THE RICH MAN AND THE POOR MAN (BOB MILLER) (1932)

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By July 1932 the country had reached the depths of the Depression. The Republican Hoover administration appeared powerless in its attempts to restore social and economic normality. Two Democratic hopefuls were battling for the party's Presidential nomination: Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt. On July 28 Miller entered Victor's New York studio to record nine masters in anticipation of the 1932 campaign; two are included here. "The Rich Man and The Poor Man" is a humorous look at class differences; "The Poor Forgotten Man" typifies the mood of the era's working class.
RONALD D. COHEN & DAVE SAMUELSON, Songs For Political Action (accompanying book), Bear Family Records, 1996, p. 59

Lyrics as reprinted ibid., p. 64
© 1932

There's just two kind of people, the sinner and the saint;
There's one that gets and always got while the other poor one ain't.
Oh, the rich man drives his Lincoln past the red light with a grin,
And the poor man follows right behind in his little hunk of tin.
There's a motorcycle copper following upon their trail;
Oh, the rich man tears his ticket, but the poor man goes to jail.

Oh, the rich man takes the high road anywhere that he may go,
But when the poor man's travelin' he must always take the low.
So if you're rich you'll travel snug as peas are in the pod;
Oh, the rich man rides a cushion and the poor man rides the rods.

Oh, the rich man when he's ailing stays at home and calls the doc,
But the poor man has to go to work, be in time to punch a clock.
The rich man takes his medicine, has his doctors and his nurse;
So the rich man he gets better but the poor man he gets worse!

Oh, the rich man steals a million from the bank that he controls,
While the poor man steals a loaf of bread or a penny's worth of rolls.
They take them to the courthouse, one is laughing, one's in tears;
Oh, the rich man gets an apology while the poor man gets ten years!

Oh, the rich man gets a lawyer and the lawyer pleads his case,
While the poor man asks for sympathy but of that there is now trace.
So if you're rich don't worry but the poor must give up hope;
Oh, the rich man gets acquitted while the poor man gets the rope!

Oh, the rich man when he kicks off has a casket made of gold,
While the poor man has a wooden box and his grave looks mighty cold.
The rich man gets a sermon but here's one thing that's sure,
When the rich man takes that last long ride he's as much dead as the poor!

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