Joe Hill songs

Mr. Block (1913)

Tune: “It Looks Like A Big Night Tonight” (Egbert Van Alstyne)
First published in the 1913 edition of the IWW’s Little Red Songbook.

Please give me your attention, I’ll introduce to you
A man that is a credit to “Our Red White and Blue,”
His head is made of lumber, and solid as a rock;
He is a common worker and his name is Mr. Block.
And Block he thinks he may
Be president some day.

Oh Mr. Block, you were born by mistake,
You take the cake, you make me ache.
Tie a rock on your block and then jump in the lake,
Kindly do that for Liberty’s sake.

Yes, Mr. Block is lucky; he found a job, by gee!
The sharks got seven dollars, for job and fare and fee.
They shipped him to a desert and dumped him with his truck,
But when he tried to find his job, he sure was out of luck,
He shouted, “That’s too raw,
I’ll fix them with the law.”

Block hiked back to the city, but wasn’t doing well.
He said “I’ll join the union — the great A. F. of L.”
He got a job next morning, got fired in the night,
He said, “I’ll see Sam Gompers and he’ll fix that foreman right.”
Sam Gompers said, “You see,
You’ve got our sympathy.”

Election day he shouted, “A Socialist for Mayor!”
The “comrade” got elected, he happy was for fair,
But after the election he got an awful shock,
A great big socialistic Bull did rap him on the block.
And Comrade Block did sob,
“I helped him to his job.”

The money kings in Cuba blew up the gunboat Maine,
But Block got awful angry and blamed it all on Spain.
He went right in the battle and there he lost his leg.
And now he’s peddling shoestrings and is walking on a peg.
He shouts, “Remember Maine,
Hurrah! To hell with Spain!”

Poor Block he died one evening, I’m very glad to state,
He climbed the golden ladder up to the pearly gate.
He said, “Oh Mister Peter, one word I’d like to tell,
I’d like to meet the Astorbilts and John D Rockefell.”
Old Pete said, “Is that so?
You’ll meet them down below.”

Listen to performances by: U. Utah Phillips, Mats PaulsonFor sheet music and karaoke file click here.

2 replies on “Mr. Block (1913)”

This is one of my favorite joe hill songs. We should try to put together a salvation army band – accordion, trumpets, tuba, trombone, bass drum. The musicians’ unions in the towns we play would be good resources for that

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