This music was made as a reaction to actual classic industrial work.
Nowadays we don’t even have industrial work. We have a precariat.
The music was largely inspired by the singer’s society, not by the singer’s personal angst.
Rogers was born in Hamilton, Ontario the eldest son of Nathan Allison “Al” and Valerie Rogers (née Bushell), two Maritimers who had relocated to Ontario in search of work shortly after their marriage in July 1948. Although Rogers was raised in Woodburn, Ontario (a community in the easternmost part of Hamilton), he often spent summers visiting family in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. It was there that he became familiar with the way of life in the Maritimes, an influence which was to have a profound impact on his subsequent musical development.
I suspect that proletarian art has a much stronger tendency toward collective identity and collective political action than any kind of art that is made today.
An interesting question is – will anyone manage to create a new kind of art that can motivate people to collective action?
A posible answer is – the Internet is taking over the cultural role of social agitation formerly occupied by fine art.