What has country music ever done for urban sociology? (Sunday Sociological Song)

Ready for another installment of our cross-blog Sunday Sociological Song? This week, I was looking for a song illustrating Nels Anderson’s classic, The Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man (1923).  Now of course, the first thought goes to Like a Hobo by Charlie Winston. But sincerely, that was too obvious a choice.

Instead I picked an old Merle Haggard‘s hit, I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am. I’m sure you will appreciate the irony of a country musician so thoroughly conveying the atmosphere of the “urban jungle” of Chicago.

Title: I Take Alot OF Pride In What I Am

Artist: Merle Haggard
Album: Pride in What I Am (1968)

Things I learned in a hobo jungle
Were things they never taught me in a classroom,
Like where to find a handout

While thumbin’ through Chicago in the afternoon.
Hey, I’m not braggin’ or complainin’,
I’m just talkin’ to myself man to man.
This ole’ mental fat I’m chewin’ didn’t take alot of doin’.
But I Take Alot Of Pride In What I Am.

I guess I grew up a loner, I don’t remember ever havin’ any folks around.
But I keep thumbin’ through the phone books,
And lookin’ for my daddy’s name in every town.
And I meet lots of friendly people, that I always end up leavin’ on the lam.
Hey, where I’ve been or where I’m goin’ didn’t take alot of knowin’,
But I Take Alot Of Pride In What I Am.

I never travel in a hurry,
‘Cause I got nobody waitin’ for me anywhere.
Home is anywhere I’m livin’,
If it’s sleepin’ on some vacant bench in City Square,
Or if I’m workin’ on some road gang,
Or just livin’ off the fat of our great land.
I never been nobody’s idol, But at least I got a title,
And I Take Alot Of Pride In What I Am.