‘The title of the song was suggested by Rib Davis, the Director of Worker By Name,’ says Kevin Adams who wrote three songs for this community musical documentary drama of 1992. It focuses on the problems for one family during the 1930s – based on Tom Worker’s experiences as related in his original LAMK interviews where he recalls hardships of those times:
We hadn’t got any money at all. They was terrible days, they was really. I was out of work so long… you didn’t get the dole then. We never really went hungry but it was a continual ‘How to get something to put on the table?’ – put it that way. Money was short and feeding the family was difficult. In them days, in the Depression I mean, it was cut-throat. One day, a mate of mine said he’d found a job, coal-carting. Tenpence an hour hauling coal all day. It wasn’t much, but that was all you could get...
The Worker family eventually won through – with a little luck, and a lot of determination:
Well, I tell you what we done, we made pictures. We bought 3-ply wood, a big sheet, sawed into little bits, and I painted flowers on and my wife got a red-hot poker and burnt a verse underneath, like ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one’, and we sold them, 18d a pair. We sold no end of them.
Kevin says: ‘The best thing about hooking up with the Worker by Name production was that it really kick-started my song writing. I had always written songs in a sporadic sort of way, and some were actually quite good. The majority of them weren’t. Writing for the Living Archive gave me a precise brief for what a song was to be about, and taught me those editorial skills. This in turn reflected back into my non-Living Archive writing.’
Kevin Adams has been fundamental to the music created for Living Archive documentary dramas over the last quarter century. His compositions are widely acclaimed for both integrity of feeling and variety of form; his live performances – on the fiddle, guitar, mandola, mandolin and vocals – have energised Living Archive songs; and his studio production of the music has achieved the highest quality sound.
Images and interview extracts from LAMK archive. The song features on the Living Archive Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 2 (LAMK). Kevin Adams produced both this album and Calverton – the Songs from The Horse and Tractor