The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #80440   Message #3968600
Posted By: Lighter
28-Dec-18 - 08:27 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Jerry Go and Oil That Car
Subject: RE: Origins: Jerry Go and Oil That Car
From the Portland "Oregonian" (Apr. 29, 1917), p.5:

To the Editor. - I saw mention in last Sunday's issue of the song, Jerry, Oil the Car." I inclose same herewith, as it came from the pen of the author, James O'Reilly, a railway telegrapher, who had worked on a section while awaiting something better.

It was a favorite song in railroad construction camps in the early '80s in the Rocky Mountain regions, and was a satire on the section foreman on roads in the far East and Middle West, who, armed with a brief authority, imagined themselves petty princes, and their self-importance was exceeded only by their tyranny toward their subordinates.



You've heard of Larry O'Sullivan,
All the way from the "good auld sod."
He was 40 years a section boss
And never had a wreck on the road.
He made it a point to put ev'ry joint
With the force of the tamping bar;
And while the boys were shimming up the ties,
Jerry would oil the car.

And ev'ry Sunday morning sure
Old Larry to his men would say:
"Git ready, me byes; yez all know well
Me wife's goin' to church today.
I want ev'ry man to pump all he can;
As the distance is quite far;
And we must git in before Number Tin,
So Jerry, go oil the car!"

You should see old Larry in the Winter time,
When the hills were clad with snow,
Like a king in his pride on the car he'd ride,
As over the track we'd go;
With his big sojer coat buttoned up to the throat
All danger he would dare;
And when we got to the section post,
Jerry would oil the car.

And when the roadmaster showed up
As he came down the line,
To receive in state a man so great,
Larry would take him to dine.
At dinner time in the section house
'Twas the same old tale again -
Ham and eggs for the roadmaster,
And the "dry-salt" for the men.

He took us out one stormy night,
The rain fell fast and thick,
To save the track from washing out;
Next day he took down sick.
The doc was called, who felt his pulse,
And, with a misty eye,
Said Larry's pass was writ and signed
O'er the track to the sweet by-and-by.

As we all gathered at his bedside,
This favor he did crave:
"Whin I am dead, let me be laid
Under the frog in me grave.
Let the spike-maul rest upon me breast,
Wid de gauge an' the auld claw bar,
And while the byes are puttin' me to rest,
Jerry will oil the car.

"Give my respects to the roadmaster,"
Were the next words he did cry.
"Hould me up, and let me see
The handcar before I die."
He grew so weak he could not speak
As he lay upon his dying bed,
"Joint ahead," and "center back,"
Were the last words the old man said.

Lord rest you, Larry O'Sullivan
You were so kind and good;
You made the boys bring home old ties
After work, made them chop the wood;
For the water also, to the well they'd go,
And cut the kindling fine;
And if they'd growl - oh "Pon me soul,"
You'd send them down the line.

Chorus -
The last words he said on his dying bed
"I niver hired a tar;
"Joint ahead" and "center back"
And "Jerry, oil the car."