Mary Ann

This is a traditional calypso song about a sailor looking for his lost love in Trinidad.

Lyrics:

All day all night Mary Ann
Down by the seaside sifting sand
Even little children love Mary Ann
Down by the seaside sifting sand

Sailing down through the islands man
I am searching for me Mary Ann
Sailing down through the islands man
Searching for my Mary Ann

Down On Penny’s Farm

Got this from the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. This song feels appropriate because farmers are having a real tough time making a living these days.

Lyrics:

[G] Come you ladies and you gentlemen and listen to my song
I’ll sing it to you right, but you might think it’s wrong
May make you mad but I mean no harm
[G] It’s just about the renters on [D] Penny’s [Em] farm

[G] It’s hard times in the country
Down on [D] Penny’s [G] farm

Now you move out on Penny’s farm
Plant a little crop of ‘bacco and a little crop of corn
He’ll come around to see, gonna plan and plot
Till he gets himself a mortgage on everything you got

It’s hard times in the country
Down on Penny’s farm

Hasn’t George Penny got a flattering mouth
Move you to the country in a little log house
Got no windows but cracks in the wall
He’ll work you all summer and rob you in the fall

It’s hard times in the country
Down on Penny’s farm

You go in the fields and you work all day
Way into the night but you get no pay
Promise you meat or a little lard
It’s hard to be a renter on Penny’s farm

It’s hard times in the country
Down on Penny’s farm

Now here’s George Penny come into town
With his wagon-load of peaches, not one of them sound
He’s got to have his money or somebody’s check
You pay him for a bushel and you don’t get a peck

It’s hard times in the country
Down on Penny’s farm

Well Well Well

“Well Well Well” is an old gospel song that was revived by the folk community in the early 1960s and performed by many artists including Bob Gibson and Bob Camp, Peter Paul and Mary and the Seekers.

Lyrics:

[Em] Well well well who’s that a-calling
Well well [Am] well [G] hold my [B7] hand
[Em] Well well well night is a-falling
[G] Spirit is a-moving all over this [B7] land

[G] God told Noah build Him an arc
[Bm] And the rain started falling
And the skies turned dark
[Em] The old arc a-moving,
[Am] Water stared to [C] climb
[G] God said a fire [B7] not a flood next time

CH

My Lord said fire coming judgement day
All mankind gonna pass away
Brothers and sisters don’t you know
We’re gonna reap just what we sow

CH

World’s not waiting for the Lord’s command
He’ll build Him a fire that’l sweep the land
With thunder out of Heaven
Comin’ Gabriel’s call
And the sea’s gonna boil
And the sky’s gonna fall

CH X 2

Midnight Special

Prison legend had it that if you were touched by the light of the Midnight Special train, you were bound to be freed from prison. “Midnight Special” was recorded by Lead Belly but had been around for at least twenty years before his version became popular.

Lyrics:
“The Midnight Special”

[G] Well, you wake up in the [C] mornin’, you hear the work bell [G] ring
And they march you to the [D] table you see the same old [G] thing
Ain’t no food on the [C] table, and no pork is in the [G] pan
But you better not [D] complain, or, you get in trouble with the [G] man

[Chorus:]
[G] Let the Midnight [C] Special shine a light on [G] me
Let the Midnight [D] Special shine its everlovin’ light on [G] me

Yonder come miss Rosie, tell me how do you know?
By the way she wears her apron, and the clothes she wore
Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand
She come to see the gov’nor, she wants to free her man

[Chorus]

If you ever go to Houston, well, you better walk right
You better not gamble, you better not fight
The sheriff will grab you and thy’ll take you on down
The next thing you know, You’re prison bound

[Chorus]

[Chorus]

Aweigh Santi Anno

Aweigh Santi Anno. The song is listed as number 207 in the Roud Folk Song Index. The theme of the shantey, which dates from at least the 1850s, may have been inspired by topical events in the news related to conflicts between the armies of Mexico, commanded by Antonio López de Santa Anna, and the U.S., commanded by Zachary Taylor, in the Mexican–American War.

The lyrics are not historically accurate: for example, both the Battle of Monterrey and the Battle of Molino del Rey (different versions refer to one or other) were US victories, not Mexican ones. Some suggest that this tradition was caused by British sailors, who deserted their ships to join Santa Anna’s forces.

Lyrics:
AWEIGH SANTI ANNO – A CAPPELLA

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THEM NASSUA GIRLS THEY’VE GO NO COMB
THEY COMBS THEIR HAIR WITH A TIPPER BACK BONE

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THEM CALIFORNIA GALS I DO ADORE
WITH THEIR BRIGHT BLUE EYES
AND THEIR GOLDEN HAIR

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THEM CALIFORNIA GALS THEY LOVE ME SO
BECAUSE I DON’T TELL ‘EM ALL I KNOW

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND IN MY PRIME
I’D GO OUT WITH THEM PRETTY GIRLS
TWO AT A TIME

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THE SKIPPER LIKES WHISKEY AND THE MATE LIKES RUM
THE CREW LIKES BOTH BUT WE CAN’T GET NONE

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW

ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO
THE WORK IS HARD AND THE WAGE IS LOW
SO WIND HER UP AND WE’LL ROLL AND GO

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

THE WIND IS HIGH AND BLOWING FREE
LET’S GET THE RAGS UP AND WE’LL DRIVE HER TO SEA

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

MEXICO OH MEXICO AWEIGH SANTI ANNO
MEXICO IS A PLACE I KNOW
ALONG THE PLAINS OF MEXICO

Billy Boy

The terms “Hillbilly” and “Red Neck” both originated during the Battle of the Boyne. England’s Dutch born King William III was known to his Protestant Irish followers as “Billy Boy” and his followers were called “Hill billys” and “Red Necks.”

There’s a bit of irony in the last verse where Billy Boy is asked about the age of his fiancée. He states that she is “Three times six and four times seven, twenty-eight and eleven,” which adds up to 85, hardly a young thing!

Lyrics:
[D] Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy,
Oh, where have you been, charming [A7] Billy?
I have been to seek a wife, she’s the [D] joy of my life,
She’s a young thing and [A7] cannot leave her [D] mother.

Did she ask you to come in, Billy Boy, Billy Boy,
Did she ask you to come in, charming Billy?
Yes, she asked me to come in, there’s a dimple in her chin.
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Did she set for you a chair, Billy Boy, Billy Boy,
did she set for you a chair,Charming Billy.
Yes, she set for me a chair, there are ringlets in her hair,
she’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Can she make a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy,
Can she make a cherry pie, charming Billy?
She can make a cherry pie, quick as a cat can wink an eye,
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

How old is she, Billy Boy, Billy Boy,
How old is she, charming Billy?
Three times six and four times seven, twenty-eight and eleven,
She’s a young thing and cannot leave her mother.

Road Through The Woods

This is a famous poem by Rudyard Kipling set to a traditional folk tune. The arrangement is new in the style of the Byrds with rolling Rickenbacker backing and lead 12-string guitars.

Lyrics:
[E] They shut the [B7] road through [E] the woods
[A] Seventy years [E] ago.
[A] Weather and rain have [E] undone it again,
[F#m] And now you would never [B7] know

There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.

Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

BREAK

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,

(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,

Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know

Cotton Eyed Joe

I first learned “Cotton Eyed Joe” at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music in 1957. No one really knows what it’s about but speculation has it that Joe would come to a town and steal away a man’s sweetheart. The song predates the Civil War and has become a cult dance tune both in line dance and partner dance. It has been recorded by The Moody Brothers, The Chieftains, Ricky Skaggs and the Swedish band Rednex. The 1980 film Urban Cowboy sparked a renewed interest in the dance. It has also inspired nightclubs to take on the name as in the photo above.

Lyrics:
[G] Where did you come from
Where did you [Em] go
[G] Where did you come from
Where did you come from
[D] Cotton Eye’d [G] Joe

Come for to ramble
Come for to sing
Come for to show you
A diamond ring

BREAK

Where did you come from
Where did you go
Where did you come from
Cotton Eye’d Joe

Haden’t been for Joe Cotton Eye’d Joe
I’d a-been married 40 years ago X2

Where did you come from Where did you go
Where did you come from
Cotton Eye’d Joe

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

An American patriotic song written by Samuel F. Smith while a student at the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts in 1831. The tune is the same as the British anthem “God Save The Queen.”

Lyrics:

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride.

From every mountain side let freedom ring!

My native country, thee, land of the noble free, Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills.

My heart with rapture thrills like that above.

Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song.

Let mortal tongues awake, let all that breathe partake.

Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

Our father’s God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing.

Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light.

Protect us by Thy might, Great God, our King!

Angels from the Realms of Glory

This is my adaptation of a 19th century classic Christmas carol, written by Scottish poet James Montgomery.

Lyrics:

[G] Angels, from the realms of glory,
[C] Wing your flight o’er [D] all the [G] earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story,
[C] Now proclaim [D] Messiah’s [G] birth:

Refrain: [D] Come and worship,
[G] Come and worship
[C] Worship Christ, the [D] newborn [G] King.

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant light:

Refrain.
Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations,
Ye have seen his natal star:

Refrain.
Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In his temple shall appear.

Refrain.
Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you—break your chains:

Refrain.
Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill his Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to him;
Every knee shall then bow down:

Refrain.
All creation, join in praising
God the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising,
To th’eternal Three in One: