Carpal Tunnel
I came across this song on a Smithsonian Folkways compilation of Labor Union songs. I've always enjoyed unaccompanied ballads and would sing along with it in my car while driving around town. I knew I wanted to find a song to sing while hamboning because I'd been so inspired watching Mark Schatz perform Cindy while on tour and he generously taught me the basics when we had time between shows. The pairing of repetitive body percussion with a song about the physical sacrifice of workers in the name of profits ended up being more powerful than I realized. As a musician, I've been aware of and worried about carpal tunnel syndrome my entire life so I found it to be a bit tongue-in-cheek to sing about as the lyrics describe the struggles of people working in the meatpacking industry. But as I was working this song up, nearly half a century after it was written, many people in that same industry were dying of COVID-19 after being forced to continue working through the shutdown.