I’m Not Going to Work Today

On Labor Day several years ago, my wife and I listened to the Glenn Mitchell Show as we drove around Dallas. I was enthralled by Mitchell’s talk show, especially his “Anything You Ever Wanted to Know” segment; the tag line for that segment was: “All Questions Answered. All Knowledge Revealed.” The audience called in with both questions and answers on an enormously wide array of topics. It was a huge hit that involved the listening audience in a big way. Whether that was the segment we listened to that day, I do not know. But I remember distinctly listening to a song he played that Labor Day (maybe it was in 2005, before his death in November) in celebration of the holiday: I’m Not Going to Work Today. What was distinctive about the song, as I remember it, was the way the word “work” was pronounced. The person singing the lyrics pronounced it “woik.” Immediately after hearing the show and for years afterward, I would periodically search for information about the tune, but never had any luck. It seemed to me that Mitchell had played an old audio that was no longer available.

My search for evidence of—and information about—that tune ended an hour or so ago. A quick search on Google revealed sources that yielded a treasure trove of information. The song was written by Kevin B. Martin and recorded by Boot Hog Pefferly and the Loafers (more about them at the bottom of this post). I found a 45 RPM vinyl disc of the tune, with Jump & Shout on the reverse side, for $25 plus $4 shipping. Another one is available for $34.99 plus $3.99 shipping. I do not plan to buy either one because I also discovered a version by Clyde McPhatter on Spotify. While the McPhatter version is good, the “woik” is not quite as distinct as it was what I heard on the radio. And I don’t know for certain that the version I heard was the one performed by Boot Hog Pefferly and the Loafers; I could not find an audio version of their performance. It really doesn’t matter, though. I’ve satisfied a years-long quest. “Quest” seems a bit too intense for my search. Even “search” seems a little over-the-top. It’s not like I’ve dedicated my every waking hour to finding the tune. But I have looked for it on occasion. And this morning I found it all over the internet. And it has spilled into Spotify.

So I am a happy (relative term in this era of the novel coronavirus) man today. My search yielded results. Hallelujah!


According to Lyrics.com, following are the song’s lyrics: to work today

mm, yeah
I’m not going to work today
I’m not going to work today
I know I won’t get no pay but I’m not going to work today
Cause I was up all night with the baby
She was cryin’ like crazy
But I thought that maybe I could stop her
If I would change her wet diaper
But it seems she wanted her her mother
Who was playin’ asleep under the covers
So I walked the baby ’til it fell asleep and now I got achin’ feet
You know my feet hurt yeah
Lord my feet hurt yeah

(Background chorus)
He’s not going to work today
He’s not going to work today

I won’t get no money but yeah

(Background chorus)
He knows he won’t get no pay but he’s not going to work today

Well I’ve got a big son and a daughter
Who have no pity on their father
Well I come home from work yesterday about four and they wanted me to do the limbo
Now I’m a good sorta pappy
Who likes to make his children happy
So I went out and did the limbo
And now my back is sore
Now my back hurts yeah

(Background chorus)
He’s not going to work today
He’s not going to work today

I won’t get no money but yeah

(Background chorus)
He knows he won’t get no pay but he’s not going to work today

Blow your little horns boys

Well now please don’t you get me wrong folks
I love my children and that’s no joke
But this here modern generation whoa
They gonna be my whole ruination
Doing the limbo and walking steeples
I’m gonna leave it to the young peoples
Stick to what I know doing that’s, that’s being the family bread winner

(Background chorus)
He’s not going to work today
He’s not going to work today

I just wanna tell you that I

(Background chorus)
He knows he won’t get no pay but he’s not going to work today

Alright now one more time

(Background chorus)
He’s not going to work today
He’s not going to work today

Here’s what Lyrics.com says about Boot Hog Pefferly and the Loafers:

The band included members of The Carnations, Tren-Dells, Monarchs and other Louisville groups from the early 60s. Vocals: Johnny Hourigan (lead), Mike Gibson, Jimmy Settle, Bill Mathley, Paul Penny and Judy Woods. Musicians: Eddie Humphries (sax), Tom Jolly (trumpet), Leon Middleton (sax), George Fawbush (guitar), Dusty Miller (bass), and John Campbell (drums). It was produced by Hardy Martin and Ray Allen (Floyd Lewellyn) of the famous Allen-Martin Studios in Louisville, KY.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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