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Packing/slaughterhouse songs

Big Mick 17 Jan 11 - 09:27 AM
ClaireBear 17 Jan 11 - 11:40 AM
Charley Noble 17 Jan 11 - 12:02 PM
Little Robyn 17 Jan 11 - 01:34 PM
open mike 17 Jan 11 - 01:51 PM
maeve 17 Jan 11 - 02:16 PM
maeve 17 Jan 11 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,mg 17 Jan 11 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,mg 17 Jan 11 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,mg 17 Jan 11 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,mg 17 Jan 11 - 04:47 PM
Charley Noble 18 Jan 11 - 07:57 AM
Big Mick 19 Jan 11 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Neil D 20 Jan 11 - 11:20 AM
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Subject: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 09:27 AM

While in Pittsburgh and West Virginia singing labor songs recently, I did quite a few older and contemporary songs about miners and mining. A very good friend of mine asked me why I don't have any songs about packinghouse workers and the conditions they work under on the kill floor and on the butcher lines, especially since I had run organizing programs among these workers. I realized that I really didn't know any. Do any of you know of any? Have any of you written any of these songs?

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: ClaireBear
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 11:40 AM

I don't think this will count, because it's mostly about how badly eccentrics without privilege are treated in society (and, tangentially, about the mind-numbing boredom of tending a sausage machine), but you might have a listen to Leon Rosselson's "Barney's Epic Homer" anyway, because it's a great song.

The lyrics are about halfway down this thread.

And Amazon has the song for download, with a brief sample, here.

I'll think more ... surely there are many actual labor songs about meat packing conditions.


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 12:02 PM

Mick-

Not a one comes to mind other than "Dunderbeck's Machine" and that's a stretch.

But I'm thinking there was a song about Tyson's meat packing operation a few years back.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: Little Robyn
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 01:34 PM

Dave Jordan wrote Gutboard Blues
about working in a freezing works where they processed sheep, when he was a university student. It was the type of job that paid well for working during the school holidays, when the students needed to earn enough to get them through the next year.
Mitch did his turn in the fellmongery section so he didn't smell like vomit but he still sings this anyway, with feeling.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: open mike
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 01:51 PM

Greg Brown has a song about 4 wet pigs...
i think he worked in a pork processing plant in Iowa...
the song says...something about 2 of the pigs..
hanging out at the slop trough smoking their cigs
hoping to God they never get big
and dancing all night at the pig town jig

it has mention about ham, spam and other products
then says "throw their little eyes out in the rain"

not really complementary of the pork industry....at all!


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: maeve
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 02:16 PM

Do fish packing songs fit the need, Mick?

Lizzie Higgins used to sing me Song of the Fish-Gutters. She spoke in particular of the pain that resulted when she'd plunge her cut, raw hands into the cold brine.

"Cannery Shed (Stella)" by Mary Garvey is a darkly humorous tale from one of our own.


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: maeve
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 02:18 PM

The Greg Brown song lyrics open mike mentioned is here: "Four Wet Pigs"


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:07 PM

Hadn't thought of fish-packing..but there are several.

Hobe Kytr has written one about towing a fish cannery up to Alaska.

Probably the iconic salmon canning song is Canning Salmon by LInda Cobichek (phonetic spelling) of B.C.

There is also working on the slime line I think about BC cannery..

Meat cutting...my ancestors settled right near Postville Iowa where there was a recent scandal involving Guatamalen workers and Kosher packing ...it's a pretty town..wouldn't be surprised if there were a song about it..

Get along little doggies ..verse seldom sung for obvious reasons..tells the cows they will be "meat heap meet for Uncle Sam's "Injuns"".

Our meat comes at a terrible price, to the land, to the animals and to those who have to slaughter them under inhumane conditions and terrible injuries. I think this is where we should be taking up some of the unemployment problems...better animal husbandry all the way around and employment under good conditions and fair wages for manyof the unemployed. And mobile butchery trucks with very sanitary conditions that will go the farms and butcher and wrap..would prevent a lot of cross-contamination I would think and help small farmers. mg


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:43 PM

It seems to me there are songs about whale butchering but I can't think of any. Sealing? mg


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:46 PM

Well, there is the butcher boy of course..but it is about his sweetheart...and if you have not heard the Russian version, it is on You tube..collected from an elderly Russian woman..mg


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 17 Jan 11 - 04:47 PM

I also have one about crab shaking, which is a brutal job involving shaking crabs to get the meat out for canning..it hurts my arms to even think of it. mg


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 07:57 AM

Here's another title lead from Australia:

"Slaughterhouse Drover"
By Martyn Wyndham-Read & No Man's Band: Oceans in the Sky

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 09:52 AM

Thanks, friends. You have given me some great leads and sent me down some paths I hadn't thought of. It also is evident that I am going to have to write some to deliver a message that I would like to have delivered based on my own experiences in organizing.

MG, my friend, how have you been? I have been involved with the workers from Iowa, Illinois , Nebraska and Texas that have been taken advantage of. You are absolutely correct that the cost is terrible.

All the best

Mick


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Subject: RE: Packing/slaughterhouse songs
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 11:20 AM

"Hard Times Killing Floor Blues" by Skip James


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