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Songs about Homelessness

Sleepy Rosie 05 Jan 09 - 09:18 AM
Mr Happy 05 Jan 09 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,bankley 05 Jan 09 - 10:12 AM
Mark Ross 05 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM
Beer 05 Jan 09 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Jan 09 - 10:30 AM
melodeonboy 05 Jan 09 - 10:34 AM
open mike 05 Jan 09 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 05 Jan 09 - 11:10 AM
Acorn4 05 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM
peregrina 05 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM
SPB-Cooperator 05 Jan 09 - 12:56 PM
alanabit 05 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 05 Jan 09 - 01:49 PM
Marion 05 Jan 09 - 01:53 PM
Marion 05 Jan 09 - 02:06 PM
gnomad 05 Jan 09 - 02:17 PM
Mrs Scarecrow 05 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Joseph de Culver City 05 Jan 09 - 03:03 PM
reggie miles 05 Jan 09 - 04:05 PM
VirginiaTam 05 Jan 09 - 04:14 PM
Bert 05 Jan 09 - 04:18 PM
AnneMC 05 Jan 09 - 04:21 PM
VirginiaTam 05 Jan 09 - 04:26 PM
Little Robyn 05 Jan 09 - 04:32 PM
topical tom 05 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 05 Jan 09 - 04:45 PM
Francy 05 Jan 09 - 04:50 PM
Dave Sutherland 05 Jan 09 - 05:16 PM
Bert 05 Jan 09 - 05:21 PM
oldhippie 05 Jan 09 - 05:41 PM
SPB-Cooperator 05 Jan 09 - 06:16 PM
SPB-Cooperator 05 Jan 09 - 06:19 PM
Mark Ross 05 Jan 09 - 06:21 PM
Ebbie 05 Jan 09 - 06:58 PM
open mike 05 Jan 09 - 10:49 PM
Beer 05 Jan 09 - 11:01 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 05 Jan 09 - 11:01 PM
Mark Ross 06 Jan 09 - 12:09 AM
open mike 06 Jan 09 - 12:09 AM
open mike 06 Jan 09 - 12:17 AM
Azizi 06 Jan 09 - 12:48 AM
Benjamin 06 Jan 09 - 12:50 AM
Azizi 06 Jan 09 - 01:08 AM
open mike 06 Jan 09 - 01:33 AM
MaW 06 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM
Amergin 06 Jan 09 - 05:10 AM
GUEST 06 Jan 09 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,DWR 06 Jan 09 - 06:38 AM
Charley Noble 06 Jan 09 - 08:10 AM
Cretzon 06 Jan 09 - 08:32 AM
Beer 06 Jan 09 - 08:39 AM
Will Fly 06 Jan 09 - 08:47 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 06 Jan 09 - 10:11 AM
Beer 06 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 06 Jan 09 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Ian Mather 06 Jan 09 - 11:37 AM
Beer 06 Jan 09 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Dan Schatz, traveling 06 Jan 09 - 01:36 PM
Little Robyn 06 Jan 09 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,hg 06 Jan 09 - 07:18 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jan 09 - 08:22 PM
LeTenebreux 06 Jan 09 - 08:22 PM
Little Robyn 06 Jan 09 - 10:26 PM
Sleepy Rosie 07 Jan 09 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 07 Jan 09 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Golightly 07 Jan 09 - 07:49 AM
Beer 07 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM
Susanne (skw) 08 Jan 09 - 06:35 PM
Genie 08 Jan 09 - 07:57 PM
Tosher 08 Jan 09 - 08:39 PM
Beer 08 Jan 09 - 10:41 PM
Beer 08 Jan 09 - 10:42 PM
Genie 09 Jan 09 - 05:08 AM
Charley Noble 09 Jan 09 - 08:25 AM
Auxiris 09 Jan 09 - 11:57 AM
Dan Schatz 09 Jan 09 - 04:12 PM
Newport Boy 09 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 09 Jan 09 - 06:20 PM
Charley Noble 09 Jan 09 - 10:39 PM
Genie 10 Jan 09 - 12:46 AM
Francy 10 Jan 09 - 01:38 AM
Deskjet 10 Jan 09 - 10:33 AM
Charley Noble 10 Jan 09 - 11:05 AM
Genie 10 Jan 09 - 07:27 PM
Genie 10 Jan 09 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Henryp 18 Feb 09 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,henryp 18 Feb 09 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,henryp 18 Feb 09 - 09:35 AM
sharyn 18 Feb 09 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Barnacle (at work) 18 Feb 09 - 12:13 PM
sharyn 18 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 18 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM
the lemonade lady 18 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM
Jayto 18 Feb 09 - 05:23 PM
Nicholas Waller 18 Feb 09 - 07:51 PM
Joe_F 18 Feb 09 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Bernie 18 Feb 09 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Lareth 28 Apr 10 - 08:39 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 13 - 08:12 AM
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Subject: Songs about Homelessness
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:18 AM

I was wondering what other peoples personal favourite songs about homelessness, begging and related subjects are.

And importantly, why?

I'm creating a small personal 'art project' in memoriam of someone I loved very dearly, someone who died a broken man, prematurely on the streets of London. He was an Irishman and a drinker. That's as much as I'd like to say about it, except clearly it will involve song.

I don't need 'tragic' songs, I'm just more interested in how the subject has been represented in song. And am interested to know those songs which others enjoy hearing and singing - and what it is about them they personally like.

Cheers, Rosie


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:49 AM

BED FOR THE NIGHT
(Charlie McGettigan)

He was standing on the corner as the sun was going down
He was looking for a contact as hefd just arrived in town
With a suitcase full of emptiness his clothes are worn and tired
And he was looking for a bed for the night.

And he had a list of numbers that had slipped out of his hands.
An uncle lived in somewhere out in Manchester, he said.
He had come out of a country where the tunnels had no lights,
He was looking for a bed for the night.

Just a bed for the night,
Somewhere warm till the morning light,
And he was looking for a bed for the night.


Standing on the corner was a man called Father John.
He said, "Come in from the cold and set you down there, my good man."
And the small talk was of football and the tea tasted so right
And he was looking for a bed for the night.

There was something in this situation made me realize
That there is always someone with a kindness in their eyes.
So if Father John should hear me, and who knows?
He just might hear me say,
"Thank you for the bed for the night."


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,bankley
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:12 AM

"Homeless in Bethlehem' which was posted here at the cafe around Christmas...


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Mark Ross
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM

ROOM FOR THE POOR, & SCOTT'S CREEK BLUFF by Utah Phillips come to mind immediately, ONLY A TRAMP, THE POOR TRAMP HAS TO LIVE, THE DYING HOBO, there are probably hundreds, if not thousands.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:25 AM

Absolutely one of my Favorites. Why? Not sure.
Beer (adrien)

Homeless
Lyrics by Guy Clark

Cardboard sign old and bent says 'friend for life 25 cents
When did this start making sense? Man it's really getting cold
Sometimes I forget things and I get confused
I could still be working, but they refuse
Now I'm living with the bums and the whores and the abused, man I hate getting old

Homeless, get away from here don't give them no money they'll just spend it
on beer
Homeless, will work for food, you'll do anything that you gotta do, when you're homeless.

Betty sings a song that no one hears, as the wind begins to freeze her tears
She says 'God it's been so many years', she's way past complaining
She sings a heartfelt melody, one that begs for harmony
No it's not what she thought it would be, but hey it could be raining

Homeless, get away from here don't give them no money they'll just spend it
on beer
Homeless, will work for food, you'll do anything that you gotta do, when you're homeless.

You know life ain't easy it takes work, it takes healing cause you're gonna
get hurt
You can lose your faith you can lose your shirt, lose your way sometimes
Ah you never really have control, sometimes you just gotta let it go
When the final line unfolds, it don't always rhyme


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:30 AM

'Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound' by Tom Paxton

I like the way the tune plunges into the low notes.

When I learned it, long ago, it didn't have the bad grammar I see on the 'net. The first verse was

It's a long and dusty road,
it's a hard and a heavy load,
and the people I've met have not always been kind.
Some were bad, some were good,
some have done the best they could.
And some have tried to ease my troubled mind.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: melodeonboy
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:34 AM

"A Beggin' I Will Go" by Martin Carthy. I believe he adapted an earlier version.

"Another Space on the Benches" by Bob Kenward; written by Nick Evans.

Both of them have gritty, poignagnt lyrics. The Carthy song has a tremendous rhythm which reflects (to my ears, at least!) the pained, plodding footsteps of the tired tramp.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: open mike
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:00 AM

that "wonder where i'm bound" has at leas 4 other verses. another tom paxton song...Ramblin' Boy that mentions travelling, and "jungle camp" which refers to a hobo jungle not a tropical one.

Also Lou and Peter Berryman have a song about homelessness.
It is on their album Some Days http://www.louandpeter.com/lyrics.html

it mentions how homelessness can be cause by any thing--medical bills,
or other sorts of losses.

There is a nation-wide radio project which broadcasts songs like this for 24 hours during february. http://www.homelessnessmarathon.org/


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:10 AM

Gordon Lightfoot's "Home From the Forest" was always a favorite of mine. "One Meat Ball," whether by Josh White or others, is another that handles the "down and out" with an ironic twist. Oddly enough, I came back from retirement to work for a non-profit agency that has major programs for the homeless in our area. I should be on the lookout for more of these songs.

The homeless population is hardly homogeneous. There is the 15% or so that has serious addiction, mental illness or other problems that make their situation much more difficult to deal with and which require long-term help which they almost never receive. That is the group for which we are providing programs.

The rest are all over the map; migrant workers with no jobs, families displaced due to financial issues or joblessness or both, women and children fleeing abusive home situations and much more. Most of them can be helped to get back on their feet, but resources are frequently lacking. Right now, we are looking at a new influx of people damaged by our recent economic disasters. The Great Depression and the 1930's spawned a lot of songs about homelessness, joblessness and rootlessness. Maybe we could use some contemporary material now.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM

"Someday I'll be Saturday Night" by Bon Jovi is a personal favourits of mine -very much a modern folk song.

Someday I'll Be Saturday Night

(D)Hey, man I'm alive I'm (G)takin' each day a night at a time
(D)Yes I,m down but somehow I'll get(A7sus) by(A7)
(G)Hey hey hey hey man, I'm going to(A) live my life
Like I(D) ain't got nothing but this (Bm)roll of the dice
I'm(A) feelin' like a Monday but (G)someday I'll be Saturday(D) night

(D)Hey, my name is Jim, where did I go wrong
My(F#m) life's a bargain basement, all the good shit's gone
I (G)just can't hold a job, where do I belong
I'm(D) sleeping in my car, my (A)dreams move(D) on

My(D)name is Billy Jean, my love was bought and sold
I'm(F#m) only sixteen, I feel a hundred years old
My (G)foster daddy went, took my innocence away
The(A) street life aint much better, but at least I get paid

And(Bm) Tuesday just might (G)go my way
It(D) can't get worse than yesterday
(F#m)Thursdays, Fridays ain't been kind
But (Gbar)somehow I'll sur(E)vive

(D)Hey man I'm alive I'm(G) takin' each day a night at a time
(D)Yeah I'm down, but I know I'll get(Asus) by(A)
Hey hey hey(G) hey, man gotta(A) live my life
Like I(D) ain't got nothin' but this(Bm) roll of the dice
I'm(A) feelin' like a Monday, but (G)someday I'll be Saturday(D) night

Now (D)I can't say my name, and tell you where I am
I want to(F#m) roll myself away, don't know if I can

I(Gbar) wish that I could be in some other time and place
With(Abar) someone elses soul, someone elses face

Oh, (Bm)Tuesday just might(G) go my way
It (D)can't get worse than(Dsus)yesterday(D)
(F#m)Thursdays, Fridays ain't been kind
But (Gbar)somehow I'll sur(E)vive

(D)Hey, man I'm alive I'm(G) takin' each day a night at a time
(D)Yeah I'm down, but I know I'll get(Asus) by(A)
(A)Hey hey hey (G)hey, man gotta(A) live my life
I'm gonna(D) pick up all the pieces and what's (Bm)left of my pride
I'm(A) feelin' like a Monday, but(G) someday I'll be Saturday(D) night

Saturday night Here we go

(D)Some day I'll be Saturday(G) night
I'll be (D)back on my feet, I'll be doin' al(G)right
It (D)may not be tomorrow baby, that's OK
I (G)ain't goin' down, gonna (A)find a way, hey hey hey

(D)Hey, man I'm alive I'm(G) takin' each day a night at a time
(D)Yeah I'm down, but I know I'll get(Asus) by(A)
(A)Hey hey hey (G)hey, man gotta(A) live my life
I'm gonna(D) pick up all the pieces and what's (Bm)left of my pride
I'm(A) feelin' like a Monday, but(G) someday I'll be Saturday(D) night


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: peregrina
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:45 PM

Woody Guthrie 'I ain't got no home' .... and maybe 'Hard Travelin'

John Tams 'Safe House'

that old one--maybe with some of your own adaption to the words: 'Poor Wayfaring Stranger'


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:56 PM

A Terceira Lamina by Ze Ramalho - the third layer


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: alanabit
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM

Kevin McGrath (of Harlow) wrote a smashing song about a homeless man, which I believe is called "Paddy John". It works because it treats the subject with respect rather than with pity.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:49 PM

Rompin' Rovin' Days - by Bruce Murdoch (from 'The Singer Songwriter Project' CD)


"Hey, I've been a rambler all my rompin' rovin' days
A railway boy with nothin' for to do
My people waved farewell somewheres down the road
For hobos, friend, are only passin' through.

Now I've seen every city from San Marcos in the south
To the concrete fenced-in walls of New York town
And everywhere I go my name nobody wants to know
And the talkin' seems to stop when I'm around.

Now all in my life I've been quickly cast aside
Though my handshake never meant less than your own
If there's any which way for to fully understand
Then tell me 'cause I'd surely like to know.

For every mile I rode a freight train, I walked a city block
Gazin' through the windows at the goods I couldn't buy
But the thing that hurts me most is when I'm wanderin' alone
And no one cares enough to ask me why.

Hey, I've been a rambler all my rompin' rovin' days
A railway boy with nothin' for to do
My people waved farewell somewheres down the road
For hobos, friend, are only passin' through."




The line that gets to me everytime is:

"...But the thing that hurts me most is when I'm wanderin' alone
And no one cares enough to ask me why.."


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Marion
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 01:53 PM

One of my favourites is "Harry in the Hole" by James Gordon, a Canadian singer/songwriter; it's on the CDs "Mining for Gold" and "1 in 5" (the latter being an album devoted to mental health songs). The song is more about PTSD than homelessness, but the character is homeless and the song discusses the town's discomfort with him and his involuntary hospitalization. I especially like the lines: "When his capture finally came, it was not soldiers but his neighbours who took him from the safety he had found....It seems that Harry's enemies were real, they were you and me, though he had eluded us for years..."

Harry in the Hole (James Gordon)

They call him Harry in the hole
You'd see him walk out in the cold
With a sack upon his back in the wintertime
He looks scary, he looks old
For Harry in the hole
That really was his only crime.

You can't talk to Harry in the hole
He just stares and shrugs his shoulders
And shuffles silently along his way
Sometimes with terror in his eyes
You see him scan the northern skies
For an enemy that's stalked him all his days.

Round here stories are still told
How old Harry in the hole
Was a fighter pilot back in the war
They say his plane went down in flames
Harry never was the same
After he returned in 1944.

They say that Harry had survived
Deep behind the German line
By hiding in a hole beneath the wreckage of his plane
Now he lives out at the edge of town
In a hole he dug into the ground
Waiting for a foe he knows will someday come again.

He did not fit into their mould
Folks thought Harry in the hole
Was a stain upon the good name of this town
When his capture finally came
It was not soldiers but his neighbours
Who took him from the safety he had found.

It seems that Harry's enemies
Were real, they were you and me
Though he had eluded us for years
Now he's in the hospital
A hell that's more acceptable
A prisoner of all of our fears.

They call him Harry in the hole
You'd see him walk out in the cold
With a sack upon his back in the wintertime
He looks scary, he looks old
For Harry in the hole
That really was his only crime.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Marion
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:06 PM

You might also consider the blues song "Nobody Knows You", recorded by numerous artists.

Nobody knows you when you're down and out
In your pocket, not one penny, as for friends, you ain't got any,
When you get back on your feet again, everybody wants to be your long lost friend,
They say it's strange, without any doubt,
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

Another one I'd suggest is "Past Fifty" by Stan Rogers (on the CD "From Coffee House to Concert Hall".    The word Chief suggests that he's writing about a native man, but I guess that's not for certain. Good melody.

Past Fifty (Stan Rogers)

Some living, no one time for giving, I ain't got a dime,
Winds are blowing, wheat fields are growing, but none of it's mine,
Gets so I just watch people go by, looking away,
I tell you, I'm almost through, I'd hate to see another day.

Easy lady, I know you're always ready, selling your time,
My last dollar, I pinched it till it hollered, and bought me some wine.
I'm past caring, it's all I got for sharing, so if you're for free
I tell you, I'm almost through, I'm tired as a man can be.

Chorus:
I want to go home to the Maker, home to the Chief,
The Holy Word made me sure my worried mind would find relief;
I'm going through life like a Pilgrim, lost in a storm,
With winds that blow to make me cold, but the Holy Body keeps me warm.

Some morning, I'd like to see me warming my feet by a fire,
Eggs and bacon, coffee I'd be making, couldn't be finer!
A good living, extra bit forgiving someone like me,
I tell you, I'm almost through, I'm tired as a man can be.

Chorus


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: gnomad
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:17 PM

Please let me sleep on your doorstep tonight


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Mrs Scarecrow
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:24 PM

I like Richard Thompson's Just a little beggar girl for its cheekiness.
Here is my own contribution to the genre I call it Please and it is on my CD 'Annie's going to sing a song'


There's a cold east wind a blowing through this subway
At least in here I'm sheltered from the rain
People walking past me all on their way to a home
And I'm left on the streets again

No I dont need your sympathy or pity
On this cold and windy christmas eve
It's hard to make it in this winter city
And I really need the money that you leave
Can you spare me just a little change Please

Its been a long and winding road to get here
And yes there have been highs as well as lows
but mostly now its cold and I do fear
that there's no way back but then again who knows
No I dont need.....

Once I do recall there was a time before
when I had a warm and well lit flat
Aplace where I could go and close my own front door
but it doesn't do to dwell too long on that
NO I dont need......

And if I take a drink well can you blame me
it keeps out the cold and helps me to forget
the memories I have can only shame me
and fill me with despair and with regret
No I dont....

Now as you hurry past with all your shopping
trying to pretend I dont exist
remember I am human think of stopping
A smile and a few copper's wont be missed
No I dont..............
Can you spare me just a little change Please
Ann Reader


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Joseph de Culver City
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 03:03 PM

From Peter Case's most recent "Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John"

Underneath The Stars

It's cold outside lord help those/ lost tonight with the freezing toes/ in the dark with the rain drenched clothes/ she's all the way down/

the sky has cleared stars are bright/ the temperature's gonna fall tonight/ in the park looking for a light/ in a hospital gown//


UNDERNEATH THE STARS/ city by the sea/ headlights of the cars/ shine but no one see's/ in another world/ just five feet away/ look into her eyes/ god bless is all she'll say///


some drink wine some are smokin' crack/ this lady all alone wants none of that/ in the park with a cart and sack/ afraid she's gonna drown/

a choice she made not long ago/ has led to this/ how could you know?/ the door slammed shut her children go/ to whatever life they've found/



UNDERNEATH THE STARS/ what's it going to be?/ in the house of mars / stranded by degrees/ hunger in the night/answered with a prayer/ see the passing cars/ there's nobody there/


now the clergy have their doubts/ are they helping lazy layabouts?/ late at night the drunken louts/ terrify the town/

the cops are young well they're just kids/ they don't know about the skids/ they just do what the gentry bids/ from the other end of town/


UNDERNEATH THE STARS/ who will crack the seal?/ waitin' here to die/ numbers on a wheel/ figures in the dark/ crouch against the wall/ out here in the park/ theres no one to call/

asleep in the park rain or shine/ a thousand crows on the telephone line/ ask her how and she'll say fine/ she's all the way down/

dew drops shot like cannonballs/ crash on paper prison walls/ the heart stops beating the breathing stalls/ she's dyin' all alone/


UNDERNEATH THE STARS/ city by the sea/ headlights of the cars/ shine but no one see's/ in another world/ just five feet away/ look into her eyes/ god bless is all she'd say//



So now you ask what can I do?/ see and know they're just like you/ you could wind up in the blue/ beneath a pauper's crown/ Don't be afraid you'll be surprised/ if when you look into their eyes/ you find a soulful feeling rise/ yr all the way down//



UNDERNEATH THE STARS/ city by the sea/ headlights of the cars/ shine but no one see's/ in another world/ just five feet away/ look into her eyes/ god bless is all she'd say//



Let us now praise Mr. Peter Case...


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: reggie miles
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:05 PM

I've explored old songs via records, mostly those that I've stumbled upon at garage sales, swap meets and at junk stores. I've run across some wonderful titles on 78rpm records. Some of these were bum songs like, "Who Said I Was A Bum." My favorite version of this song is by someone who called himself Lazy Larry. I liked the almost jolly tempo and that the lyrics poked fun at the prospect of living life as a hobo.

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

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

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

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

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


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:14 PM

My daughters and I used to sing this at SCA events.

LET YOUR BACK AND SIDES GO BARE


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:18 PM

Here is "WHILE LONDON SLEEPS" (Did Ralph McTell have this one in the back of his mind when he wrote Streets of London?)

The greatest city in the world is London
At least that's what the wealthy people say
It's very nice for some, who always get the plum
But I only get what people throw away

It's very nice for starving boys in winter,
It's very nice for camping out at night;
A doorstep for your bed, another for your head,
Just because you haven't sold your life
While London sleeps and all its lamps are gleaming
Millions of its people, now lie sweetly dreaming
Some have no homes and all their sorrows weep
While others laugh and play the game
While London's fast asleep.

Some people say that all the Coppers are bad uns
I don't mean the browns I mean the men in blue
They're called a shady lot but some of them are not
Although I've caught it hot from one or two
There's one of them has been a pal to this child
One night he caught me dossing in the street
He didn't use his club, he let me share his grub
And with his lantern let me warm my feet.

While London sleeps....

One night when it was snowing hard and raining
I saw a woman trudging through it all
So thin and poorly dressed, the baby at her breast
Was covered only by a ragged shawl

I followed her, I felt as how I had to
When suddenly she pulled the shawl aside
Then she cried Oh no! and sank into the snow
From cold and want her little one had died.

While London sleeps....


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: AnneMC
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:21 PM

 Danny FarrellFarrell
written by Pete St.John, recorded by The Dublin City Ramblers And Ronnie Drew

I knew Danny Farrell when his football was a can
With his hand-me-downs and Welliers and his sandwiches of bran
But now that pavement peasant is a full grown bitter man
With all the trials and troubles of his travelling people's clan

He's a loser, a boozer, a me and you user
A raider, a trader, a people police hater
So lonely and only, what you'd call a gurrier
Still now, Danny Farrell, he's a man

I knew Danny Farrell when he joined the National School
He was lousy at the Gaelic, they'd call him amadán - a fool
He was brilliant in the toss school by trading objects in the pawn
By the time he was an adult all his charming ways had gone

I knew Danny Farrell when we queued up for the dole
And he tried to hide the loss of pride that eats away the soul
But mending pots and kettles is a trade lost in the past
"There's no hand-out here for tinkers" was the answer when he asked

He's a loser, a boozer, a me and you user
A raider, a trader, a people police hater
So lonely and only, what you'd call a gurrier
Still now, Danny Farrell, he's a man

I still know Danny Farrell, saw him just there yesterday
Taking methylated spirits with some wino's on the quay
Oh, he's forty going on eighty, with his eyes of hope bereft
And he told me this for certain, there's not many of us left

He's a loser, a boozer, a me and you user
A raider, a trader, a people police hater
So lonely and only, what you'd call a gurrier
Still now, Danny Farrell, he's a man


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:26 PM

Dave Goulder's Faraway Tom seems alikely song - lyrics on Digitrad


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:32 PM

We heard one in 1990 and it took about 15 years to locate the singer again - our own Theresa Tooley.
We can't remember the name* of the person - choose your own,the title is missing (maybe The Bag Lady Song), we don't know who wrote it and the words were incomplete but we think it's:

Me name is Annie Walker* and I'm living on the street,
I spend me mornings sleeping and the night-time on me feet.
Each afternoon I look for work, I will not stoop to theft,
But pride don't keep me warm enough, and pride's all I got left.

I spent me time at tailoring until me eyes went bad
And I felt that we could make it on the savings that we had
But me husband died ten years ago, still I could pay the rent,
But the landlord kept on raising it until it all was spent.

So I ended in a shelter with the other homeless ones:
The sick ones and the dying, someone's daughters, someone's sons,
The violent and the crazy whether white or brown or black
'Twas the nearest thing to hell on earth and I'm never going back.

I keep this bag beneath me coat to hide me one good dress,
And I put it on to look for work - me other stuff's a mess,
And I wash in public washrooms, let the others stare and blink:
It's hard enough to look for work and harder when you stink.

Now the churches in this city that the rich folk all attend,
They call me there on Sunday and they tell me God's me friend,
They give me soup on Saturday and give me things for free,
They give me soup on Saturday and call it charity.

So listen to me, people, before you walk away
Pretending you don't see me, listen hard to what I say:
This world is not so small a place as once it used to be
And whatever we create here touches you as well as me.
Yes, whatever we create here touches you as well as me.


If you know who wrote it or anything more about it I'd love to know.
Maybe when Theresa moves house she might find the words again???
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: topical tom
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:41 PM

One of my favourites that gives a sense of wandering and homelessness:


The Kingston Trio - Farewell (Fare Thee Well My Own True Love) lyrics
Artist: The Kingston Trio lyrics
Album: Nick-Bob-John
Year: 1964
Title: Farewell (Fare Thee Well My Own True Love) lyrics         Print
Correct

Send "Farewell (Fare Thee Well My Own True Love)" Ringtone to your Cell


Lyrics to Farewell (Fare Thee Well My Own True Love) :
(Bob Dylan)

Fare thee well, my own true love. I'm leavin' the first hour of the morn.
I'm bound off for the bay of Mexico and maybe the coast of Californ.

[Chorus:]
So, fare them well, my own true love. We'll meet another day, another time.
It's not the leavin' that's grievin' me, but my true love whose bound to stay behind.

The weather is against me and the wind blows hard and the rain, she's a-turnin' into hail,
But I still might strike it lucky on a highway going West though I'm travelin' the path-beaten trail.

I'll write you a letter from time to time. As I ramble you can travel with me, too.
With my hands in my head and my heart, my love, I will send what I know back home to you.

[Chorus]

There's a place I've heard of where I might as well be bound. It's down around Mexican plain.
And they say that the people are all friendly down there. All they ask of you is your name.

I'll tell you of the laughter and the troubles be their somebody else's or my own.
With my hands in my pocket and my coat collar high, I will travel unnoticed and unknown.

[Chorus]
[ Farewell (Fare Thee Well My Own True Love) Lyrics on http://www.lyricsmania.com/ ]

Send "Farewell (Fare Thee Well My Own True Love)" Ringtone to your Cell


Last The Kingston Trio Lyrics


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:45 PM

I can't believe I left "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" off my short list. It was one I did with great frequency in the old coffee house days of the 50's and '60's and still enjoy. When I talk to those crippled, emotionally or physically, and out on the streets, I often hear comments like "Where are all my good friends now? I guess they don't want to be embarrassed by me." Human nature is a helluva thing, ain't it?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Francy
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 04:50 PM

Bottles & Boxes & ten miles a day, he walks slowly making his rounds...Picking up bottles & boxes and papers, and anything else we throw down...He's hump-backed & wrinkled, but unlike Van Winkle, he doesn't sleep hi life away...And he sleeps so seldom that some of us wonder, just what the old man has to say.....Some folks laugh at him but he doesn't notice....He goes right on "bout his day.....Pickin' up bottles & boxes & papers and pieces of life thrown away......Too big and tattered are clothes he's gathered, from boxes thrown into the street....He hides from the rain under store building awnings, and stays in the shade in the heat.....Sisters & mothers & daddies & brothers, he has none as far as we know.....just bottles & boxes, they"re his Fort Knoxes...But to us they're just somethin' to throw...Some folks laugh at him but he doesn't notice, he goes right on 'bout his day.....living with bottles & boxes and papers & pieces of life thrown away.........1975 recoroded by Bobby Bare    Frank of (Toledo=Spokane)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:16 PM

"London Road" by Eddy Morton and recorded by The Bushbury Mountain Daredevils.
"I Live in Trafalgar Square" old music hall song


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:21 PM

"I Live in Trafalgar Square" I'd forgotten that one Dave. Ha, 'If it's good enough for Nelson, then it's quite good enough for me'


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: oldhippie
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:41 PM

Two recent ones that come to mind are "The Home of Billy D" by Bobby Ross and "Teardrops of Blood" by Richard Aberdeen (lyrics at freedomtracks.com).


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:16 PM

Re: While London Sleeps?

Shouldn't the line 'sold your life' be 'sold your lights'...

I've got the sheetr music for it but I can't get to it at the moment.


Lights refers to the wicks or lighters (like long very thin candles) that were sold by people on the streets to raise a few coppers.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:19 PM

There is another superb music hall song that I wish I had in my collection

"The Ragged Gentil"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Mark Ross
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:21 PM

Bob Dylan re-wrote ONLY A MINER as ONLY A HOBO.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:58 PM

By Guy (Buddy) Tabor
Juneau, Alaska
from his Box of Pain CD
         
                Homeless

Fred was a gentle man, he'd never harm a soul
He still could make me laugh in my world that had grown cold
I often think of him, he was my only friend
I never dreamed this was the way that it would finally end

We met at the mission shelter, wondered if things would ever change
At night we slept under the interstate bridge to shelter from the rain
It was three feet tall and you had to kneel on down to crawl back in
But you wouldn't wake up with a knife in your back from someone else's sins

In the day we'd walk the streets begging for spare change
We worked the ATM machine on the corner of Fifth and Main
These kids in fast cars would drive by and call us names
I'd just turn around, flip 'em off and Fred would do the same

For all have sinned and fallen down, short of God's great glory
I heard the mission preacher scream it, Amen and Holy, Holy
The heart is full of wickedness and drowns in its deceit
And you got to watch each step you take when you're out here on the street

Late one night we were heading back to the bridge to get some sleep
We were almost there when this car full of kids came racing down the street
They jumped out of their car with their baseball bats and pellet guns
I dropped my sleeping bag and yelled at Fred, We'd better run        
I scrambled up the incline, knelt on down and crawled back in
But Fred had tripped and fallen down. This would be his very end

I heard his screams among their laughter as they broke both of his legs
What seemed like a time of eternity Fred lay on the ground dead
The cops threw Fred in the ambulance like he was just a piece of meat
I heard one laugh and tell another, that's one less bum on the street

The preacher at the mission
was unfazed by the news
At the evening service he never mentioned Fred.
My God, what can you do

The city paid and buried Fred deep in a pauper's grave
Those kids were never caught. They slipped the noose, and got away
But me, I bought this gun and now I know what I must do
'Cause it don't matter any more when your life is almost through

For all have sinned and fallen down, short of God's great glory
I heard the mission priest scream it, Amen and holy, holy
The heart is full of wickedness and drowns in its deceit
And you got to watch each step you take when you're out here on the street


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: open mike
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:49 PM

Geraldine and Ruthie Mae by Sarah Elizabeth Campbell

(the bag lady's song)

in Digi Trad here

there are a couple of threads on the Char lady's Ball
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=6502


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:01 PM

The Midnight Choir By Rodney Crowell. I think. but I could be wrong.
Here is one I'm sure he did.
'Til I Gain Control Again
Beer
(adrien)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:01 PM

Two that I often sing are "Hobo's Lullaby" and "May I Sleep In Your Barn Tonight Mister".
(In DT)
@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2680

@displaysong.cfm?SongID=10193


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Mark Ross
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:09 AM

HOBO BILL'S LAST RIDE.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: open mike
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:09 AM

there is a Midnight choir in Bird on a Wire by Leonard Cohen


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: open mike
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:17 AM

all the songs on this album are good ones..
and it looks like a good project. too.

http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1128508/a/Silverwolf+Homeless+Project.htm

there is also a c.d. called Voices of the Homeless..
where street people were recorded in a studio..i think
it might be specifically a Christmas album.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:48 AM

Sleepy Rosie, best wishes to you on your project. And may your friend rest in peace.

**

Here's a song about homelessness from the South African acapella group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Homeless

(Ladysmith Black Mambazo)

Emaweni webaba
Silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni

Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
We are homeless, we are homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
And we are homeless, homeless, homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Zio yami, zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami amakhaza asengi bulele
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami, angibulele amakhaza
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami somandla angibulele mama
Zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami

Too loo loo, too loo loo
Too loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo
Too loo loo, too loo loo
Too loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo

Strong wind destroy our home
Many dead, tonight it could be you
Strong wind, strong wind
Many dead, tonight it could be you

And we are homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih

Yitho omanqoba (ih hih ih hih ih) yitho omanqoba
Esanqoba lonke ilizwe
(ih hih ih hih ih) yitho omanqoba (ih hih ih hih ih)
Esanqoba phakathi e england
Yitho omanqoba
Esanqoba phakathi e london
Yitho omanqoba
Esanqoba phakathi e england

Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?

Kuluman
Kulumani, kulumani sizwe
Singenze njani
Baya jabula abasi thanda yo
Ho

http://www.lyricstime.com/ladysmith-black-mambazo-homeless-lyrics.html

Here's a link to a YouTube video of this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp3pPFjH_Sg&feature=related


I like this song because of its tune and its words, both the English words that I understand, and the Zulu words that I don't understand. It's the song's feeling tone that gets me, the images it evokes. It makes me think of why so many people-men, women, and children, were and are still homeless in so many places in the world-including in my own city and country. I don't listen to this song that often because it makes me sad. The lines that really move me are "Somebody sing hello, hello, hello/Somebody cry why, why, why?"...


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Benjamin
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:50 AM

Paul Simon recorded a song called Homelesson his Graceland album.

It goes a little something like -
Emaweni webaba
Silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni
Webaba silale maweni

Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
We are homeless, we are homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
And we are homeless, homeless, homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Zio yami, zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami amakhaza asengi bulele
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami, angibulele amakhaza
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami somandla angibulele mama
Zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami

Too loo loo, too loo loo
Too loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo
Too loo loo, too loo loo
Too loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo

Strong wind destroy our home
Many dead, tonight it could be you
Strong wind, strong wind
Many dead, tonight it could be you

And we are homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih

Yitho omanqoba (ih hih ih hih ih) yitho omanqoba
Esanqoba lonke ilizwe
(ih hih ih hih ih) Yitho omanqoba (ih hih ih hih ih)
Esanqoba phakathi e England
Yitho omanqoba
Esanqoba phakathi e London
Yitho omanqoba
Esanqoba phakathi e England

Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing hello, hello, hello
Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody cry why, why, why?

Kuluman
Kulumani, Kulumani sizwe
Singenze njani
Baya jabula abasi thanda yo
Ho


Also, Archie Roach sings a song Down City Streets he wrote with his wife Ruby Hunter. Both were once homeless aborigines in Australia and to my understanding have opened there home up to street kids to stay. I wasn't able to find the lyrics right off hand though. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:08 AM

Wow! Benjamin! How's that for synchronicity?!

My compliments to you.

And since I'm here, here's a link to another YouTube video that shows the dance movements that Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs to this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5tngHfemWc


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: open mike
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:33 AM

yes that was ladysmith blackmumbazo singing with Paul Simon


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: MaW
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM

Loreena McKennitt recorded a song on her album Parallel Dreams which I thought of immediately when I saw this song. It's called Dickens' Dublin (The Palace). These lyrics are by Ms McKennitt, and the recording has them interspersed with a reading of the Christmas story by a child which is quite an evocative combination.

I walk the streets of Dublin
It's 1842
It's snowing on this Christmas Eve
Think I'll beg another bob or two
I'll huddle in this doorway here
Till someone comes along
If the lamplighter comes real soon
Maybe I'll go home with him.

Maybe I can find a place I can call my home
Maybe I can find a home I can call my own

The horses on the cobbled stones pass by
Think I'll get one, one fine day
And ride into the countryside
And very far away
But now as the daylight disappears
I best find a place to sleep
Think I'll slip into the bell tower
In the church just down the street

Maybe I can find a place I can call my home
Maybe I can find a home I can call my own

Maybe on the way I'll find the dog
I saw the other night
And tuck him underneath my jacket
So we'll stay warm through the night
And as we lie in the bell tower high
And dream of days to come
The bells o'erhead will call the hour
The day we will find a home.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Amergin
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:10 AM

There is Grit Laskin's Margins of my Neighbourhood...Rick Fielding recorded a cover of it on his Lifelines album....


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:18 AM

Mentioned earlier by TJ in San Diego. One of my favorites, too.

http://www.lightfoot.ca/lyrics.htm

Home From The Forest
Gordon Lightfoot
From THE WAY I FEEL 1967
UA Records (UAS 6587) Mono (UAL 3587)

(C) Oh the neon lights were flashing
And the (F) icy wind did (C) blow
The water (Em) seeped in(Am)to his (Am/G) shoes
And the (F) drizzle turned to (C) snow
His (F) eyes were red, his (C) hopes were dead
And the (Am) wine was running (E) low
And the (F) old man came (G) home from the (C) forest

His tears fell on the sidewalk as he stumbled in the street
A dozen faces stopped to stare but no one stopped to speak
For his castle was a hallway and the bottle was his friend
And the old man stumbled in from the forest

Up a dark and dingy staircase the old man made his way
His ragged coat around him as upon his cot he lay
And he wondered how it happened that he ended up this way
Getting lost like a fool in the forest

And as he lay there sleeping a vision did appear
Upon his mantle shining a face of one so dear
Who had loved him in the springtime of a long forgotten year
When the wildflowers did bloom in the forest

She touched his grizzled fingers and she called him by his name
And then he heard the joyful sound of children at their games
In an old house on a hillside in some forgotten town
Where the river runs down from the forest

With a mighty roar the big jets soar above the canyon streets
And the con men con but life goes on for the city never sleeps
And to an old forgotten soldier the dawn will come no more
For the old man has come home from the forest


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 06:38 AM

That was me above, sorry to the ones who go looking for nameless posts to delete.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:10 AM

There is also a vast wealth of protest songs about "homelessness." Here's an excerpt from the draft HOUSING SONG BOOK:


This militant song from England, put together by the Hackney and Islington Music Workshop in 1976, describes the rationale for squatting and how to go about it. As they state in their own introduction to this song:

In our over-urbanized society where living space is artificially scarce, control over housing is more and more a means of control over people. Homeless people are always a minority who get little sympathy from their fellow workers who have been lucky enough to get council flats. The available living space in our cities is determined by invisible forces: plotting speculators and bureaucratic planners. Squatters take direct action to get what they need, in contrast to the respected members of our society who keep just inside the law and make a million.


Words by Islington Music Workshop © 1976
In New Songs, New Times
Tune: inspired by "Fiddlers Green"

The Squatter's Rant


Chorus:

(So) Hand me my torch and my crowbar;
Pass me my map of the town;
Why should we be homeless when there's
Plenty to go round;
Plenty of houses are empty;
Why should we sleep on the floor?
I'm one of the homeless of London tonight,
But I'll have a new home in the morning.


We've been waiting for twenty-odd years
To get to the top of the list;
Even went down to the council
'Cos I thought we must've been missed;
They told us to just keep on waiting;
They were doing their best, they said;
So I asked for a transfer to the cemetery list
'Cos before we come up we'll be dead.(CHO)

My old man used to knock us about;
He beat up the kids and the cat;
I know we're supposed to be married,
But I'm not putting up with that;
Made up my mind I was leaving,
But we had nowhere to go;
Can't get a place from the council,
So a-squatting we will go. (CHO)



We used to live in a furnished flat,
With a landlord snooping about;
One day he wrote us a letter
And he said that we'd have to move out;
He said he was doing improvements,
Thousands of pounds would be spent,
But after he'd done the improvements
We couldn't afford the rent. (CHO)

Some people live in a castle;
Some people live in a tent;
Some people live by the rules of the game
But the referee is bent;
How come that thousands are homeless
While builders are on the dole?
Someone is making a fortune
Because profits are in control. (CHO)

So here's to the property dealers;
Here's to Max Rayne and Charles Clore;
If ever they're stuck for a place to live,
There's plenty of room on our floor;
Here's to the bold Harry Hyams,
Good old Joe Levy as well,
And all of the rich speculators,
I hope that they're homeless in hell.(CHO)

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Cretzon
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:32 AM

Ewan MacColl's Moving On Song is one I like - from the radio ballads. Easy to play, too. Seems to be know as Go Move Shift when anybody else does it.

                  Am
                  Born in the middle of the afternoon
                      D                         G   Am
                  In a horsedrawn carriage on the old A5
                  Am
                  The big twelve wheeler shook my bed,
                  D          Am             D         Em
                  "You can't stay here" the policeman said.
               
                  CHORUS
                  Am          G          D          Em
                  You'd better get born in some place else.
                     Am          Em         Am          Em
                  So move along, get along, Move along, get along,
                  F         G          Am
                  Go!      Move!       Shift!


                  
                  Born in the tatie lifting time
                  In an old bell tent in a tatie field.
                  The farmer said, "The work's all done
                  It's time that you was moving on."

                  CHORUS

                  Born on a common near a building site
                  Where is ground was rutted by the trailers wheels
                  The local people said to me,
                  "You'll lower the price of property."

                  CHORUS

                  Born at the back of a blackthorn hedge
                  Where the white hoarfrost lay all around.
                  No eastern kings came bearing gifts.
                  Instead the order came to shift.

                  CHORUS

                  The winter sky was hung with stars
                  And one shone brighter than the rest
                  The wise men came so stern and strict
                  And brought the orders to evict

                  CHORUS

                  Wagon, tent or trailer born,
                  Last year last month or in far off days.
                  Born here or a thousand miles away
                  There's always men nearby who'll say

                  CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:39 AM

The Hobo Song
Billy the Bum
Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis

All by John Prine
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:47 AM

Well - nobody's mentioned it (as far as I can see), so I'll just chip in with Jimmy Rodger's "Waiting For A Train" - also a great version of it by Boz Scaggs with Steve Miller in there somewhere.

"All around the water tank, Waitin' for a train..."


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:11 AM

Two other great ones:
George Jones       Wild Irish Rose
Wild Irish Rose

Ralph McTell         Streets Of London

Streets Of London


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:19 AM

Sandy.
What you trying to do, make everyone cry? That video with the "Wild Irish Rose" is very powerful.
Thanks,.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:29 AM

Yeh Adrien, there's a lot of message in those two songs. I didn't post a link earlier to them but combined they almost exactly fit Rosie's description.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Ian Mather
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:37 AM

The native American Floyd Westerman wrote a rather hauntingly beautiful song called "Quiet Desperation."

Christie Moore sings it. The version I have is on his Live at Vicar St album.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:27 PM

I did make a mistake in the song The Midnight Choir. Rodney Crowell may have sung it but it was written by Larry Gatlin.

Midnight choir
Gatlin Brothers
D
   The doors to the mission open at seven
A7
And the soup will be ready about   nine
Right now its six-thirty, they're ragged and dirty
D
They standin' and sittin', and layin' in   line
First they'll do a little singin', then hear a little preachin'
G
And get saved for the 3rd time this   week
D
A bowl of soup later and a   pat on the shoulder
A7 D
And by   midnight, they're back on the   street.

D
   They walk to the corner of 4th street and Broadway
A7
Then take the first alley on the   right
One of them asks a stranger, how 'bout a hand
D
And he gives 'em one finger at a   time
Then they spot an old buddy, with a bottle of heaven
G
Then pass around what means ev'ry- thing
D
One bottle for four, thank   God, someone scored

A7 D
And now the   Midnight Choir starts to   sing.

CHORUS: A CAPPELLA
Will they have Mogen David in heaven
Dear Lord, we'd all like to know
Will they have Mogen David in heaven, Sweet Jesus
If they don't, who the hell wants to go.

CHORUS: W/ACCOMPANIMENT
G D
Will they   have Mogen David in   heaven
E A7
   Dear Lord, we'd all like to   know
G D G
Will they   have Mogen David in   Heaven, Sweet   Jesus
D A7 D
If they   don't, who the   hell wants to   go.
G
Oh! ...   (Come on now...)

D A7 G D
TAG: If they   don't, who the   hell wants to   go,   Dear God.

SOURCE: LARRY GATLIN-STRAIGHT AHEAD/CBS JC 36250


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Dan Schatz, traveling
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:36 PM

I wrote Hard Daily Life when I was a high school student, producing benefit concerts for the homeless. It's on my first album, The Road to Somewhere Else.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 01:59 PM

Slightly different but along similar lines is Peter La Farge's
Ballad of Ira Hayes
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 07:18 PM

one of my favoirtes...as sung by rycooder



HOW CAN YOU KEEP ON MOVING (UNLESS YOU MIGRATE TOO?)
(Agnes Cunningham)

(C) - (F) - (G)
(C) How can you keep on moving un- (F) less you migrate (C) too?
They tell ya to keep on moving but (G) migrate, you must not do.
The (C) only reason for moving and the (F) reason why I (C) roam:
To move to a new lo- (G) cation and find myself a (C) home.

I can't go back to the homestead. The shack no longer stands.
They said I was uneeded, had no claim to the land.
They said, "Come on, get moving. It's the only thing for you."
But how can you keep moving unless you migrate too?

Now if you pitch your little tent along the broad highway,
The Board of Sanitation says, "Sorry, you can't stay.
Come on, come on. Get moving." It's their everlasting cry.
Can't stay, can't go back, can't migrate, so where the hell am I?

How can you keep on moving unless you migrate too?
They tell ya to keep on moving but migrate, you must not do.
The only reason for moving and the reason why I roam:
To move to a new location and find myself a home.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:22 PM

Sis Cunningham certainly said and sang it well!

Charlie King composed "Self-Storage" as a sardonic comment on an alternative to being homeless and unfortunately with the mortgage meltdown may surface as a viable option:

Words and music by Charlie King © 1986
Recorded on Feelings of Fire
Flying Fish FF 417

Self-Storage

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;
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..."

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: LeTenebreux
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:22 PM

Ian Robb's Homeless Wassail is brilliant:

Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our cup is white and our ale is brown
But huddled 'round this iron grate
We poor and hungry curse our fate

CHORUS:

No wassail bowl for such as these
No turkey scraps, no ale nor cheese
It's Christmas Eve, our heart's desire
Is a bottle of gin and a trash can fire

Good Christian, mind as home you go
With dreams of holly and mistletoe
That the holly bears a dreadful thorn
For those who wake to a frozen dawn

CHORUS

Oh where is he, that holy child
Once born of Mary meek and mild
And whither peace good will to men
Now and forever more, amen

CHORUS

All ye that dine with face aglow
In reginensi atrio
Pray pause a while at pleasure's door
And sup some sorrow with the poor

CHORUS

Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our cup and our ale is brown
This cold hunger, pain and care
Sweet Jesus Christ, it's hard to bear


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 10:26 PM

A distant cousin of mine, John Alford, who used to be a London Bobby on a horse, sent this in his latest email:
"On a radio program I heard a recording made some time ago of an old tramp who used to walk around the Elephant and Castle in south London singing ' Jesus blood never failed me yet'. I don't know if he was asked but the recording was taken back to a studio and music added to it on a loop. It is so moving. If you go on to 'You tube' and type in the title click on the one with the picture of the cross or the one with the piano and you can listen to it. So moving to think of him singing away when he had nothing in this world."

The link to it is here.

I guess John would have known him.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 06:16 AM

Thanks for contributions thus far.
LeTenebreux - I also found the Homeless Wassail in Digitrad, but no promised tune.... :-(
Little Robyn - Loved the Elephant & Castle gent, actually a pity that his voice becomes too lost beneath the recording which it is mixed into. IMO

I'll never forget being serenaded for several hours early one morning when in London, by a pair of bums. I was sitting reading some obscure up-your-arse piece of poetry/philosophy, while Vladimir and Estragon stirred from sleep, and into impromptu renditions of Frank Sinatra interspersed with jokes. One of them spotted me laughing to myself, and started to ridicule whatever piece of nonsense it was that I was reading at the time. They came over and tap danced for me and sang for me, and offered me their cider (as they always do). One even went and bought me a cuppa tea... When it was time to leave, one of the gents kissed me on the hand and on the cheek and said: "God bless you, god bless you. You are a true beauty."
It's good to be made to feel like a Queen for the day.

Lots of other responses to this thread which I will come back to.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:45 AM

Ron Haywards Blues one of mine - there are various files audio and text. More political than hard luck story but it says what I want to say, and more in the pdf.

Hope it finds a home in your list...........


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Golightly
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:49 AM

Not forgetting Richard Thompson's gorgeous but somewhat romanticised 'Beeswing':


"The last I heard she was sleeping rough back on the Derby beat
White Horse in her back pocket and a wolfhound at her feet
And they say she even married once, a man named Romany Brown
But even a gypsy caravan was too much settling down
And they say her flower is faded now, hard weather and hard booze
But maybe that's just the price you pay for the chains you refuse"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM

Thanks for sharing that Little Robyn. Very touching indeed.
Adrien


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Subject: LYR ADD: Some People Cry
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 06:35 PM

Some People Cry


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Genie
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 07:57 PM

How about Willie Nelson's 'Christmas song' "Pretty Papers?"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Tosher
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 08:39 PM

From Flannagan and Allen 1930-1940's

Underneath the Arches
I dream my dreams away
Underneath the arches
on cobblestones I lay

Every night you'll Find me
tired out and worn
Happy when the day light comes creeping
Heralding the dawn. I'm

Sleeping when its raining
and sleeping when its fine
I hear the trains rushing by above

Pavement is my pillow
No matter where I stray
Underneath the Arches I
Dream my Dreams away

And of Course from the same period, Al Boley killed in the London Blitz

Once I built a railroad
made it run Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad now its gone
Say Buddy can you spare a dime

Once built a Tower
To the sun made of rivets and lime
Once I built a Tower now its done
Hey buddy can you spare a dime

Once in Khaki suits ah gee we looked swell
full of that Yankee doodley down
Half a million boots went marching through hell
and I was the guy with the gun   

Oh say Don't you remember
they called me Al it was Al all the time
Say don't you remember I'm your pal
say buddy can you spare a dime.

                XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It seems like the homeless are always with us and their story's never change. We do the best that we can. I sometimes think that writing songs won't help. Ah well............


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:41 PM

Genie,
I never knew that Willie Nelson wrote Pretty Papers. I always thought it was Roy Oberson and never did look to see who wrote it. Another great song sung by two great guys.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Beer
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 10:42 PM

Ooops! "Roy Orbison".


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Genie
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 05:08 AM

I think Willie wrote it but maybe someone here knows for sure.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 08:25 AM

Mr. Red-

"Ron Hayward Blues" is certainly a keeper. I'd like to add it to my collection.

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Auxiris
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 11:57 AM

A little bit off the track, but I'm sitting here with tears running down my face after reading all these posts with songs that I already know or didn't know yet, thinking about the two terrifying months I spent as a homeless person over thirty years ago. I am one of the lucky ones.

Thank you all, more than I can say.

Aux


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 04:12 PM

Probably the best song about homelessness I've ever heard came from Townes Van Zandt - a song called Marie. Here's a video of Townes singing it.

The video seems a little out of sync with the audio, but I promise you, it's worth a listen. I usually close my eyes to listen to this one anyway.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Newport Boy
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM

The song from Ken Loach's 1966 'Cathy Come Home' is one of the most powerful I've heard. Heard with the TV play, it's almost unbearable.

I couldn't find it in the DT or the Cat - so here it is. [Correct me if I've missed it.]

I've never managed to track down authorship, although it may be on the original credits but not listed anywhere. The story was by Jeremy Sandford, and music by Paul Jones, and I assume they wrote the song as well.

I've been singing this on and off for 40 years, and I'm horrified that it's still relevant.

CATHY COME HOME

I'd like to know just why they pay
A pound or fifteen bob a day
To a woman with a kid to keep.
It barely makes six quid a week.
I'd like to tell you of the men
Who work all hours that God can send
For a wage that barely buys
The neccessities of life.

I want to tell you what it's like
For a woman on her own.
I'd like to tell you people
What it's all about.

I'd like to know just who decides
How much it costs to keep alive,
How much his fellow men should get,
But doesn't count their self respect.
I know they've got enough to eat,
A roof above, somewhere to sleep,
But there's more to life than living.
There's more to life than that.

I want to tell you what it's like
For a family on the dole.
I'd like to tell you people
What it's all about.

I'd like to know how much is spent
To study our environment,
When it's bloody obvious what we lack
In terraces built back-to-back.
I'd like to know why we can't have
A garden, a bath, an inside lav,
Good schools, good roads and decent shops,
Parks and trees and grass.

I want to tell you what it's like
On the other side of town.
I want to tell you people
What it's all about

I'd like to know just what to do
To put across our point of view.
We're tired of being pushed around,
Of waiting in the queue.

I'd like to tell you what it's like
I feel you ought to know.
I'd like to tell you people
What it's all about.

I'd like to see some changes made.
I'd like to see the wages paid
Improved for every one of us,
Not just the chosen few.
I'd like to know the reason why
We're born to live, but live to die.
I'd like to know the answers,
But no-one wants to tell.

I'd like to tell you what it's like,
It's something you should know.
I'd like to tell you people
What it's all about.


From the BBC Wednesday Play, 1966. Director: Ken Loach.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 06:20 PM

I remember hearing a song ten or twelve years ago with the line "Everything tastes a little better when you eat outside" (which I assume is also the title). I had thought it was by either Bill Morrisey or Greg Brown, but don't see it in either of their discographies. Google searches have come up dry.

Anyway, at the beginning of the the song its character is extolling the pleasures of eating outside at barbecues and picnics with family and friends, but by the song's end he's homeless and has no place to eat except outside.

Anyone know who's song it is?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 09 - 10:39 PM

Jeanne Ritchie suggested this old revival song for my Housing Songbook. It's another dimension of "homelessness" in my mind:

Words and music by F.M. Lehman © 1914
Rodeheaver's Gospel Songs, © 1922, pp. 34-35

No Disappointment in Heaven

There's no disappointment in heaven,
No weariness, sorrow or pain;
No hearts that are bleeding or broken,
No song with a minor refrain;
The clouds of our earthly horizon
Will never appear in the sky,
For all will be sunshine and gladness,
With never a sob nor a sigh

Chorus:

I'm bound for that beautiful city,
My Lord has prepared for His own;
Where all the redeemed of all ages
Sing "glory" around the white throne;
Sometimes I grow homesick for heaven,
And the glories I there shall behold:
What a joy that will be when my Savior I see,
In that beautiful city of gold.


We'll never pay rent for our mansion,
The taxes will never come due;
Our garments will never grow threadbare,
But always be fadeless and new;
We'll never be hungry nor thirsty,
Nor languish in poverty there,
For all the rich bounties of heaven
His sanctified children will share. (CHO)

They'll never be crepe on the doorknob,
No funeral train in the sky;
No graves on the hillsides of glory,
For there we shall nevermore die;
The old will be young there forever,
Transformed in a moment of time;
Immortal we'll stand in His likeness,
The stars and the sun to outshine. (CHO)

I sing it to the tune of "The Lightning Express."

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Genie
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 12:46 AM

I guess the Great Depression and dust bowl days generated quite a few songs about "hobos," "drifters," and other homeless people. Several have been mentioned.

Nobody's mentioned Tom Paxton's "Rambling Boy" yet, but I think that one would fit. It's not from that area but sort of about it, right?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Francy
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 01:38 AM

Bobby Bare put an album out in 1975 called Hard Time Hungries, with fifteen songs all about hard times and homelessness.....Most of it was written by Shel Silverstein.....Frank of (Toledo/Spokane)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Deskjet
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 10:33 AM

I remember Don McClean singing something like..
"Smash your bottle on the gravestone and live while you can,
That homeless brother is my friend"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 11:05 AM

One of the best reference songbooks for the 1930's era has to be Hard-Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People edited by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger et al, published by Oak (20 years after they put the draft together!).

Warm regards,
Landlady's Daughter


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Genie
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:27 PM


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Genie
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 07:30 PM

Not a whole song about homelessness, just a verse:

"Show me the alley, show me the train,
Show me the hobo who sleeps out in the rain,
And I'll show you, young man, with so many reasons why,
That THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE go you and I, you and I."


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Henryp
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 09:01 AM

Here's one by Woody Guthrie

VIGILANTE MAN

Have you seen that vigilante man ?
Have you seen that vigilante man ?
Have you seen that vigilante man ?
I've been hearin' his name all over the land.

Rainy nights down in the engine house,
Sleepin' just as still as a mouse,
A man came along and he chased us out in the rain.
Was that a vigilante man ?

Well, I rambled around from town to town,
Now, I rambled around from town to town,
And they herded us around like a wild herd of cattle.
Was that the vigilante man ?

Well, why does a vigilante man ?
Tell me why does a vigilante man ?
Carry that sawed-off shot-gun in his hand ?
Would he shoot his brother and sister down ?

Have you seen that vigilante man ?
Have you seen that vigilante man ?
Have you seen that vigilante man ?
I've been hearin' his name all over the land.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 09:25 AM

And here's part of another Woody Guthrie song, Tom Joad.

Seen the pitcher last night, Grapes of Wrath, best cussed pitcher I ever seen. The Grapes of Wrath, you know is about us pullin' out of Oklahoma and Arkansas, and down south, and a driftin' around over state of California, busted, disgusted, down and out, and a lookin' for work.

Shows you how come us to be that a way. Shows the dam bankers men that broke us and the dust that choked us, and comes right out in plain old English and says what to do about it.

It says you got to get together and have some meetins, and stick together, and raise old billy hell till you get youre job, and get your farm back, and your house and your chickens and your groceries and your clothes, and your money back.

Go to see Grapes of Wrath, pardner, go to see it and don't miss. You was the star in that picture. Go and see your own self and hear your own words and your own song.

Woody Guthrie, in one of his People's World columns (1939-'40), reprinted in Woody Sez, New York, NY, 1975, p. 133.

That truck rolled away in a cloud of dust;
Tommy turned his face toward home.
He met Preacher Casey, and they had a little drink,
But they found that his family they was gone,
He found that his family they was gone.

He found his mother's old fashion shoe,
Found his daddy's hat.
And he found little Muley and Muley said,
"They've been tractored out by the cats,
They've been tractored out by the cats."

Tom Joad walked down to the neighbor's farm,
Found his family.
They took Preacher Casey and loaded in a car,
And his mother said, "We've got to get away."
His mother said, "We've got to get away."

Now, the twelve of the Joads made a mighty heavy load;
But Grandpa Joad did cry.
He picked up a handful of land in his hand,
Said: "I'm stayin' with the farm till I die.
Yes, I'm stayin' with the farm till I die."

They fed him short ribs and coffee and soothing syrup;
And Grandpa Joad did die.
They buried Grandpa Joad by the side of the road,
Grandma on the California side,
They buried Grandma on the California side.

...

Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
Wherever people ain't free.
Wherever men are fightin' for their rights,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm a-gonna be."

Allegedly, John Steinbeck said, "If I had heard the song, I'd wouldn't have needed to write the book."


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 09:35 AM

I AIN'T GOT NO HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE Woody Guthrie

I ain't got no home, I'm just a-ramblin' round
I'm just a wandrin' worker, I roam from town to town.
The police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road
A hot and dusty road that a million feet done trod;
Rich man took my home and drove me from my door
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

Was a-farmin' on the share, and always I was poor
My crops I laid into the banker's store;
My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

Now as I look round, it's mighty plain to see
The world is such a great and a funny place to be;
The gamblin' man is rich and the workin' man is poor
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

Words by Woody Guthrie
Tune from Carter Family "Can't Feel at Home In this World Anymore"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: sharyn
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 10:59 AM

Eli Yates, now deceased, wrote a song called "The Next Time I'm Young." Carol Denney, who knew him, recorded it on her CD, "The Cruel Lullaby." If I get permission from her, I'll post the words, but you can get the CD from her (lyrics included in the liner notes)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Barnacle (at work)
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 12:13 PM

Howzabout

"Twopence on the Rope" as sung by Gary and Vera Aspey? You either slept on the cold ground or for 2d (old pence that is!), you could sling your arms over a suspended rope and spend the night there.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: sharyn
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM

Here is the Eli Yates song

The Next Time I'm Young

My shopping cart sings on the cold morning pavement
Searching for dreams and aluminum cans
I catch my reflection in the shuttered up windows
And wonder how I ever got as old as I am.
The street has no markers -- it's just a river of concrete
Mile after mile, year after year.
I reckon I remember but I can't for the life of me
Understand how I ended up here.

Chorus:

And the next time I'm young I'll do it all different
I'll make the right moves and I'll make the right plans
And I'll have me a family and a good job to go to
And a house with a driveway where I park the sedan
And I'll never be poor and I'll never go hungry
And I'll wear fancy clothes out on my promenade
And I'll sit at the table as long as I want to
And I'll shut my own door at the end of the day.

Somewhere in a pocket of this greasy old backpack
Is a magazine picture of an old country town
Where there isn't much concrete, lots of good grass to walk on
And bushels of children running around.
The folks seem so friendly all smiling and waving,
Covered in sunshine as they walk to the fair.
As darkness crawls over me down in the alley
I wonder if someday I can maybe live there.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM

Tom Paxton's "Last Hobo" came to mind as I looked through these. It may not be about homeless, per se, but I always loved the lyric and the music.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM

This was written by the guy who's recording my first album.

Sal


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Jayto
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 05:23 PM

Bottom of the World by Tom Waits
My only prayer by Chris Knight
2 of my favorites
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Nicholas Waller
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 07:51 PM

There's Aqualung from Jethro Tull, which might have a bearing - I particularly like the last two lines. But it is kind of bitter and aggressive (and possibly the old man isn't even homeless, but I think he is).

Sitting on a park bench
Eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot is running down his nose
Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
Hey Aqualung. Drying in the cold sun
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Hey Aqualung. Feeling like a dead duck
Spitting out pieces of his broken luck.
Oh Aqualung.

Sun streaking cold, an old man wandering lonely.
Taking time the only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad as he bends to pick a dog-end
He goes down to the bog and warms his feet.
Feeling alone, the Army's up the road
Salvation a la mode, and a cup of tea.
Aqualung my friend, don't you start away uneasy
You poor old sod, you see it's only me.

Do you still remember December's foggy freeze
When the ice that clings on to your beard was screaming agony?
And you snatch your rattling last breaths with deep-sea diver sounds
And the flowers bloom like madness in the spring.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 08:47 PM

Tom o' Bedlam. (If you have watched the stars go by, you were probably either a bum or a soldier.)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Bernie
Date: 18 Feb 09 - 08:53 PM

Listen to Tom Russell's "Wedding dress Mary"....

"See her walkin'down Broadway at four in the mornin'
on the arm of an old shoppin' cart
lookin'in vain for a place to lie down
and somewhere to hang her heart,somewhere to hang her heart...

Tom has a reasonably large following,but I'm still amazed that so many
people seem to be unaware of him and his magnificent body of work...

online recording here (click)


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST,Lareth
Date: 28 Apr 10 - 08:39 AM

Heard Canned Heats on the road again..

Im homeless and have been pretty much on adn off since I was 14-15. I try but never can push myself out of the ditch.

Im smart, good at things, and good willed, but sometimes thats just not enough, so staying a drifter aint half bad. Ive got to live in the same town for pretty much 8 years now. I live off of women.. Some cant do that, I was blessed with a decent face and a good mind.


Gonna keep checking this list every now and then, maybe get some good kicks out of the songs on tough times.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Homelessness
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 13 - 08:12 AM

Tom Waits write a lot about the homeless


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