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Raised On Robbery Lyrics

Artist: Joni Mitchell
Album: Court & Spark

He was sitting in the lounge of the Empire Hotel
He was drinking for diversion
He was thinking for himself
A little money riding on the Maple Leafs
Along comes a lady in lacy sleeves
She says let me sit down
You know, drinkin' alone's a shame
It's a shame it's a crying shame
Look at those jokers
Glued to that damn hockey game
Hey honey-you've got lots of cash
Bring us round a bottle
And we'll have some laughs
Gin's what I'm drinking
I was raised on robbery

I'm a pretty good cook
I'm sitting on my groceries
Come up to my kitchen
I'll show you my best recipe
I try and I try but I can't save a cent
I'm up after midnight cooking
Trying to make my rent
I'm rough but I'm pleasin'
I was raised on robbery

We had a little money once
They were pushing through a four lane highway
Government gave us three thousand dollars
You should have seen it fly away
First he bought a '57 Biscayne
He put it in the ditch
He drunk up all the rest
That son of a bitch
His blood's bad whiskey
I was raised on robbery

You know you ain't bad looking
I like the way you hold your drinks
Come home with me honey
I ain't asking for no full length mink
Hey, where you going
Don't go yet
Your glass ain't empty and we just met
You're mean when your loaded
I was raised on robbery


by Ohio 1944 Man on 7/6/2008 9:46am
I seen wayy too many like her.
Just cause' they got that thang they think I neeed it sooo.
by Archie 54 on 11/22/2008 10:55am
Thats a bitching good song by the Queen of music
by richard on 6/4/2009 3:24am
she does not sing "I'm up after midnight cooking"!!! I've been trying for years to learn what that line really is! Does anyone know?
by andrea on 6/19/2009 1:59am
maybe she joni was working in some 24hour diner
by frank on 6/25/2009 10:01am
yes she does sing "I'm up after midnight, cooking". I have the original recording with lyrics and when enhanced, it is clear that is what it is.
also - the line in the first stanza is "...let me sit down here" not "...let me sit down"
by pete on 11/1/2009 2:57pm
I don't think "I'm up after midnight cooking" has much to do with food. The analogy follows on from "sitting on my groceries", a popular euphemism for prostitution. The lady in the lacy sleeves is clearly a hooker altough the listener may sympathise with this woman who having fallen on hard times has been forced into the oldest profession.
by Sean on 11/20/2009 11:54am
I have been listen to this wonderful album since it was first released. I have always been under the impression that "robbery" was a Liqueur. Can anyone confirm or correct?
by Scott on 12/11/2009 9:53am
I thought it was, "along came a lady who makes him sneeze", and, "I'm up at three the night cook, tryin' to make my rent", but then I also thought the Beach Boys sang, "When I cruise around the other parts of the town I got my Ten Gallon Hat"!!!
by Beatlebob2 on 6/7/2010 12:41pm
it's "blue money riding", not "little money riding"
by Van on 7/31/2010 12:37pm
Definitely "blue money", i.e., five dollar bets. Americans have different dead statesmen on different denominations, Canadians have the queen on all of the, but different colors.
by Scourge on 8/16/2010 4:26pm
"Pretty good cook; sittin' on my groceries" "show you me best recipes" and "up after midnight cooking"...she's whoring herself.
by Ksp on 9/8/2011 1:11am
It's also, at the end, "Don't Leave When Youre Loaded..." as in he's both rich, and drunk. Not "you're mean"
by JR on 1/5/2012 4:10pm
Laurier is on the Canadian $5. The Queen is only on the 20 now. The $5 is definitely blue.
by Don on 4/15/2013 12:19pm
I heard Joni Mitchell on NPR several years ago; she was specifically asked about Raised on Robbery, and said the lady is a prostitute. But to conclude she "is whoring herself" risks overstatement, I believe. Joni Mitchell wears her heart on her sleeve in virtually every song. She's great.
by Jim on 7/8/2013 8:49pm
Is it about the Empire Hotel in Huntsville or North Bay
by Mark on 7/20/2013 12:50pm
1718 McIntyre Street, Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 2P8, Canada. Built in 1912, one of the oldest hotels in Regina. Joni Mitchel stayed at the Empire in the 1960's and wrote this song about it.
by Suann on 11/11/2013 1:25pm
It's the Empire Hotel in Saskatoon (now the Executive). Joni was a Saskatonian.
by Pete on 11/28/2013 6:16am
It's the Empire Hotel in Huntsville Ontario. She said in an interview once that she was visiting friends in the Muskokas and had either just got off a Gray Coach bus, or was waiting to board one. The lounge was where one purchased the bus tickets. The Hotel is long gone now.
by joe on 2/24/2014 1:45pm
could blue money refer to the colour of the TO maple leafs jersey?
by Brett on 3/24/2014 11:13am
The "lady in lacy sleeves" is a prostitute???
Hello! The title of the song is "Raised on Robbery".

She's a robber - a con artist. Her game is to swindle men by posing as a prostitute - a con that's probably as old as prostitution itself.

In the song, she approaches her "lounge" pray with a story about "trying to make my rent", while she attempts to get him "loaded" and stupid enough to part with his "cash" in exchange for her "best recipe". But this is all just a pretext for robbing him of his cash.

As the saying goes "A fool and his money are soon parted" and once this con artist gets her hands on his, she'll find a way of slipping out the back and leeving him with nothing but a lesson.

However, this song is about a failed con, and at the end he's the one that slips away. Perhaps he was raised on robbery too and was wise to her game.
by Lawrence Jolicoeur on 5/10/2023 1:39pm
The line " look at those jokers glue to that hockey game " I aways thought it was " look at those jokers losing at their hockey game " referring to the leafs . Still relevant today

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