This song is far more relevant today than when it was written many years ago. Things were bad then, but not like today. We are experiencing the worst economy in many of our lives. Some say our financial system is improving. I'm not a big believer that it is. For the Rich Man, of course the economy is getting better. But for many, maybe most, our 'Good Life' as we knew it has slipped under the water going beneath the bridge. I hear some of the Younger Generation saying that this is "The Great Recession". I see it for what it is: an adjustment. The pure and simple of it was that on September 18, 2008, our leaders flushed our nation's economy down the toilet.
Before that date, we had a line graph where the bottom 20% of our population lived in the POOR section. On the top of this graph, the Top 20% lived in the WEALTHY section. And in the middle lived the most successful and abundant Middle Class in the history of mankind. Yet, many in this 'middle' area were living beyond their means, and in a dream. Today, we have 47% in the POOR section, 10% in the WEALTHY section, and a reduced 40% in the 'real' Middle Class.
A person who makes $50,000 a year in this country is doing very well for himself. Finding a $50K job is hard. But, you can not afford a $250K home with this income only. AND, you can not max out a new credit card to pay last month's bills. The Fiddler will soon be on your doorstep if you allow yourself to believe this 'dream' and before September 18, 2008, many saw that fantasy turn into a nightmare. Real estate prices have plummeted 50% since that date. Millions of Americans lost their homes, their jobs and any sense of hope for the future. And, many 'adjusted' to the new reality that you can not live beyond your means. I don't want to sound like I'm preaching, but back in my last of 25 years in Nashville, we in the music industry there had witnessed what I call "The Napster Depression". That came about due to the first free download of contemporary music on the Internet. I saw many of my friends go broke. In just a couple of years, sales of cd's were off 20% in the big record labels like RCA, SONY and Warner Brothers, and big corporations like those can not afford those percentages of losses. So I witnessed the offices of these big record labels close. Many lost their jobs. And the real estate prices fell drastically.
I toured a lot when I was in the music business in Nashville. I did so individually in a vehicle traveling from town to town visiting various Veterans along the way, strumming my tunes for them at their homes, or their American Legion clubs, or VFW or DAV's. And, of course, concerts were a big draw when Vietnam Veterans organizations put one on, and I made most of them. I've played my music in every State in the Union except Alaska. And I want to do so before I have that 6 foot dirt blanket pulled over my face. All that touring had given me an Americana viewpoint of my country. And in particular, touring the Deep South it became crystal clear to me how one industry in our great land was exported to cheap labor overseas with the advent of NAFTA-type legislations that pulled us into the 'world economy'. The textile industry was an intricate part of the Deep South's economy. It vanished. Going from one small town to another "Smallville" on my tours I saw these closed factories that at one time employed the people in those communities. They are now …gone with the wind… in the Deep South. Our leaders shipped that industry to 3rd World nations, and by doing so, bankrupted the heart and soul of many regions in the Deep South.
The textile industry is just one. There were and are many more. And, that brings me to the story of The Lucky Charm Factory.
George outdid himself here telling this story. He was a master at pulling in other songs into a new song. In this case, he got Sam Jones General Store back in here, and Smallville, too! And so many country folks can relate to this little town, and their 'factory'. The main employer in the area. All across America up and to about 25 years ago, each little town usually had a primary employer. I spent hours on end telling George stories of the devastation I saw when I was touring from Nashville doing my LRRP Net Recons. In my travels with friends from one little town to another, I would stop, eat in their little restaurants, talk with the locals, visit their grave yards, always looking around their County Seat Court House grounds, and report back to my LRRP Net each week. Of course, I would bang out some songs at various venues that American Veterans set up for me, and it was great fun.
About 30 years ago, American business leaders and our politicians began thinking about ways to cut the cost of doing business here in America because of the cost of American labor, and along came NAFTA, and so many other 'justifications' to take jobs away from hard working Americans. I remember seeing closed factories all over in those small towns I toured, textile manufactures, lumber yards, cotton mills, and so many others that had to close because the workers in Mexico, India and China could produce the same products so much cheaper.
It was sad. And the results of this betrayal we witnessed on September 18, 2008.
So, I often discussed this with George, and he would get very upset. I suggested he write a song about it. He did. "Lucky Charm Factory". He made a sad story into a funny one. But, deep down in the lyric of this song, you can feel the pain of another American family losing the income to some foreign worker. With that in mind, when I arranged this tune, Mike took control, and we laid the tracks to a standard "Old Country" feel. Then, when I sang it, I decided for the first time in my career to try to sound like an Old Traditional Country singer. So, for the first time in my life, here I am singing a Country Song with my attempt to be a real, Old Country Traditional singer.