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Talking Rent Blues, song lyrics

Song: Talking Rent Blues
Lyrics: Anonymous

Music: to the tune of the "Talking Union"
Year: c. 1976
Genre: Talking Blues
Country: USA

Now if you wanna keep your rent down,
There's just one thing to do,
Gotta talk to the folks in the building with you,
Gotta build you a union and make it strong,
If y'all stick together, well it wont be long,
you get lower rents, better living conditions,
And if you decide to leave, your security deposit!

Now it won't be easy, but it's gotta be done,
Visit all the tenants one by one;
Invite all your neighbors over for tea,
When you talk about rents, they'll all agree,
Yep, they're all for it.
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Better living conditions are your right,
Running hot water with heat all night;
Ridding those pests, those roaches and rats,
Sealing old windows and stuff like that.

But to solve those problems, ya got to fight it,
Gotta talk it over and stand united;
"He" won't listen when one of you squawks,
But he's got to listen when the union talks,
Be'd better, or be might lonely come rent day.
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Your absentee landlord has no ears,
Just a name on a billboard, out-of-town profiteer;
He'll pass on to the tenants all his expenses,
Taxes and inflation, and fuel adjustments,
Damn bureaucrats.

He'll croon his tune that's he's goin' broke,
And we all know that outrageous joke;
He'll use your rent for a car or yacht,
No, he don't give a damn if you got a pot
To cook in.
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Now your roof falls in and your pipes get stuck,
You might start thinkin' you're plumb outta luck!
Especially when you're down to your last buck,
But you can always start singing "Repair & Deduct"(1)
Money talks, money swears.

There's just one thing to bear in mind,
Gotta keep your vigilance all the time;
Outta town slumlords got no respect,
They pass on expenses and keep you in debt;
All of which, I guess, just goes to show,
The biggest robberies are made with a fountain pen,
you know.

For out in New York City, here's what we find,
And out is Boston, her's what we find,
And out in San Francisco, here's what we find,
And out in Detroit City, here's what we find;
That if you don't let redbaiting break you up,
If you don't let stool pigeons break you up,
If youdon't let legal harrassment break you up,
And if you work like Hell and stand united,
You'll win - what I mean is tak it easy,
But take it!


1 - "Repair & deduct" is a reference to tenants paying for the repairs themselves and then deducting those bills from the rent (which is no longer legal in many jurisdictions).