Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1958 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1986. This was Malvina's first "hit"--she sang it at rallies for the 1948 Henry Wallace for President campaign. In the Table of Contents to her songbook Song in My Pocket she writes: "First published in the old 'Peoples Songs Bulletin,' this shows signs of wearing to the hand of the user. I sat in on a guitar class conducted by Earl Robinson in Brooklyn Heights, and was pleased to hear some verses which had been added by a group of embattled teachers. In New Mexico they sing 'Cantalo, Cantalo.'"
I get butterflies in my stomach whenever I start to sing,
And when I'm at a microphone I shake like anything,
But if you'll sing along with me I'll holler right out loud,
'Cause I'm awf'ly nervous lonesome, but I'm swell when I'm a crowd.
Sing along, Sing along,
And just sing "la la la la la" if you don't know the song,
You'll quickly learn the music, you'll find yourself a word,
'Cause when we sing together we'll be heard.
Oh, when I need a raise in pay and have to ask my boss,
If I go see him by myself I'm just a total loss,
But if we go together I'll do my part right pretty,
Cause I'm awf'ly nervous lonesome but I make a fine committee.
My congressman's important, he hobnobs with big biz,
He soon forgets the guys and gals who put him where he is.
I'll just write him a letter to tell him what I need,
With a hundred thousand signatures why even he can read.
Oh, life is full of problems, the world's a funny place,
I sometimes wonder why the heck I join'd the human race,
But when we work together, it all seems right and true,
I'm an awful nothing by myself but I'm okay with you.1
Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
---- Song in My Pocket: Songs
---- Little Boxes and Other Handmade Songs
---- The Malvina Reynolds Songbook
Other place(s) where the music to this song appears:
---- People's Songs, Volume 3(3) (April 1948), p. 7
---- Songs for Wallace, 2nd ed. (New York: People's Song for the National Office of the Progressive Party), p. 9
Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
---- Another County Heard From
Recordings by other artists on which this song is performed:
---- Bluestein Family: Sowin' on the Mountain (Fretless FR141, 1979)
1. Where Malvina writes "I'm an awful nothing by myself," she was speaking politically, not personally, but singers not comfortable with that line could sing "I can change a tire by myself and change the world with you" (men could sing "change a diaper"). She sang "why the heck" or "why the hell" depending on the audience.