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Songs about loss of pay, low wages

John on the Sunset Coast 10 May 06 - 10:25 AM
Mark Ross 10 May 06 - 11:08 AM
Franz S. 10 May 06 - 11:09 AM
Amos 10 May 06 - 11:59 AM
Paul Burke 10 May 06 - 12:06 PM
redsnapper 10 May 06 - 12:22 PM
JennyO 10 May 06 - 12:41 PM
GEST 10 May 06 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,DannyC 10 May 06 - 01:05 PM
sciencegeek 10 May 06 - 01:36 PM
Anonny Mouse 10 May 06 - 01:40 PM
dick greenhaus 10 May 06 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Phil 11 May 06 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,Phil 11 May 06 - 02:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 May 06 - 03:39 AM
Splott Man 11 May 06 - 03:49 AM
Scrump 11 May 06 - 04:31 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 May 06 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,JTT 11 May 06 - 07:18 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 May 06 - 08:40 AM
mrsmac 11 May 06 - 09:58 AM
Nancy King 11 May 06 - 10:18 AM
frogprince 11 May 06 - 02:41 PM
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Subject: Loss of Pay
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 10 May 06 - 10:25 AM

In the following songs workers don't quite seem to get what they earned:
"The Old Chishom Trail" they cowboy is nine dollars in the hole at the end of the cattle drive;
"Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill" the worker is docked for the time he was up in the sky;
"Sixteen Tons" the miner owes his soul to the company store.
I'd be interested in hearing about other songs that have this (sub)theme in them.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:08 AM

" I like my boss, he's a good friend of mine.
That's why I'm starving out on the bread line."

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Franz S.
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:09 AM

The song "Buffalo Skinners" (in the DT) contains this verse:

The season being near over, old Crego he did say
The crowd had been extravagant, was in debt to him that day;
We coaxed him and we begged him, and still it was no go,
So we left old Crego's bones to bleach on the range of the buffalo.

Nicely combines the "loss of pay" theme with direct action, which may not have got the goods in this case but could serve as an object lesson.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:59 AM

WHy do we ride for our money?
And why do we rope for short pay?
We ain't getting nowhere,
And we're losing our share,
Do you think we're all crazy out here?

Night Rider's Lament


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 May 06 - 12:06 PM

Poverty Knock:

Oh dear, I'm going to be late, Gaffer is standing at gate
With his hands in his pockets our wages he'll dock us
We'll have to buy grub on the slate

McCaffery:

"Two weeks CB, two months loss of pay
That's what it cost me for the children's play"


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: redsnapper
Date: 10 May 06 - 12:22 PM

Or an alternative version of McCaffery:

"I was confined to barracks, with loss of pay
For doing me duty the opposite way"

RS


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE POUND A WEEK RISE (Ed Pickford)
From: JennyO
Date: 10 May 06 - 12:41 PM

There's this one, sung here locally by Judy Pinder:

THE POUND A WEEK RISE - Ed Pickford

O come all ye colliers that works down the mines
From Scotland to South Wales, from Teasdale to Tyne
I'll tell you the story of the pound a week rise
And the men who were fooled by the Government's lies.

Chorus

And it's down ye go, down below Jack,
Where you never see the skies
And you're working in a dungeon
For your pound a week rise.

In nineteen and sixty, just a few short years ago
The mine workers' leaders to Lord Robins they did go
Saying "We work very hard, every day we risk our lives
And we're asking you here and now for a pound a a week rise."

Then up spake Lord Robins and he made this decree
Saying "When the output rises then with you I will agree
For to rise up your wages and give to you fair pay,
For I was once a miner and I worked hard in my day."

The miners went home and they worked both hard and well,
Their lungs filled up with coal dust in the bosom of hell.
The output rose by fifteen, eighteen percent or more,
And when two years had passed and gone it rose above a score.

The miners went back for to get their hard-won prize
To ask Lord Robins for their pound a week rise
Lord Robins wouldn't give a pound, he wouldn't give ten bob,
He gave them seven and six and said "Now get back to your job!"

So come all ye colliers and heed what I do say,
And don't believe Lord Robins when he says he'll give fair pay.
He'll tell you to work hard and make the output rise,
But you'll get pie in the sky instead of a one pound rise.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: GEST
Date: 10 May 06 - 01:04 PM

In my grandfather's time, as he'd often recall,
He'd fish from spring up into the fall;
To pay his debt to the merchant and then,
The whole thing would start all over again.

From Beyond That Point by Sheldon McBreairty of Final Approach (Memories Remain ©2001 SOCAN)


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: GUEST,DannyC
Date: 10 May 06 - 01:05 PM

From the concluding phrases of the whaling song - "Wings of a Gull":


... 'Til the flying jib points for home.
We're supposed for our toil to get a bonus of the oil,
And an equal share of the bone.

But we go to the agent to settle for the trip,
And we've find we've cause to repent.
For we've slaved away these four years of our life
And earned 'round three pound ten.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: sciencegeek
Date: 10 May 06 - 01:36 PM

from the broadside balad, Angeline, after the sailor has been robbed & left penniless, he meets up with Rapper Brown

As i was walking down the street
I met up with Rapper Brown
I asked him if he'd take me in
and he looked at me with a frown
he says last time that you were paid off,
with me you chalked up no score
but I'll take your advance
and I'll give you a chance
to go to sea once more


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Anonny Mouse
Date: 10 May 06 - 01:40 PM

Seems like a common theme. Times were tough (still are for many). Wonder if we'll get any 21st century folk tunes about gas prices, and Moms and Dads who have to stay home from work because they can't afford the fuel for their cars? Hey--ya never know!


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 May 06 - 10:02 PM

Look up Lamkin (Child #93)
Not to mention all the miners who "Owe their souls to the compny store"


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:24 AM


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:28 AM

Try Again !



I've been a few miles, I've crossed a few stiles.
I've been round the world, there and back.
But one place I struck, 'tween here and hard luck,
they stung me for five and a zack.

In Australia, five and a zack was five shillings and six pence in pre-decimal coinage.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 May 06 - 03:39 AM

the banks are made of marble
with a guard at every door
and their vaults are stuffed with silver
That the farmer sweated for

not sure who wrote it, but Pete Seeger used to sing Banks of Marble


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Splott Man
Date: 11 May 06 - 03:49 AM

From A Miner's Life


You've been docked and docked again, boys,
You've been loading two for one.

and in the chorus...

Keep your hands upon your wages, and your eyes upon the scale.



This was from when the Sliding Scale ws in place, when wages were linked to the price of coal on the international market.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Scrump
Date: 11 May 06 - 04:31 AM

Not quite the same but related:

Four Pounds A Day (by Stan Kelly I think?) is the opposite, about workers (navvies or builders) still getting paid when it's raining.

Owd Rimbant by Fivepenny Piece is about a skinflint boss who thinks he's being generous by *not* docking his workers' pay during a minute's silence.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 May 06 - 06:41 AM

Oh dear me, the mill's ganin fast,
The poor wee shifters canna get their rest,
Shifting bobbins coarse and fine,
There's not much pleasure living,
On ten and nine


For the love of Jesus,
Increase me wages,
From thirty shings,
To one pound ten.
And the old triangle...


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ROCKS OF BAWN
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 May 06 - 07:18 AM

The Rocks of Bawn


Come all you loyal heroes, wherever you may be
Don't hire with any master, till you know what your work will be
For you must rise up early from the clear daylight till dawn
I'm afraid you'll ne'er be able to plough the rocks of Bawn.

And arise up gallant Sweeney, and give your horse some hay
And give him a good feed of oats, before you go away
Don't feed him on soft turnip, put him out on your green lawn
Or I'm afraid he'll ne'er be able to plough the rocks of Bawn.

And oh Sweeney, lovely Sweeney, you have me in great dismay
Your walking among the stones and rocks, your hair is turning gray
Your walking among the stones and rocks, your step is like a fawn
I'm afraid you'll ne'er be able to plough the rocks of Bawn.

And my curse attend you Sweeney, you have me nearly robbed
Your sitting by the fireside, with your dúidín in your gob
Your sitting by the fireside, from the clear daylight till dawn
I'm afraid you'll ne'er be able to plough the rocks of Bawn.

My hands they are well worn now, my stockings they are thin
My heart is always trembling, I'm afraid I might give in
My heart is always trembling, from the clear daylight till dawn
I'm afraid I'll ne'er be able to plough the rocks of Bawn.

And I wish the Queen of England would send for me in time
And place me in a regiment, all in my youth and prime
I would fight for Ireland's glory from the clear daylight till the dawn
But I never would return again to plough the rocks of Bawn.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 May 06 - 08:40 AM

Ghost Army Of Korea

Protecting politicians and millionaires,
For three lousy shillings a day.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: mrsmac
Date: 11 May 06 - 09:58 AM

this verse is from the shamrock shore

Our sustenance is taken away
Our tithes and taxes for to pay
To support that law-protected church to which they do adhere
And our Irish gentry, well you know
To other countries they do go
And the money from all Ireland is squandered here and there
But if those squires would stay at home
And not to other countries roam
But to build mills and factories here to employ the labouring core
For if we had trade and commerce fair
To me no nation could compare
To that sore oppressed island that they call the Shamrock Shore


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Subject: Lyr Add: DOWN ON PENNY'S FARM
From: Nancy King
Date: 11 May 06 - 10:18 AM

"Down on Penny's Farm" certainly qualifies for this category:


Come you ladies and you gentlemen and listen to my song,
I'll sing it to you right but you might think it's wrong,
May make you mad, but I mean no harm --
It's all about the renters on Penny's farm.
   It's hard times in the country, down on Penny's farm.

Now you move out on Penny's farm,
Plant a little crop o' bacca and a little crop o' corn.
He'll come around to plan and to plot,
Till he gets himself a mortgage on everything you got.
   It's hard times in the country, down on Penny's farm.

You go in the fields and you work all day,
Till way after dark, but you get no pay.
Promise you meat or a little lard--
It's hard to be a renter on Penny's farm.
   It's hard times in the country, down on Penny's farm.

Now here's George Penny come into town
With a wagon-load of peaches, not one of them sound.
He's got to have his money or somebody's check--
You pay him for a bushel but you don't get a peck.
   It's hard times in the country, down on Penny's farm.

Then George Penny's renters they come into town
With their hands in their pockets and their heads hangin' down.
Go in the store and the merchant will say,
"Your mortgage is due and I'm lookin' for my pay."
   It's hard times in the country, down on Penny's farm.

Goes down in his pocket with a tremblin hand,
"I can't pay you all but I'll pay you what I can."
Then to the telephone the merchant makes a call;
They'll put you on the chain gang if you don't pay it all.
   It's hard times in the country, down on Penny's farm.


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Subject: RE: Loss of pay
From: frogprince
Date: 11 May 06 - 02:41 PM

The foreman's name was John McCann
By God, he was a blamed mean man
Last week a premature blast went off
And a mile in the air went big Jim Goff

And when next payday came around
Jim Goff a dollar short was found
When he asked, "What for?" came this reply
"You were docked for the time you were up in the sky"


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