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ADD: You Ain't Done Nothin' If You Ain't Been...

John in Brisbane 14 Nov 00 - 12:02 AM
GUEST 29 Jun 12 - 07:55 PM
GUEST 10 May 13 - 02:40 AM
Joe Offer 02 Apr 15 - 06:24 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: YOU AIN'T BEEN DOIN' NOTHIN' IF YOU...
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 14 Nov 00 - 12:02 AM

About a week ago I was accused of being a long-haired, hippie, yuppie Bolshevik. The yuppie bit really hurt!

This is a song from Peace Songs, Ed. John Jordan. I've sent the MIDI to MMario.


YOU AIN'T BEEN DOIN' NOTHIN' IF YOU AIN'T BEEN CALLED A RED
Music, traditional; lyrics by Eliot Keenan (USA).

1. Oh, when I was just a little thing, I used to love parades,
With banners, bands and red balloons and maybe lemonade.
When I came home on May Day, my neighbour’s father said,
"Them marchers are all Commies. Tell me, kid, are you a Red?”

CHORUS 1: Oh, you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.
If you march or agitate, you're bound to hear it said;
So you might as well ignore it, or love the words instead,
'Cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.

2. Well, I didn't know just what he meant. my hair back then was brown.
Our house was plain red brick like most others in the town.
So I went and asked my parents why my playmates called me Red.
My mama took me on her knee and this is what she said:

CHORUS 2: Oh, you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.
If you march or agitate, you're bound to hear it said;
So you might as well ignore it, or love the words instead,
'Cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.

3. As I was growing up, I had my troubles, I suppose,
When someone took exception to my face or to my clothes,
Or tried to cheat me on the job, or hit me on the head;
When I organised a fight back, why, the stinkers called me Red!

CHORUS 3: Oh, you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.
If you organise your workplace, then you're bound to hear it said;
So you might as well ignore it, or love the words instead,
'Cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.

4. When I was living on my own, one apartment that I had
Had a classic rotten landlord. let me tell you, he was BAD.
But when he tried to throw me out, I rubbed my hands and said,
“You haven't seen a struggle if you haven't fought a Red.”

CHORUS 4: Oh, you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.
If you organise your neighbours, then you're bound to hear it said;
So you might as well ignore it, or love the words instead,
'Cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.

5. Well, I kept on agitating, 'cause what else can you do?
Are you gonna let the sons-of-bitches walk all over you?
My neighbour said, “You'll get fired hanging with that Commie mob!”
I should be so lucky, buddy, I ain't got a job!

CHORUS 5: Oh, you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.
If you organise your workplace, then you're bound to hear it said;
So you might as well ignore it, or love the words instead,
'Cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.

6. Well, I been agitating now for forty years and more,
For jobs and for equality and always against war,
And I'll keep on agitating as far as I can see,
And if that's what being Red is, well it's good enough for me!

CHORUS 6: Oh, you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a Red,
If you march or agitate, you're bound to hear it said;
So you might as well ignore it, or love the words instead,
'Cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a Red.


Originally published in N. C.S.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Ain't Been Doin' Nothin' If You ...
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 12 - 07:55 PM

Thought you all would appreciate this video of my father-in-law Eliot Kenin Entertainer playing the famous song he wrote - Aint Done Nothin If You Aint Been Called A Red. Who's heard this song before? http://youtu.be/EXWzQW0jV3o


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Ain't Been Doin' Nothin' If You ...
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 13 - 02:40 AM

My friend, that is the beauty of folk music, isn't it?


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Subject: ADD Versi: Ain't Been Doin' Nothin' If You ...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Apr 15 - 06:24 PM

This is another one going into the Rise Again Songbook. Here's my transcription of the Eliot Kenan video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXWzQW0jV3o

AIN'T DONE NOTHIN' IF YOU AIN'T BEEN CALLED A RED
(Eliot Kenin, 1983)

When I was just a little boy I used to love parades
With banners, bands, red balloons & maybe lemonade
When I came home one May Day my neighbor's father said
"Them marchers is all commies, tell me kid, are you a Red?"
G - C - / D - - G ://

Well I didn't know just what he meant, my hair back then was brown
Our house was plain red brick like many others in the town
So I went & told my daddy our neighbor called me red
My daddy took me on his knee & this is what he said

"Well ya ain't done nothing if ya ain't been called a Red
If you marched or agitated then you're bound to hear it said
So you might as well ignore it or love the word instead
'Cos ya ain't been doing nothing if ya ain't been..." (2x)

As I was growing up had my troubles I suppose
When someone took exception to the contours of my nose
Or tried to cheat me on the job or hit me on the head
When I organized to fight back then those suckers called me Red

Then after I got married, one apartment that we had
Had a classic rotten rotten landlord, let me tell you he was bad
And when he tried to kick us out, I rubbed my hands & said
"You haven't had a struggle if you haven't fought a Red!"

So I kept on agitating, 'cos what else can you do?
Are you gonna let the sons-of-bitches walk all over you?
A friend said, "You'll get fired hanging with that Commie mob!"
I should only have such troubles, buddy, I ain't got a job!

So I been agitating now for fifty years and more,
For employment & equality & always against war,
And I'll keep doin' it forever, just as far as I can see,
And if that's what being Red is, then it's good enough for me!

Eliot Kenin
On videos by him & by David Rovics & on Faith Petric When Did We Have Sauerkraut, Petric & Mark Ross S of the IWW.


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