Yesterday’s Men

This Phil Coulter tune — a few decades old, with an Irish twist — is obviously relevant to today’s America. Performed here by Celtic Thunder‘s George Donaldson. Thanks to Michael Libbie for bringing it to my attention.

They are America’s new forgotten men.

Oh, we gave them our best years — now they’ve paid us back,
By making us yesterday’s men

‘Twas Joey the weasel that gave us the wire,
They were closing our factory down
Though we didn’t believe him and we called him a liar,
The redundancy letters came round

As we read them in silence, I choked back a tear,
It was hard to believe after twenty-odd years

Chorus:
Farewell my companions, my friends and my workmates
Farewell to the paydays, the pints and the craic
Oh, we gave them our best years now they’ve paid us back,
By making us yesterday’s men, sure as hell,
By making us yesterday’s men

So we said our goodbyes by the factory gates,
One cold Friday evening last year
And I saw it all there in the eyes of my mates,
The anger, the sadness, the fear

Like our fathers before us we worked there with pride,
Now we fought back the bitterness burning inside

Chorus

Ah now Jimmy, said she, give the kids a few bob,
After all, sure it is Friday night
But how could I tell her I was out of a job,
From now on things were going to be tight

How well I remember it cut like a knife,
I was never a day on the dole in my life

Chorus

The machines now are silent, the workbenches bare,
And there’s dust on the factory floor
They’ve boarded the windows and have chained up the gates,
And have padlocked the factory door

Now I’m on the scrap-heap, and I’m thirty-nine,
Just one of the hundreds, shot down in my prime

Chorus (twice)

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