THE OLD AGE PENSION CHECK (ROY ACUFF) (1939)

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Roy Acuff ran for governor of Tennessee in 1948, but his music has been decidedly apolitical. "Old Age Pension Check" comes as close as any of his songs to taking a political stance, though in this instance, comedy rather than serious commentary is the intention. The number lampoons the New Deal's Social Security 'utopia,' in which everybody will get fat pension checks.... Old folks may claim a pension merely by sending a dime to Washington, Roy concludes sardonically -- and prophetically, in view of the troubles the Social Security system began to experience 40 years later.
John W. Rumble, liner notes for "Country & Western Classics -- Roy Acuff," Time-Life Records, 1983, p. 20

I bought this number from a boy that lived in Knoxville, and as far as I know, he wrote it. I can't remember his name at the present time. Some people resented the song, but it still sold well. Songs like this are not received one hundred percent. There are some words in it that are a little touchy for some people: 'Send your dime to Washington -- get on relief.' It was more of a comedy song for me, but it was taken a little bit politically by some.
Roy Acuff, Interview, Nashville, TN, 8 Sep 1973; reprinted in Dorothy Horstman, Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy, New York, NY, 1976, p. 251

Recorded by Roy Acuff & His Smoky Mountain Boys, Memphis, TN, 5 Jul 1939
© 1962 Acuff-Rose Publications, Inc.
Lyrics as reprinted in Dorothy Horstman, Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy, New York, NY, 1976, pp. 251-252

When our old age pension check comes to our door,
We won't have to dread the poor house anymore.
Though we're old and thin and gray,
Good times will be back to stay,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

When her old age pension check comes to her door,
Dear old grandma won't be lonesome any more.
She'll be waiting at the gate,
Every night she'll have a date,
When her old age pension check comes to her door.

Grow a flowing long white beard and use a cane,
'Cause you're in your second childhood, don't complain.
Life will just begin at sixty,
We'll all feel very frisky,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

Powder and paint will be abolished on that day,
And hoop skirts will then be brought back into play.
Painted cheeks will be the rage,
And old maids will tell their age,
When their old age pension check comes to their door.

All the drug stores will go bankrupt on that day,
For cosmetics, they will all be put away.
I'll put a flapper on the shelf,
Get a grandma for myself,
When her old age pension check comes to her door.

There's a man that turned this country upside-down
With his old age pension rumor going 'round.
If you want in on the fun,
Send your dime to Washington,
And that old age pension man will be around.

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