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That Greedy Landlord, song lyrics

Song: That Greedy Landlord
Lyrics: Karl Fred Dallas

Music: to the tune of the 19th century Irish ballad "Bold Turpin Hero"
Year: 1960
Genre: Folk
Origin: England

In the month of July, in the year of fifty four,
There were slates off the roof, there were holes in the floor;
There were rats in the cellar and we didn't have a cent,
When the landlord came and told us he was putting up the rent.

Oh, that greedy landlord,
Oh, that landlord, oh!

Well, he said it was a pity and it really was a shame,
That he couldn't spare a copper for the mending of the drain,
And the paint was so expensive that we ought to lend a hand,
And pay a little extra to the man who owns the land.
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He promised to be faithful and he promised to be true;
He promised that he'd make our little house as good as new;
Folks would come to see it from miles around,
If we'd pay a little extra to the man who owns the ground.


Will you mend the broken windows, replace the lock upon the door?
And will you tell the carpenter to lay another floor?
Will you make the house a place where decent folks can live,
If we pay a little extra in the rent we've got to give?
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Your rent is going up, he said, there's nothing you can do;
And as for your suggestions, here's the best of luck to you;
You'll be lucky if I give repairs a solitary thought,
Unless you've got the cash to take it to the County Court.


So we talked the matter over with the people down the road;
We began to pull together for to share the heavy load,
And we formed a street committee and we gave the thing a thought,
And a thousand angry tenants took him to the County Court.
This song was originally posted on

Now a landlord makes a living out of sponging on the poor,
And every week he takes them for a hundred pounds or more,
But he couldn't spare the money for solicitors and such,
So he settled out of court because it didn't cost as much.


Here's a health to everyone of you who earns your weekly rent;
Bad luck to every landlord and the landlord's government;
Good luck to everyone of you who wants to lend a hand,
To speed the time that's coming when the people own the land.

Bye, bye, greedy landlord,
Bye, bye, greedy landlord, oh!


1 - Karl Fred Dallas biography from Wikipedia.

2 - Transcribed from, Songs for the Sixties, by Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, by the Workers' Music Association, London, England, 1961.