Friday, August 31, 2012

A Labor Day Playlist: 13 Songs About Work

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Page 12 of 14

Lighting, “Long John”

Around the time John and Alan Lomax were getting to know Huddie Ledbetter, they recorded this version of a work song at the Darrington State Prison Farm in Texas. As is the case with most works songs sung by African American prisoners and railroad workers in the twentieth century, “Long John” dates back to the days of slavery. It is part of this country’s darkest and richest musical tradition, and it exemplifies the strange relationship between backbreaking labor and good music that makes a silly playlist like this possible.

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