Sunday, November 15, 2015

Battle of the Bands ~ Workin' Man Blues

Battle of the Bands is, once again, colliding with my Soundtrack posts. Yep, I'm doing those again. Here is a quick list of other people participating in The Soundtrack Of My Life:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers 


Mean Who You Are

Wrote By Rote

If you decide, at any time, you want to start posting these on your blog, let me know, and I'll add you to the list.

First, the story.

If you will remember (really reach into those memory banks), the previous summer I sold books door-to-door in Colorado. Well, I knew I didn't want to do that again. But, I needed to make enough money over the summer to cover my school expenses (mostly) for the year. I also worked a very part-time during all four school years.

Anyway, one of my friends who was native to the area suggested I get work in Saugatuck. That was about a 40 minute drive for me, but it was a small "resortish" area on the lake. One of the restaurants was actually a three in one business. There was a really nice restaurant, a bar, and a diner that only served breakfast and lunch. Since I had zero waitstaff experience I ended up working in both the bar and the diner.


I know that doesn't sound bad, but it was. On the weekends it was terrible. I'd work until close in the bar and then have to be there before open in the diner.

This girl needs her sleep. This girl also discovered that she didn't have a clue what it was like to be on her feet all night in a bar and then have to hoof it again all morning into mid-afternoon, go home a couple of hours, and then do it all again. Every weekend.

We lived off campus, and I moved three times in that house. That summer my room was in the basement. I remember one morning crawling up the stairs because my feet hurt so badly. Plus, I got to the point I was sleeping on the floor and putting my feet on my bed to elevate them.

Let's just say that a couple weeks into this job I was rethinking it. I really should've sold the books again door-to-door.

If the story tells you anything, be generous to your waitstaff the next time you eat out. That job is ROUGH.

Now, the song.

I really wanted a song about working. Well, there is no song that sings the blues of working like Workin' Man Blues. Of course, I wasn't drinking any beer in the tavern. All I was doing was serving it! There is no way I'm using the original by Merle Haggard. That wouldn't end well. So, I went looking on YouTube. Turns out several groups have done this song live as tribute to Merle. None of those were best in my opinion, though. Although there was one that cracked me up. For anyone who enjoys watching the audience, I can send it to you.

Feel free to watch the video in both of these. You can tell in both of them that they're really having fun. That makes them a joy to watch.

First up is a collaboration. Diamond Rio, Steve Warnier, and Lee Roy Parnell got together to pay tribute to Merle. Not sure what to call this... RioWP?

Next up is Craig Wayne Boyd:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:


  1. I'll go with CWB. It's easy to have a group of superstars make something sound good. Harder when you're one voice stirring the crowd.

  2. Working two jobs has to be pretty tough. I've never exactly had to work two full-working jobs. I've never had what it takes to be a door to door sales person. My Dad sound Bibles door to door during the summers when he was in college--he was probably good at it.

    On this pairing I've got to go with Diamond Rio and friends. The horns kind of muddle the other version and it's overly frantic.

    Diamond Rio's version is crisp, simple,and straight forward. Yeah, those guys win my vote.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  3. It's difficult to choose. I guess I'll go with Craig Wayne Boyd because he sounds more raw. I confess I allowed the other video to influence me. It those guys work so hard, then why are they drinking beer and playing pool?


  4. Oh Girl, I can totally relate to your story. I used to own a bar and would open it up at noon and close it down without ever leaving! Working a bar is hard work! I could feel your painful feet when you described sleeping on the floor so you could elevate them. Working Girl Blues, we know them well!
    Re: your battle: I definitely liked the trio RioWP better. I cranked it up! So please give my vote to them.
    Great battle!

    Michele at Angels Bark

  5. Diamond Rio, Steve Warnier, and Lee Roy Parnell gets my vote, as they sound more like old Merle and I like the good guitar pickin' going on there. The Voice (Craig) is someone who will appeal to many who don't care for this type of country tune, as his hyped up lead singer appeal seems to work with the audience of women. . . It's an upbeat version, but most trad country is cry-in-your-beer blues or proud to be an oakie blues.

  6. GREAT song! My honey and I (he's playing along today) vote for the Rio, Warnier, and Parnell trio—fun version, very grassroots-y, and the music felt fuller than Craig's. (I wasn't really impressed with his voice.)

    Great battle!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

  7. Craig Boyd is going to go far in the music world. Awesome voice, and wow what a great performing personality. That was a fun version of the song, greatly showed off Craig's musical range, and that horn addition was awesome.

    But, but but . . . No way to really beat that moving along train sound of the guitars, the way Merle originally made the sound. And then there is the inclusion of Lee Roy Parnell, who could tie Merle for that incredible, working man sound. The trio had a fantastic sound, and the guitars steal the song. Diamon, Steve and Lee Roy definitely get my vote for this. But good thing you did not pit them against Merle, would have been too hard a decision to make.

  8. Oh, and, I've worked in a restaurant and lounge myself, and aside from enjoying the people and parties, it is rough on the feet. Double shifts can be hell!!

  9. I vote for DSL-the trio. They seem more polished and their voices are stronger. Craig is not as polished and seems to still be learning his trade-to my ears anyway. I worked for 3 weeks at a diner and it proved to me that I am not one to be a waitress. First the diner was run by people who should not have been doing what they were doing(let their 16 yr old daughter serve beer) plus we had to pool our tips. They had me train for 2 days and then set me out there-all on my own for a Sunday morning-the church crowd! There was a table that seated 10. 2 2 seaters. 12 4 seaters (bench style) and 10 could sit at the counter-they were all filled! The people were wonderful since I was not even shown how to make a milkshake. My feet were sore, my body was sore, I could not carry a tray like a waitress is supposed to plus the cook was Atilla The Hun. I feel your pain from back then. You should be proud because so many kids are just given the money from parents and/or student loans. You had to pay your way and that was no easy feat!

  10. Hey Robin! Definitely a great song choice.

    Anything with Lee Roy Parnell gets my attention. Diamond Rio fan for years too.

    Ironically the guy on "The Voice" didn't have the voice to me. That's life, huh? I vote RioWP.

    Thanks, and have fun!

  11. I'd like to think I'm a tough guy. I can work on a car until my hands are bloody, I can box for 12 hard rounds, I can climb a mountain... but I could NEVER work in the service industry. I just couldn't handle it - the hours, the stress, the rude customers. I admire anyone who does and always tip them generously because I know just how hard it is.

    Oh, right, there's a battle. I'll vote for the trio. Their version is just much more polished and musically pleasing.

  12. Well, this was easy for me. Diamond Rio, Steve Warnier, and Lee Roy Parnell get my vote. Boyd was good, but he really didn't hold a candle to DR, SW, and LRP.

    Girl, I waitressed through nursing school - and our school had a rule that you couldn't have a job while attending! But what was I suspposed to live on? I was 18 and out on my own. Geez, Louise, couldn't they give me extra points for hiding it till I graduated? Ha ha ha. Ya gots ta do what ya gots ta do.

    I always over tip. ALWAYS.

    This was easy. RioWP for me. They had some hot Country pickin' goin' on and the vocals were all good, too. As a matter of fact, I would have voted for them over the Merle Haggard original also. Never been a big Hag fan.

    And BOYD is for the boids! I didn't like that guy AT ALL. His voice is so-so, but he tries to manipulate it to give the impression he has great range and great emotional chops, but it's all an act. The biggest part of his "act" is his stage demeanor - all that running around and mugging for the audience / camera. He comes across to me as a big fake pulling out all of the now-cliche stage moves, playing the part of an "entertainer". I found him almost offensive to watch, and not a great pleasure to hear, either.

    Sounds like you worked yer butt off for quite awhile there. I've had a few jobs that were physically demanding also. Working for the Medical Receiving Dept at UCLA was really something. Eventually it got me in good shape for that job, but that first week or so was brutal. The morning after my first day, I was so sore EVERYWHERE that I literally didn't think I could make it back in for Day 2. It took me about 15 minutes to get from my bed to the bathroom, which was about 12 feet away. I could barely move my legs.

    And I never sucked down so much water as I did that first week on the job; my body was getting severely dehydrated. ...I'll NEVER forget how I felt on the morning of Day 2 though! Pain in muscles I didn't even know I had.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

  14. Diamond Rio, Steve Warnier, and Lee Roy Parnell get my vote. I didn't buy the second one, the first one was more believable.

  15. I totally understand. I didn't even do any server stuff. I was a hostess in a busy restaurant and helped the waitresses as needed. It was the "as needed" that got me. It was exhausting. Plus, the waitresses were all over me about who got seated where to make sure they all got the same amount of people so the tips would balance out. Whew, stressful!

  16. I waited tables all through college too. It was hard but I loved it! I made good money. I worked up to "head waitress" which meant I was the last to leave and I counted out the others tabs after shift but I got to pick my station and tables for the night. I wouldn't get home until 3 or 4 in the morning and like you, turn around and get home for the day shift. I can still balance 3 plates on my arms and have one in my hand. HAHA

    1. Oh and I vote for the trio. I couldn't play along with the battle this week. Just couldn't but I will be back.

  17. My choice goes to Diamond Rio, Steve Warnier, and Lee Roy Parnell. The song was outstanding and they performed well. Even though we are typically asked not to judge on the actual video, I have to agree with you, they certainly looked like they had fun.

  18. I'm in for the Diamond Rio collaboration. The other just seemed over produced and less sincere, if you will. Props to you if you got through that summer. I waitressed for two summers and I remember very sore feet...and I had nothing like the hours you worked. I worked in a cheese shop/gourmet ready-to-serve food shop a few years ago after a life change. Eight hours straight on my feet. I love the place, but I had to quit or I would have died early...

  19. You're so right- waiting tables is tough work. I was awful at it. There is something wrong with my short term memory. I'd be asked for a straw and I'd forget before I hit the kitchen. Yes, tip them well.

    I can't pick a song. Blogging during movies gets me dirty looks when I have sound. Can I vote for both?

  20. I'll go with the first one, Diamond Rio.

  21. I always, always tip 15% or more. I've had plenty of friends that have worked the resturaunt industry and I know how that crap goes. Plus, the fact that most US states still have waitresses working for like two bucks an hour, they NEED those tips.

    Anyway, boy is Craig Wayne Boyd a looker! Woo *fans self* haha .. But, it was hard for me to choose because I just don't like this style of music so both grated on me. They're not songs I'd listen to again, but I guess I'll have to vote for Mr. Boyd. His voice was a little more palatable to me.

  22. I vote for the diamond Rio mash-up, that Boyd guy just didn't have what it takes, nor did he convince me he's ever really worked a day in his life.

    I've done my share of waiting tables and tending bar. It's hard work and at the end of the day you're exhausted. I gotta admit that even considering some of the high power jobs I've had in corporate America, never made as much per hour as I did tending bar. A 'good' lady bartender can make her weight in tips,

  23. Robin, I remember Craig from The Voice and I cheered for him, but I have to be honest his cover just didn't have the panache as Diamond Rio; his style totally suited the song best. Give my vote to Diamond Rio please, dear friend and have a tunetastic week!

  24. Lemme get this straight... you're putting some amateur trying to win "The Voice" up against some of the best names in modern country music, including one of the three remaining Certified Guitar Players as determined by no less than Chet Atkins?


    No contest: Diamond Rio, Steve Wariner CGP, and Lee Roy Parnell.

  25. Diamond Rio and the gang looked and sounded like they were having too much fun to compete with Craig Wayne Boyd. Rio and the trio get my vote. I can really relate to this song, because I'm blue that I haven't had enough time to visit you, and other bloggers, Robin. Wishing you and your mom a very happy Thanksgiving.



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