This cover was arranged and performed for Brian, who sponsored me on Patreon at the $6/song level. As the reward for that level of sponsorship, Brian could request any song he wanted, and he chose this anti-capitalist protest anthem from Irish folk singer Christy Moore.
If you want to contrast with the original, you can watch it here.
I recorded the live version of the song in my living room (obviously), and then added the rest of the instrumentation (percussion, bass, fiddle) later. I tried to go with a ‘stripped-down’ feel, to stick to the simplicity and earnestness of the original. Christy Moore has an inimitable style – his voice sounds like he’s sitting next to you at a pub or a party telling you the lyrics rather than singing them. I figured it would be insulting to try and mimic him, so I didn’t.
I’m an ordinary man, nothin’ special nothin’ grand,
I’ve had to work for everything I own,
Well I never asked for a lot, I was happy with what I got,
Enough to keep my family and my home,
Now they say that times are hard & they’ve handed me my cards,
They say there’s not the work to go around,
When the whistle blows the gates will finally close,
Tonight they’re going to shut this factory down,
Then they’ll tear it down.
I never missed a day nor went on strike for better pay,
For 20 years I served them best I could,
With a handshake and a cheque it seems so easy to forget,
Loyalty through the bad times and the good,
The owner says he’s sad to see that things have got so bad,
But the Captains of industry won’t let him loose,
He still drives a car and smokes a cigar,
And still he takes his family on a cruise,
He’ll never lose.
Now it seems to me to be such a cruel irony,
He’s richer now ever he was before,
Now my cheque is all spent and I can’t afford the rent,
There’s one law for the rich, one for the poor,
Every day I’ve tried to salvage some of my pride,
To find some work so’s I might pay my way,
But everywhere I go, the answer is always no,
There’s no work for anyone here today,
No work today.
And so condemned I stand, just an ordinary man,
Like thousands beside me in the queue,
I watch my darlin’ wife tryin’ to make the best of life,
God knows what the kids are goin’ to do,
Now that we are faced with this human waste,
A generation cast aside,
For as long as I live, I never will forgive,
You’ve stripped me of my dignity & pride,
You’ve stripped me bare.