Cisco Houston Web Site

The Songs He Sang

Great American Bum: Lyrics

As performed by Cisco Houston

Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock

Appears on:
Come all you jolly jokers
If you want to have some fun,
And listen while I relate the tale
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 they wear a shirt
That's dirty and full of crumb.

I am a bum, a jolly old bum
And I live like a royal Turk
And I have good luck
And I bum all my chuck
And to heck with the man that works

It's early in the morning
When the dew is on the ground,
The bum arises from his nest
And gazes all around,
Well goin' east, they're loaded,
and goin' west, sealed tight,
I reckon we'll have to ride
Aboard the fast express tonight.


I beat my way from Frisco
To the rockbound coast of Maine
From Canada to Mexico
And then all the way back again.

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 scratch your...neck,
I'd rather be on the 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 my appetite.
For really I'm so hungry
Don't know where I'll sleep tonight.


Of note:

Big Rock Candy Mountain is another song composed by the same songwriter. See Here for a heap of alternate versions.

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