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Tom Russell What Work Is Lyrics

Last updated: 02/23/2011 10:00:00 AM

Yeah, I used to work with a guy named Frankie Acosta
We were butter strippers down at the Challenge Creamery
Strippin’ the cardboard off 70 lbs cubes of butter
It was hot back then, summer of 1963

And Franky, man, he’d get so angry
He’d say, “See what the women make me do...”
Then he’d break off a splinter from a dirty wooden pallet
And stick it like a knife in one of them big old butter cubes

1st Chorus:
That’s what work is
That’s what love is
A little pleasure and a little misery
Now every time it gets hard out here
I think of L.A. back in 1963.

Then I got a job workin’ for the City of Inglewood
Runnin’ the chipper, chippin’ limbs off of trees
I worked with a guy named Crazy Dave Macklin
And one day he almost ran a tractor over me

And we were out choppin’ weeds near South Central
When the riots broke out and the sky turned fiery red and brown
And I called up my girlfriend on a payphone and said, “Baby, I love you, but
I think God’s gonna finally burn Gomorrha down.”
And she said

2nd Chorus
“That’s what work is
That’s what love is
You build a house of straw and the flames lick the sky.”
Now every time I fall in love out here
I think of L.A. back in 1965.

I finally got a job drivin’ a rose truck
From Santa Barbara, Midnight, to L.A. 5th and Main
All jacked up on coffee, cheap speed and donuts
Walkin’ around the L.A. flower market in the rain

And every time I’d eat breakfast at The Pantry down at Figueroa
The waiters were always old-time ex-cons
Then we’d load the trucks back up with empty rose boxes
And drive on up the coast through the California dawn.

3rd Chorus:
That’s what work is
That’s what love is
Two eggs over easy on a T-Bone steak
And every time I see the sun rise over the ocean
I think of L.A. back in 1968.

Repeat 1st Chorus

I used to work with a guy named Franky Acosta…




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