Charlie Parr – 1922

Charlie Parr

Hometown: Austin, MN

Charlie Parr is a true folk singer and guitar picker.

This excerpt from the bio on his website describes Charlie really well:

It’s the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up without a TV but with his dad’s recordings of America’s musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. With his long scraggly hair, fathertime beard, thrift-store workingman’s flannel and jeans, and emphatic, throaty voice, Parr looks and sounds like he would have fit right into Harry Smith’s “Anthology of American Folk Music.”

You can read the full bio here.

I found it interesting that, although Charlie’s shows are primarily in Minnesota and the Northern Plains, he’s gained enough of a following in Ireland and Australia to tour there frequently. He will be performing at The Cedar Cultural Center on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 1 and 2) if you’d like to see him live.

This is a video of Charlie performing his song, 1922, at the Eagan Library – right in my neighborhood! This song really exemplifies his raw, old fashioned style and classic “working man” lyrics.

Well I worked all summer couldn’t save a cent
I gave all my money to the government
I don’t know quite how it got spent
but the banks are coming for my deed though
Man at the mill can’t see though
Let me get my feed for free though
Ain’t that the way it is

I cut out down a braver road
I traded my stock for a V84
Danced for town down on the floor boards
And the title owed down to me though
That gasoline ain’t free through
Just guzzling out my knee bone
Ain’t that the way it is

Well I met me a woman down in Saint Paul
With a little money and a little pole
Bloke told me that he’d bust my jaw
I talked to his sister again though
Don’t mean I couldn’t win though
There’s blood running down my chin now
Ain’t that the way it is

Well I slept all night on the bar room floor
And woke up this morning my head was sore
Pockets empty but I want some more
The bar man’s got my car though
Tales worth more by far though
As I leave her down at the bar now
Ain’t that the way it is

Well I hitched me a ride on the way back home
I got me a job on a family farm
Times are hard here but I can’t roll
And I ain’t got nothing more
Oh that company store
Gold’s looking good for sure though
Ain’t that the way it is

Well I worked all summer counldn’t save a cent
I gave all my money to the government
I don’t know quite how it got spent
But the banks are coming for my deed though
Man at the mill can’t see though
Let me get my feed for free though
Ain’t that the way it is

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