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Origin: Poor Lazarus (High Sheriff...)

DigiTrad:
POOR LAZARUS


Related threads:
Lyr Add: New Buryin' Ground (18)
Lyr Req: Dead or Alive (Woody Guthrie) (3)


roundboy@globalnomad.co.uk 03 Aug 99 - 08:22 PM
John Hindsill 03 Aug 99 - 08:52 PM
Barry Finn 03 Aug 99 - 09:00 PM
CarlZen 03 Aug 99 - 09:00 PM
Joe Offer 04 Aug 99 - 05:20 AM
Charlie Baum 04 Aug 99 - 10:50 AM
Joe Offer 04 Aug 99 - 10:19 PM
wysiwyg 12 Feb 02 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,LesB(uk) 12 Feb 02 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Les B(uk) 12 Feb 02 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,MCP 12 Feb 02 - 06:31 PM
Gareth 12 Feb 02 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 12 Feb 02 - 06:44 PM
Gareth 12 Feb 02 - 06:48 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 12 Feb 02 - 06:54 PM
Gareth 12 Feb 02 - 07:16 PM
Stewie 12 Feb 02 - 07:50 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 12 Feb 02 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 12 Feb 02 - 10:35 PM
Rolfyboy6 13 Feb 02 - 12:48 AM
Charlie Baum 13 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Sharyn Dimmick , sharyn@usisp.com 15 Oct 02 - 12:00 AM
harpgirl 23 Feb 03 - 12:16 AM
harpgirl 23 Feb 03 - 12:18 AM
rich-joy 23 Feb 03 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,MCP 23 Feb 03 - 06:46 AM
Janie 20 Sep 08 - 09:38 PM
Peace 20 Sep 08 - 09:46 PM
bobad 20 Sep 08 - 10:03 PM
Janie 20 Sep 08 - 11:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Sep 08 - 03:25 AM
Janie 21 Sep 08 - 08:07 AM
GUEST 22 Feb 11 - 10:18 AM
Max Johnson 22 Feb 11 - 01:41 PM
jonah77 22 Feb 11 - 04:25 PM
tritoneman 23 Feb 11 - 01:30 PM
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Subject: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: roundboy@globalnomad.co.uk
Date: 03 Aug 99 - 08:22 PM

I heard a song in a folk club the first verse of which goes: the high sherrif he told his deputy he said go out and bring me laz'rus x2 bring him dead or alive lord lord lord bring him dead or alive

I have to know who wrote this song, or it's "trad" or "anon". can anybody help please?

a roundboy living in hope.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: John Hindsill
Date: 03 Aug 99 - 08:52 PM

Ian & Sylvia sing this song on their Vanguard (VSD-2149) album "Four Strong Winds" under the title "Poor Lazerus" which according to the liner notes is a 'Negro basman ballad'. This album dates to the early '60s and I don't know about CD re-issue.---John


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 03 Aug 99 - 09:00 PM

It's trad. You'll find a great net hauling version of it by the Manhaden Chantymen, they also do "I'm Gonna Roll Here" another somewhat version of "Po' Laz'us". As a prison worksong it was recorded on "Negro Workaday Songs". If it's related to "I'm Gonna Roll Here" then it would also fall into a relationship with the 'BIG' prison songs "Berta" & "Ol Alabama" & is one of the few worksongs that are shared by singers in the prisons & on the sea. Barry


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: CarlZen
Date: 03 Aug 99 - 09:00 PM

The song is "Po' Laaz'us" and is in the Lomax collection, Folk Songs of North America, listed as song number 303. It refers to another Lomax collection, "Folk Song USA", which offers a couple of pages of commentary, which I can attempt to bowdlerize (I think I even did that to the aforementioned word) and put into a Reader's Digest Condensed Version.

The intro compares the African-American outlaw ballads to the Anglo-American ballads, cites a few other examples (Railroad Bill, Brady, Stackerlee) but claims "Po' Laz'us" as being the "most poignant and moving and the most widely sung of the ballads." Lazarus was a worker on a levy camp, in the days when "you worked from can to can't and maybe they paid you and maybe they didn't." One evening at the mess hall he got tired of finding "meat in his greens" (worms in his salad). Then he did something for which onwe must be feeling really pissed off and had to really have some balls. He "walked the table". He stood up on the mess table and stomped everyone's plates with his muddy boots. Knowing he'd face a minimum of a whippiong for his deed, and with revolvers in either hand, he went straight for the pay window, took the money and ran.

Our story (the song) begins with the high sherrif telling the deputy to go get "Po' Laz'us".

Another interesting note is that this was oaften sung as a work song or a gang song. There are a dozen or so verses, and it is said that when on work lines when the workers (singing the song with "much affection for the hero", came to the final verse there would be a pause when all of the hammers would drop to the ground in unison, and then the finale would come;

Cap'n, did you hear about-all yo' men gonna leave you? (2x)

Nex' Pay Day, Wo, Lordy, Lord, Next Pay Day.


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: POOR LAZARUS (traditional)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 99 - 05:20 AM

We have the Woody Guthrie song of this title in the database (click here), but I didn't find the traditional version. Here 'tis.
-Joe Offer-

POOR LAZARUS
(traditional)

(repeat the first line of each verse)


High Sheriff, he told the deputy, he says, "Go out and bring me Lazarus."
High Sheriff, he told the deputy, he says, "Go out and bring me Lazarus.
Bring him dead or alive, Wo, Lawdy, bring him dead or alive."

Oh, the deputy begin to wonder, where in the world he could find him…
"Well I don't know, Wo, Lawdy, I just don't know."

Oh, they found poor Lazarus way out between two mountains…
And they blowed him down, Lawd, Lawd, and they blowed him down.

Old Lazarus told the deputy he had never been arrested…
By no one man, Wo, Lawdy, by no one man.

So they shot poor Lazarus, shot him with a great big number…
Number forty-five, Wo, Lawdy, number forty-five.

And they taken poor Lazarus and they laid him on the commissary counter…
and they walked away, Wo, Lawdy, and they walked away.

Lazarus told the deputy, "Please gimme a cool drink of water…
Just before I die, Wo, Lawdy, just before I die."

Lazarus' sister run and told her mother…
"Poor Lazarus is dead, Wo, Lawdy, poor Lazarus is dead."

Lazarus' mother, she laid down her sewing…
She begin to cry, Wo, Lawdy, she begin to cry.

Lazarus' mother, she come a-screaming and a-crying…
"That's my only son, Wo, Lawdy, that's my only son."

Lazarus' father, he sure was hard-hearted…
Didn't say a word, Wo, Lawdy, didn't say a word.

Lazarus' sister, she couldn't go to the funeral…
Didn't have no shoes, Wo, Lawdy, didn't have no shoes.

Cap'n, did you hear about - all your men gonna leave you?…
Next pay-day, Wo, Lawdy, next pay-day.

from Lomax, Folk Song USA and Folk Songs of North America, but I removed the Lomax attempt at "Negro dialect."
JRO

Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net

ABC format:

X:1
T:Poor Lazarus
M:4/4
Q:1/4=120
K:E
G8|GG4EE3/2C/2|E3/2C/2E6|-E5GG2|G2E3/2E/2=G3/2F/2E3/2C/2|
E2E6|-E6B2|BB9/2G/2B3/2G/2|B3/2G/2B6|-B5BcB|
ee2ec3/2B/2G2|B2c6|-c6c3/2B/2|e2c3/2c/2Bc3|
c4B3/2c/2=G3/2F/2|E2E3/2C/2E7/2||


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on the song:

    Poor Lazarus (Bad Man Lazarus) [Laws I12]

    DESCRIPTION: Lazarus breaks into the commissary and flees. The sheriff orders that he be taken dead or alive. Deputies shoot Lazarus and bring him back. He asks for a drink of water and dies. Lazarus's sister tells his mother, who recalls how troublesome he was
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1934
    KEYWORDS: robbery death family
    FOUND IN: US(SE,So)
    REFERENCES (9 citations):
    Laws I12, "Poor Lazarus (Bad Man Lazarus)"
    Lomax-FSUSA 86, "Po' Laz'us" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Lomax-ABFS, pp. 91-93, "Po' Laz'us (Poor Lazarus)" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Lomax-SInging, pp. 342-345, "Po' Laz'us" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Lomax-FSNA 303, "Po' Lazarus" (1 text, 1 tune, composite)
    Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 909-910, "Po' Laz'us (Poor Lazarus)" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Courlander-NFM, pp. 179-181, "(Lazarus)" (1 text)
    DT 661, (POLAZRUS?)
    ADDITIONAL: Harold Courlander, _A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore_, Crown Publishers, 1976, pp. 400-402, "Poor Lazarus" (1 text)

    Roud #4180
    RECORDINGS:
    Bright Light Quartet, "Po' Lazarus" (on LomaxCD1701) (on LomaxCD1705)
    James Carter & prisoners, "Po' Lazarus" (on LomaxCD1705)
    Vera Hall, "Po' Laz'us" (AFS 1320 A2, 1937) [Note: Dixon/Godrich/Rye also identifies this AFS number with a Vera Hall recording of "John Henry"; one of them is clearly in error, but I don't know which] (AFS 4050 A1, 1940)
    Henry Morrison, "Lazarus" (on LomaxCD1705)

    NOTES: The two Bright Light Quartet citations are different versions, recorded on separate dates. - PJS
    Last updated in version 3.5
    File: LI12

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 04 Aug 99 - 10:50 AM

From the Georgia Sea Islands, there's a wonderful version (collected by Alan Lomax on the Southern Journey series, available on CD from Rounder) of a Lazarus ballad with the refrain:

I aks Aunt Dinah, do her dog, he run rabbit?
I aks Aunt Dinah, do her dog, he run rabbit?
Aunt Dinah say No, No No,
Aunt Dinah say No


And I remember an interesting performance by County Down (Anne Dodson, Debbie Suran, and Sarah ___(?)) many years ago of "Lazarus": Each knew a "Lazarus," but one knew a version of this "Poor Lazarus" ballad, and the other knew another song with the same title (the one sung by Joan Baez)--and they figured out an arrangement where they sang both simultaneously, and they fit together!

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: Poor Lazarus - Anne Dodson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 99 - 10:19 PM

Charlie, you're a pretty darn good substitute for my failing memory. That song has been going through my head, and I couldn't remember who I heard sing it. It's on an album called From Where I Sit, recorded by Anne Dodson in 1993. On this particular cut, Sarah Ehrlich sings the lead vocal, and Anne sings the "Do your dog run rabbit" chant. It's a very good album, and you'll notice i've included a link to the album's listing at the new Mudcat Store. Lyrics to the song are close to what I posted, with the addition of the "rabbit" chant that Charlie posted.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 02:02 PM

Poor Lzarus indexed.

~S~


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,LesB(uk)
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 02:32 PM

This is all very interesting . For many years I have sung a version of Lazarus that I got, in the early seventies, from a Bridget St John album.
Apart from being 'Trad' that's all I knew. Cheers
Les Brown


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,Les B(uk)
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 02:33 PM

Whoops! Why have I suddenly become 'Guest'?


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 06:31 PM

Buffy Sainte-Marie sang a version under the title Lazarus on Many A Mile (1965).

From memory it consists more or less the verses 1,2,3,5,6 (lowered him down rather than walked away,11(poor mother rather than sister) and 12 (Sheriff rather than Cap'n) with some slight changes.

Mick


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 06:35 PM

Pardon me if I am being rther thick, but what in the US oA Context is the High Sherriff - Yes I know the Uk position, but in the states ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 06:44 PM

Gareth--

Also appears in 'Worried Man Blues'--

High sheriff and the po-lice, ridin' after me (x3)
And I feel like I gotta travel on.

And in "Bad Man Staggerlee"

High sheriff turned to the dep'ty,
Says, 'Who can that man be?'
Says 'Boss, you best keep quiet, cause that's Richard Staggerlee,
Ain't he a bad man?'

And other verses, my all-time fave being a personal contribution:

Staggerlee dashed out the back do'
But the High Sheriff got the jump;
Says, "I don't care how fast you draw,
You can't beat a sawed-off pump,
And if you lose, learn to lose."

CC


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 06:48 PM

Thanks Chicken Charlie

Also in versions of the "Sherriff of Hazard County"

But what the heck is an American "High Sherriff" ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 06:54 PM

Gareth--

I suspect it's just an informal clarification of an admitedly ambiguous American usage.

THE Sheriff is the elected head of law enforcement in a county. But we hardly ever bother to say "deputy sheriff" when speaking of his many underlings. We might say "a deputy did this," or "a deputy said that," but I think just as often, we would say "the sheriff" even if we meant a deputy. Therefore in ordinary usage "sheriff" can me any member of the dept. You could make it clear that you meant the boss by saying "the high Sheriff," though you're right, he wouldn't be formally known as that.

CC


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Gareth
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 07:16 PM

Ahh! Again thanks Chicken Charlie "Primus intre pares" ( please excuse my dog latin)

Gareth


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Stewie
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 07:50 PM

There is a fine recording of 'Poor Lazarus', now reissued on CD, by Dave Van Ronk who died the other day:

'Inside Dave Van Ronk' Fantasy FCD-24710-2.

This is a 1962 double LP that has mostly traditional material.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 08:17 PM

Chicken Charlie is only partly correct. The voters in Connecticut voted to abolish the office of High Sheriff on Nov. 7, 2000; an office which had existed for 350 years. Custody of prisoners and responsibility for court security was taken over by the judicial branch.
Other states, and even the Cherokee Nation, had high sheriffs. Gone now, but when the song was written, the jurisdiction where the song originated may have had a high sheriff.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 10:35 PM

Gareth--

Your dog Latin is OK by me. That was exactly my point.

Dicho--

I'll gladly settle for being partly correct any day of the week. That separates me from the masses. As for knowing everything, we cannot, lest we be God.

Makes sense that given the English heritage of the original 13, there would be HS's somewhere in the woodpile.

:) CC


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 12:48 AM

To this day in the deep south the elected sheriff is called the High Sheriff. It is a position of great power and financial remuneration (to put it politely).


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM

Regarding sheriffs and counties, Connecticut is a special case. Connecticut voted to abolish county government in 1959, relegating all of the services formerly provided by counties to either the state or the towns (which are somewhat akin to townships in the midwest).--all of the state is part of one town or another, so they function like 169 small counties. The one and only vestige of county government which remained was the office of sheriff (though actually administered by the state judicial department). That last vestige was done away with in 2000.

Rhode Island is the only other state in the US which has no county government (with 41 Rhode Island towns and cities functioning like the Connecticut towns). There are two other states that don't have "counties"--Louisiana calls its counties "parishes", and Alaska has "boroughs" which function like counties.

Southern states, where the Lazarus ballad originated, have very strong county governments, and few minor civil divisions underneath counties, except for incorporated cities which occupy a limited land area. Most of the law enforcement in those states was done at the county level, hence by sheriffs.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,Sharyn Dimmick , sharyn@usisp.com
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 12:00 AM

I love this song. A bit of it is in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" from a prison recording. Also a Bay Area band called Charming Hostess sings a great verse as a second verse, the deputy's answer to "Go out and bring me Lazarus":

Well the deputy said to the High Sheriff, "I ain't gonna mess with Lazarus (2X)
He's a dang'rous man, Lord, Lord, he's a dang'rous man."


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 12:16 AM

rebop


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 12:18 AM

...anybody have Buffy St. Marie's version?


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: rich-joy
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 04:41 AM

surprised that Stewie didn't mention the great DEAD SEA SURFERS version as well (up-tempo - and c. 1983?) - was great fun to sing too!!

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 06:46 AM

harpgirl - I have (see my post above). Did you have a query about it or was that general interest?

Mick


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Janie
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 09:38 PM

I was looking for variations on lyrics for "Poor Lazarus" and found this tidbit regarding the origins of the song from this link. Scroll down.. It is pretty much the same story as CarlZen mentions above, with a little more detail.

Another "bad man" was an Alabama turpentine worker named Lazarus. According to the legends he worked and lived in the piney wood mountains of northern Alabama working in the turpentine mills. Some dispute over pay caused Lazarus to tear up the place and "walk the table," a practice of jumping upon the dinner table at the factory and walking it's length placing one's foot in every plate. He then broke into the commissary and stole the payroll. This would, of course, cause a riot, and for this action the "High Sheriff" was called in the arrest "Poor Lazarus." The sheriff sent out his deputies and they cornered Lazarus "up between two mountains"15 where they gunned him down. They hauled his remains back to the commissary where they laid him out and sent for his family but he apparently died before they could get there.16

POOR LAZARUS17 (Laws 1, #12)
1. Oh well the High Sheriff, he told the deputy,
He said, "Go out and bring me Lazarus!" (2X)
"Bring him dead or alive! Oh! Lord! Bring him dead or alive!"
2. And the deputies began to wonder...
Where in the world they could find him? (2X)
A, well "I don't know! Oh! Lord! I just don't know!"
3. And they found poor Lazarus
Up between two mountains. (2X)
And they blowed him down! Oh! Lord!
They blowed him down!
4. And what they used,
What they used was a great big number (2)
Number .44! Oh! Lord! Colt .44!
FOOTNOTES:
1. Sparky Rucker, Heroes & Hard Times: Black American Ballads and Story Songs, (Originally published by Green Linnet, 1981), Tremont Productions, 1994. Hereafter cited as Heroes
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.; Part of this section was taken from my paper entitled "From the Middle Passage to the Titanic: the African-American Maritime Experience." This paper was first presented at Mystic Seaport
5. Solveig Paulson Russell, The Big Ditch Waterways: The Story of Canals (New York: Parents' Magazine Press, 1977), pp. 18-26, 27.
6. B. A. Botkin, A Treasury of Mississippi River Folklore: Stories, Ballads, Traditions and Folkways of the Mid-American River Country (New York: Bonanza Books, 1978, p. 251.
7. Paul Stamler to James "Sparky" Rucker [forwarded message Tom Freeland to Paul Stamler dated Tue. August 27, 1996] From an e-mail to the author dated 11/18/2000.
8. B. A. Botkin, ed., A Treasury of American Folklore: Stories, Ballads, and Traditions of the People (New York: Crown Publishers, 1944), p.128.
9. Stamler to Rucker, 11/18/2000, St. Louis Globe Democrat, December 28, 1895.
10. Ibid.
11. This legend became immersed in the "Voodoo" culture of Louisiana blacks, and further legends of the use of gris-gris and "goofer dust" on Stagolee's hat began to surface. For more of the "hat" legend see Botkin, Treasury American, p.123.
12. Ibid., pp. 122-130; Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, eds., The Book of Negro Folklore (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1958), pp. 359-363; Julius Lester, Black Folktales (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1969), pp. 113-135; Harold Courlander, Negro Folk Music, U. S. A. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966, 1963), pp. 177-179. Recordings: "Mississippi John Hurt-1928 Sessions" (Newton: Yazoo Records Inc., 1990); "The Best of Mississippi John Hurt" (Santa Monica: Vanguard Records, 1987, 1970); Rucker, "Heroes."
13. Lester, Folktales, pp. 134-135; Hughes & Bontemps, Negro Folklore, pp. 361-363; Botkin, Treasury American, 122-123126-130.
14. Rucker, "Heroes."
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Peace
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 09:46 PM

"who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'"

Beats me, but post his address and I will if you want . . . .


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: bobad
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 10:03 PM

In the references from Janie's post I saw "goofer dust" and, not having heard this term before, I looked it up and thought I'd post it for the edification of those who, like me, are not familiar with the term:

Goofer dust
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Goofer dust is an old hoodoo practice of African Americans in the Southern States of the United States.

It can be used generically to refer to any powder used to cast a harmful spell, but specifically refers to a concoction of natural ingredients that can be used to cause harm, trouble or even kill an enemy. Some historical sources, such as some of the interviews conducted by Harry M. Hyatt indicate goofer dust can be synonymous with graveyard dirt.

It is sometimes used in love spells of a coercive nature, the severity of which range from the goofer dust being used to provoke helpful spirits to coax the target into love[1][2], to the more extreme "love me or die" spells. [3] Rarely, it has been used in gambling spells.

In practice, it was often used to cause a victim's legs to swell in such a way that medical doctors would not be able to effect a cure. Recipes for making it vary, but primarily include graveyard dirt and snakeskin. Other ingredients may include; ash, powdered sulfur, salt, red pepper, black pepper, powdered bones, powdered insect chitin, herbs and "anvil dust", the fine black iron detritus found around a blacksmith's anvil (iron filings will suffice). The result usually varies in color from "a fine yellowish-grey" to deep "black dust" depending on the formula, and it may be mixed with local dirt to conceal its deployment.[4]

The word goofer comes from the Kikongo word "kufwa," which means "to die." Among older hoodoo practitioners, this derivation is very clear, because "goofer" is not only an used as an adjective modifying "dust" but also a verb ("He goofered that man") and a noun ("She put a goofer on him"). As late as the 1930s, goofering was a regional synonym for voodooing, and in North Carolina at least, the meaning of the term was broadened beyond spells of damage, illness, and death to include love spells cast with dominating intent.

A euphemistic word for goofering is "poisoning," which in this context does not refer to a physical poison but to a physical agent that, through magical means, brings about an "unnatural illness" or the death of the victim. Even more euphemistic is the special use of the verb "hurt," which is often defined as "to poison," with the tacit understanding that "to poison" really means "to goofer." The more general verbs "fix" (meaning to prepare a spell) and "trick" (meaning to cast a spell) are also applied to goofering.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Janie
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 11:09 PM

Sounds like goofering may be the same as, or similar to, "putting a root on" on some one. In the part of North Carolina where I live, some African Americans still refer to "Root Doctors", though most of the root doctors have died out now, and I don't hear references to them as much as I used to from elderly African-Americans. In the early years of my practice, I would occasionally have an elderly African-American client say they suspected some one had laid a root on them as an explanation for their psychiatric issues, but it has been 10 years or more, now, that I have heard that said.

My ex is an herbalist, and we used to occasionally visit a couple of elderly Root Doctors, both of whom died a numberof years ago, now. They had both knowledge of healing, medicinal herbs and of "spells" rooted in hoodoo, voodoo, or other lost traditions from their African heritage.


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Subject: RE: who wrote 'the high sherriff, .....'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 03:25 AM

heres the link for the Fairfeld Four - very good, I thought:-

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=P3lxCuJa8JA&feature=related


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Subject: RE: ADD: Poor Lazarus (High Sheriff...)
From: Janie
Date: 21 Sep 08 - 08:07 AM

Wow! Thanks for link, Al.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Poor Lazarus (High Sheriff...)
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 10:18 AM

Very powerful version (but unfortunately only a fragment) by Dylan and the band jamming in the basement of Big Pink... available on Tree with Roots - the genuine basement tapes.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Poor Lazarus (High Sheriff...)
From: Max Johnson
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 01:41 PM

@ rich-joy
surprised that Stewie didn't mention the great DEAD SEA SURFERS version as well (up-tempo - and c. 1983?) - was great fun to sing too!!

How kind of you to remember!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Poor Lazarus (High Sheriff...)
From: jonah77
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 04:25 PM

there was a right good version of this on the soundtrack to o brother where art thou by james carter and the prisoners i think


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Subject: RE: Origin: Poor Lazarus (High Sheriff...)
From: tritoneman
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 01:30 PM

The first version I heard of this song was by Rory & Alex McEwan on their album Folksong Jubilee made in the late 1950's. I've just listened to it again and it still sounds good!


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