September 9, 2009

The Band//King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

You’re in a class of your own: the working class.

My dad always used to say that to me, once I got my first job. Actually, come to think of it, he still says it to me. My dad also used to sing along in a spirited manner with this song, pumping it loud through the living room.

Now that I’m really looking back, seems like The Band has been a family favorite for quite some time. I was down at my Uncle Mark’s house last year and we all sat around on the couch and watched The Last Waltz. My family’s alright.

This one’s about the union and it totally rocks harder than a cheap beer and a shot in a good-ol’-boy bar. That guitar tone on the long winding solo is kicking serious ass, just like the dry summer kicked the ass of the crops of the poor farmer who narrates this song. An expertly crafted narrative on work, fortune and class in America (even though The Band was from Canada?), noted rock critic Greil Marcus called it "The Band's song of blasted country hopes" and suggested that "King Harvest" might be Robertson's finest song, and the best example of the group's approach to songwriting and performing, says Wikipedia.

A little trivia: The Band started out as Bob Dylan’s backup band during his tumultuous switch to electric tour from ’65 to ’66.

King Harvest (Has Surely Come).mp3

I work for the union,
‘Cause she’s so good to me;
And I’m bound to come out on top,
That’s where she said I should be.
I will hear every word the boss may say,
For he’s the one who hands me down my pay.
Looks like this time I’m gonna get to stay,
I’m a union man, now, all the way.

Labor Fact: The origins of unions' existence can be traced from the eighteenth century, where the rapid expansion of industrial society drew women, children, rural workers, and immigrants to the work force in larger numbers and in new roles. Unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe. Medieval guilds existed to protect and enhance their members' livelihoods through controlling the instructional capital of artisanship and the progression of members from apprentice to craftsman, journeyman, and eventually to master and grandmaster of their craft. A labor union might include workers from only one trade or craft, or might combine several or all the workers in one company or industry.

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