The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7324   Message #2374047
Posted By: GUEST,Bill Hamilton
25-Jun-08 - 12:39 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Great American Bum
The number of verses and versions give a real insight to this county. I grew up in a railroad town and most of the men in the family for several generations were railroad men. They sang this song and similar ones on a regular basis. I learned the words below in the late thirties and early forties as well as many of the other verses floating around. Some versions leave the word "bay" off after "Frisco" and this doesn't make sense to me. As a side note, when I visited Maine for the first time last years, I confirmed the rock bound coast and remembered this song my dad sang. Hope someone likes the "town clowns and harness bulls" bit.

Come all you jolly jokers
And listen while I hum
The story I'll relate to you
The great American bum

From north to south
From east to west
Like a storm of bees they come
They lay in the dirt
And where a shirt
All dirty and full of crumb

That's my recommendation
Hurrah, horree, horrum
For we're three bums
Three jolly old bums
We live like royal Turks
We have good luck in bumming our junk
God bless the man that works

I beat my way from Frisco bay
To the rockbound coast of Maine
From Canada to Mexico
And wandered back again
I met town clowns and harness bulls
As tough as the cops could be
I've been in every calaboose
In this land of liberty

Oh we're three bums....