Various – Off To Work
This album salutes the African American workers. As Jaqueline Jones wrote last year in her article Black Workers Remember published by the American Prospect; it is one of the great ironies of American labor history that enslaved workers toiled at a wider variety of skilled tasks than did their descendants who were free. Slave owners had an economic incentive to exploit the multifaceted talents of blacks in the craft shop as well as in the kitchen and field. But after emancipation, whites attempted to limit blacks to menial jobs. Throughout the late nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, blacks as a group were barred from machine work within the industrial sector, and from white-collar clerical and service work. Modernization wore a white face. Focusing on the city of Memphis, Tennessee, we offer a story about African American men and women workers who literally risked their lives on the shop floor, day in and day out, trying to provide for their families.
1. Louis Jordon: Workin’ Man - 2. Buster Brown: John Henry - 3. John Lee Hooker: I Lost My Job - 4. Long Tall Lester: Working Man - 5. Val Martinez: Payday - 6. Wilbert Harrison: Off To Work Again - 7. Jimmy Reed: Big Boss Man - 8. St Louis Jimmy: Hard Luck Boogie - 9. Chico Leverett: Work Work - 10. B.B. King: Hard Working Woman - 11. Esquerita: Laid Off - 12. Louisiana Red: Working Man Blues - 13. Little Willie Littlefield: Happy Pay Day - 14. Tommy Youngblood: Laid Off My Job Too Long - 15. B. Brown And His Rockin’ McVouts: Hard Working Man - 16. Big Bill Broonzy: Moppers Blues - 17. Bobby Williams: Working Man - 18. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee: Auto Mechanic Blues - 19. B. K. Anderson: The Minimum Wage - 20. Chuck Berry: Let It Rock - 21. Oscar Brown Jr.: Work Song - 22. The Heartbeats: I Found A Job - 23. Smiley Lewis: Blue Monday - 24. Fats Domino: Blue Monday - 25. Mississippi Matilda: Hard Working Woman - 26. Preacher Stephens: Unemployment Blues - 27. Lightnin’ Hopkins: Don’t Need No Job - 28. Jay McShann: Hard Working Man’s Blues -