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Origins: Talking Union

DigiTrad:
ARKANSAS HARD LUCK BLUES
DYING CUB FAN'S LAST REQUEST
LIFE GETS TEEJUS, DON'T IT?
OLD MAN ATOM (Atomic Talking Blues/Talking Atom)
ORIGINAL TALKING BLUES
TALKIN BEAR MOUNTAIN PICNIC MASSACRE BLUES
TALKING ATOMIC BLUES
TALKING BIRMINGHAM JAM
TALKING BLUES
TALKING CANDY BAR BLUES
TALKING DUST BOWL BLUES
TALKING FOLK MUSICIAN PURIST SNOB BLUES
TALKING GUITAR BLUES
TALKING NEW YORK BLUES
TALKING REINCARNATED DRAFTEE BLUES
TALKING UNAMERICAN BLUES
TALKING VIETNAM POT-LUCK BLUES
THE RV BLUES


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John M 08 Sep 98 - 08:34 AM
Doctor John 08 Sep 98 - 03:06 PM
Gene 08 Sep 98 - 07:15 PM
BSeed 08 Sep 98 - 08:09 PM
John M 09 Sep 98 - 01:13 PM
Doctor John 09 Sep 98 - 01:41 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 09 Sep 98 - 04:52 PM
Joe Offer 11 Sep 98 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,JTT 24 Feb 04 - 04:00 AM
Roger the Skiffler 24 Feb 04 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,JTT 24 Feb 04 - 04:19 AM
Amos 24 Feb 04 - 08:12 AM
Joe Offer 24 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM
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Subject: Talkin Union Blues, Lyrics ?
From: John M
Date: 08 Sep 98 - 08:34 AM

Anyone have the lryics to this one ? I believe it was done be Pete Seeger. Thanks!!


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Subject: Lyr Add: TALKING UNION
From: Doctor John
Date: 08 Sep 98 - 03:06 PM

If you want higher wages let me tell you what to do.
You've go to talk to the workers in the shop with you.
You've got to build a union and make it strong
But if you all stick together boys it won't be long...

You'll get shorter hours...
Better working conditions...
Vacations with pay...
Take your kids to the sea shore

Now it ain't quite that simple so I'd better explain
Just why you gotts ride on the union train.
For if you wait for the boss to raise your pay
You'll all be waiting till judgement day...

We'll all be buried
Gone to heaven...
St Peter'll be the straw boss then, boys.

Now you know you're underpaid but the boss says you ain't,
Hw speeds up the work 'til you're about to faint.
You may be down and out but you ain't beaten,
You can pass out a leaflet, call a meeting.

Talk it over...
Speak your mind...
Decide to do something about it.

'Course the boss may persuade some poor damn fool
To go to your meeting and act like a stool,
But you can always tell a stool, though that's a fact,
He's got a yellow streak running down his back.

He doesn't have to stool, you know...
He can always make a good living...
On what he takes out of blind men's cups.

You've got a union now and you're sitting pretty;
Put some of the boys on the steering committee.
The boss won't listen if one guy squawks,
But he's got to listen if the union talks.

He'd better...
He be mighty lonely one day...
If everybody decided to walk out on him.

Suppose they're working you so hard it's just outrageous
Paying you all starvation wages.
You go to the boss and the boss will yell:
"Before I raise your pay, I'd see you all in hell!"
Puffing a big cigar feeling mightly slick,
Cos he thinks he's got your union licked.
He looks out of the window and what does he see
But a thousand pickets and they all agree...

He's a bastard!
Unfair!
Slave driver!
Bet he beats his own wife!

Now boys you've come to the hardest time,
The boss'll try to break up your picket line.
He'll call out the police and the national guard,
They'll tell you it's a crime to have a union card.
They'll raid your meetings, they'll hit you on the head,
Call everyone of you a goldarn red -

Unpatriotic...
Soviet spies...
Bomb throwers...
Even the kids.

But out at Ford here's what they found,
And out at Vultee here's what they found,
And out at Allis-Chalmers here's what the found,
And down at Bethlehem here's what they found:
That if you don't let red baiting break you up,
And if you don't let stool pigeons break you up,
And if you don't let vigilantes break you up,
And if you don't let race hatred break you up -

You'll win...
What I mean...
Take it easy, but take it!


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Subject: Lyr Add: TALKING UNION (from Pete Seeger)
From: Gene
Date: 08 Sep 98 - 07:15 PM

TALKING UNION
As recorded by: Pete Seeger
Writers: Mill Lampell, Lee Hayes & Pete Seeger

INTRO: (Spoken)
This song was written by Mill Lampell,
Lee Hayes and yours truly, Peter Seeger,
in the spring of 1941.

That was the year that Henry Ford was being
organized into the CIO. And Woody Guthrie had taught
the three of us the old Talking Blues, you know: ...

If you wanta get to heaven
Let me tell you what to do
Got to grease your feet
And little muttons too.

And I think Mill, it was, thought of paraphrasing that
and Lee added a verse and I add a verse and suddenly
we had the song almost completed, except that we hadn't
found any solution.

We'd, all we done is add up the problems,
that we hadn't found how to solve any of them.

And about a month went by ... one day I was sitting
up on the roof and realized that, uh, there's only
one solution to it... We all wanta stick together.

So I made two verses to end it off, none of them rhymed
and that's how the song talking union was born.


Now you want higher wages let me tell you what to do
Go to talk to the workers in the shop with you
You got to build you a union, got to make it strong
But if you all stick together boys, twon't be long


You get shorter hours
Better workin' conditions
Vacations with pay
Take your kids to the seashore

Course it ain't quite that simple, so I'd better explain
Just why you got to ride on the union train
'Cause if you wait for the boss to raise your pay
We'll all be waiting till judgement day

We'll all be buried
Gone to heaven
St. Peter'll be the straw boss then, boys

Now you know you're underpaid but the boss says you ain't
He speeds up the work 'til you're 'bout to faint
You may be down and out, but you ain't beaten
Pass out a leaflet, call a meetin'

Talk it over
Speak your mind
Decide to do something about it.

'Cos the boss may persuade some poor dam fool
To go to your meeting and act like a stool
But you can always tell a stool, though, that's a fact
He's got a yellow streak a-running down his back

He doesn't have to stool, you know
He'll always make a good livin'
On what he takes out of blind men's cups

Well, you got a union now, you're sitting pretty;
Put some of the boys on the steering committee
The boss won't listen if one guy squawks
But he's got to listen if the union talks

He'd better
He'll be mighty lonely one of these days.

Suppose he's workin' you so hard it's just outrageous
Payin' you all starvation wages
You go to the boss, the boss would yell:
"Before I raise your pay, I see you all in hell!"

Well he's puffin' a big seegar, feelin' mightly slick
Thinks he's got your union licked
He looks out of the window and what does he see
But a thousand pickets and they all agree

He's a bastard!
Unfair!
Slave driver!
Bet he beats his own wife!

Now boys you've come to the hardest time
The boss'll try to bust your picket line
He'll call out the police, the national guard
Tell you it's a crime to have a union card

They'll raid your meetings, hit you on the head
Call ev'ryone of you a 'goddamn red' -
You're unpatriotic
Moscow Agents
Bomb throwers
Even the kids

Well, out in Detroit, here's what they found
Down in Pittsburg, here's what they found
Down in Bethlehem, here's what the found
Out in 'Frisco, here's what they found
That if you don't let 'red baiting' break you up
If you don't let stool pigeons break you up
If you don't let race hatred break you up
If you don't let vigilantes break you up

You'll win
What I mean
Take it easy
But take it!

SOURCE: Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits
Columbia CL-9416


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Subject: RE: ADD LYR: Talking Union/Pete Seeger
From: BSeed
Date: 08 Sep 98 - 08:09 PM

Gene, thanks for posting these lyrics: i could remember only the first verse plus a line here and there. One thing, though: The Original Talking Blues--"You got to grease your feet/with a little mutton stew" --seed


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Subject: RE: Talkin Union Blues, Lyrics ?
From: John M
Date: 09 Sep 98 - 01:13 PM

Thank You, Very kind of you Dr. John ( The Night Tripper ? )


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Subject: RE: Talkin Union Blues, Lyrics ?
From: Doctor John
Date: 09 Sep 98 - 01:41 PM

John M.

You'll find the words differ slightly with recording and current political situation but that is the basic drift. This was from memory.


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Subject: RE: Talkin Union Blues, Lyrics ?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 09 Sep 98 - 04:52 PM

I'm sure Pete Seeger recorded & performed this tune, but I'm pretty sure it was crafted by Woody Guthrie (or am I mistaken).


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Subject: RE: Talkin Union Blues, Lyrics ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Sep 98 - 02:38 PM

I was exploring the database today, and found there is a @talkingblues category with 6 songs, as well as a @talking category that has but one song. A search under talkin* blues (asterisk is a wild card that brings up everything starting with "talkin," including "talkin'" and "talking") comes up with a few false hits, but with a whole lot more talking blues songs than you'll find in a category search. There are some great songs in that database, I'll tell ya.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Req: Talking Union Blues
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 04:00 AM

What is this song? Can't find the lyrics.


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Subject: ADD: Talking Union Blues
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 04:09 AM

Talking Union
by Millard Lampell, Lee Hays and Pete Seeger, 1941
The Almanac Singers, Woodie Guthrie, Lee Hays, Millard Lampell and Pete Seeger

Now, if you want higher wages let me tell you what to do
You got to talk to the workers in the shop with you.
You got to build you a union, got to make it strong,
But if you all stick together, boys, it won't be long.
You get shorter hours, better working conditions,
Vacations with pay. Take your kids to the seashore.

It ain't quite this simple, so I better explain
Just why you got to ride on the union train.
'Cause if you wait for the boss to raise your pay,
We'll all be a-waitin' 'til Judgment Day.
We'll all be buried, gone to heaven,
St. Peter'll be the straw boss then.

Now you know you're underpaid but the boss says you ain't;
He speeds up the work 'til you're 'bout to faint.
You may be down and out, but you ain't beaten,
You can pass out a leaflet and call a meetin'.
Talk it over, speak your mind,
Decide to do somethin' about it.

Course, the boss may persuade some poor damn fool
To go to your meetin' and act like a stool.
But you can always tell a stool, though, that's a fact,
He's got a yaller streak a-runnin' down his back.
He doesn't have to stool, he'll always get along
On what he takes out of blind men's cups.

You got a union now, and you're sittin' pretty,
Put some of the boys on the steering committee.
The boss won't listen when one guy squawks,
But he's got to listen when the union talks.
He'd better, be mighty lonely
Everybody decide to walk out on him.

Suppose they're working you so hard it's just outrageous
And they're paying you all starvation wages.
You go to the boss and the boss would yell,
"Before I raise your pay I'd see you all in hell."
Well, he's puffing a big seegar, feeling mighty slick
'Cause he thinks he's got your union licked.
Well, he looks out the window and what does he see
But a thousand pickets, and they all agree:
He's a bastard, unfair, slavedriver,
Bet he beats his wife!

Now, boys, you've come to the hardest time.
The boss will try to bust your picket line.
He'll call out the police, the National Guard,
They'll tell you it's a crime to have a union card.
They'll raid your meetin', they'll hit you on the head,
They'll call every one of you a goddam red,
Unpatriotic, Japanese spies, sabotaging national defense!

But out at Ford, here's what they found,
And out at Vultee, here's what they found,
And out at Allis-Chalmers, here's what they found,
And down at Bethlehem, here's what they found:
That if you don't let red-baiting break you up,
And if you don't let stoolpigeons break you up,
And if you don't let vigilantes break you up,
And if you don't let race hatred break you up,
You'll win. What I mean, take it easy, but take it!

(via Google search)

RtS
(fraternally yours)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Talking Union Blues
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 04:19 AM

Thanks, brother!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Talking Union Blues
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 08:12 AM

An old favorite -- thanks for the refresher course!


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Talking Union Blues
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM

A Google search for this song birngs up lots of additional information, not just the lyrics. Here's one on Using Songs to Teach Labor History.
There are three versions of this song that have been posted, but I think the version Roger posted is the definitive one. It's the one I harvested for the Digital Tradition.
-Joe Offer-


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