Saturday, August 24, 2013

Country Club #14: Working Man

John Conlee has been described as "ne of the most respected vocalists to emerge during the urban cowboy era, John Conlee was known for his superb taste in material and his distinctively melancholy voice." Conlee probably won't make many all time country great lists, but he had 19 top ten hits between 1978 and 1987. If you listened to country radio during that period or country oldies format today, you've probably heard and enjoyed  lots of his records.

Conlee's 1985 "Working Man" was a follow-up of sorts to his 1982 Number One Hit "Common Man and rose to number 7 in the charts.There's an interesting difference in the two songs. "Common Man" (lyrics)is about life-style and consumption patterns, rejecting wine poured by a maid and dogs by a pedigree in favor of McDonalds and Budweister, "cause high-browed people lose their sanity|And a common man is what I’ll be." In contrast, "Working Man" is about working, wages too low, a can't be satisfied boss, and (I  really like this touch) "too much room in the Frigidaire."

Country music to a greater extent than other forms of American popular music often talks about work and working.   That's a reason liberals, progressives, union activists,and democratic socialists should pay attention  to this musical form that is exceedingly popular with the white working class.




WORKING MAN LYRICS

Stumble from my good warm bed
Monday mornin', oh my head
Gotta go and do it all again
Wake up baby, rise and shine
It's coffee, eggs and bacon time
Walk your workin' man out to the car

The boss is in his usual mood
Not one thing does he approve
Sometimes you can't keep him satisfied
Up and down the assembly line
Weary faces much like mine
Showing the wear and tear in their eyes

CHORUS:
They're makin' it hard on the workin' man
Tryin' to make a livin' any way he can
Makin' ends meet on the installment plan
His money goes right through his hands

Heaven, help him if you think you can
They're makin' it hard on the workin' man

Big policeman in his prime
Sits behind his billboard sign
Aims his radar gun right straight at me
A letter from the IRS
Says "Boy, you're taxes are a mess"
Is this the way the good life's supposed to be?

(chorus)

Stumble from my good warm bed
Monday mornin', oh my head
Gotta go and do it all again
Too much room in the Frigidaire
The kids all need new shoes to wear
Payment's late on my old truck agaïn
 Stumble from my good warm bed

Monday mornin', oh my head
Gotta go and do it all again
Wake up baby, rise and shine
It's coffee, eggs and bacon time
Walk your workin' man out to the car

The boss is in his usual mood
Not one thing does he approve
Sometimes you can't keep him satisfied
Up and down the assembly line
Weary faces much like mine
Showing the wear and tear in their eyes

CHORUS:
They're makin' it hard on the workin' man
Tryin' to make a livin' any way he can
Makin' ends meet on the installment plan
His money goes right through his hands

Heaven, help him if you think you can
They're makin' it hard on the workin' man

Big policeman in his prime
Sits behind his billboard sign
Aims his radar gun right straight at me
A letter from the IRS
Says "Boy, you're taxes are a mess"
Is this the way the good life's supposed to be?

(chorus)

Stumble from my good warm bed
Monday mornin', oh my head
Gotta go and do it all again
Too much room in the Frigidaire
The kids all need new shoes to wear
Payment's late on my old truck agaïn

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