The Wearing of the Red

LYRICS

The Wearing of the Red
Dawn Fraser, May 1, 1924

I walked up-street this morning.
And it being May Day
I wore a crimson ribbon
You could see a mile away.

You could see a mile away
You could see a mile away
I wore a crimson ribbon
You could see a mile away

Most folks smiled in sympathy,
Others shook their heads,
And some just showed their ignorance
And terror of the Red.

And terror of the Red.
And terror of the Red.
And some just showed their ignorance
And terror of the Red.

But I smiled at those in pity
A smile of lofty scorn
Some men are slaves by circumstance—
And some for slaves were born.

And some for slaves were born
And some for slaves were born
Some men are slaves by circumstance—
And some for slaves were born

Young lady with ambitions                                            
To shine in “sassiety”
Says she, “I want to shine my shoes,
Will you give that rag to me?”

Will you give that rag to me?”
Will you give that rag to me?”
Says she, “I want to shine my shoes,
Will you give that rag to me?”

Poor simple little pin-head.
Oh, God, you owe her brains!
I just bowed to her politely,
And I left her in her chains.

And I left her in her chains
And I left her in her chains
I just bowed to her politely,
And I left her in her chains

The hand that rocked her cradle
Is far beneath her now;
The hand that toiled to shelter her,
The hand that held the plow:

The hand that held the plow:
The hand that held the plow:
The hand that toiled to shelter her,
The hand that held the plow:

Poor silly little infant
Will you never come to know?

If it were not for the workers
You’d have starved long ago?

You’d have starved long ago
You’d have starved long ago
If it were not for the workers
You’d have starved long ago

Yet they call us trouble makers.
I never shook my head,
And I never said, “You quitters,
You ought to wear the Red.”

You ought to wear the Red.”
You ought to wear the Red.”
And I never said, “You quitters,
You ought to wear the Red.”

I leave them their opinions,
But, by God, they’ll leave me mine,
I am choosing my own colors,
And I’ll wear them every time—

And I’ll wear them every time
And I’ll wear them every time
I am choosing my own colors,
And I’ll wear them every time

On every such occasion
Will that banner be unfurled—
A tribute to the workers:
To the men who feed the world!

To the men who feed the world
To the men who feed the world
A tribute to the workers:
To the men who feed the world!

 

By Leo Feinstein

LEO FEINSTEIN – VOCALS, MELANIE MAILLET – VIOLIN, STEVE MELNICK – SNARE DRUM

About Leo Feinstein

Leo Feinstin is an independent scholar who has been collecting and singing folk songs since the 1950s. He has a particular interest in protest songs of the 30s and 40s -especially union songs.

Resources

The Ballad of Slim McInnis // The Ballad of Slim McInnis - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  1. The Ballad of Slim McInnis // The Ballad of Slim McInnis - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  2. Doscomocracy // Doscomocracy - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  3. Trampin’ Down the Highway // Trampin’ Down the Highway - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  4. Quaint Harbour // Quaint Harbour - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  5. Blackheart’s of the Company // Blackheart’s of the Company - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  6. Stand the Gaff // Stand the Gaff - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  7. Michael’s Tune // Michael’s Tune - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  8. Arise Ye Nova Scotia Slaves // Arise Ye Nova Scotia Slaves - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  9. Whatever It Takes // Whatever It Takes - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  10. The Wearing of the Red // The Wearing of the Red - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  11. Down at Sydney Steel // Sydney Steel - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  12. Stronger then Steel // Stronger then Steel - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  13. Steel Winds // Steel Winds - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  14. A Cape Breton Lament // A Cape Breton Lament - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  15. An Seann Tigh Sgoil // An Seann Tigh Sgoil - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  16. Friday Evening // Ian MacDougall - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  17. The Voice of the Worker // The Voice of the Worker - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  18. Daughters Awake // Daughters Awake - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  19. Cape Breton Miner and Besco // Cape Breton Miner and Besco - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  20. Miner’s Wife // Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  21. Steel Workers Lament // Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest