Pushcart Annie

The song “Push Cart Annie” concerns an old woman who lived in my home town down in the Ohio River Valley back in the 1960s. She was what people here in Chicago call a scavenger, someone who looks through the alleys for stuff they can sell.  Unlike scavengers up here, though, she didn’t cruise the alleys in a pickup; she plodded along with a pushcart.

me, circa 1972

me, circa 1972

I won’t claim that the song’s factually accurate, but I hope it tells the truth, and the description of her is as I remember it. I wrote the song in 1972 when I was in my early twenties, using “the ice cream chords,” a progression so notoriously cliched that it has its own Wikipedia entry. (Think “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” or “Last Kiss.”)

Twenty some years later, I set the lyrics  to a less hackneyed chord progression and melody, and that’s the version that I recorded for my About Time CD.

Clicking on the icon directly below will play the recording for you, and the lyrics are under the icon.

PUSHCART ANNIE

I remember Pushcart Annie, trudging long with her cart

Up and down the alleys , poring over people’s trash

She was withered, grey & dirty, walking bent & hunchbacked

Lord, Lord, you know she was an eerie sight

Hidden behind fences, little boys would jeer

hurl rocks and call her a witch

Their mothers sighed

Their fathers shrugged it off: boys will be boys

Anyway they all knew she was crazier’n hell

Years, she left us uneasy, walking round broken and bent

Then someone noticed–she hadn’t been round in weeks

The sheriff went round to her shanty

She lay cold on the floor

As a child I wondered; some nights I wonder still

Does she search dark alleys for what she never found?

That’s me singing and playing  guitar; my wife Dorothy played bass; my friend Lee Kromer is on harmonica; and Robert Marshall did the drums. It’s funny. The words meant a lot to me when I wrote them, but listening to the song now, what I like most are the instrumental jams and Lee’s harp part.  What do you think?

“Pushcart Annie” and the CD About Time are both available at just about any site that sells music downloads.

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About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

2 Responses to “Pushcart Annie”

  1. David Randall Worthen Reply August 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I remember ‘Pushcart Annie’. She lived at one time about a block from my home. It’s kind of funny that these days the same type of people are called ‘Pickers’ and the term, in no way, has a negative tone. History Channel even has the very popular show “American Pickers”. Knowing you, from our younger days growing up in the same town, it’s good to see your success in your music and literary endeavors. Thank you.

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