Archive for the 'Mountain/southern us' Category



John Hardy


h1 Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

In West Virginia, a railroad worker named John Hardy got violent during a game of craps and fatally shot Thomas Drews, a fellow player. Hardy was tried, found guilty of murder in the first degree and hanged on January 19, 1894. History records this from the Wheeling Daily Register. Judge Herndon and Walter Taylor defended Hardy. Allegedly, Hardy gave Judge Herndon his pistol as a fee.
Lyrics:
CAPO ON 1ST FRET
[F] John Hardy, was a [C] desperate little man,
[F] He carried two guns [C] every day.
[F] He shot a man on the [C] West Virginia line,
[C] You oughta seen John Hardy gettin’ away,
[C] You oughta seen John Hardy [G7] gettin’ [C] away.

John Hardy, he got to the Keystone Bridge,
He thought he would be free.
Up steps a man and takes him by his arm
Saying, “Johnny, walk along with me,”
Saying, “Johnny, walk along with me.”

John Hardy was a brave little man,
He carried two guns ev’ry day.
Killed him a man in the West Virginia land,
Oughta seen poor Johnny gettin’ away, Lord, Lord,
Oughta seen poor Johnny gettin’ away.

John Hardy was standin’ at the barroom door,
He didn’t have a hand in the game,
Up stepped his woman and threw down fifty cents,
Says, “Deal my man in the game, Lord, Lord….”

John Hardy lost that fifty cents,
It was all he had in the game,
He drew the forty-four that he carried by his side
Blowed out that poor Negro’s brains, Lord, Lord….

John Hardy had ten miles to go,
And half of that he run,
He run till he come to the broad river bank,
He fell to his breast and he swum, Lord, Lord….

He swum till he came to his mother’s house,
“My boy, what have you done?”
“I’ve killed a man in the West Virginia Land,
And I know that I have to be hung, Lord, Lord….”

He asked his mother for a fifty-cent piece,
“My son, I have no change.”
“Then hand me down my old forty-four
And I’ll blow out my agurvatin’ [sic] brains, Lord, Lord….”

John Hardy was lyin’ on the broad river bank,
As drunk as a man could be;
Up stepped the police and took him by the hand,
Sayin’ “Johnny, come and go with me, Lord, Lord….”

John Hardy had a pretty little girl,
The dress she wore was blue.
She come a-skippin’ through the old jail hall
Sayin’, “Poppy, I’ll be true to you, Lord, Lord….”

John Hardy had another little girl,
The dress that she wore was red,
She came a-skippin’ through the old jail hall
Sayin’ “Poppy, I’d rather be dead, Lord, Lord….”

They took John Hardy to the hangin’ ground,
They hung him there to die.
The very last words that poor boy said,
“My forty gun never told a lie, Lord, Lord….”

Darling Clementine


h1 Monday, October 1st, 2012

Camilla and I were on the road in September 2012 and I realized we were in a copper mining town on the upper peninsula of Michigan. The town of Calumet has a rich history of mining and was the site of the 1913 massacre that Woody Guthrie immortalized in his song 1913 Massacre.

Mining reminded me of Darling Clementine. I had to search through the archives of the Folk Den to make sure that song wasn’t already there because it was so familiar. It’s kind of a sad song but the last verse adds a bit of humor.

By the way if you ever go to Calumet Michigan be sure to try the Chili Rellenos at Carmelitas Southwest Grille “Food with an attitude.”

Lyrics:
[E] In a cavern, in a canyon,
 Excavating for a [B7] mine

Dwelt a miner [E] forty-niner, 
And his [B7] daughter [E] Clementine
▪ Chorus:
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
 And her shoes were number nine

Herring boxes, without topses,
 Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Drove she ducklings to the water
 Ev’ry morning just at nine,

Hit her foot against a splinter,
 Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Ruby lips above the water,
 Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,

But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

How I missed her! How I missed her,
 How I missed my Clementine,

But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
 Oh my darling, Clementine!

Thou are lost and gone forever
 Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Give Me Oil In My Lamp


h1 Saturday, September 1st, 2012

“Give Me Oil In My Lamp” is great old Gospel song that I recorded on the Byrds’ “Easy Rider” album back in 1969. It’s derived from Matthew 25:1-3 in the Bible: “The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them” In the end the foolish virgins ran out of oil.

Lyrics:
Verse 1:
[G] Give me oil in my lamp,
[C] Keep me burning,
[G] Give me oil in my lamp, [A] I pray. [D]
[G] Give me oil in my lamp,
[C] Keep me burning,
[G] Keep me burning
Till the [D] break of [G] day.

Chorus:
[G] Sing hosanna! [C] sing hosanna!
[D] Sing hosanna to the [G] King of kings!
Sing hosanna! [C] sing hosanna!
[D] Sing hosanna to the [G] King!

Verse 2:
Give me joy in my heart,
Keep me singing.
Give me joy in my heart, I pray.
Give me joy in my heart,
Keep me singing.
Keep me singing
Till the break of day.

Paul & Silas


h1 Friday, July 1st, 2011

A classic Gospel song, in the picking style I learned from Earl Scruggs.
Lyrics:

[A] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night long
[D] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night [A] long
[A] Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night [A] long
Cryin’ He shall [E] deliver [A] me

Jailer come and lock the gate
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

That old jail did reel and rock
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Paul and Silas prayed to God
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Paul and Silas bound in jail
All night long X3
Cryin’ He shall deliver me

Pay Me My Money Down


h1 Friday, October 1st, 2010

Pay Me My Money Down is a work song from the Georgia Sea Islands. The slaves there were in relative isolation from the culture of the Southern United States and retained much of their West and Central African heritage. They speak an English-based creole language containing many African words and using similar grammar and sentence structure to those of African languages.

The melody is much older and is used in other songs.

Lyrics:
[G] I thought I heard the Captain say,
Pay me my [D] money down,
Tomorrow is our sailing day,
Pay me my [G] money down

[G] Oh pay me, oh pay me,
Pay me my [D] money down,
Pay me or go to jail,
Pay me my [G] money down

As soon as the boat was clear of the bar,
Pay me my money down,
The captain knocked me down with a spar,
Pay me my money down

If I’d been a rich man’s son,
Pay me my money down,
I’d sit on the river and watch it run,
Pay me my money down

Well 40 nights, nights at sea
Pay me my money down,
Captain worked every last dollar out of me,
Pay me my money down

Whoa Back Buck


h1 Sunday, August 1st, 2010

I learned “Whoa Back Buck” from Bob Gibson. Lead Belly also did a version of this song. It has a lot of nonsense verses that are interchangeable with those of other folk songs.

Lyrics:
(chorus)
[E] Whoa back Buck gee by the [D] lamb,
[E] Who made the back band [B7] whoa [E] Cunningham.

[E] 18, 19, 20 years [D] ago,
[E] Took my gal to the country [B7] store,
[E] Took my gal to the country [D] store,
[E] Buy m’ pretty little gal [B7] little [E] calico.

Me and my gal walkin’ down the road,
Her knees knock together playin’ Sugar In The Gourd,
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd in the ground,
If you want a little sugar got to roll the gourd around.

Eastbound train on the westbound track
Westbound train on the eastbound track
Both those trains were running fine
But what a terrible way to run a railroad line!

18, 19, 20 years ago,
Took my gal to the country store,
Took my gal to the country store,
Buy m’ pretty little gal little calico.

Me and my gal walkin’ down the road,
Her knees knock together playin’ Sugar In The Gourd,
Sugar in the gourd and the gourd in the ground,
If you want a little sugar got to roll the gourd around.

I’m On My Way


h1 Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I learned “I’m On My Way” at the Old Town School of Folk Music. It’s a Southern religious song that was adapted along with others such as “We Shall Overcome” for the Civil Rights Movement.

I used drums, banjo, bass and Rickenbacker 12-string for the track.

Lyrics:
[G] I’m on my way, I won’t turn [D] back

I’m on my way, and I won’t turn [G] back

I’m on my way, I won’t turn [C] [Am] back

[G] I’m on my way, [D] praise God

[G] I’m on my way.


I ask my brother to come and go with me

I ask my brother come and go with me

I ask my brother come and go with me

I’m on my way, praise God

I’m on my way.

If he says no, I’ll go anyway
If he says no, I’ll go anyway
If he says no, I’ll go anyway
I’m on my way, praise God

I’m on my way

I’m on my way to the freedom land

I’m on my way to the freedom land

I’m on my way to the freedom land

I’m on my way, praise God

I’m on my way.

I’m on my way, and I won’t turn back

I’m on my way, I won’t turn back

I’m on my way, I won’t turn back

I’m on my way, praise God

I’m on my way.

All The Pretty Little Horses


h1 Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

This song is on the third page of my Old Town School of Folk Music song book but for some reason I just got around to recording it. Aside from being a classic of Southern folk lullabies, it’s also Spring-like and appropriate for June. The Rickenbacker instrumentals give it kind of a dreamy quality.
Lyrics:
[Dm] Hush-a-bye
[Gm] Don’t you cry
[C] Go to [A] sleepy little [Dm] baby
[Dm] When you wake
[Gm] You shall have
[C] All the [A] pretty little [Dm] horses

[F] Blacks and bays
[C] Dapples and greys
[C] A coach [A] and six white [Dm] horses

Hush-a-bye
Don’t you cry
Go to sleepy little baby
Way down yonder
In the meadow
Lies a pretty little lamby
Bees and butterflies
All flying by
Poor little lamb crying
“Mammy”

Hush-a-bye
Don’t you cry
Go to sleepy little baby

Big Rock Candy Mountain


h1 Saturday, May 1st, 2010

I always thought this was a kid’s song until I reexamined the lyrics. I guess when Burl Ives had a hit with it in the 1940s I was a kid and the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings sounded appealing. I didn’t notice the gin, cops and stones. It’s about a hobo’s utopia!

The original lyrics are even rougher as you can see here:

I recorded this with a banjo mandolin that I had bought in 1960 and left in San Francisco with a friend. He returned it to me several years ago and I had it refurbished thanks to Wayne & Robyn Rogers owners of Gold Tone Banjo.

Lyrics:
[D] On a summer day
In the month of May
A burly bum came [A] hiking
Down a shady lane
Through the sugar cane
He was looking for his [D] liking
As he roamed along
He sang a song
Of the land of milk and [A] honey
Where a bum can stay
For many a day
And he won’t need any [D] money

Chorus:
[D] Oh the buzzin’ of the bees
the bubblegum trees
[G] soda water [D] fountain
the [A] lemonade springs
Where the [D] bluebird sings
On the [A] big rock candy [D] mountain

There’s a lake of gin
We can both jump in
And the handouts grow on bushes
In the new-mown hay
We can sleep all day
And the bars all have free lunches
Where the mail train stops
And there ain’t no cops
And the folks are tender-hearted
Where you never change your socks
And you never throw rocks
And your hair is never parted
Chorus:

She Never Will Marry


h1 Monday, March 1st, 2010

“She Never Will Marry” is an adaptation of some very old ballads. I first heard it sung by a red headed woman at Chicago’s Gate of Horn. Here’s a song that provides a glimpse into its origins:

THE LOVER’S LAMENT FOR HER SAILOR

As I was walking along the seashore,
Where the breeze it blew cool, and the billows did round,
Where the wind and the waves and the waters run
I heard a shrill voice make a sorrowful sound.

Chorus:
Crying, O my love’s gone, whom I do adore,
He’s gone and I will never see him more.

I tarried awhile still listening near,
And heard her complain for the loss of her dear;
Which grieved me sadly to hear her complain
Crying, he is gone and I will never see him again.

She appeared like some goddess, and dressed like a queen,
She’s the fairest of creatures that ever was seen.
I told her I’d marry her myself, if she pleas’d,
But the answer she made me, was my love is in the seas.

I never will marry nor be any man’s bride,
I choose to live single, all the days of my life,
For the loss of my sailor I deeply deplore,
As he’s lost in the seas I shall ne’er see him more.

I will go down to my dearest that lies in the deep
And with kind embraces I will him intreat,
I will kiss his cold lips like the coral so red,
I will close up his eyes that have been so long dead.

The shells of the oysters shall be my lover’s bed,
And the shrimps of the sea shall swim over his head,
Then she plunged her fair body right into the deep,
And closed her fair eyes in the water to sleep.

Lyrics:
[G] They say that [D] love’s a [G] gentle thing
But it’s [C] only [D] brought her [G] pain
For the [C] only [D] man she [G] ever [Em] loved
Has [Am] gone on the [D] midnight [G] train

She never will [D] marry
She’ll be no man’s [C] wife
She expect to live [G] single
All the [D] days of her [G] life

Well the train pulled out
The whistle blew
With a long and a lonesome moan
He’s gone he’s gone
Like the morning dew
And left her all alone

She never will marry
She’ll be no man’s wife
She expect to live single
All the days of her life

Well there’s many a change in the winter wind
And a change in the clouds and Byrds
There’s many a change in a young man’s heart
But never a change in hers

She never will marry
She’ll be no man’s wife
She expect to live single
All the days of her life