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Mean Talking Blues, song lyrics

Song: Mean Talking Blues (Talking Meanness)
Lyrics: Woody Guthrie(1)(2)

Year: 1945(1)
Genre: Folk
Country: USA

Well, I'm the meanest man; I never had a brain,
All I scatter is aches and pains.
I'm carbolic acid, and a poison face,
And I stand flat-footed in favor of crime and disgrace.
If I ever done a good deed, I'm sorry of it.

I'm mean in the East, mean in the West,
Mean to the people that I like the best.
I go around a-causin' lot of accidents,
And I push folks around, and I cause train wrecks.
I'm a big disaster, just a-goin' somewhere to happen.
I'm an organized famine, studyin' now I can be a little bit meaner.
This song was originally posted on
Everybody in this world looks mean to me,
There's nothing put here good on Earth that I can see,
Stealing nickels off of dead people's eyes,
And I spend them trying to learn how to get a little wiser.
Be a little meaner;
I'm still too good to suit myself.
Mean, that's all; Just plain old mean.

I ride around on the subway trains,
Laughing at the tight shoes dealin' you pain.
And I laugh when the car shakes from side to side,
And I laugh my loudest when other people cry.
I just can't help it I guess,
I was born good, Just like you...
But I turned off mean.
This song was originally posted on
I hate everybody don't think like me,
And I'd rather see you dead, than ever see you free.
I'd rather see you starved to death, than see you at work,
And I'm readin' all I can now, to learn how to hurt,
Deal misery, spread diseases,
Keep you without no vote,
Keep you without no union.

I hurt when I see you gettin' long so well,
I'd ten times rather see you in the fires of Hell.
I couldn't stand to see you in a house fixed nice,
I'd like to keep you in that rotten hole there, all full of bugs and lice,
Roaches, turnamights, sand fleas, tater bugs, grub worms, stingarees,
Vinegarones, tarantulas, spiders, childs of the earth, ticks and blow-flies,
These is all of my little angels,
Help me do the best parts of my meanness. And mosquiters...
This song was originally posted on
Well, I used to be a pretty nice feller,
But I turned a scab(3) and then I turned yeller,
Fought ev'ry union with teeth and toenail,
And I sprouted a six-inch stinger right in my tail,
And I growed horns; Cut 'em off, I wanted to fool you.
I hate union everywhere,
Because God likes unions,
And I hate God!

Well, if I can get the fat to hating the lean,
That'd tickle me more than anything I've seen.
And then get the colors to fightin' one another,
Friend against friend, and sister agin' brother.
That'll be it.
The stripied against the polkie-dots!
That'll be just it.
Everybody's brains a-boilin' in turpentine,
And their teeth falling out all up and down the sidewalks.
That'll just suit me.
I ain't no union man,
Because I hate everything that's organized and planned.
I love to hate and I hate to love!
I'm mean, just mean, that's all, just plain old mean.


1 - Transcribed, December 2011 from the Asch Recordings - Hard Travelin.

2 - Woody Guthrie biography.

3 - "Scab" or strike breaker.