I emailed Ape Lad to tell him that Richard Thompson’s new album includes a song called “Bad Monkey.” He blogged his curiosity as to whether RT has any hobo songs.
One answer is that he doesn’t, because Hobo refers to an American subculture, and RT’s songs tend to be very British (even after all the years he’s had a home in California).
But, at the risk of giving Ape Lad more than he wanted (although no more than he asked for), the better and affirmative answer is that there are many RT-hobo connections. The cover of The Old Kit Bag is one example.
Then there’s the song from RT’s first solo album in which the narrator tells us that “We go where the work is… and we work where we can.” The song is “The Old Changing Way,” and yes, that does have something to do with the title of this very blog. The album is Henry the Human Fly.
My favorite of RT’s hobo-ish songs is “Al Bowlly’s in Heaven,” from Daring Adventures. A more general favorite might be “Beeswing,” from Mirror Blue. Here’s a video of RT singing the latter.