Author: Daniel, Bert

The Taxman

I sure hope you all got your taxes done before today. That way I can wish you a "Happy Tax Day!" because the IRS-induced pain and suffering is now behind us. Well it isn't really behind us, is it? We pay and pay every day. It's only at this time of year that we finally add it all up and see how much of our hard earned currency we're able to get back, if any.

As I drive to work today I'll probably listen to the radio and they'll probably mention the fact that today is Tax Day. And if they play any music with that announcement, it will most likely be my favorite tax tune of all time by the Beatles:

Let me tell you how it will be, Thereís one for you, nineteen for me,
ĎCause Iím the Taxman, Yeah, Iím the Taxman.
Should five per cent appear too small, Be thankful I donít take it all.
ĎCause Iím the Taxman, Yeah, Iím the Taxman.

Five percent, are you kidding? Don't you wish! Well at least I am thankful they didn't "take it all" this year. I still have enough money to buy bread and hang out with my bluegrass friends for another summer. I've heard Taxman performed on a Bluegrass stage. I think the Deadly Gentlemen did it last year and I know Nickel Creek has done it. But I hardly think George Harrison's tune will be a factor in the jams this weekend at our Turlock campout. Not only do we want to forget about the woes of the previous week, we want to play Bluegrass!

So that begs the question: if you had to pick a Bluegrass song about the subject of taxes, what would it be? There are so many songs about money problems: Last Gold Dollar, I Ain't Broke But I'm Badly Bent, etc. But songs specifically about taxes are few. Here's my favorite, from a Canadian band you may not have heard of, Tillers Folly. It's worth a listen:


Me, I'm just a simple man, made for simple things
I work an honest job and try to make ends meet
To make a modest living, I labor days on end
And do the best just to do the best I can

The bell tolls every Sunday, the faithful go to pray
The sermon's ever-changing, but the story's all the same
The church is made of money, still it needs more every day
So you should always leave them something on the plate

Everywhere there's people grinding axes
And just so many things you know are true
There's few things sure in life, but death and taxes
And at every step the Taxman waits for you

Times are getting harder, you try your very best
The Taxman, he comes calling, he wants his pound of flesh
The Devil takes the hindmost while the Taxman takes the rest
It can put a good man's patience to the test

The Hangman he's a working stiff, he draws a workman's pay
He puts an end to suffering and sends you on your way
He's always ever grateful, and he likes to lend a hand
He always makes a killing in the end

There's powder in the keg and they're striking matches
And just so many things you know are true
There's nothing sure in life, but death and taxes
At every turn the taxman waits for you

The smiling undertaker, he's dapper and refined
He measures me both up and down, and says I'll be just fine
He flatters me to tell me how spruced up I'll look in pine
Says he always gets a chuckle with that line

The Clergy takes confession, hears every word I say
Offers absolution and sends me on my way
To shuffle off this mortal coil and meet my stony end
Delivered from the Taxman, amen

The time has come to batten down the hatches
And just so many things you know are true
There's nothing sure in life, but death and taxes
With every breath the Taxman waits for you
And at every step; the Taxman waits for you
At every turn the Taxman waits for you

Hopefully you were listening while reading just now. Not only is this a good song but the group sings well and plays the traditional instruments we Bluegrass fans all know and love. Maybe they'll make it down to Grass Valley one summer. I always love to jam in that Canadian key (Eh?).

Posted:  4/15/2013

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