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Ballad of the Landlord, song lyrics

Song: Ballad of the Landlord
Poem: Langston Hughes (1)

Music: Ray Kamalay (1981)
Year: circa 1927 (in Harlem)
Country: USA

Landlord, Landlord, my roof has sprung a leak.
Don't you remember I told you about it way last week?
Landlord, Landlord, these steps is broken down.
When you come yourself, it's a wonder you don't fall down.

Ten bucks you say I owe you? Ten bucks you say is due?
Well, that's ten bucks mor'n I'll pay you,
Till you fix this house up new.
What? You gonna get eviction orders? You gonna cut off my heat?
You gonna take my furniture and throw it in the street?
This song was originally posted on
Um-huh! You talking high and mighty, talk on - till you get through.
You ain't gonna be able to say a word if I land my fist on you.
"Police! Police! Come and get this man.
He's trying to ruin the government and overturn the land."

Copper's whistle, patrol bell, arrest.
Precinct Station. Iron Cell. Headlines in the Press:
"Man Threatens Landlord, Tenant Held No Bail.
Judge Give Negro 90 Days In County Jail."


1 - This is likely James Mercer Langston Hughes