New Song: Chicago, Chicago

Well, I haven’t written a straight-up folk song for a few weeks, so this one kinda popped out easy last night. Had this idea floatin around up in my head, over the weekend, to do a tune about the vagrancy law in Chicago that says if you’ve got less than one dollar in your pocket they can charge you and lock you up and throw out the key.

I thought I’d do a song about that, wondering if a credit card counts for cash these days. Or, maybe, if your heap of past-due credit counts against you, and we’re all vagrants walking around.

Anyway, I don’t really write songs like that anymore. Or, haven’t in a long time. Topical songs just don’t seem so relevant anymore. At least not for what I got goin on.

So the song I did write is different than what I set out to do. I did still use the song “Jack of Diamonds” as my base, though. It’s an old traditional tune. I heard Woody Guthrie do it on a record in a way where he sings, “Chicago, Chicago, I know’d you of old, you robbed my poor pockets of silver and gold,” instead of the traditional verse, “Jack a Diamonds, Jack a Diamonds, I’ve known you of old….” So that’s where that comes from.

The rest is completely made up. Or, maybe, pieced together from a few other old songs. Try and guess which ones.

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