Song of the Day, September 5: Workers’ Song by Dick Gaughan

GaughanHandfulToday’s song is Workers’ Song by Dick Gaughan. Written by Ed Pickford and brilliantly covered by Gaughan, it is the perfect song to celebrate Labor Day, especially in a year that has been crushing for organized labor. Always a supporter of the worker and the underdog, Gaughan recorded this track for his 1981 masterpiece Handful of Earth (which takes its title from this song). With a simple, brilliant guitar accompaniment, he sings the lyrics with a building intensity, nearly spitting with anger at the mistreatment of the many by the fortunate few.

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?

Let us celebrate the work that makes our nation move forward while we appreciate this holiday and enjoy this magnificent tribute.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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