The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87868   Message #1644641
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
08-Jan-06 - 10:44 PM
Thread Name: happy? – Jan 8 (drink blood like wine)
Subject: RE: happy? – Jan 8 (drink blood like wine)
"I don't like a railroad man" is a floater. Lunsford borrowed from the song, "I Don't Like No Railroad Man," but the verse ending 'And drink up your blood like wine' may be his. See Carl Sandburg, "The American Songbag, p. 326, for a version that probably hales from Kentucky.
See Traditional Ballad Index for "I Don't Like No Railroad Man." In Brown, "North Carolina Folklore," collected 1913.

The lyrics of the traditional song, "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground," as sung by Lunsford on Brunswick 219 (1924) are reprinted in Lomax and Lomax, 1934, "American Ballads and Folk Songs," pp. 152-153, with music. Also in the DT. The Lunsford recording is included in the Smithsonian-Folkways collection, "Anthology of American Folk Music," disc 5.
An earlier version (one of several collected) is found in Brown, "North Carolina Folklore."
There are many floating verses to the song, and some versions go through a variety of animals that the singer 'wishes' he could be.

Here is one with three floaters, often heard:

Lyr. Add: Mole in the Ground

Well, I wish I was a mole in the ground.
Yes, I wish I was a mole in the ground.
Mole in the ground, I'd tear that mountain down
Well, I wish I was a mole in the ground.

Well, I wish I was a *lizard in the spring.
Well, I wish I was a lizard in the spring.
Lizard in the spring, lord, I'd hear my darling sing.
Well, I wish I was a lizard in the spring.
* salamander

Kippy wants a nine dollar shawl
Kippy wants a nine dollar shawl.
Nine dollar shawl, lord, I need a new mackinaw,
Kippy wants a nine dollar shawl.

Kippy, let your hair hang down.
Kippy, let your hair hang down.
Let your hair hang down, let your bangs curl round
Kippy, let your hair hang down.

Darlin', where you been so long?
Darlin', where you been so long?
I've been walkin' down that road singin' out my song,
Darlin', where you been so long?

Other verses and variants sung by Lunsford- he often changed them.

Oh, Teddy wants a nine-dollar shawl,
Oh, Teddy wants a nine-dollar shawl,
When I come off the hill with a forty-dollar bill,
It's "Baby, where you been so long?"

Oh, I don't like a railroad man,
No, I don't like a railroad man,
A railroad man will kill you when he can,
And he'll drink up your blood like wine.

Oh, Teddy, let your hair roll down,
Oh, Teddy, let your hair roll down,
Let your hair roll down and your bangs xurl around,
Oh, teddy let your hair roll down.

I wish I was a lizard in the spring,
Yes, I wish I was a lizard in the spring.
If I was a lizard in the spring, I'd hear my darling sing,
And I wish I was a lizard in the spring.

Oh, I've been in the Bend so long,
Yes, I've been in the Bend so long,
If I was a mole in the ground, I'd root that mountain down,
And I wish I was a mole in the ground.

Recorded by Artus M. Moser, from singing by Lunsford, Swannanoa, North Carolina, 1946. Library of Congress record LP 21. From Duncan Emrich, 1974, "American Folk Poetry, An Anthology," pp. 659-660.

A verse or two in Mudcat threads 14163, 18014 and 22204.