Monday, September 5, 2011
some labor day songs
I just finished listening to a fairly mediocre Sound Opinions radio show focused on songs about work. Their song selection, with the exception of a Bob Marley track, was white, male, and kind of boring. In effect, the show replicated the rather problematic tendency in the United States of simply assuming that the working class and labor is a particularly masculine domain, and an overwhelmingly white one, at that. Even within those limited parameters, the hosts managed to skip over a lot of good country and folk to play some fairly bland tracks by Lou Reed, amongst others. Additionally, I was frustrated that none of the musical choices engaged with the class structures of the United States, instead focusing on the existence of such structures in England. While I certainly am never going to complain about hearing the Clash, the choices seemed to naturalize the assumption that somehow this country isn't as defined by such structures as the UK. (Needless to say, the far more orthodox choices by Katy Fox-Hodess on facebook have been much more enjoyable.) Rather than simply stopping there, I thought I would put up a set of songs that I would have probably played in such a context. These selections are a bit on the random side, and I will leave them without comment, although I will note that my first choice, the Ray Charles cover of Sixteen Tons, was not available on youtube. Feel free to make suggestions or comment on my choices.