“W. P. and A.”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1959 (Warner)
Keywords: work unemployment hardtimes
Found in: US(SE)

Description

"Where did you get that pretty dress all so bright and gay? I got it from my loving man on the W. P. and A." The singer tells of how the WPA allowed him to re-establish credit and earn good money for little work -- but also how he is resented by friends

Supplemental text

W. P. and A.
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Anne Warner, Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne &
Frank Warner Collection, #138, pp. 316-317. From the singing of
Frank Proffitt, Watauga County, North Carolina, 1959.

Where did you get that pretty dress,
All so bright and gay?
I got it from my loving man
On W. P. and A.

  Chorus
  On W. P. and A.,
  On W. P. and A.,
  I got it from my loving man
  On W. P. and A.

(6 additional stanzas)

Notes

The Works Progress Administration was responsible for a number of important building projects during the Depression. One of the key pieces of the New Deal, it helped many unemployed people survive the period. In the North Carolina backwoods, the wages it paid were considered very good, and the work relatively slight. But not everyone could sign on with the W.P.A. Hence this song -- and the resentment it describes. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

References

  1. Warner 138, "W. P. and A." (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST Wa138 (Partial)
  3. Roud #7476
  4. BI, Wa138