Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sunday Song For Santa Rosa Jon.


Last week I posted up an old Woody Guthrie song in response to the news of modern day copper-boss-thugs in velvet gloves running wild in Canada's financial and, it turns out, media systems.


Here's the thing...

As the week progressed it (once again) became apparent that the bosses behind the thugs can be forced to back down and when people get organized.

Because a people organized scares the bejeebuz out of the bosses who pay the thugs and shills and sycophants.

Which is why said bosses will do just about anything to stop them from doing so.

From organizing, I mean.



The past few days of folks getting organized to boycott RBC in the wake of its egregious attemps to put unorganized people out of work got me to thinking of another song.

A song is much newer than Woody's.

But the story it is based on is an old one.

And the hard nut of that story, in the form of the following quote, came our way via a comment from our friend Santa Rosa Jon.

"In one year when I was at US Steel I think six or seven people got killed on the job. I mean in my one location. It used to be that you at least made decent money doing dangerous work. Nowadays they expect you to die for chump change. When my grandfather was an iron worker in New York unemployed iron workers would hang out at job sites and wait for someone to fall to his death. Welcome to the good old days."

It was then wordsmithed to heckfire and back by Mr. Beer 'N Hockey.

I just stuck a wee bit of melody over top it not long ago.

This is a new version...

(There are a couple of bonus tracks in there also, actually recorded on Saturday,  for E. and anyone else who wants to keep listening...)

Footnotes on the RBC In 'N Outsourcing....
Original CBC story by Kathy Tomlinson.
Norm Farrell's call for a boycott.
Sooey's scathing take done while shaking, literally.
Alison's posts on the boycott (so far)...Part 1...Part 2...Part 3...Part 4.
OwenGray's post-organizing post on how this may be the start of the big change.



karen said...


I liked that a lot. Just as I downloaded it, his kittiness came asking for a lap (no cursing), and we listened together.

Your driver said...

Wow, thanks Ross. I don't know what to say.

Your driver said...

Let's not forget, this whole discussion was started by the explosion in Burns Lake. That was a little over a year ago.

Also, you've made my life sound much more romantic than it has ever seemed to me. That steel mill was one of several factories I worked in. I never finished my apprenticeship and with the death of American manufacturing there wasn't much point trying to make a living at my trade. So I went to school, got kicked out, started driving a bus, for one company, then another, then some more. The next thing I knew I was fat, bald, old and pensioned off. Somewhere in there I went to a bunch of shows and walked some picket lines. I even found time to get married a couple of times.

I was very fortunate to have seen that solidarity really does work and unions are one way to make work tolerable. I've driven across the Golden Gate Bridge about 12,000 times and I never got tired of the Bridge, although I got pretty burnt out on the job.

Nowadays I have a lovely little retirement job for a drug and alcohol treatment center. I drive all over California, taking drunks and drug addicts to and from treatment. My great inspirations are one American, Bill Wilson and one Canadian, Gabor Mate.

RossK said...


Glad you and the kitty liked it.



Gosh - thanks for the reminder about the Burns Lake thing - ya, reading Beer's posts around that time are a powerful reminder of that.

As for all the other stuff....Well...I think you just made it more interesting and Woodyish...And if that's not romantic, well, I don't know what is.


Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Great work Gazz. That new recording gear of yours sure gets the job done. And yes, Woody's spirit is still right in the room with us and walking cold, wet, yet determinedly on a picket line.

RossK said...


Glad to hear the spirit is still there, indeed.

(as for the other, less important tech stuff...I like to think it has something to do with me getting better but, ya, the good recording equip really helps)


karen said...

So I don't know anything about music (but I know what I like) or recording, but I have a question about the above 2 comments. I have put all your downloads on a CD and I sometimes play them on my drive to work. I wondered if you felt a little nervous when you recorded Mr. State Trooper and markedly less so when you recorded this last bunch of songs? This recent one sounds more ... confident? to me.

RossK said...


Some of it is technical...The recordings generally do sound a lot better now that I know how to capture the sound - although I think the percussion is still a little too sharp because I am using a little compression (which helps quite a bit with my between song mumble-core).


I think there's a lot to be said for positive reinforcement...So many people, both online and off, have had such great things to say that it's hard not to be more confident...