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The Jolly Tenants Union, song lyrics

Song: The Jolly Tenants Union
Lyrics: Martha Koester(1)

Music: to the tune of "Watlzing Matilda"
Year: 1982
Genre: Traditional
Country: USA


Once a jolly tenant had to pay a rent increase,
He moaned and he cried, "How can that be?"
And he sang as he paid another fifty dollars more,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!

(CHORUS:)
Bloodsucking landlords, bloodsucking landlords,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!
And he sang as he paid another fifty dollars more,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!

"Alas," said the tenant, "That's two-thirds of all I earn,
Maybe I'll make it if I don't eat,"
And he sang as he paid another fifty dollars more,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
(CHORUS)

There's six legged roommates who huddle underneath the stove,
December, the temperature's forty-three(2);
With all these conditions, the place just isn't worth that much,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!

(CHORUS)

Twice broken into, the landlord won't change the lock,
The burglars in Brighton all have my key;
My backdoor, the burglars can enter with a credit card,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
(CHORUS)

Then the angry tenant visited his neighbors all,
Saying, "Fellow tenants, don't you see?
If we had a union, then we could bargain for the rent,
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!

(CHORUS)

Then the jolly landlord tried to bust the union up,
Sent in paid informers one, two three;
"Who's in the union, and what will they be doing next?"
Bloodsucking landlords are ruining me!
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
(CHORUS)

Down with the landlords who hire convicted arsonists,
Down with informants who rat for a fee;
Up with the union, join the fight for rent control,
'Til bloodsucking landlords stop ruining me!

(CHORUS)

Bloodsucking landlords, bloodsucking landlords,
Bloodsucking landlords stop ruining me;
Up with the union, join the fight for rent control,
'Til bloodsucking landlords stop ruining me!


Notes:

This song came out of the long organizing efforts by Boston area apartment tenants against their landlord, The Hamilton Realty Company. It was claimed that the initial efforts we spurred on by rent increases, illegal lease clauses, racial discrimination, employment of convicted arsonist as a property manager, and paying informants to infiltrate the tenants' association. These accusations were included in the federal indictments against the landlord as confirmed in the previous (bold) link to the New York Times article, Major Landlord Indicted in Boston, September 19, 1985. A 2004 Boston Globe story The renewal of Harold Brown, August 31, 2004, reports, "In 1986, he pleaded guilty to bribing a building inspector...".

1 - Martha Koester was a resident tenant organizer in one of these buildings. She said this song was based on Waltzing Matilda.

2 - 43 degrees Fahrenheit works out to 6 Celsius.