The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #117533   Message #2532313
Posted By: reggie miles
05-Jan-09 - 04:05 PM
Thread Name: Songs about Homelessness
Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
I've explored old songs via records, mostly those that I've stumbled upon at garage sales, swap meets and at junk stores. I've run across some wonderful titles on 78rpm records. Some of these were bum songs like, "Who Said I Was A Bum." My favorite version of this song is by someone who called himself Lazy Larry. I liked the almost jolly tempo and that the lyrics poked fun at the prospect of living life as a hobo.

Many years ago, after graduating from college and finding no options for my degree field, I discovered the street scene at the Pike Place Market in Seattle to be an easy outlet for my creative energy. Folks there were just standing on the sidewalks, offering their music to any and all that would listen. So, I began to do the same.

At first, I shared mostly those old songs that I'd find on old records, old blues and novelty songs like Lazy Lary's version of "Who Said I Was A Bum." Recently, I started to write my own songs. Spending a few decades at street level, offering my music and songs as a street performer, affords a songwriter a unique perspective.

Though I wouldn't consider them 'tragic', the messages in two of my songs that directly speak of homelessness, "Shelter From The Rain" and "Homeless Broke and Hungry" are serious. They're pleas for compassion to the plight of those less fortunate. If you'd like to listen to these songs click on the following link and when you arrive, scroll down the page to locate them at my EZ Folk music page.

I still enjoy singing many of those old songs and they have certainly influenced my approach to songwriting. Like Lazy Larry's song poking fun at the lifestyle of those who chose the hobo's life, I've offered the same lighthearted look at street performing in my song, "You Can Be A Street Musician." You can listen to this song at my EZ Folk music page link too.

The repeating phrase in Lazy Larry's song asks, "I know I'm a hobo but who said I was a bum?" These days, I think that many folks, in many parts of the world, think of street performing and begging in the same way.