Ballad of Roosevelt (Langston Hughes)

“Ballad of Roosevelt” Sheet Music (pdf).
“Ballad of Roosevelt” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: Langston Hughes.
Tune: “Sitting on Top of the World” by Mississippi Sheiks.


The pot was empty; the cupboard bare.
And I said, “Papa, what’s the matter here?”
“We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

The rent was due; the lights was out.
“Oh, tell me, Mama, what’s it all about?”
“We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

Sister’s low sick; doctor won’t come
’Cause we can’t pay him the proper sum.
“We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

Then, one sad day, they put us out.
Mama and Papa, meek as a mouse.
“We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

Ain’t got no money; ain’t got no job.
Backbone and navel doin’ the belly rub.
“We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

The pot’s still empty; the cupboard bare.
Can’t raise no family on bellies filled with air.
“We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

But when they felt those cold winds blow
And didn’t have no good place to go,
Pa said, “I’m tired of waitin’ on Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”

“And when we all get hungry and cold,
Gonna stop believin’. Gonna get hard to hold.
Stop waitin’ on Roosevelt, Ol’ Man Roosevelt.
Waitin’ on Roosevelt, Son.”


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