Monday, March 1, 2010

Unemployment Compensation Blues

Back in the 1960s I was an avid "folkie", playing my guitar every day, transcribing tunes from the static-ky Philadelphia fm station so that I could keep up with some of the more rooted but nonetheless topical songs of the period. Tonight I remembered one of my favorites, "Unemployment Compensation Blues", words and music by Les Pine, adapted by Jerry Silverman, copyright 1949 by People's Songs, Inc. that was transferred to SING OUT in 1957) and published in Sing Out! volume 3. It has a sweet blues-y tune that doesn't seem to salve my growing resentment about the current situation. The lyrics are not really dated (except for the fact that there are fewer requirements to have a meeting with an EDD staffer (thank heavens!)

I've got those
Unemployment compensation
What was your last occupation blues.
I've got those
How much money did you earn
Stand in a line and wait your turn blues.
They make me feel I'm committing a sin
To get back part of what I paid in.
I've got those
Have you had an interview
Come back in a week or two blues.

I've got those
Unemployment compensation
Please fill out an application blues
I've got those
State your weekly minimum
You don't wanna work you bum blues
And when I'm thru with my weekly routine
I spend my money on thorazine
I've got those
By the time I get my check
I become a nervous wreck blues.

I've got those
Unemployment compensation
It ain't worth the aggravation blues.
I've got those
Won't you wait, just have a chair
Nothin' in my frigidare blues
I'm tired of fellin' like a jerk
All I want is a chance to work
And lose those
Out of work humiliation
Unemployment compensation blues

I may update it with a few verses, including stimulus, extension, COBRA, online / e mail job hunt, etc.
Stay tuned (as much as one needs for folk music ...)

No matter what,
Don't forget to ask for the money!

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