> Danny Spooner > Songs > Man of the Earth

Man of the Earth

[Bernie Parry]

Bernie Parry sang his own song Man of the Earth in 1977 on his Free Reed album Sailing to the Moon. It was also included in 2002 on the Free Reed anthology This Label Is Not Removable. This video shows him singing it in about 2011:

Pat Ryan sang Man of the Earth on her 1977 Folk Heritage album Leaboy's Lassie.

Vin Garbutt sang Man of the Earth in 1978 on his Topic album Tossin' a Wobbler. He noted:

Written by fellow Clevelander Bernie Parry. It’s a song about the plight of an old age pensioner.

Danny Spooner and Duncan Brown sang A Man of the Earth on their 2016 CD of songs of the working life, Labour and Toil. The album's liner notes commented:

The song was written by Bernie Parry in the mid 1970s and is a reminder to us all of the attitudes of many bosses to the workers when they have served their purpose—and why we still need trade unions. Pensioners beware—don't tell too many people that you grow your own food, or you know what may happen!

Lyrics

Bernie Parry sings Man of the Earth Danny Spooner and Duncan Brown sing A Man of the Earth

Every day as I go through the old shanty town
Where the sheds and allotments all stand,
I see an old man on his land
With a rake or a spade in his hands.
And he's there in all weather,
In sunshine or rain and I hesitate as I go past.
Is he happy or sad with his task?
Oh, I haven't the time for to ask.

As I went down through the old shanty town
Where the sheds and the tenements stand,
I see an old man on the land
With a rake or a spade in his hands.
And he's there in all weathers In sunshine or rain
And I hesitate as I go past,
Is he happy or sad with his task,
Oh I haven't the time for to ask.

Chorus (after each verse):
The man of the earth, the man of the soil,
In his lonely allotment he labours and toils.
There's not much to do since he turned sixty-five.
So he took to his garden to keep him alive
And I think it's his joy and his pride.

Chorus (after each verse):
A man of the earth, a man of the soil,
In his lonely allotment he labours and toils.
Though he's not much to do since he turned sixty-five,
He's stuck to his garden, it keeps him alive,
It's his only joy and his pride.

Fifty years in the ironworks broke his will
And his back and his shoulders are round.
There was no other work in the town
So they had him both fettered and bound.
Then all of a sudden he turned sixty-five
And his bosses said, “Thank you my man.”
And they stuck a gold watch in his hand
And behind him the door quickly slammed.

Forty years in the ironworks broke his will,
And his back and his shoulders are round.
There was no other work in the town
So they had him both fettered and bound.
Ah but all of a sudden he turned sixty-five
And his bosses said, “Thank you my man.”
And they stuck a gold watch in his hand
And behind him the fact'ry door slammed.

Every Saturday evening he's down at the pub
And he stands by himself at the bar,
Slowly sipping a solitary jar
For the pension won't go very far.
So he sells a few things to his neighbours and friends,
A few of the things that he grows.
But he's got to watch out how he goes
Or they'll stop all his pension, he knows.

Every Saturday night he's down at the pub
And he stands with his mates at the bar,
Supping a solitary jar
'Cause the pension won't go very far.
So he sells a few things to his neighbours and friends,
A few of the things that he grows.
But he's got to watch out how he goes
Or they'll stop all his pension, he knows.

Every day as I go through the old shanty town
Where the sheds and allotments all stand,
I see an old man on his land
With a rake or a spade in his hands.
But I really can't linger, I must be gone,
For I work in the ironworks too.
I started there five years ago,
Only forty-five more to go.

So as I go down through the old shanty town
Where the sheds and the tenements stand,
I see the old man on the land
With a rake or a spade in his hands.
Ah! But I cannot linger, I must be gone,
For I work in the ironworks too.
I started there five years ago,
Only forty-five years left, yer know!