Back near the beginning of this thread SharonA mentioned Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel - but the song it was based on, "Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel" published by Daniel Emmett in 1853 and its numerous progeny have produced an incredible volume of verses vaguely attempting to rhyme with the word "Jordan". I'm not sure if the fact that many these lines were written in "dialect" for minstrel shows may have contributed to the odd rhyming. The fact that Emmetts song was used for parodies in England may have compounded this. In any event the poor rhyming pattern seems quite intentional.
Some of the "rhymes" require pronouncing "Jordan" as "Jerdan" in order to rhyme with "certain" etc, but that only works for a few, and some defy explanation other than the fact that the song is normally sung so fast that the words are nearly impossible to distinguish. Most at least try to match the "'n" of the un-empahasized last syllable, but some dont even do that.
Consider the following verses taken in great part from numerous published versions of the song with the second line attempting to rhyme with Jordan, starting with some of Emmett's originals (i know there are more verses out there I just got tired):
I jest arrived in town fo' to pass the time away,
And I settled all my bizness accordin'
But I found it so cold when I went up de street
Dat I wished I was on de oder side ob Jordan.
I look to the East I look to the West
And I see ole Kossuth a-comin'
With four bay horses hitched up in front,
To tote his money to de oder side ob Jordan.
David and Goliath both had a fight
A cullud man come up behind 'em,
He hit Goliath on de head wid a bar of soft soap
And it sounded to de oder side ob Jordan.
Der's been excitin' times for de las' year or two
About de great Presidential election
Frank Pierce got elected and sent a hasty plate ob soup
To his opponent on de oder side ob Jordan.
I am guine to sing a song and I'l make it as I go
The words you will like now depend on
And if it don't you suit, why you can at me hoot
And I'll travel to de odder side of Jordan
Gen's Scott and Pierce dey both hab a race
For de White House you ought to see dem runnin
Massa Pierce come out a head, and Scott give up de chase
And he fotched up on de odder side of Jordan
De Governor of Cuba is kicking up a dust
About de Crescent City, Purser Smith and so on
It will take General Scott for to quiet dat muss
And run dem to the odder side of Jordan
President Filmore is acting mighty strange
(But with George Law he'd better not keep foblin,)
By de 4th of next March, I guess he'll take a range
In de vicinity of de odder side of Jordan
Goerge Law is spunky. and I glory in his grit,
Kase he got de guns and steamer's for to fight on
To blood thirsty Spaniards he won't knock under a bit
Till he leaves dem on de odder side of Jordan
The spirits of fifty murdered Americans are crying for revenge
To de whole Yankee nation to go on
Straight off to Havana their blood to avenge
And blow Moro Castle to de odder side of Jordan
Abraham and Isaac sat down to play the cards
Abraham he hold the cooler
The Ace he could not come, and the Jack he had to run
Twas the biggest hand the other side of Jordan
Moses in the bulrushes asleep, wide awake
Playing possum in a two bushel basket
With a wreath of candles strung around his head
To light him to the other side of Jordan
Collins and Cunard are both very fine men
The Arabia Johnny Bull he bets on
But the very next trip that the Atlantic makes
She will tow her to the other side of Jordan
Oh the Chatham street railroad has made a mighty talk
It's a subject you all no doubt have heard on
They make you pay five cents, and stand up all they way
Until they land you on the other side of Jordan
Forest in Metamora takes all the heavy parts
Oh, you ought to hear the b'hoys applaud him
"You've sent for me and I've come" it sounded like a gun
They heard it on the other side of Jordan
Of all the banjo songs that have been sung of late,
There is none that is now so often called on,
As the one I sing myself, and apply it to the times,
It's called "On the Other Side of Jordan."
Around the Crystal Palace there are a great many shows,
Where all the country green horns are drawn in--
There're snakes and alligators, mammouth mules and big 'taters,
That were raised upon the other side of Jordan.
The Duchess of Southerland, she keeps the Stafford House,
The place where the "Black Swan" is boarding;
At a musical party, they asked for a song,
And she gave them--On the other side of Jordan.
Oh I lookee to de East, an' I lookee to de West
An' I see a mighty chariot a comin'
Wid forty grey hosses a crackin' on the lead
For to take us on de odder side o' Jordan
Den I lookee to de Norf, an' I lookee to de Souf
An' I spied a might purty flower garden
An' old Fader Miller a blowin' on ther clarionet
To invite us on the odder side o' Jordan
Joe Smith and Fader Miller dey got into a fight
An' dar was no near to part em
Farder Miller kicked Smith, an' he tumbled on his nose
An' he skeeted to the odder side of Jordan
Uncle Tom's Cabin never was written by mortal hands
I t never was, and there's no use of talking
It was written long ago by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe
When she lived on the other side of Jordan
Poor Uncle Tom had a berry hard time
Tho he asked Mrs. Beecher's toe's* pardon [sic perhaps Stowe's?]
But she never will diskiver what a wicked thing she did
Till she tried to reach de odder side o' Jordan
Uncle Sam's Black Slave hab got a mighty hard time
But de "White Slave ob England" a more hard one
An' I radder do believe Uncle Sam comes out de best
An he needn't fear de odder side o' Jordan
Den here's to Columbia de country of de free
Tho I ax de odder nations pardon
Let dem take may advice, an' for freedom let dem fight
Or dey'll never see de odder side o' Jordan
Thunder in the clouds, lightning in the trees
What do you think that I told him?
It's goodbye son till the next kingdom come
And I'll meet you on the other side of Jordan.
There were snakes in Ireland not many years ago
St Patrick saw the vermin all a-crawling
But with his shillelagh he hit them on the head
And he drove them 'cross the other side of Jordan.
I looked to the east. I looked to the west,
I seen the old gray goose comin'
With forty gray horses and a Dominicker mule
And they landed on the other side of Jordan.
If you wanna do well, go down the hotel,
Get your room and your board on credit.
If they ask for the pay, you just tell 'em right away
They'll get it on the other side of Jordan
Daddy caught a turkey in the woods the other day
And we put him in the pot for to cook him.
But the turkey jerked his head and he knocked off the led
And he gobbled on the other side of Jordan.
David and Goliath had a fight the other day
And they found one thing for certain.
Hit Goliath on the head with a bar of soft soap
And he landed on the other side of Jordan
It rained 40 days and it rained 40 nights
And it rained on the Alleghany Mountains
It rained 40 horses and a Dominecker mule
And they landed on the other side of Jortan