Four Pounds A Day

Being an active member of the proletariat I am a fan of unions and thus union songs.  While this one is a bit mischievous and a tale of the workers eager to take advantage of the system, it is no worse and indeed less offensive than what the 1% does to us as people and as a nation.  Its origins date to the very end of the 18th century when it was called “Four Pence A Day” and was essentially a protest ballad regarding the miners – lead, iron, &c;  Ewan MacColl collected this early version from a John Gowland of Teesdale, Yorkshire, England in 1947 who attributed it to Thomas Raine also of Teesdale, but examples survive that are much older.  This version that Cliff performs comes from the singing of Stan Kelly and Eric Winter.

Jos. Morneault



The rain is falling on the site the tea’s upon the brew
We’re siting on our arseholes with bugger all to do
Outside our picks and shovels lads they slowly rust away
We’re rained on and contented on four pounds a day

  Four pounds a day, me lads and nothing much to do
  No trouble from the foreman, he’s in the union, too
  Some want the rain to go to Spain, we want the rain to stay
  We’re rained on and contented on four pounds a day

It’s early in the morning, we start at ten o’clock
We search the skies impatiently, bejays I felt a drop
The can lads are on bonus and each brew means better pay
We’re rained on and contented on four pounds a day

So Freddie get the cards out, the racing page as well
And as for the contractors, we hope they go to Hell
It looks as if the rain’s set in, we shan’t do much today
What matter if on Friday, we all draw our pay

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