Peppermint Harris

I really dig this song by the late, great Peppermint Harris, another boozy anthem of his. Goes without saying that it is as true as ever today:

I’m Telling You People

spoken: I went down to grocery store 
And he began to cry
You need to order neck bones, fella
Because the price of steak’s too high

I’m gonna tell you people, I swear times are getting hard
If you don’t have no money
You can’t even get a job

Spoken: I went down to Good Time Charlie’s
To get myself a shot
He said, You got to have more than a quarter, fella
This is the good stuff I got

I’m gonna tell you people, I swear times are getting hard
If you don’t have no money
You can’t even find no job

Spoken: Back in 1930, relief would help a man
Even the government was getting cool
You gotta do the best you can

I’m gonna tell you people, I swear times are getting hard
If you don’t have no money
You can’t even get a job

Spoken: Now the women getting cold
If you ain’t got no gold
First thing they tell you
Fella, I think you’re too old

I’m gonna tell you people, I swear times are getting hard
If you don’t have no money
You can’t even get a job.

 

Peppermint Harris, Jesse Sublett, Austin true crime author, noir novelist, musician

Peppermint Harris

Peppermint Harris is probably best known for songs like “I Got Loaded.” That one’s been recorded by Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, Ry Cooder, and many others. There are about a dozen other clips on YouTube, but this tune, sadly, is not one of them. I really dig his voice, his sense of humor, and the far-out piano playing on his records, and Albert Collins playing guitar on many of the tracks. He was recorded by Bob Shad of the great Sittin’ in With label. He also recorded for Gold Star in Houston, and Aladdin. Peppermint Harris came by his name accidentally. Born Harrison Nelson, Jr., his name was altered on a tape box when producer Bob Shad wrote out the label and misremembered his name.

Like the great James “Wee Willie” Wayne, Pep was born in Texarkana. Came from a religious family who objected to his involvement in the devil’s music. According to his obit, he was born in 1925. He died in 2011.

Thank you, Don Hyde, for turning me on to Pep and all those other great players I’d previously missed.

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