The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14681 Message #3864365
Posted By: Joe Offer
04-Jul-17 - 09:41 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Chemical Worker's Song
THE CHEMICAL WORKERS SONG
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.
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
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.
©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." Source: Sing Out! Magazine, Volume 29, Number 3 (1983), pages 52-53
"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."
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