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Lyr Req: Housing Songs

GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 18 Feb 01 - 02:59 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Feb 01 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 18 Feb 01 - 05:21 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Feb 01 - 05:24 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Feb 01 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 18 Feb 01 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 20 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM
Mrrzy 20 Feb 01 - 10:17 AM
Mrrzy 20 Feb 01 - 10:21 AM
Mrrzy 20 Feb 01 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 20 Feb 01 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 20 Feb 01 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 20 Feb 01 - 12:00 PM
SINSULL 20 Feb 01 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 20 Feb 01 - 12:57 PM
Liz the Squeak 20 Feb 01 - 08:06 PM
John Nolan 20 Feb 01 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 21 Feb 01 - 12:08 PM
Stewie 21 Feb 01 - 11:15 PM
Stewie 21 Feb 01 - 11:39 PM
Amos 22 Feb 01 - 12:29 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Feb 01 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 22 Feb 01 - 09:07 AM
Stewie 22 Feb 01 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 22 Feb 01 - 05:14 PM
Stewie 22 Feb 01 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 22 Feb 01 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Philippa 23 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM
Amos 23 Feb 01 - 04:29 PM
Stewie 23 Feb 01 - 04:58 PM
Jock Morris 23 Feb 01 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 23 Feb 01 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Philippa 23 Feb 01 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 24 Feb 01 - 11:13 AM
raredance 24 Feb 01 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 24 Feb 01 - 05:08 PM
Susanne (skw) 24 Feb 01 - 05:36 PM
Jock Morris 24 Feb 01 - 05:40 PM
Jock Morris 24 Feb 01 - 05:42 PM
Susanne (skw) 24 Feb 01 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 25 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM
Stewie 25 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 26 Feb 01 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 27 Feb 01 - 09:03 AM
Mrrzy 27 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 27 Feb 01 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 28 Feb 01 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,Landlady"s Daughter 02 Mar 01 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 03 Mar 01 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Landlady's Daughter 03 Mar 01 - 10:47 AM
Charley Noble 23 Jan 11 - 08:24 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Jan 11 - 11:01 PM
Charley Noble 25 Jan 11 - 07:56 AM
Charley Noble 25 Jan 11 - 08:18 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Jan 11 - 09:49 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jan 11 - 08:45 AM
Charley Noble 31 Jan 11 - 08:13 AM
GUEST 31 Jan 11 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player 31 Jan 11 - 06:11 PM
Charley Noble 31 Jan 11 - 10:14 PM
Anne Neilson 01 Feb 11 - 03:04 AM
Charley Noble 01 Feb 11 - 07:47 AM
Charley Noble 02 Feb 11 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player 03 Feb 11 - 05:23 AM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 11 - 09:04 AM
Charley Noble 07 Feb 11 - 09:41 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE OUR HOMES AWAY
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 02:59 PM

Maybe it's time to update my working draft of Housing and Other Neighborhood Organizing Songs, samples of which were published in BROADSIDE, #165, back in 1985. What I'm looking for are songs describing the trials and tribulations, as well as small victories, of those seeking shelter in a market society. Here's an example from the gentrification front in Cincinatti during the late 1970s; this song describes the strong attachment people have for their neighborhoods, the planners and speculators who threaten them, and their determination to fight back.

YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE OUR HOMES AWAY
(Written by Tony Heriza © 1979 Further adapted by Charles Ipcar in 1981)
Tune: "Mountain Song" © by Holly Near
Recorded on Folkways Records: We Won't Move FS 5287

I have lived in this city,
As my mother did before me,
And you can't just take my home away,
Without me fighting,
No, you can't just take my home away!

Well, you make your city plans,
Try your damnedest to ignore us,
But you can't just take our homes away,
Without us fighting,
No, you can't just take our homes away!

These old buildings raised our children,
And 'tho it's true they need repairing,
You can't just take our homes away…(as above)

We have lived in this city,
Through hard times we've helped each other,
And you can't just take our homes away…

You drive a big Mercedes car,
You have a fancy education,
But you can't just take our homes away…

And if you think you can displace us,
Then you haven't seen our faces,
No, you can't just take our homes away…

We have lived in this city,
Ties are deep and they are many,
And you can't just take our homes away,
Without us fighting,
No you can't just take our homes away,
Not with us watching,
No, you can't just take our homes away!

New and old contributions would be appreciated. I'll be happy to comment on any housing song mysteries, having access to some 300 songs from all over, with some going back to Elizabethan times.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 05:02 PM

Try 'The last house in our street' I think it was written by Robb Lowe, but it is certainly sung by Roy Bailey on several albums. It isn't in the DT, but the alternate line refrain goes 'throw the ball against the wall and back to me'.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 05:21 PM

Liz, any more clues? Where is this song from? When was it put together?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 05:24 PM

Hang on, I'll see if I can get the CD cover.

LTS


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE LAST HOUSE IN OUR STREET^^
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 05:37 PM

It's by Colum Sands, sorry to mislead you earlier.....

The last house in our street is the one that we are living in
throw the ball against the wall and back to me
All the other windows have concrete curtains in.
Open up your eyes and tell me what you see.

The flowers in our garden are made of bricks and broken glass.
Throw....
And round the back we're growing an outside toilet
Open....

Wee Albert Mooney, was blinded by a petrol bomb
throw....
The bombers said we're sorry, it must have been an accident
Open....

Big rubber bullet killed little Johnny Morrisey
Throw....
A policeman fired it, it must have been an accident
Open...

We made the world and Belfast is a part of it
Throw...
Sometimes I wonder if Belfast was an accident
Open ....

There's a war so there is, between us and them there is,
Can anybody tell me who didn't help in building in it.
Open...

The eyes of the world have concrete curtains
Throw...
Would you tear down the walls would you open up the windows
Open....

The last house in our street, is the one that we are living in,
Throw...
All the other windows have concrete curtains.
Open up your eyes and tell me what you see.

Maybe not what you were looking for, but a very emotive song anyway. It's on the New Directions in the Old CD, and I hope I got all the words down right...

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 05:56 PM

Thanks, Liz. Your find certainly conveys a sense of neighborhood/battle zone. Reminds me of an arson song a friend wrote for me when I was complaining there was lots of arson but no songs about it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOVE ME, I'M YOUR LANDLORD
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM

Well, let's toss out another song. My favorite criteria for inclusion in this book are: good poetry, general relevance, local color, organizing relevance, historical relevance, familiar tune or parody of familiar song. I generally prefer humor rather than despair. I love background details, including clippings.

Here's another example:

LOVE ME, I'M YOUR LANDLORD
(Written by Dale Cohen & Hugh McGuinness © 1981)
Tenant organizers from the university town of Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tune: parody of Love Me, I'm a Liberal by Phil Oches

I remember when I was a tenant,
I remember the strife and the pain;
I swore to reform the system,
That produced such ill-gotten gain,
So now that I'm your landlord,
You've no reason left to complain –
So, love me, love me, love me,
I'm your landlord!

I helped form the first tenants union,
For that I should get a gold star;
I love each one of my tenants,
I even lend them my car;
But this talk about rent control,
That's going a bit too far...(as above)

I cried when my tenants had no heat,
Tears ran down my spine;
I mourned when that old furnace broke down,
As though I'd lost a grandparent of mine;
But, you know, they had it coming,
When they were late with the rent last time...

I cheered when old Epstein was rent struck,
My faith in the system restored;
And I'm glad that Trony went bankrupt,
They charged rents no one could afford,
And I love each one of my tenants,
But I hope that they don't move next door...

Oh, those people who work for McKinley,
Should all hang their heads in shame;
I don't understand how their minds work –
Property maintenance is part of the game;
But if you ask me to roll back my rents,
I'll have the cops take down your name...

New or old contributions greatly appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:17 AM

How about Dreadlocks can't live in a tenement? Or Weela Wallia (the children in the tenements are very WISE children...) - not to mention Movin' Day (slightly peripheral), and Our House, and what is that one, I've got the chorus in mind but that's no help, it goes diddly oh -toh diddly oh toh diddly oh toh toh tum, diddly oh -toh diddly oh toh diddly oh toh toh tum, diddly oh ta dum diddly oh toh diddly oh toh tum, diddly oh taddle doodly dad-oh, it's on the same album as Barnyards of Delgaty, help! What IS it??? Mental block! "I spate in me fist and I picked up me stick
And down the coach road like a deer I did trip
I cared not for bailiff, landlord, or Old Nick
And I sang like a lark in the morning! It's about a huge argument between landlord and tenant. It'll come to me as soon as I click Submit, I'm sure...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:21 AM

Nope, not yet. How about Bess, the landlord's daughter, plaiting a dark-red love knot into her long black hair (...)? (OK, very peripheral, but a lovely song, and it at least mentions a landlord's daughter...)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:24 AM

Aha, got the beginning, if not the title. And I've BEEN to all these places on my Clancy Brothers Tour of Ireland!

One evening of late out of Bandon I strayed
And out for Clonikilty I was making me way
At Ballinascarthy some time I delayed
For to whet me ould whistle with porter (There is a pub there called the whistle, fyi)

- anybody can tell me the title and get me off this block will earn my gratitude... thanks! Also, I make no claims to spelling these town names properly, my apologies.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:37 AM

This is a typically vague response, I'm afraid. There was a record by the Critics group in UK in the 1970s (?)called Sweet Thames Flow Softly which had one song about a tenants group taking on the local council who wanted to evict them. I think it was the Ballad of Cook & Rowe (the two leaders of the group who may have been taken to court). Possibly written by Ewan MacColl who was associated with the group.
I'm sure some more knowledgeable English folkie will supply the details.
Leadbelly's "Black White and Brown" deals with the problem of getting housing in Washington if you were a black ex-con from the country.
Then there's Make me a Pallet on your floor about crashing with a "friend" .
RtS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:37 AM

Mrrzy,
Hah, a nibble! You seem to have some promising leads: Dreadlocks can't live in a tenement or Weela Wallia. Moving Day is in the collection and is a keep, as is The Bold Tenant Farmer from the Clancy Brothers. Bess The Landlord's Daughter is an old favorite but too peripheral for the collection, although I do plan to include Young Edmond who was so cruelly murdered by his financee's father, landlord of a waterfront tavern. But keep digging. Yes, I do have The Diggers' Song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 12:00 PM

Roger,

Thanks for responding. "Hey,Ho,Cook & Rowe" is definately one of my keepers, as is Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues." But keep digging!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: SINSULL
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 12:21 PM

Does "House Of The Rising Sun" count?

Just heard a real heart breaker from a Utah Phillips' CD. Something like "Hop on Jennie
Hold on to the baby
The sheriff is a'calling
This time he ain't foolin'"

Annamill has the CD and title.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 12:57 PM

Sinsull, thanks for trying but just mentioning the word "house" doesn't do it. Now, I did broaden "housing" to include a few alternatives such as treehouses and houseboats but not "shoes" – well, maybe I should reconsider that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 08:06 PM

Les Barker wrote a moving poem called 'Hello dere, I'se yo new neighbour' which was rather apt for the times, about a white street that gets it's first black families, and the reactions to it. Mostly about people's double standards.....

Which I could find which book it's in.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: John Nolan
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 09:51 PM

The Dundee Ghost by Matt McGinn. Housing song about how to become a sub-tenant.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 12:08 PM

John Nolan,

Anything by Matt McGinn would be a keeper; one of my favorite tenant/tenant hassle songs is called "The Family Overhead" from the 1930s, in the Irish Music Hall tradition as practiced in NYC.

Liz, I'd also be interested in more details on your song; I do have a large section on discrimination and you may have a song that could bump one of my current favorites out.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 11:15 PM

Casey Bill Weldon's classic 'WPA Blues' and Josh White's 'Bad Housing Blues' spring to mind.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 11:39 PM

There's also the Georgia Crackers' 'Riley The Furniture Man' and the Cofer Brothers' 'Keno the Rent Man'. These are related to Lil McClintock's 'Furniture Man', verses of which Luke Jordan incorporated into his 'Cocaine Blues'. Great example of black/white crossover.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 12:29 AM

Wal, the hinges are of leather an' the windows got no glass,
An' the walls they let that howlin' blizzard in.
You kin see that lonesome coyote as he sneaks up through the grass
In my little old sod shanty on the plain...

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 02:07 AM

It isn't a song, it's a poem, but I suspect a tune could be got for it. If you want to perform it, you will have to ask Les (details are on the back of all his books) as he performs both here and in the US/Canada.

Always asuming I've got it right and it IS one of Les', I've not neen able to find it yet.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 09:07 AM

I should confess that I haven't worked on this housing songbook for years, after the usual discouragement from songbook publishers. Nor am I actively organizing tenants, other than the ones who share this building. However, my contacts with Mudcat has rekindled my interest, and I do still think the concept has great potential.

Kat/Kat/Laughing contributed one of the first songs in my collection which is in Digital Archieves as "Landlord's Lullaby;" I wonder how she got it? Did she live in East Lansing, Michigan?

Stevie, "WPA" is a keeper already, a great blues song which I've ascribed to William Waldon (Big Bill Broonzy) who is probably the same as Casey Bill Weldon depending on whose spelling is correct. I'm not familiar with Josh White's "Bad Housing Blues" – any clues for me to follow-up?

Amos, nice verse! I may find a use for it in the chapter on tenant farming, along with "Down on Penny's Farm."

Liz, keep looking! I seldom sing these songs any more but I do need releases for possible publication.

My verse for the day from Ewan MacColl:

It's illegal to kill off a landlord,
Or to trespass upon his estate;
But to charge a high rent for a slum is OK,
To condemn two adults and three children to stay,
In a hovel that's rotten with damp and decay,
Is a thing that is perfectly legal.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 04:37 PM

LD, please note that William Lee 'Big Bill' Broonzy (1898 - 1958) and Will 'Casey Bill' Weldon (1909 - ?) are two totally different people. Casey Bill was the author of 'WPA Blues'. His complete recorded works, except for 2 1927 titles of doubtful paternity, can be found on a CD on the French Blues Collection/EPM label: Casey Bill Weldon 'The Hawaiian Guitar Wizard 1935-1938'. For Big Bill's complete recorded works, you would probably need a pantechnicon.

Josh White's 'Bad Housing Blues' may be found on CD on the Wolf/Best of Blues label: 'Joshua White 1933 - 1941' B.o.B 7 CD.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 05:14 PM

Stewie,

Sounds to me like you've achieved major correction; I'm not sure how I got "Big Bill " and "Casey Bill" confused. Ah, found it! According to HARD HITTING SONGS FOR HARD-HIT PEOPLE, pp. 202, "WPA Blues was sung by Big Bill Broonzy on Perfect Record (6-08-61 C-1380) from the collection of Alan Lomax. You are probably right, though. I always assumed that since Big Bill sing it, that he wrote it. Thanks for the info.
I did have a verse from Josh White (1940s):

The house I live in –
The same for black and white
My country right or wrong,
If it's wrong, to set it right;
A land where all are equal
The house I want to see
Where all will have four freedoms;
That's America to me.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BAD HOUSING BLUES^^
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 06:00 PM

Here's the Josh White blues for you:

BAD HOUSING BLUES
(Josh White)

I woke up this morning rain water in my bed (x2)
You know my roof was leaking, lord leaking on my head

Now there ain't no reason I should live this way (x2)
I done lost my job can't even get on the WPA

Lord I wonder when I'll hear good news (x2)
Right now I'm gonna tell you how I got them bad housing blues

I'm goin' to the Capitol, goin' to the White House lawn (x2)
Better wipe out these slums, been this way since I was born

Source: trancription from 'Joshua White 1933 – 1941' Best of Blues B.o.B 7 CD.
Recorded in New York City 1941.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 22 Feb 01 - 06:07 PM

Stewie, how would you like to be credited if this book is ever published? After all, HARD HITTING SONGS was finally published after 20 years and maybe someone in Mudcat is an editor with a taste for unique song projects.

Thanks for going to the trouble of transcribing "Bad Housing Blues."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 03:47 PM

urban renewal - Howie Bursen's song about Building, a Scottish song about high rise flats - "You canna throw pieces from a 20? storey flat, 7000?? hungry weans will testify to that" by Adam McNaught I think? anybody have the words? Fisher family maybe recorded?

Hackney and Islington Music Workshop "New Songs, New Times" has "See it Come Down", "The Squatters Rant", "Corrugated Iron", "They're Going to Buld a Motorway" (through my back garden...)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 04:29 PM

Thanks -- it is not my own, but an old (19th century?) song called "Little Old Sod Shanty On the Plain" or sometimes ..."On My Claim". It can be found here in the DT database.

The opening verse in the DT version goes like this:

I am looking rather seedy now while holding down my claim
And my victuals are not always served the best,
And the mice play shyly 'round me as I nestle down to rest
In my little old sod shanty in the West.
Yet I rather like the novelty of living in this way
Though my bill of fare is always rather tame,
But I'm happy as a clam on the land of Uncle Sam
In my little old sod shanty on my claim.

cho: The hinges are of leather and the windows have no glass
While the board roof lets the howling blizzard in;
And I hear the hungry ki-yote as he slinks up in the grass
'Round my little old sod shanty on my claim.


A.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Stewie
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 04:58 PM

Philippa, the hungry wean song is in the DT under the title 'The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Weans):

Click

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Jock Morris
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 05:33 PM

His Worship and the Pig (a band from Stoke on Trent) have a wonderful song called 'Bricks and Mortar'. PM your email address and I'll send you the lyrics on a better day than today. See the 'loss of a dear friend' thread for what I'm wittering about.

Scott


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 06:22 PM

Stewie and Phillipa,

Adam McNaughtan's "Piece Song" has been a long time favorite, although I never did get the tune until I just accessed it on the DT; the tune sounds familiar but I can't place it. Any clue? I remember Celi Fisher mentioned that she had recorded it.

I was mining for a while Hackney and Islington Music Workshop "New Songs, New Times" and there were some good songs there including the ones you mentioned.

Jock, I'd like to see "Bricks & Mortar" when you get a chance. My email address is: ipbar@agate.net


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 23 Feb 01 - 07:01 PM

re Amos, see also in the DT Starving to Death on My Government Claim and The Alberta Homesteader


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 11:13 AM

I do have several dustbowl era ballads such as "I ain't Got No Home", "There is Mean Things Happenin' in this Land" and "How Can You Keep on Movin'" but I'm not familiar with "The Albert Homesteader."


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Subject: Add: TALKING HOME IMPROVEMENT (Maguire)^^
From: raredance
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 04:38 PM

Don't know if this fits you category.

TALKING HOME IMPROVEMENT
(Charlie Maguire, 1981)

Now gather around, this won't take long
Talking Home Improvement is the name of this song
"Do it yourself" and many try
As son as the ink on the deed is dry
They can't wait. "Catastrophic carpentry" is what I call it
that's when you learn that wood is sold by the foot
And ends up costing you an arm and a leg

I don't know much about it myself
But I work on my home like everyone else
I feel like a sheriff in an outlaw town
I've got a hammer on each hip when I walk around
Just like in the movies
"OK hot water heater, this house ain't big enough
For the both of us. OK, chimney, draw!"

When I've got to fix something though, I'm not scared
I've got this great big book on home repair
Cost me sixteen dollars, and it weighs ten pounds
But I'm saving money, they told me
Down at the hardware store
They know me on sight down there
I save hundreds of dollars there, every week

I've got a power sander, and a power saw
A power drill, and a whole lot more
And every time I plug them in
My electric meter starts to grin
Sure saves me time though, I can make twice as many mistakes
I'm a home owner, and I do it over
Look out you carpenters!

On the weekends, if I'm not too tired
I take a trip down to the lumber yards
Walk through the sheds and down the aisles
Buying stuff for my domicile
There is a whole bunch of us down there
Bandages on our hands, blisters, all milling around
Trying to find someone who knows what they're doing

So, if you miss me hanging around
You'll find me up in my part of town
Sanding a floor, putting up a shelf
Learning to do it all myself

With a two-by-four and a four -by ten
Tuckpoint,. Baseboard, weatherstripping
Screwdriver, sheetrock, bit and brace
Nail set, hammer, chisel, hacksaw blade
Maple, cedar, redwood, and pine
Zipstrip, miter box, pencil line
And the banker says it will all be mine
In about thirty years time. Whoopie!
I ought to have the kitchen done by then
Then I can go out and mow the lawn

recorded by Charlie Maguire on "Harbor Lights" (TrainOnThe Islands TI-10)

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 05:08 PM

Rich, I love Charlie Maguire's song but he is emphatic about keeping control of his songs; we can still sing them quietly in the corner. Thanks for posting the lyrics for others. Charie does have a perfect legal and artistic right to do this, while many of the rest of us are foolish enough to share, and may get ripped off.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 05:36 PM

Does John Pole's 'See It Come Down' count? (Recorded by Roy Bailey, probably among others.)


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Subject: Lyr Add: BRICKS AND MORTAR (His Worship & The Pig)
From: Jock Morris
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 05:40 PM

As promised, here is bricks and mortar by Dave and Jeff. If you sing it please credit His Worship and the Pig; that's what they asked me to do.

Bricks and Mortar by His Worship and the Pig

Walk around the town and you'll be shocked at what they've done,
Torn down all the terraces and put up brand new slums,
With wood-look doors and wood-look floors, with plastic and with steel;
It's a pity that the folk who have to live in them are real.

Chorus:
Bricks and mortar, sand and water, concrete, iron and steel,
Bricks and mortar, sons and daughters, things that breathe and feel.
A town can be constructed, but communities are grown;
It takes more than bricks and mortar to make a house a home.

They've stood now for a hundred years in peacetime and in war;
With nothing but a lick o' paint they'd last a hundred more.
With care and ingenuity they'd still be going strong
When the little concrete boxes that they're building now are gone.

I've seen the red brick terraces, the old front doors and sashes
Reduced to heaps of rubble and a pile of smouldering ashes,
And through the smoke I saw the old folk watching from the path,
While unconcerned the workmen burned their future and their past.

And I wonder if they really wanted patios and ponds
Or if they'd prefer the terraces put back where they belong,
And I wonder if some nine to five got lumbered with the task
And never even bothered to get off his arse and ask.

It's the people in the houses, the well to do and poor,
The preacher and the publican, the bloke what lives next door;
The mothers and the lovers and the sisters and the wives,
Make the difference in the end between the living and the live.

It takes more than plans and promises to make a place to live.
It takes more than good intentions, if that's all you've got to give.
'Cause you can't build flesh or feelings, or get blood out of a stone;
It takes more than bricks and mortar to make a house a home.

Scott


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Jock Morris
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 05:42 PM

Ah hell, can someone sort the line breaks out? Someday I WILL learn HTML.

Scott


I think I got 'em. Just type <br> after each line. --JoeClone


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Subject: Lyr Add: SEE IT COME DOWN (John Pole)
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 24 Feb 01 - 05:59 PM

SEE IT COME DOWN
(John Pole)

In the house where I was born, first home I knew
There's corrugated iron blinding all the windows
In the garden Dad made round the lawn
Where green grass grew
There's muck and rubble and mud, half bricks and cinders
For the developers have come to town
And soon I'll see it, see it come down
See it come down

My old mum they moved her to a high rise flat
Where she misses her mates and hopes we'll see her Sunday
She lives alone with a lovely view and a clean doormat
Afraid that death will catch her napping some day
The lady with meals on wheels, the one friend she's found
Though she cries for the old place, she won't see it come down
See it come down

Cloud of dust like smoke round a demolition site where I drive my crane
Swinging the big steel ball that smashes walls in
Winch it back careful, get the cable right, let it swing again
There's a little more no-man's-land as each brick falls in
A car park and an office block when I've cleared the ground
They've paid me to see it, and now I've seen it come down
Seen it come down

We was all one where we lived, wish we were now
We had debts and dole and kids but we did have neighbours
Where the street was they want to build a tombstone tower
Like a monster concrete moneybox for strangers
Every last square foot of it worth a hundred pounds
Some day we'll see that come tumbling down
See it come down

[1994:] In some parts of [Glasgow after the War] there were 400 people to the acre and to rehouse them at minimal cost took precedence over what they wanted. People who had lived for generations in cramped conditions with outside toilets and no bathrooms needed better housing, but they didn't want to leave the areas where they had grown up and the close communities they lived in. It became a common sight to see sad little groups watching bleakly as their former homes, and those of their parents and grandparents were demolished. But the politicians still knew best. (Meg Henderson, Finding Peggy 89)


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Subject: Lyr Add: CONCRETE AND GLASS (Charlie Ipcar)
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 25 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM

Thanks for the songs and the background information Jock and Susanne. Here's a similar song from my collection, originally from Sydney, Australia, but adapted to Portland, Maine:

CONCRETE AND GLASS
(Charlie Ipcar - 1985 Adapted from Denis Kevans' & Seamus Gill's Australian parody of sea shanty "All for Me Grog" © 1973)

Oh, me name it is Fred,
In Portland born and bred,
And the Old Port used to be me home, boys
But 'tis caused me heart to grieve,
For I've had to take me leave,
Now across them western suburbs
I must roam, boys!

Chorus:

In concrete and glass,
Portland's disappearing fast;
'Tis all gone for profit and for plunder;
Though we really want to stay,
They keep forcing us away,
Now across them western suburbs
we must wander!

Now, where is me house,
Me old three-decker house?
'Tis all gone for profit and for plunder;
For the wreckers of the town
Just come up and knocked it down;
Now across them western suburbs
we must wander!

And where is me pub,
Me Irish Village Pub?
'Tis all gone for profit and for plunder;
Now when you walk in the door,
You'll find condo's on each floor,
And you'll have to fly to Dublin
for your beer, boys!

And where is me port,
Me old working port?
'Tis all gone for profit and for plunder;
Now when you walk down the dock,
All ye'll hear is disco rock;
And ye'll have to dry ye nets
in a laundromat, boys!

And where is me bank,
Me old Maine Savings Bank?
'Tis all gone for profit and for plunder;
Now who can ye trust
When all the banks go bust;
So across them western suburbs
we must wander!

Now, before the city's wrecked
Them developers must be decked;
For 'tis plain to see they do not give a bugger,
And if them bandits have their way
We soon shall see the day
That we'll all be driving in
from Madawaska!*

* A small town in northern Maine along the Canadian border about 6 hours from Portland.

Thanks again for helping. Maybe, I should post my song list so you can see what I've been sifting through.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JUST TO HAVE A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD
From: Stewie
Date: 25 Feb 01 - 06:15 PM

Here's another one from Oz. It's a 1989 song from the late Don Henderson. The word 'Whelaned' refers to a demolition company, Whelan the Wrecker. I have kept the line structure exactl as appears in the book.

JUST TO HAVE A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD
(Don Henderson)

Having a job ain't enough any more
Buy a few basics, you're already poor
With extras, each day lugs most misled wage plugs
Right into the red
There was a time this country could skite
A home of their own was a good toiler's right
Now it's a sling-off, you're working your ring off
Just to have a roof over your head

You've got a place and yet to some
What you call 'home' is deemed to be a slum
That ought to be 'Whelaned' in order some steel
And glitz may rise up instead
Where the rents will rocket higher than the lift;
Paid on the dot or given short shrift
Battlers on your pay, you'll be dossing in doorways
Just to have a roof over your head

Let it be known your ambitions are small
It will soon be around that you've got none at all
A labouring soft-touch who mostly needs not much
More than being fed
The government's useless, in the joke or being conned
But there comes a point that you can't go beyond
You grab for the whip hand and make a last-ditch stand
Just to have a roof over your head

Bridge:
Alley cats, with menace, prowl
Lost dogs bite before they growl
Homeless nights, bitter days
Strike-back by the waifs and strays

But those who prowl can also cruise
Play some music, drink some booze
In surviving the class war, the best you can ask for
Is just to have a roof over your head

Source: Don Henderson '100 Songs and Poems: A Quiet Century' published by Queensland Folk Federation.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SELF-STORAGE (Charlie King)
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 26 Feb 01 - 08:46 AM

Thanks, Stewie, for your latest contribution. I'll see that one and raise you an alternative shelter song by political singer-songwriter Charlie King:

SELF-STORAGE
(Written by Charlie King © 1986 Recorded on Feelings of Fire Flying Fish FF 417)

Did you ever stop to wonder how you ever get by,
When the cookie jar is empty and the pie is in the sky?
When you hear the wolf a-knockin', and your money's running out,
And you're trying to make a chowder from your last mung sprout,
Did you ever stop to wonder where you'd lay your weary head,
When your closet's goin' condo and your ink's running red?
When you're standing in the bread line, out of dough and into debt,
And you're dodgin' bodies dropping through the gapin' safety net?
When the trickle down is fickle, and supply ain't on your side,
Then it's time for you to join me for an early morning ride –
To Bridgeport, Connecticut,
Where destitution and persecution,
Find a home-grown, sure-fire, free-market solution.

I was drivin' down the highway, it was I-95;
I was wonderin' how so many of us manage to survive,
Gettin' older, gettin' colder, out of fashion, out of cash,
Gettin' laid off, never paid off, gettin' sick, and gettin' trashed;
I was steamin' into Bridgeport when a building hove in view,
Just an old abandoned factory but the paint was bright and new,
A long abandoned factory where you once could earn a buck,
Till the firm ran out of country and the workers out of luck;v Emblazoned on that factory in letters tall as me
Was a sign that hawked what had to be a growing industry,
The solution for the unemployed, the old, the sick, the poor,
Where the private sector lifts its lamp beside the factory door;
And what that sign said,
And what my eyes read,
Was Self-Storage.
I said "Self-Storage"? Uh huh, eight bucks a month.

Now suppose you've given up you'll ever find a decent job;
You're too smart to play the lottery, too virtuous to rob,
You're too rich to be on welfare, too poor to buy a meal,
Here's a neat and simple answer to the misery you feel;
A hundred bucks per annum is a price we all can pay,
Check out for a decade? Why not stow yourself away?
Don't be hangin' on the corner; don't be rapping on the stoop;
Don't be litterin' the lines for unemployment checks and soup;
The rich have themselves frozen if they're terminally ill;
Why not put yourself in storage if you can't afford your bill?
If your sector isn't growing; if you fail to pull your weight;
Why, just back into a closet, shut the light, lock the gate;
Say you voted for a tax cut but it only helped the rich,
Or you tried to be a Yuppie but designer jeans don't fit,
Or you lusted to be better off and couldn't ease the itch,
There's a factory in Bridgeport where you're sure to find your niche;
Four by four, got a lock on the door,
And friends, what's more,
Now they've got a name for it.
Call it: Self-Storage.

At first it seems so strange, locked in dark and tiny places,
In this land of far horizons, new frontiers, open spaces;
But on second thought you'll find that it's as common as can be:
In the nursing home, the flop house, or the penitentiary;
Why there's folks right now in storage in this homeland of the free,
And if they can learn to live with it, then why not you and me;
It's just a change of attitude; it all comes down to style;
You can live within your limits, love the lock and crack a smile;
A bright image, a new package, Self-Storage is the rage;
We'll be driftin' up in droves to be driven to a cage,
With a Pac-Man pleasure center, nutrition substitutes,
And the Cabbage Patch edition of Trivial Pursuits;
I can't wait till they inaugurate promotional campaigns,
With a slogan aimed at any nagging fear that still remains:
"I'd rather be in Storage, wouldn't you?"
"If you were in Storage, you'd be home now too!"
"Into the closet and out of the street!"
"Home Sweet Storage can't be beat!"
So if you're running out of luck and you don't know what to do,
Your entitlement's been cut and you don't know what to do,
Or your golden goose is plucked and you don't know what to do,
Remember, you got a friend in Bridgeport;
If you can't beg, steal, borrow, or forage,
Join the millions of Americans in safe Self-Storage,
"Please, just lock me away..."

Poetry! Pure poetry!


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Subject: Lyr Add: LET'S GO KILL THE LANDLORD (McKee et al.)
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 27 Feb 01 - 09:03 AM

How about a change of pace as a refresher? According to my old notes:

One of the most unusual songs that I collected in the gallows humor category has to be this song. It should be a great hit with the Sesame Street crowd, or should I say precocious children of all ages. This remarkable ditty was drafted by two Legal Services attorneys, Peter McFee and Pat McIntyre, from the great Pacific Northwest; they were on break of course while they were composing.

LET'S GO KILL THE LANDLORD
(By Peter McKee & Pat MacIntyre, Seattle, WA Songs of the Tenants Movement © 1981 Fuse Music & CHRF)

Let's go kill the landlord,
The cops won't have a clue;
You and me and Skipper,
That's what we got to do;
We'll stalk him like a tiger,
Stick him with our spears,
And if he cries or makes a sound
We'll hang him by his ears.

Let's go kill the landlord,
No one really cares;
Grab him by his longjohns
And bounce him down the stairs;
Gag him with some Twinkies,
Send a ransom note,
We'll tie him like Houdini
And see how long he floats.

Let's go kill the landlord,
Today is the perfect day;
There's nothing on but re-runs
And the folks are all away;
If they ask where he's gone to
Just shrug and say "Who knows?"
But check the trash compactor,
You might find a couple toes.

;)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM

And the house you live in will never fall down if you pity the stranger who stands at the door... (or at the gate, depending on the verse)...

Aint no need for me to work so hard cause I can live off the chickens in my neighbor's yard...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 27 Feb 01 - 11:43 AM

Mrrzy, my friend Ray Kamalay of Lansing, MI, worked up a great blues rendition of Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" poem, which was recorded on WE WON'T MOVE, Folkways Records, FS 5287. If you or anyone else is interested in the words, I can post them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 28 Feb 01 - 08:51 PM

Speaking of blues, there's the old verse by Woody Guthrie from his Almanac Rent Party Days that runs:

I went into the bathroom and I pulled on the chain,
Polarbears on icebergs came floating down the drain,
Hey, pretty Mama, I got those Artic Circle blues!

Source: Gorden Friesen in BROADSIDE, #8, June 30, 1962

Now that's refreshing!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady"s Daughter
Date: 02 Mar 01 - 12:37 PM

Hello, Earth!
This is God,
I want all you people to clear out before the end of the month;
I have a client who's interested in the property.

Refreshing!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 01 - 07:10 AM

how about "four stone walls", on one of the capercaillie albums?

"if it kills i will surround myself with four stone walls,
a little pride upon the shelf and four stone walls around me

as i recall, it was written in response to particular scottish eviction/houseing crisis
the rest escapes me right now though

jo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,Landlady's Daughter
Date: 03 Mar 01 - 10:47 AM

Now, Jo, you shouldn't tease me with verse fragments like that. I want more!I do have some anti-enclosure songs from some part of the UK south of greater Scotland. Please did up what you can.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:24 PM

It's time to refresh this old thread.

"Landlady's Daughter" has been one of my alter egos in the pursuit of housing and neighborhood organizing songs. With "her" help I've been able to collect more than 300 songs.

This project actually began in the mid 1970's and almost reached publication status in 1980 but the publisher backed out. I did help co-publish a recording titled We Won't Move, Folkways Records FS 5287, 1983, which is now available on demand from Smithsonian. I also was able to include 16 of the songs as guest editor of Broadside, #165, August 1985. But the project remained on the back burner for over 30 years.

Now that with the help of Barrie Roberts on this Forum, as subsequently confirmed by the lyricist's son and daughter, we've been able to identify the composer of the title song "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" for the songbook; that would be Dr. Barnet "Doggie" Woolf, a research scientist as well as a long time member of the Workers Music Association, and the Unity Theatre in London.

I am now selecting about 50 of my favorite songs for self-publication, not an easy process. And I may have some additional questions to pose in this thread about these songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 11:01 PM

Funny no one has mentioned LITTLE BOXES by Malvina Reynolds.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 07:56 AM

Jim-

True, no one here has this time around. "Little Boxes" is a song about "quality of neighborhood" with several different interpretations. Any it certainly was suggested and considered in the early years of this research.

Two other songs by Malvina Reynolds did make the cut for the current draft:

"The Faucets are Dripping" (maintenance problems in Old New York City), 1959

"No House" (Homelessness), 1950

I'd be happy to post the full lyrics to either of these songs if there is interest.

I'm actually having a lot of fun going through my box of notes related to this project. It's a minor miracle that I actually found the box and that it hadn't become a nest for mice sometime in the last 30 years.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: ST. PANCRAS DAY
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 08:18 PM

While we're waiting around for more songs, here's another keeper, a companion piece for "Hey ho! Cook and Rowe!" composed by Peggy Seeger:

Words by Alex Comfort, © 1961
Tune: traditional "Courtin' in the Kitchen"

ST. PANCRAS DAY

Come all you tenants skint,
Pay heed to my narration,
I'll give you a hint
On dealing with inflation;
The Tories were returned,
Decided on a flutter –
We'd pay them what we earned,
Or we'd wake up in the gutter.

Chorus:

With my toora, loora, la,
Toora, loora, laddy,
Toora, loora, la,
St. Pancras Borough Council.


The notice it was sent
From Mr. Price the Chairman:
You'll have to pay the rent
Or get out then and there, man;
The Council took today
Solicitor's advice, sir,
And if you want to stay
You've got to pay the price, sir. (CHO)

The tenants they returned
An answer brief and civil:
Your bloody forms we've burned
And we'll see you at the devil;
Our mate, he's wired in nice,
And sentries put to watch him,
And as for Mr. Price
We'll pay him when we catch him! (CHO)

The bailiffs they come round
Just as the dawn was breaking;
Their strategy was sound,
They thought we'd not be waking;
But as they came in haste
A rocket took the air, sir,
And much to their distaste
Half London it was there, sir. (CHO)

They had to break the wall
And enter through a fissure,
And standing by on call
Was the Brighton Horse Militia;
It was like a NATO show
With Monty there to guide it,
A tank laid one man low
With the goldfish still inside it. (CHO)

When they got the tenants out
By dint of demolition;
The people raised a shout
And flocked around to listen;
They said, "We mean to fight!"
Their comments were explicit,
And we all went round that night
To pay Mr. Price a visit. (CHO)

He screamed for the police
To save him from the tenants;
We had to swear the peace
And in court we're doing penance;
But the Tories should reflect,
It's too soon for celebrating –
There's hundreds to eject
And they'll find us ready waiting. (CHO)

Notes:

Another anti-eviction song from the same confrontation described in "Hey, Ho! Cook and Rowe!" was composed by Alex Comfort, set to the traditional Irish tune "Courtin' in the Kitchen." In this version it is the chairman of the municipal housing council who is besieged in the night by evicted tenants.

Published in Sing, London, UK, August, 1961, p. 8.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 09:49 PM

If you're interested in including totally facetious, apolitical songs, you might consider:

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HOUSE written by Bob Hilliard, recorded by Vaughn Monroe, the Ames Brothers, Rusty Draper, Alma Cogan, Milton Berle, and The Johnston Brothers.

THIS OLE HOUSE, written by Stuart Hamblen, recorded by Rosemary Clooney, The Statler Brothers, Bette Midler, Carl Perkins, Jimmy Dean, Wilf Carter. Rex Allen, and others.


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Subject: LYR.ADD.: BALLAD OF ROSIE
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 08:45 AM

Jim Dixon and others-

I'm very picky about what kind of housing songs I'm interested in for this songbook. Most pop songs that mention "house" don't make the cut.

Maybe this old song which was recently brought to my attention by Jim Carrol will clarify better what I'm looking for:

THE BALLAD OF ROSIE
by Dick Snell (circa 1970)

My landlord stuck a letter through my door the other day,
He wants my flat for someone who can pay more rent than me;
He says to me next morning (with a smile upon his face):
"I need the cash - so, Rosie, better find another place."
(But I said)

CHORUS:

Landlord, O landlord, I know whose side you're on,
The man who pays more money, not the man who needs a home;
I've been kicked around for all my life: I won't move no more,
Not one stick of furniture goes out through this 'ere door.


Now, because I wouldn't move myself, my landlord went to court,
He asked the judge permission if he could throw me out -
The judge must be a landlord: he smiled and he said,
"Yes, I'll let you use my bailiffs, they're known to be the best."
(Still I said)(CHORUS)

So me neighbours they stuck with me, wouldn't let the bailiffs in,
They ran back to the town hall, I knew that we would win|
I went and saw the landlord, "I'll never budge," I said,
"Until you find a decent place for me to lay me head."
(I told him) (CHORUS)

The council were real generous, they gave up precious time,
They showed me over lots of slums all covered in damp and grime;
They thought since I weren't young no more, I was easily content,
They hoped that I'd reward 'em with fifty bob more rent.
(But I said) )(CHORUS)

So I went and locked myself indoors, my neighbours stayed with me,
The council got real worried about bad publicity,
So now I've got a decent home, I've got my own front gate,
And if they want me out again, they'll have damn long wait!
(I'll tell 'em)(CHORUS)

Council landlords, private landlords, you know they're all the same,
They use us folk as pawns in their money-making game,
They may say they're public servants, but profit's their real master,
They'll really have a fight on if the rents rise any faster,
(Tell 'em)(CHORUS)

So, if they serve you notice, here's what you must do:
Lock yourself inside your house, don't let the bailiffs through,
You pay too much already for your food and clothes and fun,
So, neighbours, stick together, stay indoors until you've won!
(FINAL CHORUS OPTIONAL)

Notes:

From Jim Carroll, 1/23/2011

Dick Snell was a member of the Critics Group

What makes this song interesting to me is that it describes a dramatic situation in the landlord-tenant relationship, and one that is general rather than unique. It also advocates an organizing remedy. It also well put together as a song, and also has some humor in it to help get across its message.

I'm not sure what the tune sounds like but Call kindly sent me the musical notation. I would ideally like to know a little more about the composer, and whether his song was inspired by actual experience.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 08:13 AM

Here's one of my old collaboration songs, co-authored with Maxine Parshall, when I was doing tenant organizing in East Lansing, Michigan in the 1970's. It's actually in the DT and it's one of the reasons I was attracted to this forum. I never did learn how it got here:

Words by Charles Ipcar and Maxine Parshall, © 1972
Tune: inspired by "Hobo's Lullaby" by Goebel Reeves

Landlord's Lullaby

Close your eyes, my weary tenants,
As you sign your rent contract;
Kiss goodbye your rent deposit,
For you'll never get it back.

Chorus:

Go to sleep, my little tenants,
Though the gas is leaking fast;
Lay your head upon the pillow,
This night's sleep may be your last.


Though the roof is rather leaky,
And paper's peeling off the wall,
And there's plaster on your bedspread,
Be thankful there's a wall at all. (CHO)

I know inspectors cause you trouble,
They cause trouble everywhere,
But when you die and go to heaven,
You'll find no inspectors there. (CHO)

Though the furnace is erratic,
And the wiring seems decayed,
Come the morn you'll be evicted,
As your home is blown away! (CHO)

Notes:

This macabre song, co-authored by myself and Maxine Parshall in 1972, was provoked by the near death by leaking gas of tenants in an old rooming house in the university town of East Lansing, Michigan. Little did we know at the time that the furnace in our own building would break down just a few months later. Such "gallows humor" has a particular fascination for anyone who has worked with housing issues for an extended period of time. This song was always a favorite at the end of our volunteer training sessions at the Tenants Resource Center.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: Back Buchanan Street
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 09:14 AM

Back Buchanan Street
by Harry and Gordon Dison

(A 1960s song about Liverpool slum clearance, and the relocation of Liverpool people to new towns on the margins of Merseyside)

This fella from the corpy, just out of planning school
Has told us that we're being moved right out of Liverpool
They're sending us to Kirkby, or Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know in Back Buchanan Srteet

We'll miss a lot of small things like putting out the cat
There's no back door on the fourteenth floor of a Unit-Camus flat
Don't want to go to Kirkby, or Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know in Back Buchanan Street

The fog horns on the Mersey and we'll miss the old Pier Head
The short cuts through the jiggers as we stagger home to bed
Don't want to go to Kirkby, to Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know in Back Buchanan Street

The pub around the corner with the gents across the yard
The friendly local chippy where the chips are cooked in lard
Don't want to go to Kirkby, or Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know in Back Buchanan Street

We'll miss the Mary Ellens and me Dad will miss the Docks
Me Gran will miss our wash-house where she washed me Grand-Dad's socks
Don't want to go to Kirby, or Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know Back Buchanan Street

They've pulled down Paddy's Market where me Ma once had a stall
And soon them picks and shovels will be through our back yard wall
Don't want to go to Kirkby, or Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know in Back Buchanan Street

From Walton to the Dingle you'll hear the same old cry
Stop messing round with Liverpool at least until I die
Don't want to go to Kirkby, or Skelmersdale or Speke
Don't want to go from all I know in Back Buchanan Street


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 06:11 PM

I think this one goes back to the late 50's or early 60's

THE BUILDINGS

There is a city gent he lives in a tenement
in the heart of one of Glasgaes biggest slums
But theyre gong to improve so weve been told to move
by those Mansion loving corporation bums

Ch:-While they're tearing down the building next to yours
And they're sending us to green field trees and floo-ers (flowers)
But we do not want to go and we daily tell them so
while they're tearing down the building next to yours

They say we'll realise our dream in a brand new housing scheme
and the air out there is always clear and sweet
But we'll stay where we are, think we're better off by far
wi' a pub on every corner o' the street

Well they ordered us to quit and James (i think) we had to flit
It took six removal vans to shift the load
we moved just yesterday but we're no si far away
As that building facing yours across the road

While theyre tearing down the building facing yours
and they're sending us to etc etc

Ray and Archie Fisher on a very old LP called Live at the Usher Hall, (there might be another verse)Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 10:14 PM

Both excellent songs, focused on the loss of traditional neighborhood and the uncertainty one faces in the "new" housing. Thanks.

Adam McNaughtan said much the same with this song, and I believe Celia or Ray Fisher recorded a version of it:

Words by Adam McNaughtan, © 1960's
Tune: English Music Hall "My Old Man's a Dustman"

The Jeely Piece Song

I'm a skyscraper wean, I live on the nineteenth flair,
But I'm no' gaun oot tae play ony mair;
Since we moved tae Castlemilk, I'm wastin' away,
'Cause I'm getting' wan less meal every day.

Chorus:

Oh, ye cannae fling pieces oot a twinty-storey flat;
Seven-hundred hungry weans will testify tae that;
If it's butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid be plain or pan,
The odds against it reachin' earth are ninty-nine tae wan.


On the first day my maw flung oot a piece o' Hovis broon;
It came skytin' oot the windae and went up insteid o' doon,
Noo every twinty-seven 'oors it comes back intae sight,
'Cos my piece went intae orbit and became a satellite. (CHO)

On the second day ma maw flung me a piece oot wance again;
It went and hut the pilot in a fast, low-flyin' plane;
He scraped it aff his goggles, shoutin' through the intercom:
"The Clydeside Reds huv goat me wi' a breid-and-jeely bomb!" (CHO)

On the third day ma maw thought she would try another throw;
The Salvation Army band was staunin' doon below;
"Onward, Christain Soldiers" was the piece they should have played,
But the oompah-man was playin' a piece an' marmalade. (CHO)

We've wrote awa' tae Oxfam to try and get some aid,
And a' the weans in Castlemilk have formed a "Piece" brigade;
We're gonnae march tae George's Square, demandin' civil rights,
Like "Nae Mair Hooses Ower Piece-Flingin' Height!" (CHO)

Notes:

Moving into a subsidized 20-story high-rise building can be a mixed blessing as is suggested in this song from Scotland. Here, the high-rise children are lamenting the fact that their mothers can no longer toss them "pieces" or sandwiches from the balcony for lunch or snacks, as they used to do in the traditional 4-story backyard tenements. This song, was composed by urban poet and former teacher Adam McNaughtan and is said to be still popular back in Glasgow.

Re-released on The Words that I Used to Know, Greentrax CD TRAX 195D, © 2000, as sung by Adam McNaughtan.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 03:04 AM

"They're Pullin' Doon the Buildings" is also by Adam McNaughtan (late 60's?) and describes the massive re-housing programme in Glasgow, when elderly tenements were flattened and replaced -- often by high-rise flats.
Dulcimer Player hasn't got the words just quite the way Adam wrote them -- will try to pst later.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Feb 11 - 07:47 AM

"They're Pullin' Doon the Buildings" is also a fine song.

I've noted over the years that many of McNaughtan's songs have become "folk-processed", by others as well as himself. It's a credit to the composer that so many of his issue-oriented songs have been recorded by others in any form.

I also have a glossary that someone pulled together years ago which helps translate these songs for non-Glasgow denizens.

This category is one of the largest among songs submitted, which shouldn't be surprising. Check out one of the first songs posted in this thread for a good example from the States:

YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE OUR HOMES AWAY
(Written by Tony Heriza © 1979 Further adapted by Charles Ipcar in 1981)
Tune: "Mountain Song" © by Holly Near
Recorded on Folkways Records: We Won't Move FS 5287, © 1983

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 08:29 AM

Here's the link to the entire saga of the successful search for the origin of "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord", the title song for this songbook: click for a good time!

Here's the lyrics again, a little different than what was posted in the DT, and with my summary notes:

Words by Dr. Barnet Woolf, Workers Music Association No. 9029, © 1946
Tune: by Arnold Clayton after She is More to be Pitied than Censored

Pity the Downtrodden Landlord

Please open your hearts and your purses,
To a man who is misunderstood;
He gets all the kicks and the curses,
Tho he wishes you nothing but good;
He wistfully begs you to show him,
You think he's a friend, not a louse,
So remember the debt that you owe him,
The landlord who lends you his house.

Chorus:

So pity the downtrodden landlord,
With his back so burdened and bent;
Respect his gray hairs,
Don't ask for repairs,
And don't be behind with the rent!


You are able to work for a living,
And rejoice in your strength and your skill,
So try to be kind and forgiving
To a man whom a day's work would kill;
You are able to talk with your neighbor,
You can look the whole world in the face,
But the landlord that ventured to labor,
Would never survive the disgrace. (CHO)

When thunder clouds gather and darken,
You can sleep undisturbed in your bed,
But the landlord must sit up and harken,
And shiver, and wonder, and dread;
If you're killed, then you'll die in a hurry,
And you never will know your bad luck,
But the landlord must sit up and worry,
"Has one of my houses been struck?" (CHO)

When a landlord resorts to eviction,
Don't think that he does it for spite;
He's acting from deepest conviction,
And what's right, after all, is what's right;
But I see that your hearts are all hardened,
And I fear I'm appealing in vain;
Yet I hope that my last plea will be pardoned,
If I beg on my knees once again (once again). (CHO)

Notes:

Aka "The Landlord's Song."

From People's Songbook, People's Artists, New York, US, ©1948, and The Panic Is On (song misattributed to Bill Wolff), by Jerry Silverman, Oak Publication, © 1966, p. 8.

The title song of this book has warmed the hearts of American housing activists for well over seventy years, ever since it washed ashore in New York City from London shortly after World War 2. Given its title, the popularity of this song among tenants might seem strange but I'm sure that after a careful study of the lyrics you too will agree that empathy for landlords is not totally unwarranted. The song itself was credited to an Englishman "B. Woolf," not to be confused with "Bill Wolf" who wrote such colorful organizing songs as "Put It on the Ground." It was not until 2004, after a 40 year search, that I learned the full identity of "B. Woolf" from singer and novelist Barrie Roberts, as subsequently confirmed by the lyricist's son and daughter. His full name is Barnet "Doggie" Woolf, a research scientist as well as a long time member of the Workers Music Association, and the Unity Theatre in London. Arnold Clayton composed the musical arrangement, no doubt inspired by the old British Music Hall song "She Is More to be Pitied Than Censored."

There is an amusing footnote to this song, considerably embellishing the already rich folklore associated with it, recently turned up by the lyricist's daughter:

I did a search under the song title just now and found a fabulous post on the website of The Independent newspaper, commenting on an article about the cuts in housing benefits being made by the Conservative-Democratic Coalition government. It quotes the song, which it says is from the Victorian Music Hall, and states it was "...referred to by Marx in a letter to Engels". My father would have loved that!

First recorded on Songs for Swinging Landlords To, the Topic EP, by Stan Kelly & Leon Rossselson, © 1961.

It would be nice if the appropriate credits would be included for this song in the DT.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: GUEST,GUEST dulcimer player
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 05:23 AM

Oops, just noticed I put late 50's early 60's - meant to put late 60's early 70's. Can't just remember when I got the LP but it must have been dates as above 'cos that when I got interested in Folk Music.
EKanne - sorry about the words, it was too late to go and switch the record player on, it was from memory thats why I thought there may have been another verse. Forgiven?
Liz


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 09:04 AM

Here's an unusual ditty about the World War 2 housing shortage sung by a cabaret singer in Miami, from Life Magazine, February 12, 1945:

Lyrics by Lucy Stoute, as sung by Beth Challis at Jordan's Bar of Music

We Have No Apartment

Ladies and gentlemen, I come to Miami for a vacation,
But where do I live? At the railroad station!
Now for ten weeks or more
I've knocked on every door,
From every roof to cellar floor,
And every answer I've had was "No!
No, we have no apartment --
We have no apartment today!"

But I finally found me a place and all would agree,
It's a pleasure, a treasure --
It's a hole in a tree,
And the landlord, the snooty with a high nasal squeak,
Demanded "One hundred and fifty a week!"

I do wonder what the tune might have been.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Housing Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 09:41 AM

I've been editing some of the images, photographs and other graphics, associated with this Songbook. Here's a link which should transport anyone to my Facebook album: click for transport

Enjoy!
Charley Noble


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