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How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

Blind Alfred Reed
Lingua: Inglese

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[1929]

Blind Alfred Reed, a destra, con il violinista Fred Pendleton nel 1927.
Blind Alfred Reed, a destra, con il violinista Fred Pendleton nel 1927.


Una canzone che descrive bene il periodo della Grande Depressione, seguita al crollo della borsa di Wall Street nell’ottobre del 1929, che ebbe fra le sue cause – per usare il linguaggio degli economisti – la cattiva distribuzione del reddito (= la guerra che aveva devastato e impoverito il mondo era stata una manna per pochi che erano diventati ricchi sfondati), la cattiva struttura del sistema bancario (= ieri come oggi le banche sono strumenti dell’oppressione e della criminalità organizzata) e l’eccesso di prestiti a carattere speculativo ( = uno dei sistemi da sempre in voga per impoverire ulteriormente i poveracci ed arricchire sempre di più gli squali). E - ieri come oggi - la naturale e sacrosanta protesta di chi è stato privato di tutto è duramente repressa dagli sgherri dei potenti, mentre quelli ingrassano all’ombra dei troni, delle dominazioni e degli altari…
Insomma, la solita “Guerre de Cent Mille Ans que les riches mènent avec acharnement contre les pauvres”, come direbbe il nostro Marco Valdo M.I.

“How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?” è stata poi in seguito proposta da diversi artisti, come The New Lost City Ramblers, Ry Cooder e Bruce Springsteen. Quest’ultimo l’ha riscritta completamente, conservando soltanto un verso dell’originale, dedicandola a quanto successe in Louisiana nel 2005 quando il governo di Bush Jr., troppo impegnato nelle sue guerre in giro per il mondo, lasciò annegare gli abitanti di New Orleans travolta dall’uragano Katrina.
There once was a time when everything was cheap,
But now prices nearly puts a man to sleep.
When we pay our grocery bill,
We just feel like making our will --
I remember when dry goods were cheap as dirt,
We could take two bits and buy a dandy shirt.
Now we pay three bucks or more,
Maybe get a shirt that another man wore --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Well, I used to trade with a man by the name of Gray,
Flour was fifty cents for a twenty-four pound bag.
Now it's a dollar and a half beside,
Just like a-skinning off a flea for the hide --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Oh, the schools we have today ain't worth a cent,
But they see to it that every child is sent.
If we don't send everyday,
We have a heavy fine to pay --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Prohibition's good if 'tis conducted right,
There's no sense in shooting a man 'til he shows flight.
Officers kill without a cause,
They complain about funny laws --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Most all preachers preach for gold and not for souls,
That's what keeps a poor man always in a hole.
We can hardly get our breath,
Taxed and schooled and preached to death --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Oh, it's time for every man to be awake,
We pay fifty cents a pound when we ask for steak.
When we get our package home,
A little wad of paper with gristle and a bone --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

Well, the doctor comes around with a face all bright,
And he says in a little while you'll be all right.
All he gives is a humbug pill,
A dose of dope and a great big bill --
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?

inviata da Alessandro - 16/4/2010 - 09:32




Lingua: Inglese

La versione di Bruce Springsteen, da “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - American Land Edition”, 2006.

bigeasybigempty-ins1
HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE

Well the doctor comes 'round here with his face all bright
And he says "in a little while you'll be alright"
All he gives is a humbug pill, a dose of dope and a great big bill
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

"Me and my old school pals had some mighty high times down here
And what happened to you poor black folks, well it just ain't fair"
He took a look around, gave a little pep talk, said "I'm with you" then he took a little walk
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

There's bodies floatin' on Canal and the levees gone to Hell
Martha, get me my sixteen gauge and some dry shells
Them who's got got out of town and them who ain't got left to drown
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

Go ahead!

Got family scattered from Texas all the way to Baltimore
Yeah and I ain't got no home in this world no more
Gonna be a judgment that's a fact, a righteous train rollin' down this track
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

inviata da Alessandro - 16/4/2010 - 09:35




Lingua: Italiano

La versione di Bill Adair

2008
Along The Miners' Rows
miner's row

“(Along The Miners' Rows) summon(s) up and celebrate(s) the rich cultural history of central Scotland’s now-vanished mining communities”
The Herald

HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE?

Well the preacher come round here with his face all bright.
He told me in a little while it’ll be alright.
But all he gave me was a humbug pill,
A dose of pity and a great big bill,
How can a poor man stand such times and live?

He said he could remember when he used to play down there.
What happened to you mining people well it’s just not fair.
He took a look around and he breathed a sigh,
He said what a shame men had to die,
How can a poor man stand such times and live?

There are women and children crying all round the square.
Already some families are moving away from there.
The mine won’t open like it did before,
So there’s no work here anymore,
How can a poor man stand such times and live?

I got a brother in Australia who said I should go out there.
But I know I’ll never feel settled down anywhere.
I borrowed some money for to pay my way,
But I’ll have nothing when I hit the bay
How can a poor man stand such times and live?

Now I’ve got some time left here before I go.

My case is packed and sitting outside the door.
I’ll get paid off on down the line,
But till that time I’ll work the mine,
How can a poor man stand such times and live?

16/12/2019 - 16:12



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