The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9559   Message #1330768
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
18-Nov-04 - 12:42 AM
Thread Name: What did John Henry mean?
Subject: RE: What did John Henry mean?
The word 'shaker' has been used by railroad gangs for many years, but it is not yet included in Webster's Collegiate.
Here is a little 'nine-pound hammer verse:

If I die a railroad man,
Go bury me under the sand,
With a pick and shovel at my head and feet,
And a nine-pound hammer in my hand.

Anon., obtained in Knott County, KY. J. H. Cox, 1925, "Folk Songs of the South," John Hardy, version H, pp. 185-186. Many of the versions collected in 1909-1920 are in MS or hard-to-get journals.