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Poor Man, Rich Man, song lyrics

Song: Poor Man, Rich Man (Cotton Mill Colic No. 2)
Lyrics: Dave McCarn(3)

Music: Dave McCarn
Year: 1930(1)
Country: USA

Let me tell you people something that's true,
When you work in the mill I'll tell you what you have to do.
You're up in the morning before daylight,
You labor all day till it gets night.
You work a few days, get pale in the face
From standing so long in the same damn place.
'Long comes the boss as hard as he can tear,
He wants you to think he's a grizzly bear.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
Let the poor man live and the rich man bust.

When you go to dinner you'll have to run
Or they'll blow the whistle before you're done.
Payday comes, you won't have a penny
When you pay your bills 'cos you got so many.
Sometimes you hear a noise like a pecker of wood
But it's only fellas trying to sell their goods.
Merchants they are just about grey
From studying how to get the poor man's pay.
This song was originally posted on

Now some people run the millman down,
But the cotton mill people make the world go round.
They take a little drink, have a little fun,
When everything's finished they rake out the mun(2).
Now I left the mountains when I was a strip,
Never will forget that awful trip.
I walked all the way behind an apple wagon,
When I got to town, people, my pants were a-dragging.
This song was originally posted on

When wintertime comes there's hell to pay
When you see the boss you'll have to say,
"I want a load of wood, a ton of coal,
Take a dollar a week or I'll go in the hole."
You'll have to buy groceries in some chain store
'Cos you can't afford to pay anymore,
If you don't starve I'm a son of a gun
'Cos you can't buy beans without any mun.



1 - On Victor 23506, November 19, 1930

2 - "mun" that is, "money".

3 - A biography of Dave McCarn by Patrick Huber, from Old Hat records, that sells re-releases of songs like this.