The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8085   Message #2959947
Posted By: GUEST,Kegan
07-Aug-10 - 03:49 AM
Thread Name: Origins: State of Arkansas

In eighteen-hundred-and-eighty-two, in the merry month of June,
I landed at the Hot Springs one sultry afternoon.
A living skeleton walked to me, offered me his paw;
Invited me to his hotel - the best in Arkansas.

I followed my conductor up to his boarding place;
Misery and starvation was written on his face.
His soup was half dish-water, his beef I could not chaw,
But he charged me fifty cents a meal in the state of Arkansas.

Started out next morning to catch an early train;
A fellow said, "You'd better stay, I have some land to drain.
I'll give you fifty cents a day, washing, board, and all."
He said I'd be a different lad when I left old Arkansas!

I worked six months for the son-of-a-gun, Joe Roberts was his name;
He was nine feet, thirteen inches tall and looked just like a crane.
His wife was tall and skinny, so was his ma and pa;
But that's the way they grow 'em in the state of Arkansas.

He fed me on corn dodgers as hard as any rock;
My teeth began to loosen, my knees began to knock.
I got so thin on sassafras tea I could hide behind a straw;
I sure was a different lad when I left old Arkansas!

I took a train for Texas, more dead than alive –
quart of whiskey under each arm, my spirit to revive.
I got dead-drunk and went to sleep, somebody broke my jaw.
I rode nine days and they put me off right back in Arkansas.

But I'm now in Florida, no canebrake or no chills.
They don't feed me on sassafras tea or old corn-dodger pills.
If you ever see me there again, I'll hand to you my paw,
But it'll be through a telescope from here to Arkansas!

Recorded by The Golden Melody Boys (Dempsey Jones and Phil Featherstonhaugh [Spelled as 'Featherstone' on song copyright records] from Cedar Rapids, Iowa) in January of 1928 for Paramount Records and released on Broadway 8134 as "Way Dow In Arkansas" [sic] (Paramount catalog #3087).

Vocal by Dempsey Jones (b. 1891 - d. 1963)
Mandolin accompaniment by Phil Featherstonhaugh (b. 1892 - d. 1969)