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Ain’t Done Nothing If You Ain’t Been Called A Red


I’m not a Red, however I love the fighting spirit of this song, presumably written during the glory days of the American Socialist / Communist Left in the 1930’s.

“when I was just a little thing I used to love parades
with banners, bands and red balloons and maybe lemonade
when I came home one May Day my neighbour’s father said
them marchers is all commies tell me kid are you a red?

well, I didn’t know just what he meant my hair back then was brown
our house was plain red brick like most others in the town
so I went and asked my mamma why our neighbour called me red
my mummy took me on her knee and this is what she said

CHORUS:
well you aint done nothin if you ain’t been called a red
if you’ve marched or agitated, you’re bound to hear it said
so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead
cause you ain’t been doin nothin if you ain’t been called a red

when I was growin up, had my troubles I suppose
when someone took exception to my face or to my clothes
or tried to cheat me on a job or hit me on the head
when I organised to fight back why the stinkers called me red

CHORUS

when I was livin’ on my own one apartment that I had
had a lousy rotten landlord let me tell ya he was bad
but when he tried to throw me out I rubbed my hands and said
you haven’t seen a struggle if you haven’t fought a red!

CHORUS

well I kept on agitating, cause what else can you do?
youre gonna let the sons of bitches walk all over you
my friends said you’ll get fired, hanging with that commie mob
I should be so lucky buddy, I aint got a job

CHORUS

well I’ve been agitating now for fifty years or more
for jobs or for equality and always against war
Ill keep on agitating as far as I can see
and if that’s what being red is then it’s good enough for me”

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