood.
Women around the world at work...Working, working.

There's a man who must be sixty-five,
Makes his living running other lives,
Tells them when they can't and when they can,
They're so busy they don't give a damn.
Women around the world at work...Working, working.

In The Daily X, May '81,
Back-page human interest story runs:
Just so men can have their bloody way.
Women around the world at work...Working, working.

2) Three Miles Down by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson:

Here come the mine cars, it's damn near dawn.
Another shift of men, some of them my friends, comin' on.
Hard to imagine workin' in the mines,
Coal dust in your lungs, on your skin and on your mind
I've listened to the speeches
but it occurs to me politicians just don't understand
the thoughts of isolation, ain't no sunshine underground
It's like workin' in a graveyard three miles down.

Damn near a legend as old as the mines,
things that happen in the pits just don't change with the times.
Work till you're exhausted in too little space.
A history of disastrous fears etched on your face
Somebody signs a paper, everybody thinks is fine
but Taft and Hartley ain't done one day in the mines.
You start to stiffen! You heard a crackin' sound!
It's like workin' in a graveyard three miles down.

renee in dc
Feb. 28, 2011 10:50 am

Brad Paisley: COVER: You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive:

NIN: Bite the Hand That Feeds:

Midnight Oil: Beds Are Burning:

Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Vincent Drinks's picture
Vincent Drinks
Jan. 25, 2011 9:07 pm

How about Werewolves of London - could they be talking about the banksters running the BOE?

mtdon's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

John Lennon

Working Class Hero

"A working class hero is something to be!!!"

Markus's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


by Ry Cooder

Album is called My Name is Buddy

requested by Ricky Standard Savannah Ga.

whole album is about labor movement of early 1900's

ykcir's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Hopefully this isn't a repeat, but I recommend "There is Power in a Union" by Billy Bragg

lthayes66's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

How about for a change something post '60's.

Perhaps Flogging Molly

"Black Friday Rule"

Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

"You lift 16 tons and what do you get?

Another year older and deeper in debt

Saint Peter don't you call me cos I can't go

I owe my soul to the comany store!"

Cornelius88's picture
Mar. 1, 2011 10:44 am

"Union Maid" Here's a version by Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie

By the way, don't you think the protesters in Wisconsin (et al) could use some music? Think of how powerful it would be to have Arlo, Pete, Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen (to name a few) out with the crowd leading them in song.

Anyone know how to give a shout-out to these folks?

Spekkyboy's picture
Feb. 23, 2011 10:17 am

The Nightwatchman - Union Song


The Nightwatchman - The Road I Must Travel

jaredk's picture
Dec. 9, 2010 7:45 am

Trump Is Using Racist White People To Make The Rich Richer

There is this whole mythology that Donald Trump came to power because 53% of white women voted for him, because 66% of white working men who didn't have a college degree voted for him.

That may be, but those are not his constituents. Those are his suckers. Those are his rubes.

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