The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7324   Message #3339395
Posted By: Joe Offer
17-Apr-12 - 02:54 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Great American Bum
Subject: ADD Versions: Great American Bum
johnbob.net has four versions:

A song Dad used to sing...
(a BIG thank you to Cat Yronwode for sending me the words. I only ever heard Dad sing about 1 or 2 verses. Cat says she's still missing a verse about "that's our recommendation". Hopefully someone else can come up with it.)

The Great American Bum
Harry McClintock

Come, all you jolly jokers, and listen while i hum,
A story I'll relate to you of the Great American Bum
From the east and west and north and south
Like a swarm of bees they come
They sleep in the dirt and wear a shirt
That's dirty and full of scum

Oh, it's early in the morning 'ere the dew is off the ground
The bum arises from his shack and gazes all around
From the boxcars and the haystacks,
He gazes everywhere
He never turns back upon his track
Until he gets a square (a square meal, that means)

  (this next part is spoken dialogue, with a woman who has a strong "Oirish" accent)

[knock! knock! knock!]

Good mornin, Mum!

Good morning, Bum!

Mum, could you spare a loaf of bread?

Go away, Bum, the baker is dead.

But, Mum, i've been walking all morning!

Well, you can keep right on walking!

Honestly, Mum, wouldn't you have a bite to eat in the house?

Aye, that i would, Bum -- and a six foot Irishman comin' home at five o'clock to eat it! On your way, now!

Goodbye, then, Mum.

Goodbye, Bum

Oh, sleeping in the pokey, fogey-ogey-ogey
Smoking pipes and stogies, ha-ree, ha-rah, ha-rum
For we are three bums, three jolly old bums
We live like royal Turks
We have good luck in bumming our chuck
To heck with the man who works!

Here's some more verses from Tolbert Eldon Ashbrook
(not sure where they fit in the song but at least we got'em)

Oh it's early in the morning,
Ere the dew had left the ground,
The bum arises to his feet,
Begins to search around,
From the hammock to the mansion,
He searches everywhere,
Never lights upon a strike, (meaning a lucky strike cigarette)
Until he stikes a square,

Bum the streets in Gad, boys...
Leathery leathery dad, boys...
What a drunk we had, boys...
Leathery leathery day....

Here's a similar version emailed to me from Harold Recknagle
He learned the song, from an itinerant logger, when he was a lad living up on Lake Chelan, in Washington State in 1948:
The Great American Bum
Come all ye jolly jokers and listen while I hum
The story I'll relate to you, the great American Bum
From East to West from North and South
Like swarms of bees they come
Sleep in the dirt and wear a shirt, filthy and full of crumbs

It's early in the morning, the dew is on the ground
The bum arises from his nest and gazes all around
From boxcar to the haystack, he gazes everywhere
He never turns back upon his track until he gets a square

I've topped the spruce, I've worked the sluice
I've taken a turn at the plow
I've dug for gold in rain and cold
And worked on a river scow
I've picked the clam, I've packed the clam
I've packed the elusive prune
But my troubles pale when I hit the trail
Packing my own balloon

Oh lady would you be kind enough to gimme a bite to eat
A piece of pie and custard and a ten foot slice of meat
A piece of pie and custard to tickle me appetite
For lady, I'm so hungry, I don't know where to sleep tonight

Oh it's sleepin' in the station, tra la la la la lation
That's our recommedation, harrah haroo harum
We are three bums, three jolly bums, we live like royal Turks
We have good luck abummin' our chuck
God bless the man that works

Oh I met a man the other day, I'd never met before
He asked me if I wanted a job shovlin' iron ore
I asked him what the wages were, he said ten cents a ton
I said ol' fellow, go chase yourself, I'd sooner be on the bum

Oh it's sleepin' in the oggies, hi oggy oggy oggies
Smokin' snipes and stogies, harrah haroo harum
We are three bums, three jolly bums, we live like royal Turks
We have good luck abummin' our chuck
God bless the man that works

Here's a similar version emailed to me from H. Carl Klindt as he remembers them

>The Great American Bum
It's early in the morning
The dew's still on ground
The bum crawls out from his nest
And gazes all around
From the boxcar and the haystack
He gazes everywhere
He'll never turn back upon his track
Untill he gets a square

I was sleeping in the shade
To pass the time away
A man woke me up and asked me
To help him get in some hay
He said his land was rolling
I said now if that is true
Roll it here to this shady spot
And I'll see what I can do

Once I met John Farmer
He stopped me on my way
He said he was digging potatoes
And they had to be dug today
Now I can't dig any potatoes
'Cause I'm getting fat
Go hire the man that planted them
He knows where they are at

(dialogue)
"Good mornin' mum"
"Good morning bum"
" I was just passing by"
"Why did you stop"
"I haven'nt eaten yet today"
"SO"
"I have'nt seen my wife for many years
"SO"
"Well mum I have a button here"
"Would you sew a shirt on it for me"
"WERE IS MY BROOM GET OUT HERE
ON YOUR WAY"
"Goodby mum"
"Good bum"

My clothes are getting ragged
My shoes are getting thin
But what do I care
I've got to wear
I'm on the bum again

The weathers getting chilly
Soon all will be froze
I've got to go to a sunny state
Where the weathers fit for clothes