Monday, January 23, 2012

Today in Labor History—January 23

January 23, 1913 – Joe Hill's song "Mr. Block" first appeared in the Wobbly newspaper the 
"Industrial Worker." (From the Daily Bleed)

Mr. Block (by Joe Hill)
1.  Please give me your attention, I'll introduce to you
    A man who is a credit to the ["Our] old Red White and Blue["]
    His head is made of lumber and solid as a rock
    He is a common worker and his name is Mr. Block
    And Block [he] thinks he may be premier [President] some day

    Oh Mr. Block, you were born by mistake
    You take the cake, you make me ache
    [Go] tie a rock on your block and then jump in the lake
    Kindly do that for Liberty's sake!

2.  Yes, Mr. Block is lucky - he got a job, by gee!
    The shark got seven dollars for job and fare and fee
    They shipped him to a desert and dumped him with his truck
    But when he tried to find his job he sure was out of luck
    He shouted, "That's too raw! I'll fix them with the law!"

3.  Block hiked back to the city but wasn't doing well
    He said "I'll join the union, the great AF of L".
    He got a job that morning, got fired by the night
    He said, "I'll see Sam Gompers and he'll fix that foreman right!"
    Sam Gompers said, "You see, you've got our sympathy."

4.  Election day he shouted, "A Socialist for Mayor!"
    The comrade got elected [and] he happy was for fair
    But after the election he got an awful shock
    [When] a great big socialistic bull did rap him on the block
    And Comrade Block did sob, "I helped him get his job!"

5.  Poor Block he died one evening, I'm very glad to state
    He climbed the golden ladder up to the pearly gate
    He said, "Oh Mister Peter, one thing I'd like to tell
    I'd like to meet the Astorbilts and John D Rockerfell!"
    Old Pete said, "Is that so? You'll meet them down below!"

Tune: It Looks to me Like a Big Time Tonight. 

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