Breedloves's Folk Songs



“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” is a blues standard, written by

Jimmie Cox in 1923. Its lyric, told from the point of view of a one-time millionaire
during the Prohibition era, reflects on the fleeting nature of material wealth and the
friendships that come and go with it. The song was first recorded and popularized by
Bessie Smith, the preeminent female blues singer of the 1920s and 30s. Since then,
numerous cover versions have been recorded.
Once I lived the life of a millionaire
Spending my money, with never a care
Takin’ all my friends out for a good time
Drinkin’ high-priced liquor, champagne and wine;
Then I began to fall so low;
Didn’t have a friend, and no place to go
If I ever get my hands on a dollar again
I’m gonna squeeze it, until the eagle grins, cause
Nobody knows you when you’re down and out.
In your pocket, not one penny
And your friends — you find you haven’t any.
But as soon as you get back on your feet again
Everybody wants to be your long-lost friend
It’s might strange, without a doubt
Nobody knows you when you’re down and out.
when you’re down and out.
In your pocket, not one penny,
And my old friends, haven’t any.
But if I ever walk on my feet again,
And then I’ll meet my long-lost friend.
That’s mighty strange, without no doubt,
No man can use you when you’re down and out.

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