The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7324 Message #2375488
Posted By: Newport Boy
27-Jun-08 - 08:41 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Great American Bum
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
The combination of the Great Historical Bum (Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done) and I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago was in Sing Out in 1961.
The first (which begins "I'm just a lonesome traveller, the great historical bum") is credited words and music by Woody Guthrie. The version printed says "One of Woody Guthrie's finest songs brought up-to-date."
Ten Thousand Years is credited as collected, adapted and arranged by John & Alan Lomax.
The combination is entitled "Just The Facts, Ma'am", and uses 5 verses of Ten Thousand Years and 4 verses of Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done.
The notes say: Larry Mohr has put a new tune to Woody's song, and he and Odetta Feilous perform this friendly competition on a new disc called "Odetta and Larry" (Fantasy).
Woody's original version of Biggest Thing had about a dozen verses and dates from around 1936. He added verses later and the last one about Hitler is about 1944/5. I don't think there's any real relationship to Great American Bum, except that Woody might have known and modified the phrase.