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Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song

24 Oct 99 - 02:46 PM (#127532)
Subject: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: MudGuard

Once again problems when transcribing a song from tape.
Performers are "Foreign Feathers".
Problem words as usually marked in red.
Any help appreciated.
TIA
MudGuard

The Chemical Worker's Song

Chorus

And it's go, boys, go
They'll time your every breath
And everyday you're in this place
You're two days nearer death
But you go
They process malamian
I'm telling you no lie
I've worked and breathed among the fumes
That trail across the sky
There's thunder all around me
There's poison in the air
The lousy smell that's a mix of hell
And dust all in the hair.

I've worked among the spinners
Every sin the oily smoke
I've shoveled up the chipsum
It's nigh and makes you choke
I've stood knee-deep in cyanide
Going sick with a coustic burner
Been working rough, I've seen enough
To make your stomachs turn

There's overtime and bonus
Opportunities galore
Oh, the young lads like the money
And the old come back for more
But still you're knocking on now
Looking older than you should
For every bob made at this job
Is paid in flesh and blood.


24 Oct 99 - 03:01 PM (#127538)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: wildlone

1 A process man am I
2 Iv'e breathed in the oily smoke
3 Iv'e shovelled up the Gypsum that nigh on makes you choke
4 Going sick with a Caustic burn
taken from the Big red song book.
Yer Tiz MudGuard wl


24 Oct 99 - 06:07 PM (#127579)
Subject: Lyr Add: I. C. I. SONG / CHEMICAL WORKERS SONG
From: poet

Author unknown to me but the song goes:-

I. C. I. Song (chemical workers song).

A process man am I and I'm telling you no lie.
I've worked and breathed among the fumes.
That trail across the sky.
There's thunder all around me and poison in the air.
There's a lousy smell that smacks of hell. And dust all in my hair.

Chorus
But you go boys go.
They time your every breath.
And every day you're in this place .
you're two days nearer death, but you go.

I've worked among the spinners I've breathed in the oil and smoke.
I've shovelled up the gypsum till it nigh on makes you choke.
I've stood knee deep in cyanide gone sick with a caustic burn.
I've been working rough I've seen enough to make your stomach turn.

There's overtime there's bonus opportunities galore.
The young men like the money. Aye they all come back for mare.
Ah but soon you're knocking on. You look older than you should.
For every bob made on this job you pay with flesh and blood.

Repeat first verse.

I hope you find this helpful. the alternative tiltle is the I.C.I song.
^^
Graham (Guernsey)


24 Oct 99 - 08:38 PM (#127610)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Susanne (skw)

The song was written by Ron Angel, who is from I don't know where. But the following extract from Sean Damer's 'Glasgow - Going for a Song' illustrates the song's theme quite well, I think.

[1990:] In the period before the First World War, a great deal of industrial work was highly dangerous. There was no such thing as Health and Safety at Work regulations; the life of a worker was literally cheap. Some of the works must have appeared like Dante's 'Inferno'. [...] The terrible costs of working in this particular inferno [in the mid-19th century] were revealed some thirty years later, in 1889, in a newspaper interview with one of the chemical workers [of Tennant's St Rollox Chemical Works in Glasgow]: "[...] If a man goes to the works young he will be past working before he reaches forty years of age [...]. For instance, you will easily know a chrome-worker from the fact that, as a rule, the bridge of his nose is completely eaten away. [...]" The majority of the chemical workers [in Glasgow] were Irish; they were paid an average of 15s 6d per week, a pitiful wage. [...] The dreadful conditions in these chemical plants were the subject of Keir Hardie's famous attacks on Lord Overtoun in 1899. Overtoun was the proprietor of a large chemical works on the Glasgow-Rutherglen border, and also a noted philanthropist and man of religion. Keir Hardie, in a series of articles in the socialist newspaper 'Labour Leader' - subsequently reprinted as pamphlets - exposed the fearful working conditions in Overtoun's chemical works. He confirmed that the workers rapidly lost the cartilage in their nose working with these noxious chemicals, but also suffered from 'chrome holes' being burnt in their body, and respiratory diseases. Moreover, they worked a twelve-hour day, seven-day week - with no time off for meals, and in foul conditions. (Damer, Glasgow 62f)


24 Oct 99 - 10:54 PM (#127654)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: rich r

Recorded a few years ago by the Canadian group, Great Big Sea on their album "Up"


25 Oct 99 - 01:18 AM (#127696)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Sandy Paton

Lorre Wyatt recorded it on his Roots and Branches for Folk-Legacy.


25 Oct 99 - 02:15 AM (#127700)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: MudGuard

Thanks for all the help!
MudGuard


25 Oct 99 - 07:37 PM (#127935)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Mel

What Rich said, there's a version of this song on Great Big Sea's album "Up". It's a fantastic album, and I think they did the song justice.

::going back to lurking:: Mel


26 Oct 99 - 02:25 PM (#128252)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: selby

This song was written by Ron Angel Who comes from Middlesborough which is in Cleveland, in the UK The whole area is covered with chemical works The main employer being ICI. Keith


26 Oct 99 - 02:32 PM (#128255)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: selby

I also forgot to add it was written in 1964 Keith


26 Oct 99 - 04:36 PM (#128311)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Durham Lad

I think Ron Angel was a part of the Teeside Fettlers. A very well know folk band in the sixties and seventies. Bill Sables might be able to confirm this.


19 Mar 04 - 03:09 PM (#1141151)
Subject: Lyr Add: CHEMICAL WORKER'S SONG (f Great Big Sea)
From: GUEST,sheherazade

Hi! As sung by Great Big Sea, a band based in Newfoundland... so they lyrics have been adjusted for the Newfie dialect... which adds to the confusion... things like "me hair" which probably was probably adjusted as that is more typically Newfie... than my hair.


THE CHEMICAL WORKER'S SONG

(Chorus)
And it's "go boys go"
They'll time your every breath
And every day you're in this place
You're two days nearer death.
But you go...

Well a process man am I and I'm telling you no lie
I work and breathe among the fumes that trail across the sky
There's thunder all around me, and there's poison in the air
There's a lousy smell that smacks of Hell, and dust all in me hair

(Chorus)

Well I've worked among the spinners and I've breathed the oily smoke
I've shoveled up the gypsum and that nigh on makes you choke
I've stood knee-deep in cyanide and got sick with a caustic burn,
Been working rough I've seen enough to make your stomach turn.

(Chorus)

There's overtime and bonus opportunities galore
And young men like their money and they all come back for more
But soon you're knocking on and you look older than you should
For every bob made on the job you've paid in flesh and blood.

(Chorus)

Well a process man am I and I'm telling you no lie
I work and breathe among the fumes that trail across the sky
There's thunder all around me, and there's poison in the air
There's a lousy smell that smacks of Hell, and dust all in me hair


19 Mar 04 - 07:33 PM (#1141336)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: s&r

The chorus is "Go boy go" - singular.

Stu


20 Mar 04 - 09:32 AM (#1141661)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Flash Company

The song referred to ICI Billingham, on TeesSide but could have referred to any ICI PLant, I know, my Dad worked for them until emphysema got him.
I think Vin Garbutt also recorded it

FC


20 Mar 04 - 04:01 PM (#1141865)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: rodentred

I gather that things have changed so much that it is now safer to work on a chemical plant on Teesside than in the home. Perhaps Ron should write a sequel about the hazards of working with power tools in the garden.

I hear he has written another verse to the song. Havn't heard it myself though. Whether it is 'Go boy..' or 'Go boys...' I don't think Ron would particularly care so long as folks sing it with gusto.

Another interesting fact is that ICI have pretty well got out of Teesside.


20 Mar 04 - 04:15 PM (#1141874)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST

Ron Angel is not only a great songwriter, but also a smashing singer. He is currently a member of the Endeavour Shantymen and also plays whistle in several local groups. He also runs Stockton Folk Club ... a very busy, talented and much repected man!


21 Mar 04 - 09:19 AM (#1142235)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: wigan

glad to see you've credited Ron for what is a fine song. He was a founder member of the fettlers. Besides running his own folk club he is still an excellent performer with whistle and song. He recently did an super night at the Globe in Guisborough. A new but vibrant club. The Globe was the original home of Guisborough Folk Club. We    started a club again in august 03 which is going well. More details can be obtained from the magician or wigan. all are welcome.
Dav, wasn't that an excellent jam session last Friday? Trouble is I had to be up at 7.


21 Mar 04 - 05:35 PM (#1142447)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Ned Ludd

I've always heard it as 'Boys' mostly from the singing of Richard Grainger who as far as I know was in the fettlers which is where he learned it.


21 Mar 04 - 05:46 PM (#1142463)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: fiddler

I've recently got Teeside Fettlers LP with Ron singing this copied to CD If it doesn't break any copyright and I'm not ripping off an old mate of mine I'll happily let folk have a CDA or MP3 file of it - but I suspect you'll need broadband to download it (or a University account at 100nbit to the desktop.

I was weaned on Ron and Teesside Fettlers.

A


22 Mar 04 - 05:39 AM (#1142733)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Dave Bryant

I worked for ICI Billingham in the late 60s and rememmber Ron from those days. The Stockton Folk Club was originally at the "Stork and Castle", but moved to "The Sun" when it closed. It's still there after about 36 years and Ron still runs it. Linda and I had a very pleasant evening there last year when we took time out from Whitby to visit it.

At one time the usual directions for finding the ICI works were - "Drive up the A1 to Scotch Corner - then sniff !".


22 Mar 04 - 11:58 AM (#1143034)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: MoorleyMan

Yes Ron still runs the club at the Sun, and a very fine club it is too. Next week (29th) his club guests are Barrie and Ingrid Temple. Worth travlling up for Isay!


22 Mar 04 - 02:04 PM (#1143134)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Tig

I agree with wigan! It was a good night on Friday. Beware Ring o'Bells Surf Boar......

Ron did a good gig at the Globe (aka The Mudcat Watering Hole)whilst we were running the place in February, despite the vile snowy weather he had to get through to come. He is being offered another date later in the year to make up for lack of people, so watch out for it.

Early reports say that since last Friday was a St Pat's Night the 23rd April will celebrate St George's Day. Bring out your dragons.


22 Mar 04 - 02:16 PM (#1143142)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: wigan

beware what? please explain


22 Mar 04 - 05:30 PM (#1143264)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Tig

I think we had drunk it all before you could be lead astray since it was your turn as designated driver :-).

The guest ale for Friday night was another from the Ring o'Bells brewery - Surf Boar. I drank more than my fair share as it was TOO easy to drink, especially combined with the good music from the Bleathermen!

Watch out for another of Sue Simpson's Brown Cow Brewery ones very soon too.


23 Mar 04 - 07:00 AM (#1143666)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,foreignfeathers@arcor.de

Hi, I am the one singing the Chemical Worker's Song with Foreign Feathers. This ist the text I am meant to be singing:

And it's go, boys, go
They'll time you every breath
And everyday you're in this place
You're two days nearer death
But you go

A process am I
I'm telling you no lie
I've worked and breathed among the fumes
That trail across the sky
There's thunder all around me
There's poison in the air
The lousy smell that smacks of hell
And dust all in me hair.

I've worked among the spinners
I've breathed in the oily smoke
I've shoveled up the gipsum
It's nigh and makes you choke
I've stood knee-deep in cyanide
Going sick with a caustic burn
Been working rough, I've seen enough
To make your stomachs turn.

There's overtime and bonus
Opportunities galore
Oh, the young lads like the money
And they all come back for more
But still you're knocking on now
Looking older than you should
For every bob made at this job
Is paid in flesh and blood.


That's it.

We found this song by Ron Angel (as marked on our CD 'It Could Be Worse') on a record by Tara called 'Rigs of the Time' and re-arranged it, especially the final chorus. The intermezzo is Breton.

Hope this bit of information might be useful
Hannes


23 Mar 04 - 04:40 PM (#1144208)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Andrew

Yes - Vin Garbutt definately sang it as I have a recording on Young Tin Whistle Pest I think.

As usual a wonderful introduction to it from Vin

He talks through the chorus ' But you go' bit and explains the 'But you go bit has nothing to do with the song but Ronnie Angel used to work for a butcher called Charlie Go and said he would give him a mention. - Butcher Go !

Students of the Teeside accent would understand.


24 Mar 04 - 05:50 AM (#1144650)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Dave Bryant

Vin worked at Billingham for a while.


24 Mar 04 - 07:12 AM (#1144697)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Dave Bryant

Actually it might have been Wilton or one of the other ICI plants.


09 Oct 04 - 08:10 AM (#1293053)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: nutty

Anyone wanting to hear Ron Angel singing his own wonderful song will find it here with some other great Teesside Fettlers songs

CHEMICAL WORKERS SONG and others


09 Oct 04 - 09:43 AM (#1293099)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Betsy

Dave ,
Re :- Vin . It was ICI Wilton - he was an apprentice Fitter and Turner there.
As soon as he was 21 - when your apprenticeship finished - he was straight out.
Ron Angel - the writer of this song - I couldn't speak more highly of a man -A Jack of all trades and Master of them ALL.
In spite of being a shit hole, I would argue that Teesside has produced more songwriters of note ( pardon the pun) in the British Folk music scene than any other area.
Incidentally for non-UK readers Teesside in the North East of England , birth place of many things 1st Railway , James Cook, all that sort of Stuff .Main towns Middlesbrough, Stockton,Guisborough if you're looking at a map.


09 Oct 04 - 10:39 AM (#1293128)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: nutty

I should also have said that there is another great song on the site .....THE PULLING IN SONG ....... written by a very modest Teessider called Pete Betts (aka Betsy)


09 Oct 04 - 10:49 AM (#1293136)
Subject: RE: LyrHelpReq: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Betsy

Careful Nutty , I 've been asking Joe Offer (he and his crew are extremely busy at the moment)to change the version in the Mudcat database - for the Original which I sent him.
Hope you all enjoy yourselves at the Mudcat Bash next week at the Globe - I assume you're going. Regards to all esp.Magician and Gillie. Pity I can't be there but I shall be thinking about you lot from 6,000 Miles away .
I could do with a REALLY GOOD Session !!!!!!

You never know ( getting back to the thread ) Ron Angel may be there also -
to make the weekend even better - regards to him an' all. !!!


16 Aug 06 - 12:33 AM (#1810846)
Subject: Chemical Worker's Song in RUS
From: JesseW

Since I didn't see it yet mentioned in this thread...

This is in Rise Up Singing! (p. 253)

A few changes of tense and additions or removals of "I've", and one more major change:

I've breathed in the oil and smoke
is in RUS
I've breathed the oily smoke

The metadata is:
Copyright 1964 Ron Angel. Used by permission. -- On his alb (Tradition), Judy Gorman-Jacobs "Right Behind You In The Left Hand Lane", Magpie, "Working My Life Away" & Lorre Wyatt "Roots & Branches". In SO! 29-3, The Eng FSinger (Collins) & The Big Red SB

http://www.ibiblio.org/folkindex/c05.htm#Chewoso has a bit more info on the Wyatt recording:

Wyatt, Lorre. Roots and Branches, Folk Legacy FSI-088, LP (1985), trk# A.05


16 Aug 06 - 07:22 AM (#1811024)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Ernest

It was also sung and recorded by Tara. They are disbanded, but their singer Marty Byrne is a catter (although he doesn`t post often).
Best
Ernest


16 Aug 06 - 07:44 AM (#1811042)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chemical Worker's Song
From: The Borchester Echo

. . . and by Crucible on Crux WildGoose WGS327CD


16 Aug 06 - 07:53 AM (#1811047)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chemical Worker's Song
From: fiddler

OK then I Mp3'd this a few years back (for my own use) form the original vinyl wiht Ron angel singing.

Great guy - and old pal - I did speak to him at the time check out

16 Aug 06 - 12:45 PM (#1811287)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Pete_Standing

Cracking version by Crucible, as is the rest of the album.


16 Aug 06 - 01:04 PM (#1811309)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,mg

Also sung very well by Fraser Union of B.C. Canada. mg


17 Aug 06 - 02:43 AM (#1811972)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST

Another great song on the same subject - also about ICI is 'The Clayton Aniline Song' written by Paul Smith (Paul?) who was a TU convener there in the 1960.
Starts -
Been working in dyeworks for nearly five years

Jim Carroll


30 Jul 09 - 12:58 PM (#2690385)
Subject: Chemical Worker's Song extra verse
From: Steve Lane

I thought some people here might be interested in this blog and recording on www.myspace.com/stevelanefolksinger

I have just uploaded the home recording I made of Ron Angel's Chemical Worker's (or is it Workers') Song. Ron said he always felt the song was a bit short and wrote an extra verse although this was hardly ever sung and never recorded. Fortunately Cris Yelland of the Stockton Folk Club remembered the new verse and kindly sent it to me. Thanks Cris! Of course this is all copyright Ron Angel.

As someone who worked in the chemical industry and has just seen the closure announced of the last plant that was operated by ICI locally on Teesside I thought it appropriate to mark the event by uploading my version of the song here. I was moved to write a couple of extra verses based on my own experiences in Aromatics and Phenol.


30 Jul 09 - 04:12 PM (#2690554)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Carol

Great Steve - thanks


30 Jul 09 - 07:40 PM (#2690714)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Gerry

Dave Alexander used to sing this song here in Australia. After he died a few years back some friends of his gathered (non-studio) recordings of his and put them out as a CD, and this song is on it.


31 Jul 09 - 12:48 AM (#2690835)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Gurney

Vin G also says that Ron Angel was "only a Cherub when he wrote it."

I have an idea that he also sometimes sings that 'The young blokes grab it with both hands,' but I could be mistaken.


04 Aug 09 - 05:26 PM (#2693785)
Subject: RE: req/ADD: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Steve Lane

For the record here is the extra 3rd verse written a couple of years ago by Ron Angel - that I recorded above.

I've worked in the compressors, learned to lip read with the rest
I cycled past the nitrite felt the prickle in me chest
I've toiled in the anhydrite got blistered down the mine
I'm showering well to shift the smell you get from Ollyfine

You can get my extra 2 verses about Phenol and Aromatics I wrote on my myspace. Don't want to confuse this thread with imposter material.

Notes: Ollyfine = olefine (a Wilton plant)

Per previous notes - you don't stand knee deep in cyanide as it tends to kill you immediately! The cyanide plant is a precurser to acrylics and is on the north of the Tees next to the imfamous Oil Works (where the Phenol Plant one stood). In fact Oil Works is where some people used to get "bath money" due to coming home smelling of fish from the amines plant - a cue for another verse perhaps?

Steve


17 Nov 11 - 06:16 PM (#3258974)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Bob Bolton

G'day,

I've been watching our local coverage of a string of noxious "leaks" from local Orica* plants (the latest alias of the ICI firm) ... leading up to a firm Government shut-down until that can do their job safely.

The words of Ron Angel's song ... heard beautifully done by Vin Garbutt ... were fermenting up through my brain - but not as fast as an Orica toxic leak!

I tried a general web search ... with what I remembered of specific and (possibly) unique lines ... but ( ... of course ... !) the one place that popped up with every line and detail was ... MUDCAT!

Ah well ... off to reincarnate this one!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


18 Nov 11 - 04:08 AM (#3259157)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Musket

I used to sing this many years ago, and introduced it with something about the average life expectancy age for chemical workers being forty something and Ron was approaching that age and got out. Can't remember where I got that from, but having met Ron a few times, it could have been the horse's mouth.


27 Sep 14 - 07:19 PM (#3664162)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Stephen Jackson

Sadly Ron Angel passed away on the 15th September 2014

This song was only one of many Ron wrote all of them as good as this one

The irony was Ron lived well into his eighties he must have got out of ICI in time


27 Sep 14 - 07:45 PM (#3664167)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Jim Carroll

Best I heard was from Manchester shpo steward, Pete Smith (circa 1967)

THE CLAYTON ANILINE SONG
Pete Smith, Mancester mid 1960s

1 Been working at dyework for nearly five years ,
Been charging the naptha's that give yer the **pap,
They send it from *ICKY for us to shove in
This **vitrol and chloric as makes us all thin.

2 Well I rise up for Clayton at five in the morn,
And for smoke and for fumes, yer can't see the dawn,
I'm releivin' old Albert, he's been here all night,
The poor old bugger looks barely alive.

3   His chest is sunk in and his belly's popped out out,
And believe me, my friends,! t's not bacco or stout –
It's the **napthas and paras have rotted his bowels,
While making bright colours for Whitsuntide clothes.

4 I gave him my ****milk ration and packed him off home,
I' ve five tons of this naphtha to charge on me own,
I'm wet through with steam and the sweat of me back
And through wieldin' this shovel, I'm beginning to crack.

5 Well I'm damned if I'll work in this hole any more,
For my belly feels tight and my chest is right sore-
I think of old Albert his face white and drawn,
He'll be back here tonight and just prayin' for dawn.

*       I.CI.- Imperial Chemical Industries nicknamed "ICKEY'
**      Chemicas for dye-making
**      Paploma of the bowel – cancer caused by fumes from dyestuff manufacture
**** A pint of milk was given to each worker each day to 'ward off' cancer.


04 Jul 17 - 09:41 PM (#3864365)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Joe Offer

THE CHEMICAL WORKERS SONG
(Ron Angel)

A process man am I and I'm telling you no lie,
I work and breathe among the fumes that trail across the sky.
There's thunder all around me and poison in the air,
There's a lousy smell that smacks of hell,
And dust all in me hair.

CHORUS
And it's go, boy, go,
They'll time your every breath.
And every day you're in this place,
You're two days nearer death, but yer go-o-o.

I've worked among the spinners and I've breathed the oily smoke,
I've shovelled up the gypsum and it nigh on makes you choke;
I've stood knee deep in cyanide, gone sick with caustic burn,
'Been working rough and seen enough to make your stomach turn
CHORUS

TherE's overtime and bonus opportunities galore,
The young lads like the money and they all come back for more;
But soon you're knocking on and look older than you should,
For every bob made on the job you pay with flesh and blood.
chorus

©1964 Ron Angel

notes:" "The Chemical Worker's Song" was written by Ron Angel, organizer of the Stockton Folk Club, Teesside, England for the last 20 years. It was recorded in 1971 by Tradition Records and has traveled widely, being heard in Australia and California. Ron writes:
    "I worked in the huge ICI Chemical Plants in Teesside for 10 years (1956—66), in Terylene & Nylon Works at Wilton and making fertilizer and cyanide at Billingham. My father worked all his life at Billingham ICI, down the anhydrite mine and used to have nightmares about the dust killing him. He died at 62, a few months after being brought home sick from work. That was fifteen years ago and I still miss him. I don't know if dedications are corny or not, but if you allow them I'd like to dedicate this song to my dad, Billy Angel."
    "The song was written about three years before I left ICI, through redundancy. I was experiencing ill—health and had applied to come off shift work, which I felt might be responsible; together with the fumes and excessive noise. On day work, in an office, I immediately improved. I hated every day I worked there and my redundancy, though it brought its own problems, felt like a release from prison."
Source: Sing Out! Magazine, Volume 29, Number 3 (1983), pages 52-53

Also appears on page 253 of the Rise Up Singing Songbook.

Ron Angel Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1rOAMxSLVE

Great Big Sea recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzcGOgxDoEk

The Young 'Uns recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq1TYnQI_eY


25 Jul 17 - 04:43 PM (#3868273)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Steve Lane

Recoding with Ron's extra 4th verse (see notes above) now on Soundcloud
https://soundcloud.com/steve-lane-27/chemical-workers-songwav


26 Jul 17 - 04:24 PM (#3868442)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Richard Mellish

Verse 1 line 2 is often sung as above but I think I have heard "ammonia fumes" instead of "among the fumes": the former would seem to make better sense. Which did Ron write?


27 Jul 17 - 07:29 AM (#3868565)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Some bloke

The word spinners is actually spitters, Joe.

Working alongside chemical dust, (similar to when I worked down the pit with coal dust,) you did a lot of spitting. Chewing tobacco often helped keep the mouth wet and prevented some getting to your lungs. Not that tobacco could be generally seen as a public health measure!

Ron Angel was a man I knew from my visits to Stockton Folk Club and having booked the fettlers a few times years ago. A grand man and a grand "say it like it is" song. I include it now in a tribute set I do to honour our old friend Vin Garbutt, who gave the song a worldwide audience.


27 Jul 17 - 09:08 AM (#3868594)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel

It's "spinners", I think and this link supports my view.

Equally, I'm fairly sure he lived and breathed among the fumes.

I think I used to have a set of words for this on a broadsheet that I bought at a Teeside Fettlers gig about 40 years ago, but I doubt I could find it now.


27 Jul 17 - 09:54 AM (#3868608)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel

"worked and breathed among the fumes" - either way nothing to do with ammonia.


29 Jul 17 - 08:51 AM (#3868963)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,Some bloke

Personally, I'll stick to the late Ron Angel's word "spitters," mainly on two counts;

1. Ron gave me the words and 2. he wrote the song.

Songs do change and words all the more. I wrote songs almost forty years ago which are sung differently not only by others but even by me. Call it the living tradition if you like, or even call it artistic licence but even the fettlers buggered about with the words of that song now and then.

The use of spitters denotes the dusty working conditions and fits with the rest of the verse, as Ron wrote it. I doubt anyone is precious over the word spinner, but as Joe collects at a library level, my clarification was for his benefit.


22 Aug 17 - 06:23 AM (#3873093)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: Steve Lane

No it is Spinners. Spitters is plain wrong. The line refers to the nylon spinning machines, on the Wilton Site Nylon Works area, that created oily smoke and noise. Ron has excellent diction and you can hear him sing it in any original recording.

Also anything about ammonia is made up.


11 Sep 17 - 07:24 AM (#3876487)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
From: GUEST,David A

I use to work for ICI (in Runcorn rather than Teesside) and would like to learn this song by Ron Angel that I heard sung by The Young 'Uns at Shrewsbury Folk Festival. I've found the lyrics, guitar chords and several audio versions on YouTube including Ron's original: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=t1rOAMxSLVE , but I've only recently taken up singing and to learn the tune well I would prefer to have the melody in sheet music form, which would also make it easier to transpose it into a more comfortable key. Does anyone where I could find/buy it?