Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems
Nancy Newman of Liberty Hall
Notes: words and music
by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1978 Schroder Music Company, renewed 2006.
a.k.a. "Nancy Newman." Nancy Newman is Malvina’s favorite
I'll tell you the story of Nancy Newman
Who crossed the ocean to Dublin Town,
She went to work in a pizza parlor
And turned old Dublin upside down.
Now what would they want with a pizza parlor
In Dublin City by Liffey strand?
Since they have MacDonald's on Champs Élysées
In City Center it's Pizzaland.
Nancy enrolled in Dublin College
To learn of the Gaelic lore and rhyme,
And she had to work in a pizza parlor
To earn the fees for her study time.
The wage was low and the work was heavy,
The boss he hustled them night and day,
And Nancy went down to the Union office
To organize for a better way.
It was Richard Lennon the secretary
That heard her out with a gentle smile,
Fifty pence for an hour's labor,
Nothing at all for overtime.
He signed her up as a union member
With every craft to take her stand,
Liberty Hall was the union building
Just a short way from Pizzaland.
Nancy spoke to her fellow workers
To have them sign with the union, too,
But most of them were afraid of Hassan,
The boss who harried the kitchen crew.
Mary McArdle she joined with Nancy,
Signed with the ITGWU,
When Hassan saw what was going forward
He told the two women that they were through.
Mary McArdle she left for London,
But Nancy went up to Liberty Hall,
When Mr. Lennon he heard her story,
He lifted the phone and made a call.
His gentle voice became cold as iron,
"Is this the boss of Pizza Cafe?
You've fired a member of the General Union,
Mr. Hassan, you will rue the day!"
Nancy Newman began her vigil,
Walking alone on a picket line,
Up and down in front of the cafe
Nancy carried her picket sign.
The workers inside, they watched in wonder,
Marian, Gay, and the Murrays three,
And with Aisling, too, their hearts were marching
With Nancy Newman from over the sea.
Now O'Connell Street is a mighty broadway,
Hotels, theaters and shops and all,
Office buildings and patriot statues,
And over them looms great Liberty Hall.
Out of the Shelbourne and out of the Gresham,
From hotels and cafes large and fine
From lorries and trams came the union workers
To join in Nancy's picket line.
Soon it was tens and soon it was hundreds,
Hassan and Mamud they shook with fear,
But it wasn't till after the shift was over
The Pizzaland workers joined them there.
For if they'd walked out they would have been fired
Without being members of ITU,
And now they went up and signed in a body
And the strike was won ere the day was through.
Nancy Newman she got strike money,
Was reinstated with all back pay,
Associated Restaurants signed a contract
For the first time in their history.
This is the story of Nancy Newman,
Crossed the ocean to Dublin Town,
Learned to sing in the Gaelic language.
And pulled the restaurant combine down.