Monday, July 11, 2016

Roots Radio 16: Nothin' But A Man - Songs About Work & Working People, Part 1

Ben Franklin's famous axiom that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes overlooks one other essential element: the work that may well drive us to death so we can pay those taxes. "By the sweat of your brow shall you earn your bread" is one of our oldest of old saws on work - a punishment for sin and a curse upon humankind. And truly, through much of the history of human experience, work has been just that. And yet - even within the context of often desperate necessity, our work has often had rewards beyond insuring mere subsistence. And that is the theme of my show this week - folk songs and blues songs and country songs and roots songs about people at work, about how what we do to earn a living can frustrate us, satisfy us, ennoble us, or crush us - sometimes all of them simultaneously.
This is the first hour of the original 2 hour radio broadcast  from June 18, 2016.

Show Theme: From "Forever & A Day" By The Kingston Trio
Opening: "John Henry" - John Cephas & Phil Wiggins

The Rush Of The Mighty Engine (Trains)
Old John Henry Died On The Mountain - Henry Grady Terrell
Jerry, Go Oil That Car - Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock
Linin' Track - Lead Belly
Casey Jones - Johnny Cash
Drill Ye Tarriers - The Chad Mitchell Trio
Pat Works On The Railway - The Cottars
The Erie-Lackawanna Line - Hank Cramer

Working The Mill (Factories)
Ten And Nine - Liam Clancy
The Work Of The Weavers - Alex Sutherland & His Cronies
The Four Loom Weaver - Karan Casey
Aragon Mill - Karen Matheson, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Babies In The Mill - Larry Penn


mark said...

Another good one, Jim! Thanks.

Linkmeister said...

Hi, Jim, long time no read, I'm afraid. I just picked up a copy of a 4-cd set called 9 Classic Albums by the Kingston Trio and was surprised that I didn't find a version of Dean's "Big Bad John" on it. I'd have sworn they played it. Am I wrong?

Jim Moran said...

Ah, Stephen - a very belated happy new year to you! Glad you looked in and I have to get back to regular reading of your scribblings, too. For now - the KT never recorded "Big Bad John" (and I am sure of that), but you may be thinking of "The Reverend Mr. Black," which they released about a year after Dean's classic. "Mr. Black" also features a bass-toned story narration by John Stewart and approximately the same rhythm and speed. Both are fun songs from long ago.