Ain't It a Pity?

by Sam Steffen

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released July 31, 2016

Thanks to Nathan Steffen for the album art.



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Sam Steffen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Track Name: Tom Joad's Promise
Hey ma, wake up it’s me, it’s your boy, Tom Joad
I’d love to but I can’t stay long, I’ve gotta hit the road
In the morning they’ll be lookin for me high up and down low
Cops from every county from Salinas to Frisco

But I only got a minute here so I won’t make this long
I ain’t always done the right thing, hell, sometimes I been wrong
But as long as I am gonna be an outlaw from now on
Wherever there’s a stone unturned, hereby, I swear—

I will be there, I will be there
Wherever you can go to think some lonesome thought
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

I’m ingredient to humankind, a partial to the whole
Tho I walk upon the stage of life I play a minor role
I am portion to the giant universal human soul
Which exists within everybody everywhere

So I’ll be there when you’re weary, when you’re lonesome and afraid
When the delivery of all that you’ve been promised aint been made
When there ain’t no superhero to come rushin to your aid
When you got everything to lose and no time to spare

I will be there, I will be there
When the road becomes too narrow and the wilderness too broad
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

I will be in every crevice of this bright world that’s gone dark
I will be in every desperate hallow achin broken heart
Long after its all over and well before it starts
Anyplace that folks can’t go or just don’t dare

Wherever there’s a stranger sayin I’m too young to die
Wherever there’s a prayer that’s bein prayed up to the sky
Wherever there’s an angry cop just beatin up some guy
And the fight just don’t seem justified nor fair

I will be there, I will be there
So the one’s that go unseen unheard won’t be forgot
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

Wherever fights’re brewin up so that hungry folks can eat
Wherever there’s a cry for revolution in the street
Wherever there’s a stranger who ain’t marchin to the beat
Who repels his last companion as he draws a stare

In the way that guys start yelling when they’re stark raving mad
In the sighin folks’re doing who’ve lost everything they’ve had
In the singin and the laughin of the children when they’re glad
In the cryin and the quiet of when they’re scared

I will be there, I will be there
In the worry of the guilty ones that ain’t yet been caught
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there so help me God

I guess I’d better go now, ma, cause soon it will be dawn
I’d just like to say I’m sorry for all the screwing up I done
But just cause I ain’t here no more it doesn’t mean I’m gone
I will be with you on every step of every stair

Tomorrow when they come for me, you tell em I was here
Tell em that you saw me but that you didn’t see me clear
Tell em I’m the echo that’s been whispering in your ear
Tell em if they’re looking for me anywhere

I will be there, I will be there
Wherever someone’s lonesome in a stranded spot
I will be there, I will be there
Wherever folks are thirsty and can’t find a drop
Wherever there’s a road that ain’t been tried or trod
Wherever I am wanted pursued or sought
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God
Track Name: The Ballad of Trayvon Martin
Come mothers and fathers, come sisters and brothers
Lend an ear to the stories they’re telling
Of the neighborhood watchman in the Florida town
Who shot and killed Trayvon Martin

O, the time it was night and the evening was cold
And the month it was late February
Trayvon Martin at only seventeen years old
Too young for an obituary

On his way back home from a convenience store
Through the yards of his neighbors was walkin
George Zimmerman spied him while making his rounds
And made a call down to the station

“HQ, HQ,” mister Zimmerman said,
“This is nightwatchman Zimmerman calling,
I have just spied a suspicious black male
In our gated community walking—

“How shall I proceed, shall I make an arrest
Shall I follow and see where he takes me?
Could this be the man whom we’ve been looking for
Who committed those robberies lately?”

“Well this is HQ,” the headquarters said,
“To nightwatchman Zimmerman calling,
Do not pursue—repeat—do not pursue,
For you haven’t the grounds to suspect him.”

“Ten four, ten four,” mister Zimmerman said,
But he pulled up to roll slowly by him,
And when the young man saw the slow patrol car
He took off a fearfully runnin

“No grounds? No grounds?” mister Zimmerman thought
“If there’s no grounds then why is he running?”
And quick as a flash he leapt out of his car
Bringing his handgun with him

Well over a fence and through the back yards
The armed nightwatchman chased Trayvon Martin
A distance in excess of one hundred yards
Til he finally cornered and caught him

O down, O down to the ground they did fall
The ground where they both had been standing
Trayvon to fight for his life gainst the man
The man for to somehow subdue him

“Submit, submit!” mister Zimmerman cried
“Submit and throw down your weapon!”
“I will not submit!” Trayvon Martin replied,
“For I’m unarmed and I haven’t done nothing!”

And as the two fought on the ground in the dark
A gunshot rang out clear as crystal
Trayvon Martin had been shot through the chest
At close range by Zimmerman’s pistol

Come mothers and fathers, come sisters and brothers
Lend an ear to the stories they’re telling
Of the neighborhood watchman in the Florida town
Who shot and killed Trayvon Martin

For a day and a night the body went without name
As he was when his mother had birthed him
Until a call came from his father at home
Saying that his son had been missing

O down, o down to the morgue he was called
To see if this was his son who’d been missing
“O, God, it’s him!” his bereaved father cried,
“That’s the body of Trayvon Martin,”

“My son, my son, O Trayvon, my son—”
His poor mother cried, nearly wild,
“He wasn’t no symbol, didn’t die for no cause,
He was only my baby, my child,

“And what did he do, for what was he killed,
For wearing dark clothes and a hoodie?
Is it just me or does it still feel
Like it’s a crime to be black in this country?”

Well charges were pressed and a trial was set
And a jury was formed all at random
And of the twelve who were chosen to serve,
There wasn’t one black face among them

“The defendant, George Zimmerman,” the prosecution declared,
“He is getting away here with murder,
How can you defend a defender of peace
Who says shoot first and ask questions later?”

“Yes, that was my gun, I fired that round,”
George Zimmerman finally admitted
But despite all the facts in the end he was found
Not guilty and was fully acquitted

The defense lawyers claimed he had just stood his ground
And no evidence showed the contrary
Trayvon Martin by then for more than a year
Neath six feet of ground had lain buried

And for all you who say that here justice was done,
Here is something for you to consider
When a nightwatchman shoots and unarmed black man to death
They do not define it as murder

Come judges, come kings, come you counselors on down
Who maintain the law’s fair and equal
Come look what they done in a florida town
And say it would be the same for all people
Track Name: Ain't It a Pity?
I went down to the chapel last easter morning,
Hadn’t been for a while, it seemed like a good time
I was counting on hearing a beautiful sermon
By the preacher there who’s an old friend of mine

I’s a few minutes late, the service was crowded
An usher escorted me into my seat
Soon as I had sat down the sermon had started,
The next thing that I knew, I had fell fast asleep

And while I was sleepin while the preacher was preachin
A most peculiar vision visited me
I dreamt that the person sittin beside me
Was none other than jesus of old galilee

Well he put out his hand, and he said, “Nice to meet you,”
There wasn’t no halo hangin over his head
He looked old and tired and he smelled sorta pungent
As you’d imagine a man who just came back from the dead

He wanted to know if I’d show him around some
And keep him a secret, he didn’t want to be seen
I agreed to his terms and he asked what the date was
I said, “It’s easter Sunday, 2014”

It occurred to me then just what jesus was in for
Having never set foot within our day and age
He’d probably never seen a car or an airplane
Or watched a television or read the sportspage

Well out of the church we two then proceeded
While the preacher in the pulpit was left carryin on
I asked old jesus what he thought of the sermon
He said he thought it had gone on too long

We stepped outside into the city
Where the wind blew a newspaper right up to our feet
Jesus picked it up and he started to readin,
And the words that he said, he was bound to repeat, he said:

Aint it a pity? Aint it a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
There’s still wars bein fought, there’s still people in chains
Aint it a pitiful shame?
Well we walked for a while through the slums and the alleys
Jesus took it all in like he’d seen it before
Healing the sick, feeding the hungry
Helping the needy, the grievin, the poor

Somehow or other we made it to wall-street
Where we stood out like bums at a rich folks’ parade
Jesus pulled on the coat-tails of a shiny tuxedo
Asked the fella who wore it how his money was made

Well the fella turned red and told us to get lost
He said, “That’s my business and none of your own!”
He said, “If I had a dollar to give every beggar
I’d be out of a job and out of a home!” Jesus said,

Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
Sure the buildings are taller, but the people’s the same
Ain’t that a pitiful shame?

While jesus was talkin, the man lets out a whistle
And up comes this officer lookin servile and all
He says “What’s the trouble?” and the man points right at us
The officer makes us put our hands on the wall

And while he is friskin, jesus starts talkin
Says, “You won’t get to heaven by buyin your way!”
When the officer heard that he started to beat him
Dragged us both to his squad car to haul us away

Down at the courthouse they questioned and searched us
Took prints of our fingers and asked us our names
When I told them mine, they didn’t say nothing
When jesus said his, well they called him insane, jesus said,

Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
To the people in charge the truth still sounds insane
Aint that a pitiful shame?

Well we went fore the judge who asked what our crime was,
The officer said we’s tryin to steal from the rich
He said he’d be doin both us a favor
Brought down his gavel, said the sentence was death, jesus said,

Aint that a pity? Aint that a shame?
I’m gone two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed
They kill you once, if you come back, they’ll kill you again
Aint that a pitiful shame?

Well when I awoke I was still in the chapel
The sermon was over, everyone had gone home
Except for one person way up in the front row
Who had his head bent and was prayin alone

Well I got up to leave so as not to disturb him
I tried to be quiet so I wouldn’t be heard
But when I got to the front, and started to pass him
I couldn’t help overhearing some familiar words

Aint it a pity? Aint it a shame?
It’s been two thousand years and the world hasn’t changed!
When I think of the violence that’s been done in christ’s name
Aint it a pitiful shame?
Track Name: You Can't Get Any Poorer Than Dead
Rich folks get—richer and richer
Sick folks get—sicker and sicker
And the gap between em gets—bigger and bigger
And the days go by—quicker and quicker
And everybody dies—sooner or later
Nobody comes out ahead
If you can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive
You can’t be any poorer than dead

Hired on Monday Tuesday I’m fired
Rent keeps getting higher and higher
Money keeps getting scarcer and scarcer
While my pantry keeps getting barer and barer
Somebody mustve made an error somewhere
Cause my own kids I can’t keep fed
I gotta remind em when they tell me they’re hungry
That you cant be any poorer than dead


I tried to hide it but I guess its apparent
Nothing for my kids to hand down from my parents
Nothing to lose or to gain as inheritance
Save for maybe a hatred of arrogance
Last week I made out my last will and testament
And golly do you know what it said
It said you can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive
And you can’t be any poorer than dead


Population keeps increasing
Earth’s resources are near depletion
Our furthest limits we’re near to reachin
And the brakes of progress are hardly screechin
In a schoolhouse somewhere a teacher’s teachin
This is the observable trend
You can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive
And you can’t be any poorer than dead


World is getting warmer and warmer
Soon it’ll be perpetual summer
With an ice-cube salesman on every corner
Sellin ice cubes at a hundred and a quarter
And I’ll take ten tho I can’t afford em
But what’s just a little more debt?
When you cant be any richer than to know you’re alive
You cant be any poorer than dead


Scientists are workin harder and harder
To make machines that’re smarter and smarter
That can kill more people cheaper and faster
That’ll lead us right to nuclear disaster
Everybody thinks that it’s power he’s after
Cause everybody wants to forget
That you can’t be any richer than to know you’re alive
And you can’t be any poorer than dead

Track Name: I Need a Job
Chorus: Job! I need a job! I need a job, job, job
Job! I need a job! I need a job! Job! Job!

I filled out your applications, I supplied my resume
I can’t wait until tomorrow you got to let me know today

Are you hirin? Are you firing? Are you letting people go?
If there’s room in there for new recruits you gotta let me know.

I’m the best that you could hire, I’m persistent as they come
I don’t never quit a project til the project is all done

I won’t complain I won’t talk back I’ll be as servile as can be
If you want someone who’ll be faithful then you got to hire me

I’ll come early I’ll stay later, I’ll do more than what I’m asked
I’ll exceed your expectations in every chore and task


What position am I looking for? What positions have you got?
I’ll do anything you pay me to, reasonable or not

I’ll clean toilets, I’ll mop basements, I’ll sweep chimneys, roof to floor
I’ll bake muffins, I’ll make coffee, I’ll sell insurance door-to-door

I’ll sort clothing, I’ll deliver pizza, I’ll answer telephones all day
As long as you are payin me I’ll do anything you say

I’ll throw papers, give directions, I’ll tear tickets to the show
I’ll ring up groceries, make inspections, I’ll watch watermelons grow

I’ll collect garbage, I’ll wash dishes, I’ll write tickets by the score
I’ll dance around in public just to advertise your store


Check my background, check my birthday, check the references I’ve named
Tho if you’d just take my word for it, it’ll amount to about the same

Qualifications, certifications, education—I got those
And as for my experience, well I got that too I spose

I been a farmer, been a baker, been a fast hand on the line
Been a salesman, been a showman, been in trades of every kind

I’m quick to learn, slow to forget, I’ll be the easiest to train
Everything’s my occupation, and hard-work’s my middle name

I ain’t beggin for no handouts, I aim to work to make my wage
I’ll do whatever work you ask me, at whatever rate it pays


I got kids and they are hungry I got a wife that’s hungry too
Mouths to feed from Pennsylvania all the way to Timbuktu

My landlady is a hounddog and I’m three months late on rent
The inheritance I just received, well somehow it got spent

I got bills and fees and fines to pay, the none of which I can
I would have to be ten people, but I only am one man

I’m deep in debt, you bet, seems I owe everybody some
Ain’t got two dimes to rub together, hell, I ain’t even got a one

I asked you once politely, now I’m beggin on my knees
Now I’m kissin your old bootstrings, just gimme that job, please


Song! I got a song! I got a song! Song ! Song!
And if you don’t start to pay me I’ll just sing it all day long

Track Name: The Petition Song
When your employer works you harder than you’re paid to
And you can’t ask for a raise cause you’re afraid to
And your money can’t be spent on anything except the rent
And you pray it will relent but nothing saves you

Hurry up, don’t wait
Don’t you flinch or hesitate
You got one chance to change your fate, it can’t be missed
If you got reason to complain
Against your labor or your pain
Step forth and put your name down on this list

When the doctor asks to see a form of payment
Fore he’ll lift a broken man up off the pavement
And he’ll tell you with a smile you only need to rest a while
And then he’ll charge you for what he calls the entertainment


When the judge seldomer forgives than incarcerates
And crime numbers are inconsistent with arrest rates
And if you can’t afford the fine, you’ll have to do the time
For holding drugs that have been legalized in some states


When money’s the only way to climb the ladder
And the fat cats at the top keep getting fatter
And the poor folk and the bums, everybody on the bottom rung
Have been told from early on that they just don’t matter


When your rights have been put up on the block for auction
And they’d sooner shoot than speak to take precaution
And non-resistance no longer is the way to go
On account of it no longer is an option

Track Name: Somebody's Child
Early one morning, the whole world fast asleep
A hobo was layin out dead in the street
Like a prayer left unanswered, a call left undailed
He was nobody’s darling, but he was somebody’s child

Had a thirst keen on whisky, but he always was blunt
Never had any money, always said so up front
What’ll it be, dad—the barkeep’d ask with a smile
“I ain’t nobody’s father—I’m just somebody’s child,”

He’d sleep on park-benches when he was down on his luck
And he’d ask for spare quarters when he was hard up
But he never liked hand-outs and he always desired
To be treated decent, like somebody’s child

With his hands on a bottle, as if in a pose
Near a mountain of garbage, he’d sat down and froze
For months he just sat there, preserved, undefiled
But even an old man’s still somebody’s child

The leaves changed their colors and the weather turned raw
And the rain fell in sheets by gravity’s law
while the snowflakes fell softly, so delicately piled
they covered the body of somebody’s child

The people walked by him, and some of them stared
Some threw out their pennies, but nobody cared
But where is there refuge for the city’s exiled?
Show me where is the person that ain’t somebody’s child?

Not a family to speak of, he didn’t have no home
Midst the crowds of the city, he was all alone
The name that the coroner wrote down and filed
In the absence of any was “somebody’s child,”

Some folks’re lucky—they’re born into it all
Some come out fighting with their backs gainst the wall
Some grow more civil, other’s just get wild
But everyone starts out bein somebody’s child.
Track Name: The New Jim Crow
Everybody knows that slavery ended with the civil war
Equality and freedom were well worth dyin for
And people claim that race is not an issue anymore
but if you ain’t pale and privileged, it’s hard to ignore

And everybody knows the story of how we won our civil rights
The blacks received the ballot, the same as the whites
We ended segregation and all appeared to be alright
But the dawn of a new era just brought on another night

Just look at the facts of the case, my friend
Its black and its white, time and again
“but we’re vanquishing crime,” the politicians contend
Meanwhile prison population just grows
But crime ain’t the thing being fought
Despite what you’ve been told and taught
You can’t prove innocence when you’re caught—under the new jim crow
Under the New Jim Crow

That the US polices all the world I’ve heard it’s leaders claim
Incarcerationally speaking the US puts the world to shame
Using words of law and order, from seeming racist they’ve abstained
But slavery ain’t abolished, it’s just wearing a new name

It’d be hard to gauge or guess how far the justice system’s failed
When millions of people in this free country have been jailed
Beneath the pretense of a war on crime, the cracking down’s entailed
A round-up of the ones without the means to pay the bail

Just look at the facts of the case my friends,
It’s black and it’s white, time and again
The pattern by nows a predictable trend
Whose numbers just go to show
That you can’t blame the blind hand of fate
When the criminal is yours to create
And is judged less by his deeds than his traits—Under the new jim crow

When it’s expected that young poor black males will likelier serve time
Than receive their diplomas in their graduation lines
And the judges in the courtrooms all claim they’re colorblind
While from the schoolyard to the jailyard there’s no black child left behind

And once you’ve been to prison, the lifelong label you will wear
But you know it will prevent you from ever getting anywhere
They’ll say it’s nothing personal as they tell you to prepare
To become someone about whom nobody has to care

Just look at the facts of the case my friends
Its black and its white, time and again
The rights that your laws are supposed to defend
Were suspended a long time ago
But the history’s too painful to trace
And the music’s just too sad to face
And no one wants to talk about race—under the new jim crow
Under the new jim crow

When the police shoot the people they ought to protect
And any motion for indictment the grand jury must reject
On account of police bullets in black bodies ain’t suspect
And black kids have to wear “Don’t Shoot Me” signs around their necks

Just look at the facts of the case, my friends
It’s black and its white, time and again
And whether you’re free all seems to depend
Upon which way the wind wants to blow
With one percent of your people enslaved
In this land of the free and the brave
Tell me, America, O say
Does that star spangled banner yet wave—under the new jim crow
Under the new jim crow?
Track Name: The Fine Print
Well I woke up with a bit of a condition
So I went in to consult with my physician
He told me I would need an operation
And that it just couldn’t wait

He said he’d need my authorized permission
In order to proceed with an excision
Gave me papers which I signed with the conviction
That soon it would be too late

The next week I was starting to feel better
That is until I got a letter
It was from hospital bill-collector
He said I owed him twenty-thousand dollars

I called and said, “tell me how can this be?
I’m being overcharged exorbitantly—
Isn’t my insurance going to front me?
I tell you I just can’t pay!”

They said, “You should’ve gone ahead and read the fine print
You might’ve understood a little different
It might’ve seemed like something that it isn’t
Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, might’ve—but you didn’t”

So I went down to the bank to take a loan out
They said okay just take and fill this form out
I asked them to tell me what it all was about
They said it’s just S.O.P.

They asked me what I needed all that cash for
I told them that I had to pay my doctor
they told me that my income was a factor
and did I have a full-time job

I told them at the moment I did not yet
my doctor said I’d have to wait a while yet
I couldn’t work until my bones were all set
The banker-lady said: No Dice.

they said I’d need a record of some credit
Without which I might as well forget it
they said its in the contract and I read it
and they pointed at my signature

I said “a man is not all he endorses”
They said, wait just a minute, hold your horses
They said the catch about this all, of course, is
That your interest starts today


So then I went out seeking some employment
Which you will imagine brought me no enjoyment
I applied without discretion or discernment
For any and everything

I got a job working at a factry
Worked there two full weeks and then they sacked me
Told me they’d do better if they lacked me
I said what about my two-weeks pay?

They pulled me out a crumpled piece of paper
they said I signed it: didn’t I remember?
they read me off my driver’s license number
Said I’d be getting none from them

They said that in my contract there’s a section
Where they reserved the right to termination
Any day or time or place for any reason
And to withhold pay


well, I decided this was an injustice
a situation legal action must fix
so I got myself a lawyer on the off-chance
that things could be resolved

I wrote up a complaint and a proposal
An amount for which I’d be willing to settle
They laughed and said that it would go to trial
And that I was bound to lose

My lawyer showed a fierce determination
To stand up against the corporation
And would not be swayed by their intimidation
No matter how they tried

Well after the judge and jury heard it
They came up with the following verdict
they said they didn’t quite know how to word it
except to say that I had lost

My lawyer declared it was an outrage
But even so it wouldn’t make the front page
He said “another worker’s robbed of his wage—
It happens every single day.”

Then he sincerely gave me condolences
And handed me a bill of his expenses
I asked him if he’d gone and lost his senses
What did he expect me to do?

I thought that if we lost I owed him zero
He said that’s just in cases of pro bono
He said that “in the contract…” I said “oh no—
Here we go again,”


Now I don’t aim to keep you people guessin
About the moral of this story, or the lesson
The only thing I aim to be suggestin
Is to keep your eyes open wide

The next time that you go to see a lawyer
Or a banker or a doctor or employer
Or anyone who claims that they’ve got your
Best interest at heart

Make sure you bring along your readin glasses
Make sure you dot the I’s and note the dashes
Of everything that your signature passes
And make a copy for your files
Track Name: Song for the Unsung
This is the song for the unsung heroes
For the losers and zeroes no history records
For the plain and blameless quiet nameless
Many who never stray too far from the shore
Who work their hardest for no one’s notice
Who earn their money but have to steal their rest
Who lose their chances at the cheap salvation
As they fall far short of ever being second best
You daily grinders and watch-spring winders
Hopeless reminders of what all you might have been
I salute you in all your strivings
Remember there are more of you than them

This is the song for the ordinary sister
Of the beauty contest winner with the recessive traits
Whom no one stares at or asks to dinner
Or invites out dancing or wants to date
Who grows to old age and never marries
Who has no children to call her very own
But who gives her love out to all who’ll take it
And is, wherever she is, right at home

This is the song for the unknown soldier
Who grew no bolder the nearer war he got
Who aimed his rifle for his own survival
At his would-be enemy but never took the shot
Who died in battle, came home like chattel,
Was laid to rest in an unmarked pauper’s grave
Was unremembered save as young and foolish
And by a few who knew him as less than brave
You adventure seekers, timid time-keepers
Who watch the bleachers from the middle of the fray
As you go headlong into unknown country
May God bless and keep you safe upon your way

This is the song for the obscure explorer
Who winds up poorer than when he started out
Who never arrives at his destination
Whose explanation the world must do without
Who will lose his compass, his only atlas
Whose tears of madness will ingredient the sea
As the waves that pound him will lift and drown him
With his question sounding: will anyone remember me?
Track Name: There's a First Time for Everything
You billionaires in your big easy chairs
counting your coins and your dough
What do you need with all that money?
You can’t take it with you, you know
You’ve hedged all your bets, you’ve become a success,
your kingdom spreads out far and wide
but when will your stuff ever bring you enough?
When will you be satisfied?

When pigs learn to fly, when hell freezes o’er
When the rocks in the mountains can sing
But just cause they don’t, it don’t mean that they won’t
There’s a first time for everything

You big-business bosses who cut all your losses
Who pay less than the minimum wage
Whose labor’s on lease somewheres overseas
Cause it’s cheaper and all of the rage
What will you say to folks comin your way
When outside your door they are packed
Screamin for work and callin you jerk
Sayin, “When can we have our jobs back?”


Now the healthcare debate in the united states
Is as fierce as it is anywhere
When the state of your health depends on your wealth
That don’t exactly seem fair
I need to be cured, but I ain’t insured
It’s the most I can do just to beg
When will I receive the care that I need
Without payin an arm and a leg?


You judges who sit, who condemn and acquit
Who hear bout the worst that men do
Aloft in your towers with your gowns and your powers
Who gets to pass judgment on you?
You’ll seal a man’s fate to be killed by the state
You’ll kill thinking your doing what’s best
But when will a man’s life be too high a price
To weigh in the scales against death?


Now the world is at war over oil and ore
Over power and territory
Over whose God is in charge and whose is not
On that point no one can agree
Meanwhile bombs descend on women and children
When O when will it cease?
When will the fight desist for the night
When will the world live in peace?


Now perhaps I’m naieve, as green as the leaves
That sprout on the trees in the spring
Maybe I’m touched to be thinking so much
We all know what wishin can bring
Perhaps I’m a dope to hope without hope
But there’s one thing that I’ve always known
If you want things to improve, well you gotta move
Cause they ain’t gonna change on their own

So get yourself wise and get organized
Lift up your voices and sing
Cause if you don’t, they probably wont
There’s a last time for everything
Track Name: Where My Yard Used to Be
This morning I woke to the sound of a blast
“Who’s there? Who’s there? Who is it?” I asked
A man was outside wearing some kind of mask
Said he was with Halliburton Oil and Gas

He gave me a paper which he asked me to sign
What is it? I asked him, he said, “Nevermind,”
Said if I just put my name down on yon dotted line
Ten thousand dollars could be instantly mine

I was still a bit groggy but it sounded alright to me
I signed his paper and I went back to sleep
And when I awoke I wanted to shriek
They drilled a hole on my property 10,000 feet deep

Now where my yard used to be there’s an oil field there
They tell me I signed it away fair and square
But now I can’t drink my water and I can’t breathe my air
Please Mr. Gas-man
Is it just that you don’t know
What you’re doing—or that you don’t care?

Well I made several inquiries and asked for a report
About this hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short
And when I tried to protest, to make them cease and abort
They laughed and just told me they’d see me in court

Shortly thereafter I realized my mistake
When they turned my pond into a gasoline lake
I wish someone had told me bout the risk I would take
That the losses would outweigh the money I’d make

Now oil companies claim that its cheap, and what’s more
we don’t have to rely on foreign oil anymore
but as time passes by you can’t fail to ignore
that gas is two bucks a gallon, but now fresh-water costs four

and where my fields used to be, there’s an oil-field there
and where my woods used to be, there’s an oil-field there
and you can’t drink the water and you can’t breathe the air
please Mr. Gas-man
is it just that you don’t know
what you’re doing—or that you don’t care?

and if you’re inclined to think it ain’t as bad as it sounds
you ought to check on the chemicals they’re putting into your ground
ethyl-methyls, and sulfates, in lethal amounts
plus 500 others I can’t even pronounce

Now the trees that once grew here have all been cut down
The air, once so clean, now looks dirty and brown
the birds all flew off, the fishes all drowned
next thing you know, it’ll be me skipping town

and tell me, what will you do when your well’s overdrawn?
When you’ve lost what you’ve built your tomorrows upon?
When you finally realize all along you’ve been wrong?
Tell me where will you go when our planet is gone?

When, where the earth used to be, there’s an oil-field there?
When you finally realize that you haven’t a spare?
I’ll ask you in hope, and I’ll plea in despair:
Please, Mr. Gas man,
Is it just that you don’t know
What you’re doing—or that you don’t care?

Now I don’t know about you, what your tomorrows are worth
If you think it’ll get better before it gets worse
But when you damage the planet, everyone hurts
And you’re killing the future by destroying the earth

Now the gas and oil companies are rolling in wealth
But they need your permission to keep spreading their filth
So if they ask, in the interest of keeping your health,
Say: you can’t frack my land, you can go frack yourself!