Happy Labor Day! I hope you aren't laboring too much. Since we like to push boundaries here at OSS, let's take this to the next level. Work sucks. Work hurts. Fuck Labor Day--it's Work Week, workers of the world.
Guess who gave us Labor Day? You are never going to get it. CANADA! I know, seriously...do they ALWAYS have to be right up there? Anyway, they had this thing called the "nine-hour movement" in the early 1870s which protected unions and striking and all that good shit. This dude Peter J. McGuire witnessed an event associated with the movement and came back to America with the idea of Labor Day, which he actually made happen in 1882. THANKS, Pete. We are enjoying your hard work even now in 2009 on this extra Monday off.
While the holiday started as a way to recognize and applaud the spirit and badassness of the American worker, at this point it's predictably just become the weekend that ends the summer for us. That said, just because we don't make anything here any more, doesn't mean we don't work. The average American works about 93, 600 hours from the ages 20 to 65. That's a lot of hours, guys. So no surprise that there are tons of songs about working. I'm rounding up the very best for you this week.
I thought we could kickoff the week with a song called "Work Song." This song was written by Nat Adderly ( I think--info on this song is actually kind of hard to come by) and performed here by American legend, Nina Simone. This song is about the worst kind of work--that done on a chain gang as a punishment/prison sentence. This was hard unpaid physical labor and what's worse, in the case of our narrator, the crime was "being hungry and poor." I'm sure you can connect the rest of the dots.
Heard the judge say five years
On the chain gang you gonna go.
Heard the judge say five years labor
and my old man screaed, "lordy no!"
Labor Quiz: What's your job and do you like it? Answer in the comments.