Brother Can You Spare a Dime – Song and Lyrics by Abbey Lincoln

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Discover the poetic beauty in ‘Brother Can You Spare a Dime’ by Abbey Lincoln. This lyric breakdown takes you on a journey through the artist’s thoughts, emotions, and the story they aim to tell. From clever metaphors to evocative imagery, we delve into the nuances that make this song a lyrical masterpiece. Whether you’re a fan of Abbey Lincoln or a lover of well-crafted words, our detailed analysis will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of this song.

They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it’s done
Brother, can you spare a dime

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it’s done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that Yankee-Doodly-dum
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don’t you remember, they called me “Al”
It was “Al” all the time
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal
Say buddy, can you spare a dime

Once in khaki suits, ah gee we looked swell
Full of that Yankee-Doodly-dum
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Oh, say, don’t you remember, they called me “Al”
It was “Al” all the time
Say, don’t you remember, I’m your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime