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Posts Tagged ‘lyrics’

You’ve probably seen some stories about protests for higher wages and better working conditions at giant retail chains like Walmart and fast food restaurants like McDonald’s.   Perhaps you’ve even participated.  With another “day of action” for fast food workers coming soon, New Hampshire Slim showed up with a new song. 

To be honest, it would be more accurate to say Slim brought “new lyrics to an old song,” since he really has little musical talent.  But he’s inspired by Joe Hill, the legendary Wobbly, who figured that if he put new words to familiar tunes they’d be easier for workers to remember and sing.   

This one’s to the tune of “Deck the Halls”  and corresponds to legislation that will be considered in Concord next year.  You can fill in the fa-la-las.

 

Deck the halls with higher wages,

Raise the minimum in stages,

Index pay hikes to inflation,

Workers need fair compensation.

Higher pay for low-wage labor

Is the way to aid our neighbors.

Mickey D will you be willin’?

Help your workers feed their children.

Wages less than nine an hour

Gives too little buying power

Put it on your year-end wish list

Win a wage hike by next Christmas

NH Slim, December 2013

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NH Slim was listening to the Beatles on a classic rock station , grateful it was not some ‘80s metal hair band, when he remembered Eric Wolfe used to include at least one Beatles song in every puppet show he wrote.  Slim has no idea if Eric is still puppeteering, but he asked me to send this one Eric’s way just in case.

 

When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Jones begins to sing,

Mourn the dead but fight hard for the living.

And when it gets confusing her voice sounds to me clear as a bell

Fight hard for the living, fight like hell.

Fight like hell, fight like hell, fight like hell, fight like hell,

Mourn the dead and fight hard for the living.

When I find myself in times of conflict AJ Muste comes to say

There is no way to peace, peace is the way

When war and strife surround me and it gets worse each and every day

That’s when AJ says peace is the way.

Peace is the way, peace is the way, peace is the way, peace is the way

There is no way to peace, peace is the way.

Joe Hill and John L Lewis sometimes show up right before my eyes,

They have only one word, organize.

We’re in it for the long haul with our eyes set firmly on the prize

And there’s a way to get it, organize.

Organize, organize, organize, organize,

There’s a way to get it, organize.

And in my times of struggle Mahatma Gandhi calls out something strange

Means are ends and you must be the change.

Although it seems intuitive to work for what you want arranged,

There’s a better answer, be the change.

Be the change, be the change, be the change, be the change

Means are ends and you must be the change.

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NH Slim was listening to NPR the other day and caught a story about the recent convention held in Las Vegas by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.  The story began:

“Drone makers and robotics manufacturers are looking for — and finding — new uses for devices that were once limited to the worlds of science and the military.”

If you think drones are being prepared for peaceful use, you might ask why Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Father Louis Vitale of Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service were barred from attending even after they paid the registration fee.  

Anyway, Slim couldn’t resist the temptation to pen a song, based on a familiar tune.

 

They’ll drone you when you’re leaving from the bar,

They’ll drone you when you’re driving in your car,

They’ll drone you when you’re trying to be discrete,

They’ll drone you when you’re marching in the street.

Well I would not feel so all alone,

Everybody must get droned.

 

They’ll drone you when you’re maintaining law and order,

They’ll drone you when you’re getting near the border,

They’ll drone you when you’re sitting in the park,

They’ll drone you when it’s light and when it’s dark.  

Well I would not feel so all alone,

Everybody must get droned.

 

They’ll drone you when your minding your own business,

They’ll drone you when you’re improving your physical fitness,

They’ll drone you when you’re at a private luncheon,

They’ll drone you while performing a bodily function,

Well I would not feel so all alone,

Everybody must get droned.

 

They’ll drone you when you’re at a wedding party,

They’ll drone you if you’re early or you’re tardy,

They’ll drone you when you’re riding in the bus,

They’ll drone you if you’re them or if you’re us,

Well I would not feel so all alone,

Everybody must get droned.

- NH SLIM

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Two months ago I posted NH Slim’s new version of “Which Side Are You On?,” adapted for the struggles at the New Hampshire State House.   Slim penned another version a few years ago for a Passover Seder.  It goes like this:

Come all of you good people,

And listen up to me

Of how the ancient Hebrews

Won their liberty.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

It was down on old Mitzraim

When Moses gave a cry:

“It’s time for an uprising.

We will live free or die.”

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

My mother was a baker,

And I’m a baker’s son,

And I’ll be with the Hebrews

“Til liberation’s won.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

My father was a brick-maker,

I’m a brick-maker’s daughter,

And I will march for freedom

Right through the Red Sea water.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

They say in old Mitzraim,

There are no neutrals there-o,

You either work for freedom

Or else you slave for Pharaoh.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

We all live in Mitzraim

‘Til everyone is free,

We’ll fight against the Pharaohs

And win our liberty.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

If you don’t know the tune, you can listen to Pete Seeger sing it or find an album of labor songs.  

And by the way, borrowing and adapting are part of the folk tradition, the Passover tradition, and the IWW tradition.  So write your own.  And let me know if you sing this at your Passover Seder.

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Come gather fellow workers, I won’t detain you long

Please join me now in singing some new words to an old song

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

The Speaker and his cronies I wish that they’d confess

They do not care for rights or jobs, it’s right to work for less.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

When they use terms like “right to work” we know that they are lyin’

There’s nothing pow’rful as the truth that we’ll defeat O’Brien.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

We’re Democrats, Republicans and also Independents

We in it for our children, and also their descendants.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

We’re in it for the long haul, sincerely and most fully,

We won’t give up our human rights, we won’t cave in to bullies.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

The right to work committee came up here from Virginia,

Let’s send them home by singing with the power you’ve got in ya’.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

We know the labor movement was not built in a day

We built it strong, our mem’ry’s long, the union’s here to stay.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?  WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

 

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Three years ago Anne Miller made some nuclear bomb outfits to use for street theatre.  Pondering what would be the message that “The Bomb” would want to convey, I came up with the following, reprinted today in the spirit of the season and in honor of ratification of New START

3 bomblets

You know the tune.

 

Nuclear proliferation Falalalala lalalala

Threatens future generations Falalalala lalalala

We don’t need no more construction Falala lalala lalala

Weapons made for mass destruction Falalalala lala lala

 

Listen up this is our mission Falalalala lalalala

Nuclear weapons abolition Falalalala lalalala

We do not want to be fired Falalalala lalalala

Time for us to be retired Falalalala lalalala

 

Of foreign wars we must be skittish Falalalala lalalala

Think of Russians, French and British Falalalala lalalala

Vietnam and Afghan quagmires Falalalala lalalala

Check the falls of previous empires Falalalala lalalala

 

Genocidal threats to drop us Falalalala lalalala

Don’t you think you’d better stop us? Falalalala lalalala

We can use some higher wisdom Falalalala lalalala

Nuclear war is terrorism Falalalala lalalala

 

Don we now our bomb apparel Falalalala lalalala

Listen to our Christmas carol Falalalala lalalala

To heck with all this nuclear folly Falalalala lalalala

Peace on earth would make us jolly Falalalala lalalala

 

2007

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