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Hobo / Bumb Song Lyrics
A collection of Hobo and Bumb song lyrics that probably originated during the Depression or before
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Here's a poem that was sung by my dad's nephew, Burr, many years ago...

At The Bar
At the bar, at the bar
Where I smoked my first cigar
And my nickles and my dimes rolled away
It was there, by chance
That I ripped my Sunday Pants
And now I have to wear them everyday


Please e-mail me the words if there happens to be more.

I received an email from Robert Ashbrook with more information about this song. It was based on an old hymn...
"At the cross, at the cross,
Where I first saw the light,
and the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
and now I am happy all the day"


Here's another slightly different version that was sent to me by George Hewett of Fresno, CA. His father used to sing it years ago.
At the bar, at the bar,
Where I smoked my first cigar
And the money in my pockets rolled away
It was there, by chance,
That I burned my Sunday pants
And now I wear my sister's all the day!


Lisa emailed me this: "Here is another version my dad taught us when we were younger."
At the bar, at the bar
Where I smoked my first cigar
And my nickles and my dimes rolled away
It was there, by chance
That they kicked me in the pants
And the birds made music all the day


Sung jokingly by a Mass. correctional officer in the 1967 documentary "Titicut Follies"
‘Twas at the bar, at the bar
where I smoked my first cigar
and the nickels, nickels, nickels roll away
It was there by chance
that I stole a pair of pants
and now I am serving thirty days.
bumb pic 1

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

The Great American Bum
Harry McClintock

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

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

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

[knock! knock! knock!]
Good mornin, Mum!

Good morning, Bum!

Mum, could you spare a loaf of bread?

Go away, Bum, the baker is dead.

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

Well, you can keep right on walking!

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

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

Goodbye, then, Mum.

Goodbye, Bum

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


Here's some more verses from Tolbert Eldon Ashbrook

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

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

Here's some more verses from Katy Pearson
Her father, Paul Grantham, worked in the silver mines of Montana and later in an aluminum ore plant and this was a common work and drinking song.

Oh it's early in the morning,
I met a man the other day I never met before;
he asked me if I wanted a job shovelin iron ore.
I asked him what the wages were,
he said ten cents a ton. I said go shoot yourself,
I'd rather be on the bum.

Sleeping in the boxcar, I looked upon the wall.
The bed bugs and the cooties were having a game of ball.
The score was one to nothing the bed bugs were ahead,
a cootie knocked a home run and hit me in the head.

I went downstairs to breakfast the bread was stale and cold.
A weenie turned a flip flop and landed in the soup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bumb pic 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Here's another variation emailed to me by Max Lavit Rosenberg, Stratford, Connecticut
The Great American Bum
Come on you jolly jokers and listen while I hum
The story I relate to you of the Great American Bum
From the North to South To East and West
Like a swarm of bees they come
They live in the dirt and wear a shirt thats dirty and full of phlegm

Oh early in the morning when the dews on the ground
The bummer rises from his nest and gazes all around
From the boxcar to the haystack he gazes everywhere
He never turns back upon his track until he gets a square

Oh I've beaten away to Frisco to the Rockbound coast of Main
From Canada to Mexico and wandered back again
I've met Towns Crowns and Harnesbow, as tough as a cop could be
I've been in every calaboose in this land of liberty.

I've topped the spruce, I've worked the sluice
I've taken a turn at the plow
I've dug for gold in rain and cold
And worked on a river scow

I've worked the dam, I've packed the clam
I've packed the elusive prune
But my trouble was jail to get my bail
And packing my old balloon

Oh waitin in a railroad yard
Waiting for a train
Thinking of the fast express
but Thinking all in vain
Well goin' east, they're loaded,
and goin' west, sealed tight,
I reckon we'll have to ride
Aboard the fast express tonight.

(Spoken interlude) [knock! knock! knock!]
Good evenin, Mum!

Good evenin, Bum!

Mum, do you have a bite to eat?

Aye and fresh Irishman comin' home to eat it.

Mum, i've been walking all morning!

Well, you can keep right on walking!

But Mum, I've just gotten in!

Well, Bum, Just get right out again!

Goodbye, then, Mum.

Goodbye, Bum

Oh lady would you be kind enough
to give me something 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

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

Well, I met a man the other day
That I never met before
And he asked me if I wanted a job
A-shoveling iron ore.
I asked what the wages was
And he said "Ten cents a ton"
I said "Oh fella, Go screw yourself,
I'd rather be on the bum."

We are three bums, three jolly bums, We live like royal Turks
We have good luck abummin' our chuck
God bless the man that works

bumb pic 1

Here's yet another bumb song my father used to sing.
Thanks to Susan Hart of San Francisco for sending me the words and reminding me of it. Her father used to sing it, too! Also, thanks to Max Lavit Rosenberg, Stratford, Connecticut for 2 of the verses.

Hallelujah, I'm a bum
I went to the store
I asked for some bread
The lady said bum bum
the baker is dead

Chorus
Hallelujah, I'm a bum
Hallelujah bum again,
Hallelujah give us a handout
to revive us again.

I asked for a drink
I asked for some more
The lady said bum bum
You been here before

Hallelujah, I'm a bum
Hallelujah bum again,
Hallelujah give us a handout
to revive us again.


 bumb pic 1

A cute little ditty that Dad used to sing.
Thanks to Don Barrett for reminding me of it. His father is teaching it to the grandkids! Way to go Gramps!

Here I sit all broken hearted
I paid to shit but only farted.

So now and when a fart is heard,
by hope its followed by a big brown terd



Two old songs from my cousin.
(but she wishes to remain anonymous) Her dad used to sing these.
There was an old man,
Who had a wooden leg.
He didn't have no money,
And he didn't want to beg.
So he took four spools,
And an old tin can.
He called it a Ford,
And the damn thing ran!
There was a man from Boston
Who bought himself an Austin.
There was room for his ass
And a gallon of gas
And his balls drug behind and he lost'em.


All song words are copyright of their respective authors.

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