August 30, 2008
While they’re not as common as they used to be in country music, sometimes good songs about workers still surface. Tim McGraw’s “I’m Workin’” on his most recent album was a highlight, and Trace Adkins’ “I’m Tryin’” was his best single ever, in my opinion. A perennial favorite is Alabama’s “40 Hour Week (For a Livin’)”, which I’d argue was their best single. But I’m partial to celebrations of working class stiffs.
Nobody in the history of country music ever captured that spirit in song better than Aaron Tippin. I love ‘em all. “Working Man’s Ph.D.” “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way.” And my personal favorite, “I Got it Honest.” It inspires me every time, especially now that my father has passed on.
I’m an educator myself, but my father was an electrician. He was always impressed by my ability to speak in front of crowds and write (long-winded) papers, as it was always a weakness of his. But he could look at a building once and instantly know the best way to wire it. I would help him on the weekends growing up, and given that I’ve always had the coordination of a drunken sailor, he wisely kept me away from anything with an electrical current.
I always joked that if he tried to do what I do, he’d make a few spelling errors. If I tried to do what he did, I’d be dead in a matter of seconds. Given that how hard it would’ve been to write those long-winded papers in the dark, I’d say the contributions he made to making this world a better place are far greater than anything I’ve done so far.
So this became about my father, which I didn’t intend when I began writing this, but what can I say? He was a working man, right up until he couldn’t work anymore. He deserves the shout-out.
What are your favorite songs about workers?