Woody Guthrie is a big hero of mine. I discovered him when I was fourteen through a girlfriend of mine who was into Donovan. Her brother was into Big Bill Broonzy and Woody Guthrie.
Woody not only sang the songs but lived the life too. He stood for the type of things I stand for – fairness, justice and equality – and he fought against prejudice, racism and nastiness.
Unfortunately in life there are a number of people who are so mean minded that they can only go around tearing people down. They spend their time looking to cause trouble and express their nastiness. That’s the only way they can get they pleasure. Life has twisted them up and turned all the good in them sour. What is left is a bitter rancid husk that lives only to turn all that is sweet acid, all that is happy sad and try to rain on every event. If they can do someone harm they will. If they find someone in need they laugh at them. They are sad, sorry people who are a vexation and liability to themselves and all around them. Something poisoned them – abuse, fear, hatred. It turned them into the slimy monsters of walking arrogance.
Woody recognised these twisted individuals and wrote a song for them. Trust him to bring humour to bear on such detritus.
This one’s for all who deserve it.
Mean Talkin’ Blues
I’m the meanest man that ever had a brain,
All I scatter is aches and pains.
I’m carbolic acid, and a poison face,
And I stand flat-footed in favor of crime and disgrace.
If I ever done a good deed — I’m sorry of it.
I’m mean in the East, mean in the West,
Mean to the people that I like the best.
I go around a-causin’ lot of accidents,
And I push folks down, and I cause train wrecks.
I’m a big disaster — just goin’ somewhere’s to happen.
I’m an organized famine — studyin’ now I can be a little bit meaner.
I’m still a whole lot too good to suit myself — just mean…
I ride around on the subway trains,
Laughin’ at the tight shoes dealin’ you pain.
And I laugh when the car shakes from side to side,
I laugh my loudest when other people cry.
Can’t help it — I was born good, I guess,
Just like you or anybody else —
But then I… just turned off mean..
I hate ev’rybody don’t think like me,
And I’d rather see you dead than I’d ever see you free.
Rather see you starved to death
Than see you at work —
And I’m readin’ all the books I can
To learn how to hurt —
Daily Misery — spread diseases,
Keep you without no vote,
Keep you without no union.
Well, I hurt when I see you gettin’ ‘long so well,
I’d ten times rather see you in the fires of hell.
I can’t stand to fixed… see you there all fixed up in that house so nice,
I’d rather keep you in that rotten hole, with the bugs and the lice,
And the roaches, and the termites,
And the sand fleas, and the tater bugs,
And the grub worms, and the stingarees,
And the tarantulas, and the spiders, childs of the earth,
The ticks and the blow-flies —
These is all of my little angels
That go ’round helpin’ me do the best parts of my meanness.
Well, I used to be a pretty fair organized feller,
Till I turned a scab and then I turned off yeller,
Fought ev’ry union with teeth and toenail,
And I sprouted a six-inch stinger right in the middle of the tail,
And I growed horns…
And then I cut ’em off, I wanted to fool you.
I hated union ever’where,
‘Cause God likes unions
And I hate God!
Well, if I can get the fat to hatin’ the lean
That’d tickle me more than anything I’ve seen,
Then get the colors to fightin’ one another,
And friend against friend, and brother… and sister against brother,
That’ll be just it.
Everybody’s brains a-boilin’ in turpentine,
And their teeth fallin’ out all up and down the streets,
That’ll just suit me fine.
‘Cause I hate ever’thing that’s union,
And I hate ever’thing that’s organized,
And I hate ever’thing that’s planned,
And I love to hate and I hate to love!
I’m mean, I’m just mean…