“The Rigs of the Times”


Chorus: "Honesty's all out of fashion; These are the rigs of the times...." Detailing all the sharp business practices of the day, e.g. the butcher who charges two shillings a pound "and thinks it no sin" -- while placing his thumb on the scale!


Most scholars (e.g. Belden, Cox, Kennedy) assume that "The Rigs of the Times" (with chorus "Singing, Honesty's all out of fashion, These are the rigs of the times, times, me boys, These are the rigs of the times") is the same as "Hard Times" (with a short chorus such as "these times, these (hard/queer) times").

Personally, I'm not convinced, as the two seem to fall into very distinct groups. But because the equation is so common, I've followed it in the index. - RBW

Blondahl: "This ... was sent in by Paul Emberly, who informs that the lines were written by his late father." - BS

Cross references


  • Omar Blondahl, "Hard, Hard Times" (on NFOBlondahl01,NFOBlondahl02)
  • Ken Peacock, "Hard Times" (on NFKPeacock)
  • J. W. "Charger" Salmons & friends: "The Rigs of the Time" (on Lomax41, LomaxCD1741)
  • Pete Steele, "The Song of Hard Times" (on PSteele01)


  1. Kennedy 237, "The Rigs of the Time" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Belden, pp. 433-434, "Song of the Times" (1 text)
  3. BrownIII 332, "Hard Times" (2 texts plus a fragment and mention of 1 more)
  4. Hudson 89, pp. 215-216, "Hard Times" (1 text)
  5. Gardner/Chickering ,184 ""Hard Times (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 332-334, "Hard Times" (1 text)
  7. Fahey-Eureka, pp. 14-16, "The Rigs of the Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Fowke/Mills/Blume, pp. 206-208, "Hard, Hard Times" (1 text, 1 tune -- a Canadian adaptation created by William James Emberly in 1936 to describe conditions in the Great Depression)
  9. Peacock, pp. 57-59, "Hard Times" (1 text, 2 tunes)
  10. Fowke/MacMillan 17, "Hard, Hard Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. JHCox 183, "Hard Times" (1 text, the first six verses being "Courting the Widow's Daughter" and the last seven being a reduced version, minus the chorus, of "The Rigs of the Times")
  12. Blondahl, pp. 13-14, "Hard, Hard Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Doyle3, pp. 28-29, "Hard, Hard Times" (1 text, 1 tune)
  15. Roud #876
  16. BI, K237


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1905 (Belden)
Found in: Britain(England(Lond,South)) US(MA,MW,NW,SE,So) Canada(Newf) Australia