Class warfare,  Music

Class warfare in old-time country music

“The Marion Massacre,” recorded in 1929 by the duo of Welling and McGhee, is about the deaths of striking textile mill workers in Marion, North Carolina, in a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies.

‘Tis ere the same old story
With the laborers of our land.
They’re ruled by mighty powers,
And riches they command.

If Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans think that requiring the very rich to pay at least the same rate of taxes as the middle class is class warfare, imagine how they would react to words like those.

Note the remarkable combination of class warfare and old-time gospel, of a kind regrettably rare these days.

Why is it over money,
These men from their friends must part,
Leaving home and loved ones
With a bleeding, broken heart?

But some day they’ll meet them
On that bright shore so fair,
And live in peace forever,
There’ll be no sorrow there.

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