The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #80440   Message #2598572
Posted By: Jim Dixon
27-Mar-09 - 11:09 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Jerry Go and Oil That Car
Subject: Lyr Add: JERRY, GO AN' ILE THAT CAR!
Note: this version is nearly the same as that in the DT, but the DT version lacks a chorus.

From Out West Vol. XX, No. 2, February, 1904:

[That source also has musical notation for the melody line only.]

[Charles F. Lummis]

...In 1884, when I "walked on foot" something over 3,500 miles across the continent, and slept in more section houses than hotels—there being more, then, on that route—I learned "Jerry, Go and Ile that Car." That is, the air and a few verses. Ever since that somewhat hurried time—with the snow knee-deep today, and a rather important billet for tomorrow—I have been trying to assemble that song. But there are no more of the old section gangs that lent me their dubious but kindly blankets. The man from Limerick is replaced with a Mexican peon or an Indian—both just as good, and human, and tuneful, and even more given to the making of songs—but the songs now are of altogether a different sort. The Larries that were section bosses when I believed in everybody—why, either they are dead, or they are Division Superintendents who are so busy with modern railroading that they have forgotten the old songs. In this search—which has covered nearly half the lifetime of a man of middle age, I have had the help of the best men in the West—the men who have grown up with it and made it. And only within a few weeks have we measurably succeeded.

"Jerry" was written, I am reasonably sure, in the year 1881; and was a product of the Santa Fé route. I know that it was written by a roving Connaught man who has no other name of record than "Riley, the Bum." He was a happy-go-lucky, hardworking, quick-fighting, section laborer. But he was also a minstrel. Both as music and as literature, the song he composed stands easily first of the "Come all ye's" that have ever been made as railroad songs. It is the mother tincture of the Track as it existed twenty years ago, and can by no human possibility exist again. It is the Real Thing. Arthur G. Wells, General Manager of the Santa Fé lines from New Mexico westward, has materially aided me in reassembling the scattered words. The transcription of the music is by that splendid young American, Arthur Farwell, who is doing so much and so well to establish a really American music. The words are here, and the air; but Mr. Farwell's "Wawan Press," Newton Center, Mass., will presently publish "Jerry" in sheet form, with all the words and the variation of notes, as a contribution to American Songs of the Soil.

The words of "Jerry" here printed are pretty nearly conclusive; but any one who can round them out will do a service to history.

"Jerry, Go An' Ile That Car-r!"
[An Old Irish Melody.] Words by "Riley, the Bum."
Transcribed by Arthur Farwell. Recorded by Chas. F. Lummis.

[1] Come all ye railroad section men,
An' listen to my song,
It is of Larry O'Sullivan,
Who now is dead and gone.
For twinty years a section boss,
He niver hired a tar—
Oh, it's "j'int ahead and cinter back,
An' Jerry, go an' ile that car-r-r!"

CHORUS.—For twinty years a section boss,
He niver hired a tar,
But it's "j'int ahead, and cinter back.
An' Jerry, go an' ile that car-r-r!"

[2] For twinty years a section boss
He worked upon the track,
And be it to his cred-i-it,
He niver had a wrack.
For he kept every j'int right up to the p'int
Wid the tap of the tampin'-bar-r;
And while the byes was a-shimmin' up the ties,
It's "Jerry, wud yez ile that car-r-r!"—CHO.

[3] God rest ye, Larry O'Sullivan,
To me ye were kind an' good;
Ye always made the section men
Go out and chop me wood;
An' fetch me wather from the well,
An' cut the kindlin' fine;
And anny man that wudn't lind a han'
'Twas Larry'd give him his Time.—CHO.

[4] And ivery Sunday marni-i-ing
Unto the gang he'd say:
"Me byes, prepare—yez be aware
The ould lady goes to church the day.
Now I want ivery man to pump the best that he can,
For the distance it is far-r-r;
An' we have to get in ahead of Number 10—
So, Jerry, go an' ile that car-r-r!"—CHO.

[5] 'Twas in November, in the winter time,
An' the ground all covered wid snow,
"Come, putt the hand-car-r on the track,
An' over the section go!"
Wid his big sojer coat buttoned up to his t'roat,
All weathers he wud dare—
An' it's "Paddy Mack, will yez walk the track,
An' Jerry, go an' ile that car-r-r!"—CHO.

[6] "Give my rispicts to the Roadmas-thér,"
Poor Larry he did cry,
"And lave me up, that I may see
The ould hand-car-r before I die.
And let it be said, on my death bed,
He niver hired a tar!
Come, jint ahead, and cinter back,
And Jerry, go and ile that car-r-r!"

CHO.—Then lay the spike-maul upon his chist,
The gauge an' the ould claw-bar-r,
And while the byes do be fillin' up the grave,
Oh, Jerry, go and ile that car-r-r!"