From the recording The Crawlspace Tapes

Straight from the obituary of Chicago felon, Joseph Panczko. I couldn't make this up! Read the Chicago Tribune story that inspired the song.



Looking at the obits, I came across a crook
Joe Panczko was the kind at whom the judge could throw the book
Two hundred times arrested, sixteen years, not concurrent
I found this fascinating, wouldn’t sing this if it weren’t.

His crime career spanned forty years, so the story’s told
A bullet-ridden burglar with a heart of gold
In win’try old Chicago, he stole a Cadillac
With a spaniel in the back seat, so he brought the doggie back

During the Great Depression, to help his family
Young Joe stole peanut butter, and other groceries
He grew more proficient, moved on to bigger things
He heisted furs and typewriters and also diamond rings   

It’s the Pops Panczko Polka   
Any safe, he would crack it   
The Pops Panczko Polka   
A pistol, he would pack it   
The Pops Panczko Polka   
He’d walk off with your jacket   
He said, “All my life I stole things... That’s my racket.”

Panczko’s brother, Peanuts, was not the best of men
He ratted on poor Joseph. Joe got four years in the pen
Why he gave up his brother, I do not understand
Except his relocation in the Fed protection plan

Joe could open car trunks by giving them a whack
One time he stole his lawyer’s files and didn’t give them back
His last police encounter was just two years ago
When burglars busted into his North Side bungalow

His family wouldn’t ‘fess up, ‘bout how and when he died
I’m sure a mob of people paid their respects and cried
Folks from the old neighborhood lined up around the block
To see if Joseph Panczko would pick the coffin lock   

Repeat Chorus

Chicago’s best know felon, the Polish "Robin Hood"
Was buried on da North Side, his case was closed for good
From Heaven’s gate he’d tell us, “Don’t wallow in you grief.
I’m troo wit crime, my feet are tired. Hey, I was just a teef.”   

Tag: It’s the Pops Panczko Polka