My back is bent from a lifetime spent In the dirt and steam and snow In the General Yard, where the work is hard And the wages mean and low.
My hands are swelled from the spades I’ve held In the depths of a dirty ditch And my shoulders sprung from the picks I’ve swung In the toils of the idle rich.
My eyes are dimmed from the years spent in The glare of die Open Hearth And my lungs are shot from gasses caught In DOSCO’S1 hell on earth.
My heart is strained and my legs are sprained And a din roars in my ears From toiling in moulds and greasy holes That has shortened my life by years.
And many a time I came out to find That I’d only come out on spec. When jobs were few and old Bruno’s crew Were all old Peter checked.
For times get hard in the General Yard When steel goes in a slump And Saunders friends are thankful then For the checkers and the dump.
While my hair has greyed I’ve begged and prayed For a job I might enjoy But I leaned on luck while the plumbs were plucked By the bosses’ fair haired boy.
Then the war came on and my boy has gone And his mother’s heart must fret Who pays the tax on the gun he packs While they’re working his Dad to death.
Now my health is ruined and I’ll soon be doomed To a cold dark debtors grave Is a few cents raise in my last few days Too much for a lifetime slave?
Bruno was an Italian cement worker brought in during the 1923 strike; Peter McLachlan was a general foreman in the General Yard. Saunders was a superintendent in the General Yard. (MacGillivray).
By Alicia Penny
ALICIA PENNY – VOCALS & BASS, STEVE WILTON – DRUMS
About Alicia Penny
With a voice that routinely makes people shut up and listen, lyrics that paint vivid murals inside your head and a mastery of anything with strings, Alicia Penney has been kind enough to grace the stages of Cape Breton time and time again. Whether it be with a punk rock trio (Static in Action), a folk-rock sextet (Tamarack), or rockin’ acoustic solo, Alicia Penney shines through.
You can hear Alica’s musical gifts on her 2005 solo debut “Right Out of Er’”, three Yellow EPs, Static in Action’s self-titled double disc, and her former band, The Tom Fun Orchestra’s “You Will Land With a Thud”. She also makes guest appearances on Great Plains’ “Home of the New Totem”, as well as Ricochet’s “Daze Away”, Black Tooth Grinn’s self-titled acoustic album, and the upcoming release by Seek Out Ships. Alicia is routinely called upon to add her unique voice to the mix whether it be for a recording or a guest appearance live on stage with her friends.
Penney has been an important part of the Cape Breton independent music scene for over 10 years, and in her various acts she has played in every province in Canada as well as toured overseas. Alicia is currently working on new songs with her various bands, with plans to record another full length solo album at some hazy, uncertain point in the future.