Country Crass

Photo: Barbara Fg.

Do they owe us a living? Of course they do.

I belong to a few groups on Facebook. One of my favorites is called Punk New Age Travellers. It was there that I first heard the track “Do They Owe Us A Living” by Croy and the Boys. Astute readers will recognize the title as a Crass song, from their first album The Feeding of the 5000. The Crass version is an aural and verbal assault, lyrics delivered with machine gun rapidity over a screeching, violent guitar-and-drum track. It reeks of anger and alienation. It’s almost incomprehensible, and without the written lyrics to guide you, you’d be hard put to make any sense of it.

The Croy and the Boys version, on the other hand, is classic Country and Western, with a little Tex-Mex thrown in, complete with pedal steel guitar and accordion, a crooning voice and a lyrical bass. It’s laid back and approachable, danceable, and will slink its way into your head like a silk sheet on a Queen-size bed.

Which is what makes the anger in the lyrics even more incendiary:

Do they owe us a living? Of course they do.
Owe us a living? Course they do, course they do.
Owe us a living? Of course they fucking do.

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  1. Back in the day, Crass records were terrible, it was a combinatiion of crappy vinyl, nasty quality cassettes and lo grade hifi.

    LIve they were utterly fantastic


    • My Crass vinyl is still being played and still sounding great. Perhaps you would have been better off following more commercial bands with a bigger budget? “Well the name is Crass, not Clash.”


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