ELEVEN CENT COTTON, FORTY CENT MEAT

(BOB MILLER) (1932)

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Miller recorded many of his songs himself, sometimes under his own name, but more often under various pseudonyms for different recording companies. His most interesting sides attacked the government and big business as the source of many workers' woes.... Miller's most famous song in this genre was Eleven Cent Cotton, Forty Cent Meat. He recorded it in various formats. Miller talked his way through a two-part, six-minute version for Columbia; the version included here, made for Crown in 1932, was accompanied by Clayton McMichen's band.

RONALD D. COHEN & DAVE SAMUELSON, Songs For Political Action (accompanying book), Bear Family Records, 1996, pp. 58-59.

Lyrics as reprinted ibid., p. 63.
© 1932

'leven cent cotton used to wrinkle my brow,
But, oh good Lord, look what it's at now!
We've gone in debt way past our ears,
Ain't had a square meal in the last four years!
Ain't felt no money in such a long time,
I'd feel that I was rich if I had a thin dime!
There's no use talkin' any man's beat
With five cent cotton and forty cent meat!

Five cent cotton and forty cent meat,
How in the hell can a poor man eat?
Votin' time is comin', and just watch us all,
You can bet your hide there'll be a change somewhere this fall!
Past four years have been mighty bad,
Had to tighten up our belts and our clothes look sad.
There's no use talkin' any man's beat
With five cent cotton and forty cent meat!

Five cent cotton and forty cent meat,
How in the hell can a poor man eat?
Just look me over and you can see
That a good square meal is gonna kill poor me!
In Washington they eat the corn while we get the cob,
But after next election someone will be lookin' for a job!
There's no use talkin' any man's beat
With five cent cotton and forty cent meat!

Five cent cotton and forty cent meat,
How in the hell can a poor man eat?
The folks up in Washington are fat and full
While we've been starvin' on promises and bull!
And wasn't we promised a dinner pail?
But the only thing that's full is our county jail!
There's no use talkin' any man's beat
With five cent cotton and forty cent meat!

Five cent cotton and forty cent meat,
How in the hell can a poor man eat?
The harder we work the less we have;
We know the farm relief has been a lot of salve!
When our clothes wear out we'll all go nude,
But what are we gonna substitute instead of food?
There's no use talkin' any man's beat
With five cent cotton and forty cent meat!

Ain't no use a-talkin', we're gonna make a change,
There's always a liniment for every mangy.
The liniment for hard times is castin' my vote
And gettin' rid of them who rocks the boat.
We've all been fools, when times were good
But now we gotta think as we should!
There's no use talkin' any man's beat
With five cent cotton that's impossible to eat!

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