HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE?

Live 05 Jun 2006 version


[Spoken intro:] We got our first show down in New Orleans, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. We're honored to play there. It's hard to explain what New Orleans is like. You can't quite get it from the television or the papers or the pictures. Uh, 'cause it's mile after mile of devastated neighborhoods and I think the city lost close to half its population. And then uh... if you're a musician, you know it's a, it's a, it's a pretty, it's sacred, pretty sacred ground down there. Everything came from overseas and got mixed up there and became blues and jazz and rock and roll music and so much the music that we're playing here tonight. So uh... It's, it's gonna take such a long time and so much national attention for the city to get back on its feet. And uh... it uh... it's just one of those things that can't... you gotta check your short attention span on that one, and keep your eyes onto what's going on down there. But uh... this is a song called "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?". This was written by a guy named Blind Alfred Reed. He wrote it at the beginning of the depression. And I added a few verses hoping you wouldn't mind, and uh... in honor of uh... our President Bush's visit down there where he managed, he's got the only agency in political cronyism that was supposed to assist American citizens in times like that. So it was all in a day's work, these days... and uh... we'll let the music speak the rest of the talking. Go ahead!

Well the doctor comes 'round here with his face all bright
And he says "in a little while you'll be alright"
But 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

He said "me and my old school pals had some mighty high times 'round 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

Come on boys!

Now I got family scattered from Texas to Baltimore
Now mister 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
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
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live


The above lyrics refer to the live 05 Jun 2006 performance at Greek Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA. Video for that performance was officially available for download the next morning on AOL Music as part of their "18 Nights Of Bruce" program, and was also later released on We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions - American Land Edition.

See also the live 13 Apr 2006 version (more details) and Blind Alfred Reed's version.

Available Versions

List of available versions of HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? on this website:

HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? [Live 13 Apr 2006 version]
HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? [Live 05 Jun 2006 version]
HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? [Live 18 Nov 2006 version]
HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? [Original Blind Alfred Reed version]

Page last updated: 02 May 2007