Appalachia Music

There Ain’t a Thing for a Poor Man in this World

There Ain't a Thing for a Poor Man in this World

Frank Proffitt, who is most famous for giving the world Tom Dooley, also wrote Poor Man. Paul reminded me of a video we watched one time.

According to the video, Proffitt was inspired to write the song due to some bitter times he endured. Hard to remember the exact time frame, but I believe it was in the 1930s-tough times for most folks-especially if you were a farmer in NC. There had been a prolonged drought. Folks had cajoled and begged their crops through the dry growing season-praying all the while for rain. As the plants neared harvest, along came a great big flood and washed everything away.

Poor Man written by Frank Proffitt

Well hush up honey
Little darling don’t you cry
Things have got to get better
In the by and by

There ain’t a thing for a poor man in this world

Well I worked through the winter
On into the Spring
Planted corn and taters
But then it wouldn’t rain

There ain’t a thing for a poor man in this world

So I got down on my knees
For rain I thought I’d pray
Along came a great big flood
And washed everything away

There ain’t a thing for a poor man in this world

Work through the summer
On into the fall
All I got for Christmas
Is a pair of overalls

There ain’t a thing for a poor man in this world

Got down on my knees
Looked up to the sky
All that I could think of was to
Ask the Good Lord why

There ain’t a thing for a poor man in this world

Hush up honey
Baby don’t get down
You know that I love you
Every which way around

There ain’t a thing for a poor man in this world


Hope you enjoyed the song. Seems like we all have luck like the song describes every now and then. I’m glad we have music like Paul and Pap’s smooth harmony to soothe our miseries.



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  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    September 2, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I love the song. You did a great job with it. This has long been one of my favorite pieces of music.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Great song, does remind me a bit of Tom Dooley.
    We’ve all struggled through bad times, but I’m remembering the rainbow at the end of Noah’s 40 days aboard the ark, and then of course the struggles of Jesus as He hung upon the cross; nothing we will ever experience equals that.
    We just have to praise and thank God for what we do have, continue in faith while praying for His will in what follows knowing He knows best, and wait for that glorious rainbow.
    Praise and Thank God!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 9, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Tom Dooley by the Kingston Trio ione of my all time favorite songs of my youth. This song is true to so many down on their luck folks. As usual Paul & Pap’s harmony is great and Paul’s lead on the guitar is superb as is the bass & the rhythm even if the bass player is trying to remain incognito.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 9, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Enjoyed the song so much! Thanks to Pap and Paul (did Pap do this recently? Is he able to play and sing now after his illness and injury? I hope he’s still improving well!).

  • Reply
    C. Ronald Perry, Sr.
    August 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Wonderful song, one of their best so far. Of course that doesn’t count the girls songs.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    August 9, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Tipper: I know a lot of hard working fellows who sung this song! Hope things are a little better now.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    August 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Nice done! I remember the Tom Dooley song. It was popular during my time and the music had a nice pizzaz!

  • Reply
    Annette Casada Hensley
    August 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Love the song. Yes, we all have days when we feel like this but beautiful music always help calm the troubled soul.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for sharing the video. That’s my favorite song on the playlist. I’ve never heard it sung by anyone but Pap and Paul. Now that I have the words, I can sing along!

  • Reply
    Henry Horton
    August 9, 2015 at 7:42 am

    …but love, love, love…may we all have to “runneth over”…

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 9, 2015 at 7:13 am

    You all did a great job on this song, as good as I’ve ever heard it!
    Good things come and go in this human world and bad things come and go. I guess that’s just life in this realm we live in!
    Thanks for the peppy song this quiet Sunday morning.

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