Riley Furniture Man

The Freight Hoppers. Key of C.

Key of C or D.

  • The Haints perform this [utoob] but then they sing another song and then the loose their guitar... We have this track on their great CD called Shout Monah. Key of D.
  • Joe Walsh & band live [utoob] play cleanly. Key of D.
  • Stairwell Sisters [grooveshark] sing clearly. Key of C.
  • Mick Kinney live [utoob] sounds old timey. Key of D.
  • A version of the lyrics here. This banjo tab is for key of G and the chords don't seem right.

Who was Riley?

  • Riley is the Repo Man of furniture. In the 1900s, American businesses sold poor people furniture on credit and took it back if the customers missed a payment. According to a podcast called Uncensored History of the Blues, there are lots of American songs about the furniture man coming to take back the furniture.
  • This song had offensive racist lyrics in the original version by the Georgia Crackers. Though this was an issue of rich bankers exploiting poor people, the Georgia Crackers played into the bankers' hands and blamed race. As a band of white men, they sang about the indignity of having the white store owner send a black truck driver to take their furniture. To their credit, they did name their band accurately. Some people change the words to "tell that cracker driver" but that doesn't seem any better. The Freight Hoppers say, "tell that old man driver."
  • Grandpa Jones told a joke about the furniture man. Something like: "My neighbor bragged that HIS furniture goes back to Louis the Fourteenth. I told him MY furniture goes back to Sears the sixteenth."