The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8085   Message #953813
Posted By: Uncle_DaveO
16-May-03 - 11:57 AM
Thread Name: Origins: State of Arkansas
I just looked at the versions in the DT, and neither is VERY close to the version I have, which comes from the singing of Lee Hayes, on a 12 inch LP from Commodore Records, from the side called Sod Buster Ballads, the other side being Deep See Chanteys and Whaling Ballads.

The Sod Buster Ballads side featured Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Millard Lampell, and Lee Hayes. The Deep Sea Chanteys and Whaling Ballads side had Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Peter Hawes, and Millard Lampell. Notes for both sides were by Alan Lomax. I'm unable to find a copyright date on either the shuck or the LP, but it had to be in the early 50s.

The words of Lee Hayes's version are as follows:


My name is Charlie Brannan
From Charleston I come
I've traveled this wide world over
Some ups and downs I've had
I've traveled this wide world over
Some ups and downs I've saw
But I never knew what mis'ry was
Till I hit old Arkansas

I dodged behind the depot
To dodge that blizzard wind
Met a walking skeleton
Whose name was Thomas Quinn
His hair hung down like rat-tails
On his long and lantern jaw
He invited me to his hotel,
The best in Arkansas

I followed my conductor
To his respected place
There pity and starvation
Were seen on ev'ry face
His bread, it was corn dodger
His meat I couldn't chaw,
But he charged me a half a dollar
In the State of Arkansas

Then I got me a job on a farm.
But I didn't like the work, ner the farm, ner the farmer, ner his wife....ner none of their childern,
So I ups to him one day, and I says, "Mister, I'm quittin' this job, and you can pay me off, right now!"
He says, "All right, son, if that's the way you feel about it,"
and durned if he don't hand me a mink-skin!
I says,"Hell, Mister, I don't want this thing; I want my money!"
He says, "Why, that's what we USE for currency down here in the State of Arkansas!"

Well, I took my mink-skin, went to a bar to get me some drinkin' whiskey. Laid the mink-skin on the bar, and durned if the bartender don't throw me a pint!
Then he picked up the mink-skin, blowed the hair back on it, and give me four possum hides and fourteen rabbit-skins for change!

I'm goin' to the Indian Territory,
And marry me a squaw.
Bid farewell to the cane brakes
In the State of Arkansas.
If you ever see me back again
I'll extend to you my paw,
But it'll be through a telescope
From Hell to Arkansas!