Old Plank Road


h1 April 1st, 2009

Uncle Dave Macon “The Dixie Dew Drop,” recorded this song on 5-string banjo, with guitar by Sam McGee in New York City on April 14, 1926. Macon was born in 1870, the son of proprietors of the Macon Hotel, a theatrical boarding house, where he learned many songs from hotel guests. By 1888 he had become a professional entertainer and would record over a hundred songs between 1932 – 1938. This is one of the chain gang songs he performed. It’s a wild interpretation with lots of shouting. The chorus “Won’t get drunk no more” echoes his regret for being busted and having a ball and chain, but doesn’t smack of true remorse.
Lyrics:

Roughly in the key of D playing the melody

Rather be in Richmond with all the hail and rain
Than to be in Georgia boys wearin’ that ball and chain

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

I went down to Mobile, but I got on the gravel train
Very next thing they heard of me, had on that ball and chain

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

Doney, oh dear Doney, what makes you treat me so
Caused me to wear that ball and chain, now my ankle’s sore

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

Knoxville is a pretty place, Memphis is a beauty
Wanta see them pretty girls, hop to Chattanoogie

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

I’m going to build me a scaffold on some mountain high
So I can see my Doney girl as she goes riding by

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

My wife died on Friday night, Saturday she was buried
Sunday was my courtin’ day, Monday I got married

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

Eighteen pounds of meat a week, whiskey here to sell
How can a young man stay at home, pretty girls look so well

Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Won’t get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

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