The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2335   Message #3940605
Posted By: Jim Dixon
31-Jul-18 - 09:49 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Foolish Questions (W Lee/A B Sloane)
Subject: Lyr Add: FOOLISH QUESTIONS (from Johnny Cash)
I have transcribed this exactly as Cash sang it, even though his narrative gets confused due to confusion of pronouns. I have put my suggested corrections at the end. You can hear the recording on YouTube.

As recorded by Johnny Cash on "Bootleg Vol. II: From Memphis to Hollywood" (2011)

Well, now, you've all been asked foolish questions and I think that you all know
That you're bound to run into 'em most, most anywhere you go,
And you all know the story of the man you meet on the way.
You say to him: "Hey, how's tricks?" and you listen to 'im while he'll say:[1]

Say, he's just been to the funeral of poor old uncle Ned,[2]
And the next question he's gonna ask is: "Is Ned dead?"
Foolish questions—you might as well reply:
"No, Ned thought he'd have a funeral and then later on sometime he'd die.
You know, he's so original that he wanted it that way."
Foolish questions—you'll hear 'em ever' day.

Then there's the woman that always gives your phone a ring.
She'll talk two hours about anything, especially her bad kinfolks that are goin' to the ruin an' ever'thing.
You set there half asleep an' brewin', stewin',
And she says fin'lly: "Hey, what you doin'?"
Foolish questions—you ought to tell 'er that you're gone.
"And just about an hour ago, I thought I heard the phone.
It couldn't 'a' been you, though, 'cause I'd been asleep; why don't you call me sometime?"
Silly questions get a silly answer ever' time.

Then you just got out o' the hospital after about a three-month stay,
Had ever' bone in you broken, and you're tryin' to make your way.
An old friend steps right up to you and he says: "Hey, how's tricks?"
You been in the hospital three long months an' he says: "Hey, you been sick?"
Foolish questions—he says: "Naw, I like my meals in bed.[3]
Cost ain't a lot, and I'm curin' up pretty good now.
Why don't you go break your leg? That traction there is fine."
Foolish questions gets a silly answer ever' time.

Well you step into an elevator and you open up the door.
You walk right into the shaft and fall down forty floors,
And when you hit the bottom, and you're layin' there in the dirt,
The first person that's gonna come along's gonna say: "You hurt?"
Foolish questions—your dyin' words are: "No.
I was kind o' in a hurry an', well, a elevator's too slow.
I find I save a lot of time comin' down that way."
Foolish questions—yeah, you'll hear 'em ever' day.

* * *
I suggest the following changes to the lyrics:
1. He'll say to you: "Hey, how's tricks?" and he'll listen to you while you say:
2. Say, you've just been to the funeral of poor old uncle Ned,
3. Foolish questions—you say: "Naw, I like my meals in bed.