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Origins: Great American Bum

DigiTrad:
THE PENDER HARBOUR FISHERMAN'S COME ALL YE


Related thread:
Lyr Req: I Hate To Be Called A hobo (6)


GUEST,John Canada 17 Aug 04 - 01:14 AM
Leeder 07 Nov 01 - 09:56 PM
Leeder 07 Nov 01 - 04:12 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Nov 01 - 02:23 PM
John in Brisbane 02 Nov 01 - 08:15 AM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Oct 01 - 01:41 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Oct 01 - 11:14 AM
MAG 26 Oct 01 - 10:35 AM
Art Thieme 25 Oct 01 - 10:05 PM
John in Brisbane 25 Oct 01 - 07:37 PM
John in Brisbane 25 Oct 01 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,MAG at work 24 Oct 01 - 09:00 PM
Cap't Bob 24 Oct 01 - 07:27 PM
Uncle_DaveO 24 Oct 01 - 01:50 PM
Uncle_DaveO 24 Oct 01 - 01:11 PM
Mrrzy 24 Oct 01 - 09:27 AM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Oct 01 - 04:15 PM
Cap't Bob 23 Oct 01 - 02:11 PM
Mrrzy 23 Oct 01 - 01:29 PM
Steve in Idaho 23 Oct 01 - 10:55 AM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Oct 01 - 10:49 AM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Oct 01 - 10:40 AM
paddymac 22 Oct 01 - 11:32 PM
Steve in Idaho 22 Oct 01 - 06:10 PM
Uncle_DaveO 22 Oct 01 - 03:59 PM
Mrrzy 22 Oct 01 - 01:12 PM
Metchosin 22 Oct 01 - 01:08 PM
Uncle_DaveO 22 Oct 01 - 11:11 AM
53 19 Oct 01 - 04:15 PM
nutty 19 Oct 01 - 01:20 PM
Uncle_DaveO 19 Oct 01 - 11:13 AM
Jon Bartlett 11 Nov 98 - 05:16 AM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 98 - 05:11 AM
Kansas Annie 10 Nov 98 - 09:15 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Nov 98 - 09:00 PM
Joe Offer 10 Nov 98 - 12:22 PM
mahull@terraworld.net 10 Nov 98 - 04:26 AM
Doctor John 06 Nov 98 - 02:18 PM
Paul 06 Nov 98 - 10:17 AM
Jon Bartlett 05 Nov 98 - 04:41 AM
Joe Offer 05 Nov 98 - 02:32 AM
mahull@terraworld.net 05 Nov 98 - 02:20 AM
John in Brisbane 04 Nov 98 - 06:09 PM
mahull@terraworld.net 04 Nov 98 - 05:02 PM
Joe Offer 04 Nov 98 - 01:24 AM
Joe Offer 03 Nov 98 - 11:17 PM
Joe Offer 03 Nov 98 - 11:10 PM
mahull@terraworld.net 03 Nov 98 - 08:42 PM
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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: GUEST,John Canada
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 01:14 AM

What I'm seeing here is lyrics from Harry Mcclintock's Victor records "The Bum Song" and "Bum Song No. 2", records made in 1928.
I have "The Bum Song", But I'll be darned if I'll Transcribe the Lyrics!

John


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Leeder
Date: 07 Nov 01 - 09:56 PM

Here's a verse my father sang which is not included in, or is significantly different from, the sets above:

Sleeping beside the station, tra-la-la-la-la-la-lation,
That's a recommendation, hurrah, hurree, hurrum,
For we're three bums, three jolly good chums, we live like royal Turks;
We have good luck at bumming our chuck; God bless the man that works!

The latter two lines were his version of the chorus as well.

This is reconstructed from memory, by the way; I have my dad's song lyrics, but not handy, and this one may or may not be in it.

He also sang "I Was Born One Hundred Thousand Years Ago"; other versions I've come across use "About Ten Thousand".


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Leeder
Date: 07 Nov 01 - 04:12 PM

My dad used to sing this song, but I'd forgotten about it. I loved it as a kid. This is a nostalgia trip for me. I assume he would have learned it from the Vernon Dalhart recording.

Hi Jon. I'm legal now.


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Nov 01 - 02:23 PM

Sounds more like it's the predecessor to that one. What you list is "some more", so I expect that one followed the one given here.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 02 Nov 01 - 08:15 AM

Be still oh beating heart - I finally found a recrding of this song after 40 years, all due to Mudcat. It's at The Record Lady's site in Volume 23 of her hits, sung by Vernon Dalhart.

http://recordlady.webgcs.com/23r/51ae.ram

I haven't had a chance to transcribe the lyrics but they're just as I remember them (as would Kansas Annie's mum). I don't know anything about Dalhart, but it is possible that this is a sequel to the original "...I've got some more to tell you about the great American Bum ..."

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 01:41 PM

The tune was provided in the other thread, in ABC.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 11:14 AM

Joe posted these words AND THE TUNE in November of '98. How is it that it never got into the DT?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: MAG
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 10:35 AM

Art, you are incredible. I don't suppose The Frets recordings are available for love or money? Good to hear from you. -- MAG


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Art Thieme
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 10:05 PM

Mary Ann

I just found a recording of Fred H. 40 years back when he was in a trio in Old Town called THE FRETS. He replaced Guy Guilbert in that group. (Guy had replaced Jim (Roger) McGuinn.)

The other 2 guys in the group were John Carbo (banjo) and Louis McDonald (conga drum).

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 07:37 PM

I have refreshed an earlier thread from a few years back.


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 07:35 PM

Refresh. This thread pre-dates one which started in November 2001.

Joe Offer asked above whether anyone has a copy of the Lingenfelter-Dwyer book called "Songs of the American West." I now own a copy of this book, as does Joe as I recall. It'll be 24 hours before I get the chance to look, but my memory is that the version of GAB therein is not the one that I learned as a kid.

Regards, John johninbrisbane@lycos.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 09:00 PM

Fred Holstein sings this, and I wouldn't be surprised if Utah Phillips did too, tho' I can't bring him to mind on it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREAT AMERICAN BUM
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 07:27 PM

This song was the first song that I learned to sing from beginning to end. I learned it from my Dad around the end of the l930's. I have no idea where he got the song. The song I learned is basically the same as the one listed above by DaveO. It's funny how some things stick in the old memory. The first time I sang it all the way through was at Manitou Beach MI and I was standing on the floor board of a 1936 Chevy coupe.

There are just a few differences in the words I learned. They are as follows:

Oh gather around you jolly old bums and listen while I hum
A story I relate to you of a great American bum.
From north to south to east to west like a swarm of bees they come
They sleep in the dirt and wear a shirt that's dirty and full of crumbs.

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

Oh lady would you be kind enough to give me a bite to eat
A piece of pie or curtard or a ten foot slice of meat
A piece of pie or custard would tickle my appetete
For lady I'm so hungry I don't know where to sleep tonight

Sleeping in the Station, Tra la la la lation.
That is my recommendation hurrah, hurree, hurrum

I met a man the other day I never had met before
He asked me if I wanted a job shoveling iron ore
I asked him what the wages were, he said ten cents a ton
I told the fellow go sit on a brick, I'd rather be on the bum

We three bums, we jolly three bums we live like royal Turks
We have good luck and bum on our chuck God bless the man that works.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 01:50 PM

Aha! I was right!

Cisco Houston sang it on "900 Miles and Other R.R. Songs", Folkways FP-13. Copyright 1953.

What on some records would be called "liner notes", in a three-sheet (6 page) saddlestitched insert, gives no further information on the origin of this song or its tune.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 01:11 PM

Frankly, I don't remember where I learned this song. Maybe Cisco Houston? Can't place it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Oct 01 - 09:27 AM

Ah, so it was rape, I had never gotten that. But back to the thread - who DID sing this song? The great american bum, I mean?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 04:15 PM

He's supernatural, a grim and frightening guest.

I got that definition from the liner notes of a set of LPs (SEVEN HOURS of unaccompanied English and Scottish ballads) sung by Ewan McColl and A.L. Lloyd.

My, I wish I could lay hands on that set, or CD version! I have the Smithsonian's CD reissue of McColl's Folkways CD with the same title, "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads", but it's not the same assortment and not the same recording session as McColl's portion of the LP set, and A.L. Lloyd is not part of this set. There were a number of ballads I'd love to have that are not involved in the Smithsonian/Folkways set.

I've been informed that the masters were bought by a British company, but they have not re-released them, at least as this complete set, but that they may from time to time use individual tracks in compilation recordings. I forget the name of the original label and the successor owner.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 02:11 PM

Last chorus (alternative)

Sleeping in the station,
Tra, la, la, la, lation,
That is my recommendation
Hurrah, hurree, hurrum.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 01:29 PM

(Thread creep) if Grumlie means grim, why was the Great Silkie of Shul Skerrie "a grumly guest" when he came to her bed in? I thought it would mean welcome, or something.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 10:55 AM

Hi Dave - I got bumped by my server - I came back just as you were leaving. Not a large as I'll see you there one of these nights. BTW - your volume is awfully low - could hardly hear you. Maybe the battery is getting weak in your mixer?

Later Friend,
Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 10:49 AM

Norton, I saw you at Paltalk Monday night, and would have sung this, but I think you were gone by the time I got to sing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Oct 01 - 10:40 AM

No, no relationship, as far as I can see, to "The Great Historical Bum".

Would that I had a way of posting the tune. It doesn't remind me of any other song, so I can't say "It's to the tune of" or "sort of like" so-and-so.

All I can think of to say is, try to catch me on Paltalk sometime and I'll sing it on request. I currently frequent Live Music for Serious Musicians, and when I'm aware the Mudcat Snug is open I will try to show up there. If neither of those is open, I patronize rooms with "Live" in the title.

DAve Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: paddymac
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 11:32 PM

DaveO - What's the melody? Doesn't seem to quite fit "The Great Historical Bum."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 06:10 PM

I had this once - Thanks for bringing it back up for me Dave - I appreciate it!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 03:59 PM

Grumlie in the Scots, as I understand it, is "grim".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 01:12 PM

What a great song. Wish I could rememeber who I had it by, it was one of those intermediate-sized records - another Cisco Houston, perhaps? Anybody know?

Also, if crumby is lousy, what is grumly, which I think is a compliment?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Metchosin
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 01:08 PM

re crumbs, also the origin of the word "crummy", a truck with a roofed box for transporting logging crews to and from work.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 22 Oct 01 - 11:11 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: 53
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 04:15 PM

roger miller and king of the road is a good bum song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Great American Bum
From: nutty
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 01:20 PM

I thought this was going to be a thread about dieting ....lol


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Subject: ADD Version: Great American Bum (Cisco Houston)
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 11:13 AM

THE GREAT AMERICAN BUM

Come all you jolly jokers if you want to have some fun,
And listen while I relate the tale 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 they wear a shirt that's dirty and full of crumb*.

CHORUS: I am a bum, a jolly old bum, and I live like a royal Turk,
And I have good luck and I bum all my chuck, and to heck with the man that works!

It's early in the mornin', when the dew is on the ground,
The bum arises from his nest and gazes all around.
While goin' east, they're loaded, and goin' west, sealed tight.
I reckon we'll have to ride aboard the fast express tonight!

(Chorus)

I beat my way from Frisco to the rockbound coast of Maine,
From Canada to Mexico, and then all the way back again.
Well, I met a man the other day that I never had met before,
And he asked me if I wanted a job a-shovelin' iron ore.
I asked him what the wages was, and he said ten cents a ton.
I said, "Old fellow, go scratch yer-----neck; I'd rather be on the bum!"

(Chorus)

Oh, lady, would you be kind enough to give me somethin' to eat?
A piece of bread and butter, and a tender slice of meat.
Some apple pie and custard, just to tickle me appetite,
For really I'm so hungry, don't know where I'll sleep tonight!

(Chorus)

* "crumb" or "crumbs" here are not little scraps of bread or cake; they're body lice. The adjective "crumby" is "lousy" in the literal sense.
DRO+




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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREAT AMERICAN BUM (from Sandburg)
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 11 Nov 98 - 05:16 AM

The words posted at the head of the thread are very close to the Cisco Houston set in Sing Out! 11-4. The headnote says "...MacMcClintock claimed to have written this song -- and perhaps he did." I don't know why Dick brings in Sandburg's Songbag. The short version given there ("We Are Four Bums") gives two all but identical verses:

THE GREAT AMERICAN BUM
(from Sandburg)

"We are four bums, four jolly good chums,
We live like royal Turks;
We're having good luck in bumming our chuck
God bless [to hell with] the man that works."

Sandburg's source "heard among glee club boys" doesn't really help us, but the Songbag was published 1927, when Mac (1882-1957) would have been 45. No problem there, surely?

The BC set was collected by Phil Thomas from the Lindsley brothers, principally George, at Beaton, BC 28 June 1967 runs as follows:

1: Come all ye jolly jokers now listen while I hum
A story I relate to you of the great American bum
East and west and north and south like a swarm of bees they come
They lay in the dirt and wear a shirt that's dirty and full of crumbs.

2: Now lady would you be kind enough to give me something to eat?
A piece of bread and butter or a ten-foot slice of meat
A piece of pie or a custard to tickle me under the tight
For I'm so bloody hungry and I don't know where to sleep tonight

3: Now I beat my way from Frisco Bay to the rock-bound coast of Maine
I went right into that Beaton country but I walked right out again
Now sleeping in the station, now that's a recommendation
haree harah harum

4: Oh we jolly old bums, we jolly old bums
We live like royal Turks
We have good luck at bummin' our chuck
Goddamn the man that works.

5: Now I met a man the other day I never had met before
He asked me if I wanted a job a-shoveling iron ore
I asked him what the wages was and he said, "ten cents a ton"
I said "Old fellow, go chase yourself, I'd rather be on the bum.

6: As I was sleeping in the shade just to pass the time away
A man he came to me and he said, "You want to shovel some hay?"
He said his land is rollin', I said, "If that is true
Just roll it around to a shady spot and I'll see what I can do."

7: Oh ogee ogee ogee, all we have to do
Is sleeping in the station, that's the way we do
Oh sleeping in the station, that's a recommendation
Haree harah harum.

8: Oh we jolly old bums...[as above].

Lindsley sang this song directly after singing "The Big Rock Candy Mountain."

Since these songs are Siamese twins, I'd venture that Haywire Mac recorded them both on the one disc, and when Houston recorded it he dropped the "rollin'" verse. Mac may have written both or neither, but I think he was in the hospital (to continue the metaphor) when they were born. IMHO Jon the offsider


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 98 - 05:11 AM

Annie, take a look at Folk Music - An Index to Recorded Resources (click me). Search under McClintock and Greenway and you'll see many of the songs they recorded. The verse you give about the rolling land seems to fit the tune of "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum," which has countless verses.
In Songs of Work and Protest, Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer say 'Harry McClintock, an old Wobbly songleader who recorded the song ("Hallelujah I'm a Bum") in 1926, has made a good case for his authorship. While hoboing on the open road in 1897 or 1898, bumming his meals for his supper, McClintock says he put new words to "Revive Us Again," and called it "Hallelulia on the Bum"'
The "Hallelujah on the Bum" song is in the Lingenfelter-Dwyer book called "Songs of the American West." Anybody got a copy of that book?-please check to see if the lyrics are different from what we have in the database.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Kansas Annie
Date: 10 Nov 98 - 09:15 PM

I don't think this is figured out yet. My source is adamant that the recording she remembers as "The Great American Bum" was on the flip side of "Big Rock Candy Mountain," but the words to "The Great American Bum" as posted above don't match her memory. She's very insistent the song contained the words "You say this land is rolling, now if this is true (I'll tell you what to do-John in Brisbane's quote), just roll it down to this shady nook,and I'll see what I can do." I don't think the song I'm looking for is "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum," which is attributed to Harry McClintock. I think the next step is to find a source that contains the above words and/or delve into John Greenway recordings and go from there.


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Nov 98 - 09:00 PM

Joe- I don't know. As I recall, Sandburg's "American Songbag" contained the version you posted, which would make it predate McClintock.


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Nov 98 - 12:22 PM

I'm still confused. the requested song had the line
"this land is rolling, now if this is true, roll it here to me and I'll see what I can do."
Did we ever figure out what that song might be?

Did we ever figure out for sure if it was Harry McClintock who wrote the version of "Great American Bum" that I posted?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: mahull@terraworld.net
Date: 10 Nov 98 - 04:26 AM

I've heard from the boss and have no additional verses/variations to add to this song. Ann


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Doctor John
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 02:18 PM

There are two distinct songs: "The Great American Bum" (Come all you jolly jokers ...) recorded by Cisco Houston and the "Great Historical Bum" which is very similar to "I was born about ten thousand years ago"


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Paul
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 10:17 AM

On Woody Guthrie's, "The Asch Recordings - Vol. 1", there is a song called "The Greatest Thing That Man Has Ever Done". In the liner notes they also credit it as "The Great Historical Bum". It sounds something the same as what you may be looking for, but has slightly different lyrics than the others that are posted here.


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 04:41 AM

Sorry for the confusion over this: I posted "Pender harbour Fisherman's Lament", a BC variant of what I took to be "The Great American Bum", which I always thought was by Haywire Mac. Any error is thus mine and not Dick's. As the French say, "je suis desolee." The words given above in the thread have also been collected in BC. Jon


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 02:32 AM

Hi - I found this in Folk Music - An Index to Recorded Resources, another service of the Milton Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University.

If I read it correctly, maybe the index attributes the song to Harry McClintock, who wrote "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Dick Greenhaus, you know about these things - did McClintock write "Bum"?? I found the song in the Silverman "Folk Song Encyclopedia," with no songwriter named.

The Great American Bum - McClintock, Harry "Haywire Mac"
Recordings:
Greenway, John. Big Rock Candy Mountain. Songs of the American Hobo & Migrato.., Washington WLP 710, LP (195?), cut#A.01
Holstein, Fred. Chicago and Other Ports, Philo 1030, LP (1977), B.02b


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: mahull@terraworld.net
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 02:20 AM

Hello, John from Brisbane You apparently remember the version Mother has talked about. She says the record had Big Rock Candy Mountain on the flip side. Do you remember any more of the verses? Maybe Mother will remember them in more detail after she reads Joe's posted version--if so I will post them (in several days-she lives out of town). Any ideas of the artist on that recording?

Cheers! Ann Hull


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 06:09 PM

The version that I knew from a 78 rpm of the 30's (?) had words something like "You say this land is rolling I'll tell you what to do, just roll it down to some shady nook and I'll see what I can do", plus it was interspersed with some dry humorous exchanges between the bum and a house-lady (I think) such as "Hey missus, I've got a button here, can you sew a shirt on it?" I believe that it was on the flip-side of a Regal Zonophone recording of either The Big Rock Candy Mountain or Hallelujah I'm a Bum.

Likewise Joe's words are not the ones that I used to listen to. I have a very strong memory of the music line - I'm looking forward to listening to Joe's tonight.

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: mahull@terraworld.net
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 05:02 PM

This is great! My 75-year old mother has mentioned this song several times recently and now I can "refresh" her memory on the song. I haven't tried the midi file yet--I'm just flat dumb when things get too far over my head, but I usually jump in with both feet. FYI--the shortcut to "The Great Historical Bum" doesn't work--gives a web publisher error. This version of "The Great American Bum" doesn't contain the words Mother thought she remembered from her young days, but I understand many of these songs had other versions or verses. Thanks again. Ann Hull


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: THE GREAT AMERICAN BUM
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 01:24 AM

THE GREAT AMERICAN BUM
(traditional)

Come all you jolly jokers if you want to have some fun
And listen while I relate the tale 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 they wear a shirt that's dirty and full of crumbs.

(chorus)
I am a bum, a jolly old bum
And I live like a royal Turk.
And I have good luck and I bum all my chuck
And the heck with the man that works.

It's early in the morning when the dew is on the ground,
A bum arises from his nest and gazes all around.
While going east they're loaded, and going west sealed tight,
"I reckon we'll have to ride aboard the fast express tonight."
(chorus)

Well, I met a man the other day that I never met before,
And he asked me if I wanted a job a-shovelin' iron ore.
I asked him what the wages was and he said: "ten cents a ton."
I said: "Old fellow, scratch your …neck, I'd rather be on the bum.
(chorus)

Oh, lady would you be kind enough to give me somethin' to eat,
A piece of bread and butter and a tender slice of meat.
Some apple pie and custard just to tickle me appetite,
For really I'm so hungry, don't know where I'll sleep tonight.
(chorus)

Some sources attribute the song to Harry McClintock, who wrote "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Dick Greenhaus, you know about these things - did McClintock write "Bum"?? I found the song in the Silverman "Folk Song Encyclopedia," with no songwriter named.

MIDI file: GREATA~1.MID

Timebase: 192

Name: The Great American Bum
Text: By (traditional)
TimeSig: 6/8 24 8
Start
0000 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0448 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 60 110 0382 0 60 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0046 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0046 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0448 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 60 110 0448 0 60 000 0032 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0094 0 64 000 0002 1 62 110 0448 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0046 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0046 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0160 0 62 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 62 110 0094 0 62 000 0002 1 60 110 0670 0 60 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:The Great American Bum
M:6/8
Q:1/4=120
K:C
GG2EE2|EE2EE2|EE2EF2|ED5|DD2DDD|DD2DDD|DG2GFE|
DC4G|GG2EE2|EE2EE2|E/2E/2E2EF2|ED5|DDDDDD|
DD2DD2|DGGGF2|DC5|GG2EE2|EEEEEE|EEEEF2|ED5|
D/2D/2D2DDD|DDDDDD|DGGGF2|DC5|-C2||


Click Here for 1928 recording and sheet music by Harry McClintock


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 11:17 PM

I shouldn't have doubted the Esteemed Mr. Greenhaus. I found "Great American Bum," and it's a completely different song. I'll post it in an hour or so.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Great American Bum
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 11:10 PM

Hi - I'm thinking the song may be The Great Historical Bum (click here). It just might be that the reference in the database under "Pender Harbour" could be wrong. Dick Greenhaus, the Esteemed Editor of the Digital Tradition Database, is seldom wrong - but he has been known on occasion to have faulty words flow from his typing fingers. A song that's often sung with "Bum" is Born 10,000 Years Ago (click here).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Great American Bum
From: mahull@terraworld.net
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 08:42 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics to an old song from the late depression era-30's or thereabout. I don't know the artist, but it was recorded for play on a graphaphone (I don't know what that is). The song may have been called "The Great American Bum" and all I know about it is words to the effect "this land is rolling, now if this is true, roll it here to me and I'll see what I can do." I have found a song "The Pender Harbour Fisherman's Come All Ye" that claims to be a "variation of" "The Great American Bum" but has no words that identify it as the song I'm looking for. Also found reference that this song may have been a hobo song. Any leads will be appreciated. Thanks!


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