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Greg Brown — Just A Bum
Album: In The Dark With You
Avg rating:
6.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 878









Released: 1985
Length: 4:01
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I saw a man, he's a well-dressed man
He had a tan from the Yucatan
He had a car, he looked like a star
I said, Hey, don't I know who you are
But when he glanced into my eyes
I saw yes I saw was such a big surprise
He was afraid that he's just a bum
Someday when all his stuff is gone and he's left without a dime
Time ain't money when all ya got is time
And you can see him standin on the corner with a nine-day beard and bright red eyes

I know a guy, he's a pal of mine
I say, hey. He say, I'm doin fine
I'm movin up the ladder, rung rung rung
I'm gonna get my million while I am still young
But at night when he's had a few
His eyes say different than his tongue
They say I'm afraid that I'm just a bum
Someday when all my stuff is gone and I'm left without a dime
Time ain't money when all ya got is time
And I can see me standin on the corner with my nine-day beard and my bright red eyes
Goin hey, hey hey hey hey, come on and listen to my story, hey, hey hey hey hey, ah hey

Some people live to work, work to live
Any little tremble and the earth might give
Ya can't hide it in a Volvo or a London Fog
Can't hide it in a mansion with an imported dog
No matter how we plan and rehearse, we're at pink slip's mercy in a paper universe
And we're afraid that we're just a bum
Someday when all our stuff is gone and we're left without a dime
Time ain't money when all ya got is time
And we can see us standin on the corner with our nine-day beards and our bright red eyes
Goin, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey, come on and listen to my story man hey, hey hey hey hey, ah hey

The man of sorrow's acquainted with grief
Stands in line waiting for relief
He will tell ya it wasn't always this way
One bad little thing happened one bad little day
Heartbreak has bad teeth and a sour smell and lives when he can in a cheap hotel
And he's afraid that he's just a bum
Someday when all his stuff is gone and he's left without a dime
Time ain't money when all ya got is time
And you can see him standin on the corner with a nine-day beard and bright red eyes
Goin, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey, come on and listen to my story man hey, hey hey hey hey, ah hey
Comments (119)add comment
 lizardking wrote:
I've gone to a 9 rating on this...GB is one of my new favs...Long Live RP!!
 Me too!  Thanks Bill and Rebecca!


A friend played this album for me c. 1999. Within a few weeks, I had about 10 Greg Brown albums... couldn't believe I'd missed him all that time. 
The tune is fun, but you might forget it if it weren't for the lyrics.  


Ya can't hide it in a Volvo or a London Fog
Can't hide it in a mansion with an imported dog
No matter how we plan and rehearse, we're at pink slip's mercy in a paper universe

after rhyming tan with Yucatan I'm surprised he didn't try to rhyme guy with Paraguay
"Train kept'a rollin', all night long"
I've gone to a 9 rating on this...GB is one of my new favs...Long Live RP!!
I can imagine Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks singing this too...
I played this for my mom because she's learning to play the harmonica. She loved it!
 Proclivities wrote:
"Time ain't money when all you got is time."  I don't particularly like this tune, but that's a good line.

 
I agree with you about that great line, Proc....and I also like the tune, although I've recently started to really dig Greg Brown's music, something about his voice that makes me enjoy these tunes (maybe) more than I should.  I'd call this song a 5 + 2 for that great line = 7.  Long Live RP!!
wo-hoo! I think it's a good one
"Time ain't money when all you got is time."  I don't particularly like this tune, but that's a good line.
Horrible 
 oilydwarf wrote:
When I was a young apprentice at Rolls-Royce I used to work with a guy from Stoke on Trent who described himself as the company's sexual adviser.  I asked him to explain and he said that his boss was always saying to him "John, when I want your fuckin' advice I'll ask for it"!

 
Well, I wish I could use this at work but I do not want to offend anyone.
Love this album
 DaveInVA wrote:
Sounds like he is singing "With a 9mm and a bright red asshole" {#Stupid}

 
Oh my god, you're right. That sure is a dark tale to tell. {#Bananajam}
Oh my...he's singing about living in southeast Iowa, in these strange little Moments Of Time, and watching the world go by.  
When I was a young apprentice at Rolls-Royce I used to work with a guy from Stoke on Trent who described himself as the company's sexual adviser.  I asked him to explain and he said that his boss was always saying to him "John, when I want your fuckin' advice I'll ask for it"!
 Otomi wrote:
I met an old Gringo in the Cucaracha bar en San Miguel de Allende, back in 1977, when it was still in the old Canal palace on the main square. He gave me his card. Under his name was the word "Hobosexual." I asked him what he meant by that. He replied with a smile, "I'm a fuckin' bum."

 

Nice. That's my kinda humor. Thanks for sharing.
ArseneFurst wrote:
These lyrics stopped me in my tracks. I'm an alcoholic, sober now for seven years but still living with the fear described here. 
 
I feel the same fear, ArseneFurst.  Sometimes life seems like a tenuous pile of pick-up-sticks and they're getting pulled out awful quickly. 
 
Congrats on 7 years.
These lyrics stopped me in my tracks. I'm an alcoholic, sober now for seven years but still living with the fear described here. 

 
go see Greg, well worth the trip, ...{#Guitarist}
 DaveInVA wrote:
Sounds like he is singing "With a 9mm and a bright red asshole" {#Stupid}

Correctiom: In my bright red asshole.......What ? Just a bum !
 



Sounds like he is singing "With a 9mm and a bright red asshole" {#Stupid}
 AvoidingWork wrote:
His voice reminds of Paul Williams.  Does anybody else get that?  I wouldn't expect anybody younger than 40 to get that.
.
.
.
(edit) Okay, I just hit youtube and I take it all back.
Have a good day! 
 
It doesn't remind me of Paul Williams, but then, I probably haven't thought about - or heard any music from Paul Williams in about thirty years.  At least no one claimed this sounds like Pink Floyd.
Sounds like some Taj to me.
His voice reminds of Paul Williams.  Does anybody else get that?  I wouldn't expect anybody younger than 40 to get that.
.
.
.
(edit) Okay, I just hit youtube and I take it all back.
Have a good day! 
I love the backround vocal harmonies
Old Greg may be a bum. But he's an Iowa bum. Liviing somewhere in SE Iowa..making beautiful music.
I'm enjoying the lyrics of this song very much.
The rhythm of the lyrics is catchy.
The tune's pretty good, too.
I'm saying thing is a solid "8".
And enough for me to go find his album and have a looky-look. (soundy-sound?)
that's going to be me — left without a dime
Paolo Nuttini's grandad
I don't know why but I've had the line "Time ain't money when all ya got is time" stuck in my head for days. And Bill hasn't even played this in weeks.
Vocally it sounds a lot like Mark Knopfler.  I like it.

This song is so infectious, can't get it out of my head!!!  Rock on Bill!
Time ain't money when all ya got is time
I like this...

Reminds me of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks.  Nice sound.  
There's a reason Dr. Demento is history.
Is that cover an Edward Hopper painting?  Sure has that look.
Is this John Prine's little brother? Like the ballad style.
Speaking of bums...  What was that "Beat" Takeshi movie where he plays a bum (of sorts)?    I IMBD'ed it, but nothing there rang a bell.


 xkolibuul wrote:


Why we fought the Revolution.  
 
bravo!
 crankypage wrote:
after 30sec - I hated it.
after 2minutes - rated it an 8.

Good song 
 
Me too!
WEll, 7. 
thought he was saying "standin on the corner with a nine-millimeter..."
after 30sec - I hated it.
after 2minutes - rated it an 8.

Good song 
sort of nice

I was gonna rate this a ten, which i've never done, but "Godlike" is maybe too much.  Solid 9.5 tho  Hope i can buy it on amazon mp3.  instant satisfaction.  love it!
Meh.

Marginally better than his Who Stunk It.

Not by much though.
Musically?  Whatever.   Storywise?  Cool.   Timely?  You betcha!
 pixidrizzl wrote:
Greg Brown reminds me of Mason Jennings. I realize Greg came first but I wasn't exposed to him until after Mason. I wish my Mason songs would get added
 

WORD...

 Rotterdam wrote:


Great story and a delightful song.
 
Nice comment - paints a nice picture!

 Otomi wrote:
I met an old Gringo in the Cucaracha bar en San Miguel de Allende, back in 1977, when it was still in the old Canal palace on the main square. He gave me his card. Under his name was the word "Hobosexual." I asked him what he meant by that. He replied with a smile, "I'm a fuckin' bum."

 

Great story and a delightful song.
 xkolibuul wrote:
Why we fought the Revolution. 
  Hey, vive la difference.
 tiggers wrote:
I'm British and if this is what I'd have to listen to in America then thank the Lord for that
 

Why we fought the Revolution.  

 Otomi wrote:
I met an old Gringo in the Cucaracha bar en San Miguel de Allende, back in 1977, when it was still in the old Canal palace on the main square. He gave me his card. Under his name was the word "Hobosexual". I asked him what he meant by that. He replied with a smile, "I'm a fuckin' bum".
 

that is f—-ing hilarious

I met an old Gringo in the Cucaracha bar in San Miguel de Allende, back in 1977, when it was still in the old Canal palace on the main square. He gave me his card. Under his name was the word "Hobosexual." I asked him what he meant by that. He replied with a smile, "I'm a fuckin' bum."
sub-arctic wrote:
I suddenly realized that my foot was tapping. That must amount to something? Seven-ish?
Do agree - toe tappin' and "Quite Likeable" :wave:
I suddenly realized that my foot was tapping. That must amount to something? Seven-ish?
Now! Here's something I can get my teeth into! (I still have all but two of them!)
I woke up with this song in my head for weeks on end in China. I have no idea why!
Every time I hear Greg Brown, I think it's Mark Knopfler. It only lasts for a few seconds, because neither the lyrics nor the guitar sound like MK. But the voice is very, very close. It's uncanny.
I love this dude. Someone should upload his version of Cock Robin.
Story of my life...
lmic wrote:
At a dinner party, I'd sit him next to John Prine.
HA! Wouldn't that be fun!!! :sunny:
Hmmmm... sexy voice, and a smart guy. That makes a winner in my book!
He's a guy you really need to see live, so cool......
lmic wrote:
At a dinner party, I'd sit him next to John Prine.
:hungry:
This tune has the light fun feel of some Louisiana zydeco I've heard. Nice.
It's... like... blueggae. Or reggrass. Or something. Great song that got me dancing in my chair here in my office. Thanks!
mem_313 wrote:
No matter how we plan and rehearse, we're at pink slip's mercy in a paper universe man what a great line! love this song... :notworthy:
Yes! Greg Brown is treasure! :music: More Greg Brown!!!!!
hahaha.... mardy bum to just a bum. greg brown is MUCH better than arctic monkeys, though ... which says a lot considering i don't really like greg brown.
At a dinner party, I'd sit him next to John Prine.
No matter how we plan and rehearse, we're at pink slip's mercy in a paper universe man what a great line! love this song... :notworthy:
Greg Brown reminds me of Mason Jennings. I realize Greg came first but I wasn't exposed to him until after Mason. I wish my Mason songs would get added :sad:
flyfree wrote:
Sounds Knopflerish from where I sit.
try sitting somewhere else
Sounds Knopflerish from where I sit.
In fact the whole thing sounds like a jug band line up. Can anybody throw any light on that?
Love the harp. School of Sonny Terry
stubbsz wrote:
Not true and for the 14 years that I've been in California, I've laughed pretty often at the Yanks inability to understand dead-pan humour.
I have that dry sense of humor, maybe I was a brit in another lifetime?
ANNE_MARIE wrote:
I had no idea they were together...thanks for the info. she's from my area...and quite an artist. is Iris singing with Greg on this tune? great tune guys....thanks!
No no no, this is a very old album, I think about 1985 an excellent one to turn folks on to greg with. Some of his later stuff is a bit dark for most folks but I love it and find it the more profound stuff.
stubbsz wrote:
Not true and for the 14 years that I've been in California, I've laughed pretty often at the Yanks inability to understand dead-pan humour.
I love the Brits' dead-pan humour! :cheesygrin:
agreed!xkolibuul wrote:
Anyone who writes 'a tan from Yucatan' into the lyrics gets my approval...man is a national treasure.
xkolibuul wrote:
Anyone who writes 'a tan from Yucatan' into the lyrics gets my approval...man is a national treasure.
Bingo! This guy has it going on...Life really is a simple, lovely, wonderous, passing thing, enjoy it while you may. Carpe diem...
:roflol:
Hey.... hey! hey! hey! heyheyheyheyhey!! The mating call of the red-eyed bearded thunderbird
I'm British and if this is what I'd have to listen to in America then thank the Lord for that :wall:
:dance: :dance:
GaryW wrote:
You Britts are way to serious :nyah:
Not true and for the 14 years that I've been in California, I've laughed pretty often at the Yanks inability to understand dead-pan humour.
Anyone who writes 'a tan from Yucatan' into the lyrics gets my approval...man is a national treasure.
:goodvibes.gif:
One thing really interesting about Greg Brown is how different his interpretations of his own songs can be. I'm more familiar with a version of this he did live (maybe from a recording, maybe from when he came to Missoula, I'm not sure) and the musical style was completely distinct.
Dig it! Fun tune. Like upbeat blues.
Brought a smile to my face which is no mean feat, given that I'm at work and slept terribly last night...
I must be a fool too, I like it :D
I wonder if this is based on Gary Larson's 'Far Side' comic which shows the real meaning of a dog's bark: "Hey! Hey! Hey!" I always like hearing Greg Brown around here. Excellent tune.
. :roflol: :jump: Delightful! :jump: :roflol: .
michaelc wrote:
Yup that's him. Mr. Iowa, allways liked greg very mid-west and expect more folkish mid-west from him ans Iris DeMent now that there married.
I had no idea they were together...thanks for the info. she's from my area...and quite an artist. is Iris singing with Greg on this tune? great tune guys....thanks!
Great! Catchy song. The kind of stuff you'll never hear over here in Europe.
Yep I'm a fool to and from the UK. I love this guy.
Someday when it's all gone... time ain't money when all you've got is time. We all worry what would happen if suddenly the nice life we're living got pulled out from under us.
Great, fun song ... said it before, I'll say it again ... Greg is awesome.
GaryW wrote:
You need to put more clothes on...your arse is showing!...this is plain fun music. You Britts are way to serious :nyah: .
Speaking of too serious, RP needs to play some Beyonce!!!! Bill's too bootylicious for ya babe!
Nice, it has that " New Awlins" sound :nodhead:
joe1 wrote:
Absolute tosh! I don't give a flying one who this is...it just STINKS! Ok?...feckin' US Crap...Get real you lot... Accept the fact that this is Barfo....Bloody 'ell!
Apparently, based on the rating, you are outnumbered. Have a Guiness and loosen up. It isn't that bad!
Mmm... creamy goodness! =P~
Relaxed, good-natured stuff.....very retro-style. He puts me in mind of the old Weaver material with this song. I wish I'd known he was in Iowa City when I lived there. His voice would have been a neat thing to hear live when I was younger.
Yup that's him. Mr. Iowa, allways liked greg very mid-west and expect more folkish mid-west from him ans Iris DeMent now that there married. KitKat wrote:
Is this the same Greg Brown we used to go see in our favorite local bar in Iowa City, circa late 1970s??
joe1 wrote:
Absolute tosh! I don't give a flying one who this is...it just STINKS! Ok?...feckin' US Crap...Get real you lot... Accept the fact that this is Barfo....Bloody 'ell!
You need to put more clothes on...your arse is showing!...this is plain fun music. You Britts are way to serious :nyah: .
Absolute tosh! I don't give a flying one who this is...it just STINKS! Ok?...feckin' US Crap...Get real you lot... Accept the fact that this is Barfo....Bloody 'ell!
Greg is a spectacular songwriter whose music has been covered by many artists. True to himself and his music. Greg has a great collection of music. Visit Red House Records.
Is this the same Greg Brown we used to go see in our favorite local bar in Iowa City, circa late 1970s??
Nice, laid back stuff. :)
Greg Brown is wonderful! I love his voice, melodies, lyrics. And this song is a lot of fun. :wink:
There's at least one more! :clap:
I'm a fool, too! Any other fools out there?
KevDog wrote:
Greg Brown is a national treasure. If this were 70 years ago, people would be recording him for the Smithsonian as they did with Leadbelly and Woody.
You're a fool!!!
This is Jack Johnson's more evil twin. Both slovenly devils if you ask me.
Greg Brown is a national treasure. If this were 70 years ago, people would be recording him for the Smithsonian as they did with Leadbelly and Woody.
Inspired garbage, but garbage nonetheless. I\'m sure it has redeeming qualities -- I might even grow to like it -- but it\'s just going to take a while.