I slammed the door at quarter to four
I was headed for the company store
"I'll watch my children starve no more
Tonight I'm going to feed them"

"I haven't worked in 40 days
For 23 I've had no pay
In a week I'll have no place to stay
In an hour they'll have to kill me"

On the way I met big Johnny Hines
The strongest man in Sydney Mines
I told big Johnny of my plight
His voice grew loud with anger
"Todays as good a day to die
As any that'll come to mind
I have at home a sickly wife
And I haven't worked since Easter"
We hadn't worked since easter

Half the town'll die from the mining of the coal
The other half'll leave when the mine decides to close
The people who are left will starve to death at the hands of the company store
And they'll bring the army in on us when the union gets to close to them

BURN IT DOWN BOYS!
BURN IT DOWN BOYS!
BURN IT DOWN I SAID, TO THE HEAD!
They'll shoot us down like our fathers but like them we're already dead and down.

Our anger built and tightly wound
We walked the coal road through the town
"The store," I yelled, "We'll burn it down, Burn it to a cynder!"
As I spoke these words before my eyes
Their doors and windows opened wide
And 10 more miners joined my side
Beaten, starved and angered
We were beaten, starved and angered

Half the town'll die from the mining of the coal
The other half'll leave when the mine decides to close
The people who are left will starve to death at the hands of the company store
And they'll bring the army in on us when the union gets to close to them

BURN IT DOWN BOYS!
BURN IT DOWN BOYS!
BURN IT DOWN I SAID, TO THE HEAD!
They'll shoot us down like our mothers but like them we're already dead and down.

I slammed the door at quarter to four
I was headed for the company store
"I'll watch my children starve no more
Tonight I'm going to feed them"

"I haven't worked in 40 days
For 23 I've had no pay
In a week I'll have no place to stay
In an hour they'll have to kill me"

Half the town'll die from the mining of the coal
The other half'll leave when the mine decides to close
The people who are left will starve to death at the hands of the company store
And they'll bring the army in on us when the union gets to close to them

BURN IT DOWN BOYS!
BURN IT DOWN BOYS!
BURN IT DOWN I SAID, TO THE HEAD!
They'll shoot us down like our fathers but like them we're already dead and down.


Lyrics submitted by Mr. Crazy Pants

The Company Store song meanings
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    General CommentAccording to an interview with the singer aired on CBC Radio 3, this song is about the singer's grandfather who worked in a coal mine in Glace Bay, Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) at the turn of the twentieth century. Working up to 70 to 80 hours a week under horrible conditions with no safety standards for incredibly low wages, miners had to pay back most of their wages to the company for their rent, food and clothing. The story goes that in the 1920s a group of miners got together in opposition to the company in protest and burned down the store. In response, the company basically held them over a barrel with wages until the union got strong enough that they could fight back and organize to the point where they got decent wages and decent working conditions. But it took 30-40 years for that to happen.

    The song's message is applicable for today and resonates with audiences seeking to make the world a better place through strength in numbers.
    wraton May 16, 2009   Link

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