From the recording Busker John Joe May

Lyrics

Busker John Joe May

For twenty five years John Joe May played the Underground
In the alcove at Nottinghill Gate that busker could be found
Singin’ bout his wayward life for the rush hour crowds
In a high lonesome tenor that would have made Guthrie proud

He wore an old pin stripped suit and a black Crusher hat
The lines on his weathered face were deep and long cast
Carved by years of sanctuary found in his tarnished flask
You could hear all the cigarettes he’d smoked every time he laughed

Busker John Joe May
Is buried in an unmarked paupers grave
Near the Bells of St. Mary LeBow now
Oh he never lived to see the day
That old busker John Joe May
When his story was told the whole world round

Legend has he once was a man of upper middle class
He married the youngest daughter of an Irish diplomat
Then one day his wife just left for the love of another man
He soaked his sorrow in whisky with a vengeance after that
He lost it all in a long hard fall his songs were all he had
So he sang for his supper every day until he filled his hat
He died of a broken heart they say the victim of circumstance
Oh the Bobbies found him dead one morn laid across the tracks

CHORUS

He’d send you on your way with a smile and a glance
And treat you like an old friend every time you passed
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Busker John Joe May
Is buried in an unmarked paupers grave
Near the Bells of St. Mary LeBow now
Oh he never lived to see the day
That old busker John Joe May
When his story was told the whole world round