Meanest Man

If the folks next door to me wasn’t so good I'd do
all the mean things anybody could I'd drink and I'd
gamble and I'd louse around I'd be the meanest
man in this whole town

If I hadn't seen the light in that old lady's eyes I'd
try to be a man you would hate and despise
I'd rave and I'd rant and I'd scream and yell And
I'd chase my neighbors from here to hell

If I hadn't heard those kids laugh playing games
I'd have nervous fits and I'd go insane I'd
turpentine cats and tin can dogs And I'd smother
people to death inside of holler logs

If the people around me wasn't so nice I'd freeze
my heart into a cake of ice I’d steal money from
soldiers and working folks too I'd lend you a dollar
and take back two

If my wife didn't kiss me the way she does I'd
carry four or five daggers and three or four guns
I'd shoot craps and ramble and hang out late And
I'd steal baby buggies and Cadillac Eights

If my friends didn't write me those letters I get I'd
get to be a dictator and be the worse one yet I'd be
the only smart bird and you'd all be fools And I’d
send you all away to war and I'd set home and rule

If it wasn't for them songs I hear all you all sing I'd
put a crown on my dome and I'd say I'm your king
I'd kidnap some and blackmail others I'd peddle
black market stuff and rob sisters and brothers

If it wasn’t for your talking I hear along the street I'd
be the oneriest man that you ever did meet I'd
preach the gospel of hate and I'd drink your blood
But I can't be this bad because my folks are too good

Published by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. (BMI)/BMG Songs (ASCAP)

Words: Woody Guthrie 1945
Music: Billy Bragg 1997
Jay Bennett: Hammond B3
Billy Bragg: resonator guitar, vocal
Ken Coomer: gas heater and kick drum, drums
John Stirratt: electric bass, baritone guitar
Jeff Tweedy: electric guitar

Played Live On

This song has not been played live.