Mudcat Café message #821169 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53373   Message #821169
Posted By: Charley Noble
07-Nov-02 - 07:44 PM
Thread Name: Songs on homelessness: faith perspective
Subject: RE: Songs on homelessness: faith perspective
Hi, Sed! Long time since I met you at the Peoples Music Weekend, back in the 1980's.

Let's see "homelessness." Somewhere in the 300 or so housing and neighborhood organizing songs in my collection there should be something appropriate:

Words and music by Malvina Reynolds
1950 by Schroder Music Co.

No House

Oh, the cat has a house,
And the rat has a house,
And the dog and the mouse and the flea;
And the snail has a house,
And the whale has a house,
And they all have a house but me.


The sign on every building says:
"No children wanted here."
When I grow up the sign will say:
"Landlords kindly stay away."

Oh, the pig has a pen,
There's a coop for the hen,
And the bird has a nest in the tree;
The snake has a hole,
And so does the mole,
But there's no kind of place for me. (CHO)

Oh, the cow has a house,
And the sow has a house,
And Truman has a broad balcony;
There's hangers for planes,
Roundhouses for trains,
Garages for cars,
Taverns for bars,
And buildings for stores
With seventeen floors,
And money enough for three world wars,
But they couldn't build a house for me.

Notes to above: No House

        One of the pleasant surprises in putting together this songbook was coming across this song by Malvina Reynolds (best known for writing "Little Boxes") in a dusty copy of Sing Out! magazine. The editors introduced the song as follows:

"No House" just arrived from Los Angeles, coming as a direct response to the first issue of Sing Out! It's on the West Coast hit parade of the progressive movement, that is.

A West Coast children's chorus was formed in the early 1980's to revive this song, whose basic message on the housing shortage and discrimination against children is unfortunately as true today as it was back in 1950.

Then there's:

Words by David Arkin, Coalition for Economic Survival
Tune: traditional The Boll Weevil Song

Just Lookin' for a Home

I came to California,
I came to settle down,
I got me an apartment
On the other side of town.


Just lookin' for a home,
Just lookin' for a home;
Just lookin' for a home,
Just lookin' for a home.

I work just like a beaver
To feed the wife and kids;
High prices sure have got me down,
They put me on the skids. (CHO)

The bankers up the prices,
The landlords up the rent,
And so, between the two of them
I haven't got a cent. (CHO)
I'm down here at my wit's end,
I try to make ends meet;
That's how it is with all of us
Way up and down the street. (CHO)

We gonna get together,
To see what we can do;
They'll be no more evictions,
We'll fight before we're through. (CHO)

If anyone should ask you
Who's singin' this old song?
Just say that we're the people
And that we come on strong. (CHO)

Notes to above: Just Looking for a Home

        The "Ballad of the Boll Weevil," which folklorist Alan Lomax traced back to 1905, has been the model for many parodies dealing with housing shortages. A more recent version was composed by David Arkin and distributed in California by the Coalition for Economic Survival.

Then there's Merle Travis' "No Vacancy" from the 1940's but if you're really interested in something uplifting, I might find something in the chapter entitled "Mansions in the Sky."

Landlady's Daughter, not to be confused with Charley Noble