From the Monongahela valley
To the Mesabi iron range
To the coal mines of Appalachia
The story’s always the same
Seven hundred tons of metal a day
Now sir you tell me the world’s changed
Once I made you rich enough
Rich enough to forget my name.
We all have to work. And while we’ve all heard talk of the dignity of work, we’ve most likely all suffered through the indignities associated with work, as well. Work is a fundamental experience of the human condition, since God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden to toil for the remainder of their lives. This week is Social Awareness Week at KUST and Great River Radio will be highlighting the music and some of the issues of the working world. There is a strong connection between music and work and, particularly, the labor movement – through much of the middle of the last century, songwriters like Joe Hill and Woody Guthrie used their talents to inspire and galvanize workers who were experiencing conditions that were unsafe and unfair. We’d like to pay tribute to those who went before us and began to establish reasonable hours of work, safe and healthy conditions and fairness in compensation.
Woody’s talent at raising awareness to issues of workplace fairness, safety and dignity has been passed on to many contemporary songwriters and performers, and we’ll be hearing from both the fathers and the sons (and the mothers and the daughters) of the labor movement during the last many decades. The link between work and music has in some ways formed the roots of contemporary rock and roll and we want to explore both the issue of worker’s rights and the musical themes that the labor movement has played out against. We’ll be hearing from Bruce Springsteen, of course, as well as Chris Thomas and Tracy Chapman, Steve Earle and Nina Simone, Taj Mahal and Sam Cooke, and from a real chain gang from a state penitentiary in Mississippi. Our show will feature songs about working conditions, immigrants and work, unions, and the need for all of us to have “bread, and roses, too” to quote one of the most famous union organizing songs.
Brian and Dan are happy to be back together in the studio after the election night break and we look forward to having you listening, warm after your day’s work on this chilly Minnesota evening.
Ol’ Man River-Jeff Beck
Hard Time Killing FLoor Blues-Chris Thomas King
The Ghost Of Tom Joad-Bruce Springsteen
Welcome To The Working Week-Elvis Costello
Working In The Coal Mine-DEVO
Cleaning Windows-Van Morrison
Money For Nothing-Dire Straits
The Bourgeois Blues-Taj Mahal and Leadbelly
City of Immigrants-Steve Earle
Work Song-Nina Simone
Prettiest Train-Mississippi and Louisiana State Penitentiaries Prisoners
Chain Gang-Sam Cooke
Which Side Are You On?-Florence Reese
Which Side Are You On?-The Dropkick Murphys
Union Maid-Old Crow Medicine Show
I Guess I Planted-Billy Bragg and Wilco
Steve’s Hammer (For Pete)-Steve Earle
Union Sundown-Bob Dylan
Mr. Sellack-The Roches
Bread And Roses-Utah Phillips
This Land Is Your Land-Ani DiFranco
Land Of Hope And Dreams-Bruce Springsteen