This incredible song about the appalling conditions people were made to work in not so long ago in this country is still relevant in many places around the world today. It was written by Teeside Fettler and shantyman Ron Angel. A friend learnt it from Vin Garbutt and used to sing it at our local folk club then it came back to mind when Sid met Ron at Richmond folk club many years later.

Chemical workers song/The I.C.I. Song


A process man am I and I’m telling you no lie
I’ve worked and breathed among the fumes that trail across the sky
There’s thunder all around me and poison in the air
There’s a lousy smell that smacks of hell and dust all in me hair

 

CHORUS

And its go boys go
They’ll time your every breath
And every day in this place your two days near to death
But you go...


I’ve worked among the spitters I’ve breathed in the oily smoke
I’ve shovelled up the gypsum till it neigh ‘on makes you choke
I’ve stood knee deep cyanide, got sick with a caustic burn
Been working rough, I’ve seen enough, to make your stomach turn
CHORUS


There’s overtime there’s bonus opportunities galore
The young men like their money and they all come back for more
But soon your knocking on and you look older than you should
For every bob made on the job, you pay with flesh and blood

CHORUS
 

Well a process man am I and I’m telling you no lie
I’ve worked and breathed among the fumes that trail across the sky
There’s thunder all around me and there’s poison in the air
There’s a lousy smell that smacks of hell and dust all in me hair

 

Ron Angel