HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? (BLIND ALFRED REED) (1929)



Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

This song was recorded by Blind Alfred Reed in New York, NY, 4 Dec 1929 and released as RCA VICTOR Vi V-40236.
Manfred Helfert

Lyrics as reprinted in liner notes for "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?" Rounder 1001, 1972

There once was a time when everything was cheap,
But now prices nearly puts a man to sleep.
When we pay our grocery bill,
We just feel like making our will --
I remember when dry goods were cheap as dirt,
We could take two bits and buy a dandy shirt.
Now we pay three bucks or more,
Maybe get a shirt that another man wore --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Well, I used to trade with a man by the name of Gray,
Flour was fifty cents for a twenty-four pound bag.
Now it's a dollar and a half beside,
Just like a-skinning off a flea for the hide --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Oh, the schools we have today ain't worth a cent,
But they see to it that every child is sent.
If we don't send everyday,
We have a heavy fine to pay --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Prohibition's good if 'tis conducted right,
There's no sense in shooting a man 'til he shows flight.
Officers kill without a cause,
They complain about funny laws --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Most all preachers preach for gold and not for souls,
That's what keeps a poor man always in a hole.
We can hardly get our breath,
Taxed and schooled and preached to death --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Oh, it's time for every man to be awake,
We pay fifty cents a pound when we ask for steak.
When we get our package home,
A little wad of paper with gristle and a bone --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Well, the doctor comes around with a face all bright,
And he says in a little while you'll be all right.
All he gives is a humbug pill,
A dose of dope and a great big bill --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

TO TOP OF PAGE
TO 1920s & 1930s PAGE
TO AMERICAN HISTORY IN SONG PAGE
TO STARTING PAGE

You can email me at
manfredh@mainz.netsurf.de