Jon reveals “My favourite version of this is Pete Coe’s, although I do like Jim Moray’s piano version too. It has a beautiful melody and I like the underlying stoicism – similar to ‘Arris Mill. Good natured complaining basically.”
Another reminder that before there was ever a ‘squeezed middle’ there was just poverty. There still is. My regular drinking partner refutes this, or otherwise seems to think it’s all the fault of the people in poverty who have no excuse. I don’t. It can get feisty. The moral is probably that politics and beer are not happy bedfellows, unless of course you are going to sing about one or the other, or both. A good tune to soothe the savage breast. I’ll will still qualify Jon’s good “natured comment ,” with the thought that for most there was simply no choice but to accept it and get by, or give up and die. You may like a look at Mainly Norfolk for this one to see that Pete Coe accredits this to Tommy Daniel and from what I can glean he seems to be the conduit for this, possibly having rewritten much of it. As always, it’s difficult to sort out the truth behind the origins. The longer Mudcat thread seems to make it clear that some people remember it independently of Tommy, but he still remains the source of all of the versions that are performed now. The title of Poverty Knock (or Knocks), however is not a new thing and the phrase can be found in other and older literature, although I like the idea that it fits the clickerty-clack of the machines as a constant reminder throughout the working day and thus found its natural fit.