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September 5

To Work is To Love: 5 Country Songs Honoring the Value of Labor

Before the painful, bittersweet love stories, country music was all about hard work as a huge part of one’s daily living. The past country songs spoke of different jobs and different work backgrounds that were all relatable to the masses.

To this day, some of the tracks that reflect the day-to-day struggles as well as the valuable contributions of labor workers are still fondly remembered. Some of these songs include:

1. Detroit City — Bobby Bare

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In the past, Detroit also thrived for the job opportunities it was filled with and the aspiring workers that transferred to its borders in the hopes of working to have a better life. Prior to its dramatic decline in the world of business and industrial development, people worked hours in Detroit, to the point where the abundance of work there made them miss their hometowns terribly.

2. Monday Morning Secretary — Statler Brothers

Monday Morning Secretary focuses on that one secretary that each company used to have before the rise of technology and apps for communication. This secretary held the entire company or department together with her endless hard work and dedication to fulfill her duties. She leaves home at 8 a.m., and when she gets to the office, she is exhausted and does so much more than she is given credit for. She endures dirty jokes from the men on the sales department. Finally, she heads back home at 5 p.m., where she seeks the company of her cat and her two cozy rooms and cries her lonely, heart out.

3. Sixteen Tons — Tennessee Ernie Ford

‘You load 16 tons ad what do you get/ Another day older and deeper in debt. Sixteen Tons is a dark labor song relating a glimpse of the daily schedule of a coal miner underground. Its words will sting and hurt you like a sore muscle after long hard days of labor will. And seek not your fortune in the dark, dreary, mine/ It will form as a habit and seep in your soul/ Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal.

4. Wichita Lineman — Glen Campbell

This lovely song from the late Glen Campbell takes inspiration from a virtual watercolor painting depicting a man who mainly works by driving main roads and keeping watch on disturbances that may hinder or disrupt telephone lines. Due to the monotony of his job, the man’s mind begins to wander and picture imaginary messages being flashed through the system. The song was written by songwriter Jimmy Webb.

5. George Jones — Bartender’s Blues

George Jones features bartenders or secular priests who play a special role in the society. These priests don’t just hear confessions and give prayers to those who confess their sins. They try to get rid of sins from the past with the help of alcohol. The metaphorically represents this inner conflict through its lyrics, Well, I’m just a bartender, and I don’t like my work/ But I don’t mind the money at all/ I need four walls around me to hold my life/ To keep me from going astray/ And a honky-tonk angel to hold me tight/ To keep me from slipping away.


Tags

labor, Songs about hardwork


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