“The Man that Waters the Workers' Beer”


"I am the man, the very fat man, that waters the worker's beer." The man waters the beer to make more profit (he admits to having "a car, a yacht, and an aeroplane") and to keep the workers in subjection. To this end he even uses poison


I was hesitant about including this song, but it is narrative, more or less, and it does seem to have entered tradition. - PJS

Reading this, I can't help but think of the charges filed against the founder of chemistry, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794). According to William H. Brock, _The Chemical Tree: A History of Chemistry_ Norton, 2002 (published in 1992 as _The Norton History of Chemistry_), p. 123, Lavoisier was charged with "having mixed water and other 'harmful' ingredients in tobacco." He went to the guillotine.

To be sure, he was a stockholder of a tax farming company, and this was his real crime (though he did not himself collect taxes). But it was a terrible loss for France, and an even greater loss for chemistry. Much as I sympathize with the British working class, charges such as these are usually oversimplified. - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "The Son of a Gambolier" (tune & meter) and references there


  1. Silber-FSWB, p. 29, "The Man That Waters the Workers' Beer" (1 text)
  3. BI, FSWB029


Author: Words: Paddy Ryan / Music: Traditional
Earliest date: 1937
Found in: Britain(England)