This album salutes the African American workers. As Jaqueline Jones wrote last year in her article Black Workers Remember published by the American Prospect; it is one of the great ironies of American labor history that enslaved workers toiled at a wider variety of skilled tasks than did their descendants who were free. Slave owners had an economic incentive to exploit the multifaceted talents of blacks in the craft shop as well as in the kitchen and field. But after emancipation, whites attempted to limit blacks to menial jobs. Throughout the late nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, blacks as a group were barred from machine work within the industrial sector, and from white-collar clerical and service work. Modernization wore a white face. Focusing on the city of Memphis, Tennessee, we offer a story about African American men and women workers who literally risked their lives on the shop floor, day in and day out, trying to provide for their families.

01. Louis Jordon – Workin’ Man (Turner) Tengerine 45 TRC 926

02. Buster Brown – John Henry (Robinson, Brown, Lewis) Fire 1020

03. John Lee Hooker – I Lost My Job (Hooker, Besman) Lauren 45-362

04. Long Tall Lester – Working Man (Robey) Duke 197

05. Val Martinez – Payday (Maurer, Kaplan) RCA Victor 47-8273

06. Wilbert Harrison – Off To Work Again (Harrison) Neptune 123

07. Jimmy Reed – Big Boss Man (Smith, Dixon) Vee Jay VJ 380

08. St Louis Jimmy – Hard Luck Boogie (Oden) Herald 407

09. Chico Leverett – Work Work (Leverett) Bethlehem 45-3062

10. B.B. King – Hard Working Woman (King) RPM 338

11. Esquerita – Laid Off (Esqerita, Arnold) Capitol F4145

12. Louisiana Red – Working Man Blues (Minter, Levy, Glover) Roulette R25200

13. Little Willie Littlefield – Happy Pay Day (Holmes) Modern 20-754

14. Tommy Youngblood – Laid Off My Job Too Long (Mcewan) Newport 45-NP-100

15. B. Brown And His Rockin’ McVouts – Hard Working Man (Brown) Vest 827

16. Big Bill Broonzy – Moppers Blues (Broonzy) Mercury ZEP 10065

17. Bobby Williams – Working Man (Williams) Dynamite DY 1008

18. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee – Auto Mechanic Blues (McGhee) Nixa Jazz NJE 1060

19. B. K. Anderson ?– The Minimum Wage (Solomon, Glaser, Glaser) Swirl 111

20. Chuck Berry – Let It Rock (Anderson) Chess 1747

21. Oscar Brown Jr – Work Song (Brown Jr, Adderley) Columbia 4-41977

22. The Heartbeats – I Found A Job (Carter) Roulette R-4054

23. Smiley Lewis – Blue Monday (Bartholomew) Imperial 45-5268

24. Fats Domino – Blue Monday (Bartholomew, Domino) Imperial X5417

25. Mississippi Matilda – Hard Working Woman (Williams) Bluebird 6812

26. Preacher Stephens – Unemployment Blues (Butler, Stephens) Fran 45-789

27. Lightnin’ Hopkins – Don’t Need No Job (Hopkins) Herald H-456

28. Jay McShann – Hard Working Man’s Blues (McShann, Witherspoon) Philo P109

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