“All In Down and Out Blues”

Author: Uncle Dave Macon
Earliest date: 1937 (recording, Uncle Dave Macon)
Keywords: poverty crime prison punishment commerce money hardtimes judge
Found in: US(Ap)

Description

"Hippity-hop to the bucket shop...." Singer has lost all his money in the stock market. He says this "certainly exposes/Wall Street's proposition was not all roses." Cho: "It's hard times, ain't it poor boy...when you're down and out"

Long description

"Hippity-hop to the bucket shop...." Singer has lost all his money in the stock market and is now down and out. He says this "certainly exposes/Wall Street's proposition was not all roses." He notes "If they catch you with whiskey in your car/You're handicapped, and there you are", and that if you have money you can get off but if you have none you'll go to jail. Chorus: "It's hard times, ain't it poor boy...when you're down and out"

Notes

"Bucket shops" were crooked brokerage firms; they fleeced many customers in the 1920s stock market bubble. They would delay executing a customer's trade if they thought they could buy at a lower price or sell at a higher price a day later, then pocket the difference.

Bert Williams & Arthur Collins both recorded a piece called "All In Down and Out" (Williams: Columbia A5031, 1908; rec.1906; Collins: Victor 5027, 1907; Victor 16211, 1909), with composer credits to R. C. McPherson & [?] Smith, Elmer Bowman & [?] Johnson; it would later be recorded by, among others, Richard Brooks & Riley Puckett, but I don't know its relationship to this song. My guess is that Uncle Dave used it as the basis of his topical parody. -PJS

Historical references

Recordings