Rita MacNeil: Working Man

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It's a Working Man

It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

At the age of 16 years
Oh, he quarrels with his peers
Who vowed they'd never see another one
In the dark recess of the mines
When you age before your time
And the coal dust lies heavy on your lungs

CHORUS: It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
But for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

At the age of 64, oh he'll greet you at the door
And he'll gently lead you by the arm
Through dark recess of the mine
Oh he'll take you back in time
And he'll tell you of the hardships that were had

CHORUS: It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

CHORUS: It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go back underground











songwriters: Rita McNeil and The Men of the Deeps

performed by: Rita McNeil and The Men of the Deeps

date released: 1988 by Rita McNeil

Rita McNeil was born in the small community of Big Pond on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. She was one of eight children in a large, boisterous family. Rita suffered debilitating awkwardness and shyness because of a congential cleft palate. Early surgery removed the outer deformity, but it did little to erase the inner trauma which she carried with her into her adulthood.

As she grew into her teen years, hardship was her constant companion. A first love affair left her with a child out of wedlock. She married early, but the marriage also failed. In hindsight, one can only look for the silver lining; the gravity of these early experiences gave McNeil the strength to survive the vicissitudes of the music industry.

Her first attempts to express her musical talent were thwarted by shyness. In the family kitchen, Rita would only sing in the presence of her mother who encouraged her daughter's talent. Although her mother did not live to see Rita's success, the song "Reason To Believe" was recorded in dedication to her mother's unwavering support.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to enter the music industry, Rita McNeil found empowerment in the women's movement. She began writing songs about the woman's plight in a man's world which led to the recording of her first album, "Born A Woman." The popularity of the album launched Rita on a tour of folk festivals around the country.

The themes of her songs focussed on the positive
aspects of community: friends gathering together telling tales of good and bad times, community histories, working people, and tributes to loving and supportive families----simple pleasures that common folk could put their hats on. Rita McNeil had found her voice---whenever she sang, she felt strong.

Returning to Cape Breton flushed with success, Rita McNeil began to write prolifically. She wrote songs about life in Cape Breton such as: "Black Rock", "My Island", "Brown Grass" and "Troubadour". She even got an invitation from an all-male choir of miners, The Men of the Deeps to accompany her in singing "Working Man."

Her family and friends collaborated to finance a second album for Rita McNeil, "Part Of The Mystery." It did well enough to finance a thrid album which would be the breakout one, "Flying On Your Own" in 1987. Rita McNeil did not know her own popularity until she travelled to Expo 86 in Vancouver for a sold out performance in a large concert venue. Then, she took her voice on the road to international ports and onto to television where she starred in music specials.

Rita McNeil has accumulated a discography of 22 albums and multiple Juno and Canadian Country Music Awards. She has received 5 honourary degrees from five different universities. The year 1992 found her invested into the Order of Canada which is citizenry's greatest honour. Even with these accolades, Rita McNeil maintains that she is still that shy girl from Big Pond. Others would disagree; the opposite side of that coin is her indomitable inner strength.
















It's a Working Man

It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

At the age of 16 years
Oh, he quarrels with his peers
Who vowed they'd never see another one
In the dark recess of the mines
When you age before your time
And the coal dust lies heavy on your lungs

CHORUS: It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
But for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

At the age of 64, oh he'll greet you at the door
And he'll gently lead you by the arm
Through dark recess of the mine
Oh he'll take you back in time
And he'll tell you of the hardships that were had

CHORUS: It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

CHORUS: It's a working man I am
And I've been down underground
And I swear to God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time
I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go back underground











songwriters: Rita McNeil and The Men of the Deeps

performed by: Rita McNeil and The Men of the Deeps

date released: 1988 by Rita McNeil

Rita McNeil was born in the small community of Big Pond on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. She was one of eight children in a large, boisterous family. Rita suffered debilitating awkwardness and shyness because of a congential cleft palate. Early surgery removed the outer deformity, but it did little to erase the inner trauma which she carried with her into her adulthood.

As she grew into her teen years, hardship was her constant companion. A first love affair left her with a child out of wedlock. She married early, but the marriage also failed. In hindsight, one can only look for the silver lining; the gravity of these early experiences gave McNeil the strength to survive the vicissitudes of the music industry.

Her first attempts to express her musical talent were thwarted by shyness. In the family kitchen, Rita would only sing in the presence of her mother who encouraged her daughter's talent. Although her mother did not live to see Rita's success, the song "Reason To Believe" was recorded in dedication to her mother's unwavering support.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to enter the music industry, Rita McNeil found empowerment in the women's movement. She began writing songs about the woman's plight in a man's world which led to the recording of her first album, "Born A Woman." The popularity of the album launched Rita on a tour of folk festivals around the country.

The themes of her songs focussed on the positive
aspects of community: friends gathering together telling tales of good and bad times, community histories, working people, and tributes to loving and supportive families----simple pleasures that common folk could put their hats on. Rita McNeil had found her voice---whenever she sang, she felt strong.

Returning to Cape Breton flushed with success, Rita McNeil began to write prolifically. She wrote songs about life in Cape Breton such as: "Black Rock", "My Island", "Brown Grass" and "Troubadour". She even got an invitation from an all-male choir of miners, The Men of the Deeps to accompany her in singing "Working Man."

Her family and friends collaborated to finance a second album for Rita McNeil, "Part Of The Mystery." It did well enough to finance a thrid album which would be the breakout one, "Flying On Your Own" in 1987. Rita McNeil did not know her own popularity until she travelled to Expo 86 in Vancouver for a sold out performance in a large concert venue. Then, she took her voice on the road to international ports and onto to television where she starred in music specials.

Rita McNeil has accumulated a discography of 22 albums and multiple Juno and Canadian Country Music Awards. She has received 5 honourary degrees from five different universities. The year 1992 found her invested into the Order of Canada which is citizenry's greatest honour. Even with these accolades, Rita McNeil maintains that she is still that shy girl from Big Pond. Others would disagree; the opposite side of that coin is her indomitable inner strength.
















+10 -1
Quiz #: 2942
Nova Scotia's Rita MacNeil portrays life in the coal mines of her province with "Working Man".
Quiz by: Sharon Michiko Yoneda
Intermediate

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