The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #114362   Message #2446573
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
21-Sep-08 - 01:21 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Work Gang Songs
Subject: Lyr Add: BAD MAN LAZARUS
BAD MAN LAZARUS

1
Oh, bad man Lazarus,
Oh, bad man Lazarus,
He broke in de commissary,
Lawd, he broke in de commissary.
2
He been paid off,
He been paid off,
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
He been paid off.
3
Commissary man,
Commissary man,
He jump out comissary window,
Lawd, he jump out commissary window.
4
Startin' an' fall,
O Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
Commissary man startin' an' he fall,
O Lawd, Lawd, Lawd.
5
Commissary man swore out,
Lawd, commissary man swore out,
Lawd, commissary man swore out
Warrant for Lazarus.
6
O bring him back,
Lawd, bring him back,
O Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
Bring Lazarus back.
7
They began to wonder,
Lawd, they began to wonder,
Lawd, they began to wonder
Where Lazarus gone.
8
Where in world,
Lawd, where in world,
Lawd, where in world
Will they find him?
9
Well, I don't know,
I don't know,
Well, Lawd, Lawd,
Well, I don't know.
10
Well, the sheriff spied po' Lazarus,
Well, the sheriff spied po' Lazarus,
Lawd, sheriff spied po' Lazarus
Way between Bald Mountain.
11
They blowed him down,
Well, they blowed him down,
Well, Lawd, Lawd,
They blowed him down.
12
They shot po' Lazarus,
Lawd, they shot po' Lazarus,
Lawd, they shot po' Lazarus
With great big number,
13
Well, forty-five,
Lawd, great big forty-five
Lawd, forty-five,
Turn him roun'.
14
They brought po' Lazarus,
And they brought po' Lazarus,
Lawd, they brought po' Lazarus
Back to the shanty.
15
Brought him to de number nine,
Lawd, brought him to number nine,
Lawd, they brought him to the number nine,
Lawd, they brought po' Lazarus to number nine.
16
Ol' friend Lazarus say,
Lawd, old friend Lazarus say,
Lawd, old friend Lazarus say,
"Give me cool drink of water.
17
"Befo' I die
Good Lawd, 'fo' I die,
Give me cool drink of water,
Lawd, 'fo' I die."
18
Lazarus' mother say,
Lawd, Lazarus' mother say,
"Nobody know trouble
I had with him.
19
"Since daddy died,
Lawd, since daddy been dead,
Nobody knows the trouble I had,
Since daddy been dead."
20
They goin' bury po' Lazarus,
Lawd, they goin bury po' ol' Lazarus,
They goin' bury po' Lazarus
In the mine.
21
At half pas' nine, O Lawd,
Good Lawd, Lawd, Lawd,
Goin' bury po' Lazarus
At half pas' nine.
22
Me an' my buddy,
Lawd, me an' my buddy,
We goin' over to bury him,
Half pas' nine.
23
Lazarus' mother say,
"Look over yonder,
How dey treatin' po' Lazarus,
Lawd, Lawd, Lawd."
24
They puttin' him away,
Lawd, they puttin' him away,
Lawd, they puttin' Lazarus away,
Half pas' nine.

Sung in unison by pick and shovel workingmen at Danielsville, Georgia. When asked if the singing hinders the work, one of them replied, "Lawdy-Lawd-Lawd-Cap'n. ... Cap'n dat's whut makes us work so much better, an' it nuthin' else but."
"One of the group acted the part of the "shouter" very much like the hearers in the church. ..."Once, as the singers recorded the shooting of Lazarus, he shouted, "Yes, yes, Lawd, I seed 'em, I wus dere.""
The legend of Lazarus is put in many localities; the mine, the pine forests, the fields, the highway, the railroad or any place a work gang operates; in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, etc. One of the stories might have some truth to it.

Most of Odum's collection dates from 1915-1916, but this one was published in 1926; no collection date given.
Howard W. Odum and Guy B. Johnson, 1926, "Negro Workaday Songs," Univ. North Carolina Press, pp. 49-53.

Versions of "Po' Lazarus" are quoted in thread 12768: Po Lazarus