Mudcat Café message #2650323 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #102273   Message #2650323
Posted By: Joe_F
06-Jun-09 - 09:50 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Buddy Can you Spare a Dime - who was Al?
Subject: RE: Origins: Who was Al in Buddy Can you Spare a Dime
The people quoting the song in this thread, and most of those dredged up by Google, make it "_they_ called me Al". However, the DigiTrad, _Rise Up Singing_, and a fair number of Google hits make it "_you_ called me Al", and that seems to me more likely to be the original.

In that last stanza, we are to imagine (I have always thought) that the singer, reduced to beggary, has happened on an former friend (army buddy, more likely than not), in view of the preceding stanza) & asked *him* for a dime. The friend used to call him Al because they were on first-name terms, but now he pretends not to recognize him. As Mr Jimmy Cox put it some years earlier, nobody knows you when you're down and out.