The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8085   Message #954002
Posted By: GUEST,Q
16-May-03 - 04:34 PM
Thread Name: Origins: State of Arkansas
Subject: Lyr Add: STATE OF ARKANSAS
The Sanford Barnes verse quoted by Coyote Breath was collected in 1938 by Dr. George Hastings, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and reproduced in Randolph as C, vol. 3, p. 29.
Randolph has a few more lines:
It was in the year of ninety-six,
In the merry month of June,
I landed in Hot Springs, Arkansas,
One sultry afternoon.

Another 'Sanford Brown version', with a number of verses, is provided with sheet music. In this one, he was borned in Buffalo town (lyrics below).
Brown, North Carolina Folklore, collected 1915-1916, has a Santford Barnes, who comes from Little Rock town. The sheet music is different from that in Randolph. Brown has another version collected 1939 with yet another melody in sheet music.
Still another bit of sheet music with some differences is given with a version collected in Galena, MO, 1942 (learned 1931), in Randolph, p. 322-33. This man is Jack Shepherd from Maxwell town.

Like so many of these songs, the tune varied according to the
performer.

In Randolph, a version collected in 1942 from Mr. Charles Ingenthron, Walnut Shade, MO, "learned in the [18]90's," p. 29-30, has sheet music. Similarties with version posted by Uncle_Dave O.

The version A posted by Joe Offer, collected from Mrs. Dusenbury, 1930, has different sheet music. The song Canada I O, mentioned by Joe, is in the DT, seemingly a version from Maine.

THE STATE OF ARKANSAS

My name 'tis Sanford Barnes,
I was borned in Buffalo town,
I've traveled the wide world over,
I've roamed the world around,
I've had my ups and downs in life,
And some good times I've saw,
But I never knew what misery was
Till I struck Arkansas.

I landed in Hot Springs,
One sultry afternoon,
(Two lines missing)
There I spied a walking skeleton,
He handed me his paw,
Invited me to his hotel,
The best in Arkansas.

I went with my conductor
All to his dwelling place,
(two lines missing)
He fed me on corn hoe-cakes,
His beef I could not chaw,
And he charged me sixty cents for that
In the State of Arkansas.

I started out next morning
To catch the morning train,
He says you better come work for me,
I have some land to dreen,
I'll give you sixty cents a day,
Your washing, board and all,
You'll find yourself a different man
When you leave Arkansas.

I worked six weeks for that galoot,
Jess Hurrell was his name,
He was six foot seven in his stocking feet,
And tall as any crane,
His hair hung down in rat-tails
On his long and lantern jaw,
And he was a photograph of all the gents
That lived in Arkansas.

He fed me on corn hoe-cakes
As hard as any rock,
Till my teeth began to loosen
And my knees began to knock.
I got so thin on sage and sassafras tea
I could hide behind a straw,
So I was quite a different man
When I left Arkansas.

Farewell to swamp angels,
The canebrakes and the chills,
Farewell to sage and sassafras tea,
And popcorn dodger pills,
If ever I see that land again
I'll give to you my jaw,
For it'll be through a telescope
From here to Arkansas.

From Mr. Doney Hammontree, Farmington.Arkansas, 1941, a similar version with added final stanza:

Oh now I am a railroad man
At a dollar-'n-a-half a day,
And here I 'low to work
Till I can get away,
Then I'll go to the Cherokee Nation
And marry me a squaw,
Farewell to hog and hominy
In the State of Arkansas.