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Lyr Add: Death of John Henry

DigiTrad:
HENRY THE ACCOUNTANT
JOHN HENRY
JOHN HENRY 2


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Stewie 28 Mar 00 - 07:07 PM
Art Thieme 28 Mar 00 - 08:33 PM
Stewie 28 Mar 00 - 08:45 PM
Mike Regenstreif 28 Mar 00 - 09:13 PM
Frankham 12 Feb 03 - 02:15 PM
Stewie 12 Feb 03 - 06:04 PM
Art Thieme 12 Feb 03 - 11:28 PM
Frankham 13 Feb 03 - 05:58 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: DEATH OF JOHN HENRY (Uncle Dave Macon)^^
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 07:07 PM

DEATH OF JOHN HENRY
(Traditional; as recorded by Uncle Dave Macon)

Spoken intro:
Listen, in every heart there burns a flame
For the love of glory or the dread of shame
But, oh how happy we would be if we understood
There is no safety but in doing good


People out West heard of John Henry's death
Couldn't hardly stay in bed
Monday morning on the eastbound train
Goin' where John Henry's dead
Goin' where John Henry's dead

Carried John Henry to the graveyard
They looked at him good and long
Very last words his wife said to him,
'My husband he is dead and gone
My husband he is dead and gone'

John Henry's wife wore a brand new dress
It was all trimmed in blue
Very last words she said to him,
'Honey, I bin good to you
Honey, I bin good to you'

John Henry told a shaker
'Lord, a-shake while I sing
Pullin' a hammer from my shoulder
Bound to hear her when she ring
Bound to hear her when she ring'

John Henry told his captain,
'I am a Tennessee man
Before I would see that steam drill beat me down
Die with the hammer in my hand
Die with the hammer in my hand

John Henry hammered in the mountain
Till the hammer caught on fire
Very last words I heard him say,
'A cool drink of water 'fore I die
A cool drink of water 'fore I die'
^^

Source: Recorded by Uncle Dave Macon in April 1926 in New York. Reissued on Various Artists 'Train 45: Railroad Songs of the Early 1900s' Rounder CD 1143.
PS.

This is Uncle Dave's wonderful version of John Henry. Norm Cohen has remarked on its structure being in keeping with modern cinematic technique with Uncle Dave turning time on its head - starting with the hero's death, moving to the contest and then to the final words. The performance captures Uncle Dave at the height of his considerable powers – recordings of 'John Henry' don't come much better than this. ^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of John Henry
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 08:33 PM

Stewie, John Hartford does a hell of a solo job with this one.

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of John Henry
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 08:45 PM

Art, I haven't heard Hartford do it, but I will seek it out and have a listen.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of John Henry
From: Mike Regenstreif
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 09:13 PM

The version by Ramblin' Jack Elliott w/Derroll Adams is on Jack's "Early Masters" CD on Tradition.

Mike Regenstreif


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Subject: Lyr Req: Death of John Henry
From: Frankham
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 02:15 PM

Uncle Dave Macon recorded this for RCA years ago.

"The people out west heard of John Henry's death
Couldn't hardly stay in bed
Monday mornin' on the east bound train
Goin' where John Henry dropped dead
Goin' where John Henry dropped dead"..........

Anybody know the other verses?

Thanks,

Frank


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Death of John Henry
From: Stewie
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 06:04 PM

Frank

I posted a transcription HERE


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of John Henry
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Feb 03 - 11:28 PM

I don't believe John Hartford recorded it. But he did do it. I heard him do it at least 2 or 3 times on the steamboat I used to sing on. The version I have on tape by him is the one John did at a big benefit for me in Chicago after one of the surgeries I had in the 90s.

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of John Henry
From: Frankham
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 05:58 PM

Stewie, thanks.. That's the one! Always loved it. Now that opening set of running eighth notes on the banjo, does he up-pick it or clawhammer it? Anybody know?

Frank


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