The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9559   Message #62201
Posted By: --seed
10-Mar-99 - 02:59 AM
Thread Name: What did John Henry mean?
Subject: RE: What did John Henry mean?
According to the Lomaxes, there was a real John Henry who actually beat a steam drill, in a race in the Big Bend Tunnel on the C&O line. And he wasn't swinging horizontally, 'cause he was swinging a 9 pound hammer in each hand. Not only did he win the race, he lived to brag about it. At least this is as I remember it from The Folk Songs of North America. Alan Lomax, in his American Folk Songs doesn't repeat the bit about John Henry's survival or the two-hammer detail. I can't find my copy of the older book right now, so I can't find the exact quote. --seed