1970 | Rock
Spotify | Amazon
“I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse for the crime of having no dough. -- Now here I am back out on the street for the crime of having nowhere to go.”
- The song was written by lead guitarist Robbie Robertson about bandmate Richard Manuel.
- The song has also been recorded by Bo Diddley, The Good Brothers, The Mekons, The Pointer Sisters, She & Him, and Marty Stuart.
- There is a controversy over who mixed the single version because the group was didattisfied with the initial mix by Todd Rundgren and had a second version mixed by Glyn Johns.
THE HOT TAKES
The first few verses, I was really struggling to figure out what to do with this song. But then, it strikes gold: "I've just spent 60 days in the jail house; For the crime of having no dough, no no." This really got me thinking about how we refer to the homeless population. So often, this is the "homeless problem." How absolutely callous could you possible be? Fell on hard times and found yourself without a place to live? "Problem." Ouch, man. Way to distance yourself from the issue. Of course, while we're at it, it's worth acknowledging that just about anyone can be "the X problem" these days. In 2019, belonging to any group qualifies you as a problem category. White male? Obviously. Millenial? Sucks to be you! Baby Boomer? Wow, you must be responsible for every financial problem imaginable. College kid? Problem. Leftist? Problem. On the Right? Problem. What a stupid world we live in, man.
The Band is just amazing! In this tune they lay out the no win situation. The best line being “I've just spent 60 days in the jail house / For the crime of having no dough, no no / Now here I am back out on the street /For the crime of having nowhere to go.” Vagrancy and loitering, two petty crimes that show how the law is written to give the authority a way to catch you up if they so choose. You can go up the line higher and higher and you see how laws are really only for the commoners. The political elite and their henchmen, only care about the appearance of being lawful, in order to make peels people go along with their will. “Well, he broke the law, and even if it's wrong, he should work to change it instead of break it,” is a common complaint I hear. That shows the common person's ignorance of how the politicians write laws in a way that gives them the most power. Politicians are insects, cos are the web, and we are the insect trying to avoid getting caught.
Can I rename this song The Problem With Centralized Economics & Government interference? Maybe it's just the Austrian Econ shining through but I can't help but listen to this song and see a bunch of ways in which centralized government policy has affected the poorest of us. Minimum wage removes the bottom rungs of labor for unskilled workers. Then laws against vagrancy kick in forcing you to get housing that you probably can't afford because they made laws to decide how much can be charged for it and disincentivized new building. Then, holy smokes if you find a place you better not have a family because then there's laws about occupancy raising the minimum housing you're allowed to have. I hope you didn't need fossil fuels or a car to get to the job you found because in an effort to save the world those costs have skyrocketed to keep people from using them. Mind you if you're wealthy you didn't have to bother with any of these. How leftists don't see government as the prime driver of wealth inequality is beyond me and frankly astounding.