The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109962   Message #3851661
Posted By: Long Firm Freddie
21-Apr-17 - 11:03 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Father's Got the Sack from the Water Work
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Father's Got the Sack from the Water Work
In a 1926 issue of The Gramophone Compton McKenzie asked various luminaries about their favourite songs:

The Gramophone

GK Chesterton (Essayist, novelist, critic)

My taste in songs wavers among somewhat different examples; but I think it would probably be between the noble Scottish song, 'Caller Herrin'', which seems to me full of the Scottish sense of human dignity for the poor, and some specimen of the broader and more genial English spirit, such as the beautiful lyric that goes:

'Father's got the sack from the waterworks / For smoking of his old cherry briar / He, said Foreman Joe, would bloody well have to go / As he'd probably set the waterworks on fire.'

GK went on to dissect the chorus at length in his book Eugenics and Other Evils:


"But that noble stanza about the water-works has other elements of nobility besides nationality. It provides a compact and almost perfect summary of the whole social problem in industrial countries like England and America. If I wished to set forth systematically the elements of the ethical and economic problem in Pittsburg or Sheffield, I could not do better than take these few words as a text, and divide them up like the heads of a sermon. Let me note the points in some rough fashion here."