Mudcat Café message #802611 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49292   Message #802611
Posted By: wysiwyg
14-Oct-02 - 12:56 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: The Old Age Pension Check (Roy Acuff)
Subject: Lyr Add: WHEN OUR OLD AGE PENSION CHECK COMES...
From Masato's link above, http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/oldage.html:

"Roy Acuff ran for governor of Tennessee in 1948, but his music has been decidedly apolitical. "Old Age Pension Check" comes as close as any of his songs to taking a political stance, though in this instance, comedy rather than serious commentary is the intention. The number lampoons the New Deal's Social Security 'utopia,' in which everybody will get fat pension checks.... Old folks may claim a pension merely by sending a dime to Washington, Roy concludes sardonically -- and prophetically, in view of the troubles the Social Security system began to experience 40 years later." John W. Rumble, liner notes for 'Country & Western Classics -- Roy Acuff,' Time-Life Records, 1983, p. 20

"I bought this number from a boy that lived in Knoxville, and as far as I know, he wrote it. I can't remember his name at the present time. Some people resented the song, but it still sold well. Songs like this are not received one hundred percent. There are some words in it that are a little touchy for some people: 'Send your dime to Washington -- get on relief.' It was more of a comedy song for me, but it was taken a little bit politically by some." Roy Acuff, Interview, Nashville, TN, 8 Sep 1973; reprinted in Dorothy Horstman, Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy, New York, NY, 1976, p. 251


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Additional historical detail appears in Abby Sale's post below:

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Age Pension Check
Abby Sale
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 09:21 AM


Note that these issues referred to the height of the Depression when so ma[n]y, especially the elderly, were starving and homeless. Many that actually had pensions were wiped out by the cruelties and chicaneries of the stock market. (Sound familiar?)

Dr Edward Townsend announced the Old Age Revolving Pensions Plan on 1/1/1934. It was seen as a literal life saver to many and in 1934 Manny Stone of California wrote "When Our Old Age Pension Check Comes to Our Door."

When our old age pension check comes to our door
We won't have to skimp and worry any more,
Every heart will laugh and sing
We'll all dance the Highland Fling
When our old age pension check comes to our door.
Take a lesson from the lark and learn to sing
The word "depression" soon won't mean a thing
Times are surely getting better day by day
When the Townsend Plan goes through we'll be ok.

As it occurred, the more comprehensive Social Security Act finally went into effect the next year making Townsend obsolete but the Townsend scheme apparently had some distinct advantages and retained supporters for several years.

Acuff's 1939, better known version is a lampoon of the original. A lifelong Republican, Acuff would have seen the Plan with suspicion at best.

(See Songs of War and History, Library of Congress LP, 1978.)

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Visit Rose the Record Lady to hear a version by the Sons of the Pioneers, on archive page 13. It's a little different from previously-posted (and harvested) versions. There are new verses, verses that differ slightly, and verses missing that do appear in other versions. It would be nice to nail down the order in which they were done.

I have not heard the other versions for tune comparison, but in this version there are three melodies-- a main melody on the verses (regular type below) and two alternate melodies (italic type below). One is used to to introduce the verses and the other is used to break the verses up into pairs.

This one makes some really delightful predictions about the effect the new pension plan will have. *G*

Listen closely to the verses-- you can almost hear some of them singing "when our old age pension check comes THROUGH the door" in several places.

~Susan

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WHEN OUR OLD AGE PENSION CHECK COMES TO THE DOOR
As sung by the Sons of the Pioneers

Intro:
We've all had our troubles; troubles made us blue.
Been runnin' around in circles, not knowin' what to do.
We've all had to worry; worry made us sad.
But soon we'll have no worries, and soon we'll all be glad.


1. When our old age pension check comes to our door,
We won't have to skimp and worry any more.
Every dog can have a bone, every kid an ice cream cone,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

2. When our old age pension check comes to our door,
We won't have to eat hamburger anymore!
There'll be liver for the cat, now she's lean but she'll be fat,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

Interlude:
Take a dose of laughing gas and learn to smile,
We'll all be rolling in the clover after awhile.
Thank the Lord we're growing older day by day!
When those pension checks arrive, we'll be OK.


3. Oh, when our old age pension check comes to our door,
We won't have to eat baloney any more.
Every man can have a steak, every kid a tummy ache,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

4. When our old age pension check comes to her door,
Dear old gramma won't be lonesome any more.
They'll be waiting at her gate, every night she'll have a date.
When her old age pension check comes to her door.

Interlude:
Grow a flowing, long, white beard and wear a cane;
Because you've reached your second childhood, don't complain.
Life will just begin at sixty, so be gay--
When that pension plan goes through we'll be OK.


5. Oh, when our old age pension check comes to our door,
Every kid will love his gramma even more;
Mother-in-laws who are old won't be locked out in the cold,
When our old age pension check comes to our door.

6. When our old age pension check comes to our door,
Every girl will chose a grampa to adore.
How the wedding bells will ring, ripe old age will be the thing,
When our old age pension check comes to our door!