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Cisco in Print

Excerpts from "Woody, Cisco and Me:
Seamen Three in the Merchant Marine"

Jim Longhi

From Page 58

Woody is singing to the crew, and the crew is very interested in the process of composition.

"There are two kinds of songs -- living songs and dying songs. The dying songs -- the ones about champagne for two and putting on your top hat -- they tell you that there's nothing to be proud of in being a worker, but that someday if you're good and work hard, youll get to be boss. Then you can wear white tie and tails and have songs made up about you. I like living songs that make you take pride in yourself and your work, songs that try to make things better for us, songs that protest all the things that need protesting against, and God knows there's thousands of them, and if you think of them you think of a title, which is half the battle in writing a song. There's the 'Single Girl Blues,' the 'Starving Family Blues,' 'Leaky Roof Blues,' 'Hock Shop Rag,' 'Pawn Shop Rag,' 'Pawn Shop Polka,' 'Down Payment Scream,' 'High Price Gallop,' 'The Dying Landlord,' 'The Dead Landlord'...." and Woody went on calling off song titles -- the men laughing at every one of them -- winding up with "Gone Woman Blues, Gone Man Blues," "Scabs in My Factory, Scabs in My Hair, Scabs in My Bed," "Shoo, Scab, Shoo," "Union Mattress, Union Baby," and "My World Union."

"Godamighty, Woody you must have made a million dollars!"

"No, but he could have," Cisco said.

"Maybe," Woody continued. "I once had my own radio program, but the sponsor -- a big tobacco company -- wanted me to sing dying songs, so I quit."

"Tell them about your resignation letter." Cisco nudged Woody.

"Oh, I just wrote 'Dear Sirs, I've smoked your tobacco, I've chewed your tobacco, and I've even snuffed your tobacco, but I'll be goddamned if I'll have your tobacco shoved up my behind (paperback)/ass (hardcover).'"

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