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Labor Day IX

[ 5 ] September 2, 2013 |

An appropriate song to end this exploration of labor and song is this piece on deindustrialization, Tom Russell’s “U.S. Steel.” I hope you enjoyed this set of labor music.

Labor Day VIII

[ 5 ] September 2, 2013 |

Sure it might be a cliche, but Charlie Haden at least believes that the people united will never be defeated. Besides, we need more leftist jazz.

Labor Day VII

[ 2 ] September 2, 2013 |

Talib Kweli on what working people have to do to get by.

Labor Day VI

[ 1 ] September 2, 2013 |

Richard Thompson on love and strikes.

Official Troll of Labor Day

[ 74 ] September 2, 2013 |

Scott Walker.

Labor Day V

[ 0 ] September 2, 2013 |

Run-DMC reminds us of the hard economic times of African-Americans during the Reagan years.

Labor Day IV

[ 1 ] September 2, 2013 |

The legendary cowboy singer Glenn Ohrlin with a comedic song about the very unpleasant work of castrating farm animals.

Labor Day III

[ 2 ] September 2, 2013 |

Blind Willie McTell on the perils of agricultural work and nature in the American South.

Labor Day II

[ 31 ] September 2, 2013 |

Dolly Parton reminds us about work and feminism.

Labor Day I

[ 54 ] September 2, 2013 |

This fine Labor Day, I want to run a series of posts remembering the great history of work and the lack thereof in American music. For the first post, here’s some Dave Alvin. A former member of The Blasters and X, Alvin has a long history of writing about unions and work in song during his long solo career. Here’s an early example, “Brother on the Line.”

Also from his first solo album is “Jubilee Train,” a good example of remembering how great the New Deal was for the American working-class.

During the Bush years, he wrote “Out of Control,” which he would dedicate live to the Dick Cheney economy:

Finally, on his latest album, Alvin wrote one of the best songs about working people in the last several years, “Gary, Indiana 1959″ about the 1959 steel strike:

It’s also worth remembering that today is anniversary of the Rock Springs Massacre, so this is a good time to remember that the history of American work is very much also the history of immigration and racial oppression.

The Month Liberal Blogging Died

[ 36 ] August 31, 2013 |

Dan Nexon joins TBogg and David Roberts in announcing their departure from blogging in August.

The Ramen Century

[ 53 ] August 30, 2013 |

We live in an era of ramen.

That palm oil is central to ramen makes me sad because I’ve seen Malaysian jungle turned into palm monocultures and it is incredibly depressing. But not if you are poor.