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Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel

DigiTrad:
CONESTOGA ON THE JORDAN ROAD
FRANK PIERCE'S SOLILOQUY.
JORDAN IS A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL
OLD PIKE
PARKWAY IS A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL
RICHMOND IS A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Old Coat Song (11)
Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel (9)
Lyr Add: Jordan Is a Hard Road to Travel (20)
Tune Req: Jordan Is a Hard Road (banjo tab) (2)
Take off your old coat and roll... (6)


GUEST,JTT 05 Sep 00 - 07:00 PM
Bud Savoie 05 Sep 00 - 07:15 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Sep 00 - 08:18 PM
Bev and Jerry 05 Sep 00 - 08:56 PM
Bev and Jerry 05 Sep 00 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,JTT 06 Sep 00 - 07:50 AM
Gern 06 Sep 00 - 01:02 PM
Stewie 06 Sep 00 - 07:54 PM
Bev and Jerry 07 Sep 00 - 01:10 AM
Joe Offer 24 Sep 02 - 06:20 PM
nutty 24 Sep 02 - 06:40 PM
masato sakurai 24 Sep 02 - 06:50 PM
GUEST 24 Sep 02 - 08:41 PM
12-stringer 25 Sep 02 - 12:50 AM
wysiwyg 25 Sep 02 - 09:07 AM
Thompson 22 Aug 08 - 07:12 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Aug 08 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,harpgirl 22 Aug 08 - 08:47 PM
Amos 23 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Aug 08 - 08:24 PM
Severn 25 Aug 08 - 01:52 AM
GUEST,JTT 31 May 09 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,jopiper 19 Jan 10 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,Joseph Stevenson 11 Jul 10 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,JTT 28 Feb 16 - 01:52 PM
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Subject: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 07:00 PM

Anyone got the words of this? I tried DigiTrad but no sign. It starts something like:

I've lived in the east, I've lived in the west Lived in old Virginny Lived 40 days in a hornet's nest Didn't get stung hardly any.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JORDAN AM A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 07:15 PM

^^This is also called "Jaw Bone," "The Wild Gray Goose," "The Other Side of Jordan," "Old Coat," and others. Some of the verses I know are:

I looked to the east. I looked to the west,
I seen the old gray goose comin'
With forty gray horses and a Dominicker mule
And they landed on the other side of Jordan.

CHORUS: Pull off your coat, boy, roll up your sleeve,
Jordan is a hard road to travel.
Pull off your coat, boy, roll up your sleeve,
Jordan is a hard road to travel, I believe.

If you wanna do well, go down the hotel,
Get your room and your board on credit.
If they ask for the pay, you just tell 'em right away
They'll get it on the other side of Jordan. (CHORUS)

Daddy caught a turkey in the woods the other day
And we put him in the pot for to cook him.
But the turkey jerked his head and he knocked off the led
And he gobbled on the other side of Jordan. (CHORUS)

David and Goliath had a fight the other day
And they found one thing for certain.
Hit Goliath on the head with a bar of soft soap
And he landed on the other side of Jordan (CHORUS)

Now I don't know, but I believe I'm right,
Just one thing for certain.
If we live high, we can all get by
And get on the other side of Jordan. (CHORUS)

Uncle Dave Macon had a bunch more.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 11-Sep-02.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 08:18 PM

A coyuple of versions are in DigiTrad. Just search for Jordan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 08:56 PM

There are several sets of words to this song and just as many titles. We have heard it as "JORDAN IS A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL", "RICHMOND IS A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL", "Salmon is a Hard Road to Travel", and one we wrote called "El Camino is a Hard Road to Travel".
Click here and use the search function to search for "hard road to travel." Unfortunately, it's very difficult to link directly to a prepared search at Levy.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:49 PM

Thanks Joe.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 07:50 AM

Many thanks. Just one more question: is it traditional, or is it credited to some specific writer?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Gern
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 01:02 PM

There are many different versions of "Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel," as noted in a previous post. One of them, "Old Pike," is found in Digitrad. The original was written in 1853 by Daniel Decatur Emmett, a composer of vintage minstrel gems like "Old Dan Tucker." There is an annual festival dedicated to Emmett--perhaps someone knows where it is and what music is featured. The minstrel pedigree of "Jordan" is betrayed by the verb "am" in the title, mocking the perceived sentence structure of African-Americans in Amos-and-Andy fashion. Uncle Dave Macon recorded a version of this song in 1927, characteristically changing the words around and adding some of his own.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Stewie
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 07:54 PM

Uncle Dave's version has been reissued on CD: Uncle Dave Macon 'Go Long Mule' County CO-CD-3505.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 01:10 AM

Emmett's most famous composition is probably "Dixie"

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: Lyr Add: JORDAN AM A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL et al.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 06:20 PM

I'm copy-pasting this here because I think it should be seen here with related songs, in addition to being in the Uncle Dave Macon thread.
-Joe Offer-

Thread #31041   Message #433412
Posted By: Stewie
04-Apr-01 - 09:06 PM
Thread Name: ADD: Uncle Dave Macon Lyrics
Subject: Lyr Add: JORDAN AM A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL (Macon)

JORDAN AM A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL
^^
I'm a-gonna sing you a brand new song
It is all the truth for certain
We can't live high if we get by
And get on the other side of Jordan

Chorus:
Oh pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves
Jordan am a hard road to travel
Pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves
Jordan am a hard road to travel I believe

The public schools and the highways
Are raisin' quite an alarm
Get a country man educated just a little
And he ain't a-gonna work on the farm

Chorus

I don't know but I 'blieve I'm right
The auto's ruined the country
Let's go back to the horse and buggy
And try to save some money

Chorus

I know a man that's an evangelist
The tabernacle's always full
People will come from miles around
Just to hear him shoot the bull

Chorus

You may talk about your evangelistss
You may talk about Mr Ford too
With Henry really shakin' more hell out of folks
Than all of the evangelists do

Chorus

It rained forty nights but it rained forty days
Gonna rain on the Allegheny Mountains
Gonna rain forty horses and dominecker mules
Gonna take us on the other side of Jordan

Chorus

Source: transcription of reissue on Uncle Dave Macon 'Go Long Mule' County CO-CD-3505. Original recording made on 9 May 1927.

This song originated with a ministrel tune by Daniel Decatur Emmett in the second half of the 19th century. Emmett's song can be found in the DT database: Emmett's Song. Sheet music for Emmett's song may be found at the American Memory site: American Memory. Information on Emmett may be found Here and also Here.

The song became a vehicle for various parodies almost immediately. One of these may be found in the DT database: Richmond is a hard road to travel. In respect of this parody, I found on the net a short explanation by John R. Thompson:

Many Civil War songs were parodies­­songs that set new, topical words to a familiar tune. In 1863 John R. Thompson, a famous southern editor, drafted the following song, based on the minstrel tune Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel, lampooning the Union army's many failures in Virginia in the first two years of the war. [The song refers] to Pope's defeat at Second Bull Run and Burnside's horrendous losses at Fredericksburg. The proclamation referred to was not Lincoln's famous emancipation edict, but Pope's arrogant announcement that his troops were to always advance and never retreat; the boastful Union commander soon found himself frantically racing back to Washington after Lee crushed him at Manassas

Uncle Dave's parody reflects his love of writing songs that comment on current problems of his day and, once again, he takes the opportunity to have a go at the automobile. The Traditional Ballad Index refers to Uncle Dave's recording and gives to 2 citations under the title 'The Other Side of Jordan': Ballad index entry. The text in Silbur is taken directly from the Cohen/Seeger/Wood songbook ['Old-Time String Band Songbook' Oak Publications – former title was 'New Lost City Ramblers Songbook'].

My transcription differs in minor respects from the C/S/W songbook. Perhaps they were working from a different recording of Uncle Dave's, but their last stanza does not accord with what Uncle Dave is singing in his 1927 recording. Norman Blake [Rounder CD 11505] follows Uncle Dave more closely. C/S/W give 'Allegheny Mountains' in the last stanza and I have gone with that even though I can't hear it – it sounds more like 'Alligator' or 'Alligaty' to me. Like many old-time singers, Uncle Dave can be hard to decipher and mondegreens are almost inevitable. I saw a posting from Tom Paley in the banjo news list that the chorus of this song has been misheard as:

Take off your overcoat, roll up your sleeves
Yearnin' in your heart for trouble
Take off your overcoat, roll up your sleeves
Yearnin' in your heart for trouble I believe


In a posting to the forum a Mudcatter gave a possible explanation for 'dominecker' (dominicker) – that, in respect of chooks, it refers to being like a Domincan in colour (reference to the priests' black and white habit) and Uncle Dave may have transferred this to similarly coloured mules.

C/S/W also refer to a version by Tex Logan who learned it as a boy in Texas and taught it to Red Belcher. They refer also to a version by the great Riley Puckett from Georgia. They note that Riley used some verses that are close to those in 'The Old Minstrel Song Book'. They give no details of this book in the headnote or in the bibliography. Can someone provide the details of the editor, publisher etc of this? I have had a search on the net, but have come up with zilch. My attempted transcription of Riley's version follows. There is one line that I was unable to decipher [Riley is not as bad as Uncle Dave, but he has his moments] – it is probably a stock minstrel verse. With its obvious relationship to the 'coon song' tradition, this version would be totally offensive today. Riley has the 'I believe' in the second line of the chorus and his last stanza harks back to Emmett's original:
^^
THE OTHER SIDE OF JORDAN

If I was the president of the United States
Well I'd make my laws recorded
The niggers I'd sell, let the British all go
I'd put 'em on the other side of Jordan

Chorus:
Haul off your overcoat, roll up your sleeve
Jordan am a hard road to travel I believe
Haul off your overcoat, roll up your sleeve
Jordan am a hard road to travel
[Whistles melody above guitar]

If you want to do well go down to the hotel
Get your washing and your board on the credit
If they ask you when you'll pay just tell 'em right away
They may get (it) on the other side of Jordan

Chorus and whistling

Two little niggers went out to play
All the people thought they's a-fightin'
When they hollered to the big nigger get out of the way
'Cos little niggers going to (?)

Chorus and whistling

Daddy caught a turkey in the woods the other day
Well he put him in the oven for to cook him
He jerked back his head and he knocked off the lid
Well he gobbled on the other side of Jordan

Chorus and whistling

David and Goliath had a fight the other day
Found one thing certain
He hit Goliath on the head with a bar of soft soap
And it sounded on the other side of Jordan

Chorus and whistling

Source: Riley Puckett 'Waiting for the Evening Mail' County LP 411.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: nutty
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 06:40 PM

There's an interesting version here on the Levy site

JORDON AM A HARD ROAD TO TRABEL


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: masato sakurai
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 06:50 PM

Jordan Is A Hard Road To Travel [Realaudio] by Uncle Dave Macon & His Fruit Jar Drinkers (Vocalion 5153, May 1927 ) from Honkingduck. The sound is clipped at the end.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 08:41 PM

Dominicker comes from Dominique, now called Dominica, one of the Windward Islands. The word is old, known in print since 1809 so perhaps a lot older. Island planters came to the southern states as the island soil quickly wore out and Dominica is mountainous.
A "dominicker" fowl is barred, usually with a rose comb and yellow legs. The rooster is said to lead a very active social life. (A very noisy alarm clock as well). The fowl was popular in the 19th century (the name dominicker hen in print by 1849).
Dominicker mule??? Don't know. Barred doesn't seem to apply. Sexually active?
Perhaps Dave Macon did say "Alligator Mountains." This is a kid's name for them. Need a good ear here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: 12-stringer
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 12:50 AM

>Two little niggers went out to play >All the people thought they's a-fightin' >When they hollered to the big nigger get out of the way >'Cos little niggers going to (?)

I've always heard the last words of that stanza as "'Cause the little nigger's going to holler biting." Since rural fighting of that period was big on eye gouging and ear/nose biting, it seems reasonably plausible!


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Subject: Add: THE OTHER SIDE OF JORDAN
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 09:07 AM

Great song! Thanks for posting it (above) Joe!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Thompson
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 07:12 PM

Anyone got the words of this song as used on the album Bluegrass at Newport, where Tex Logan sings it. This isn't a racist version, just playful and fun.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 08:08 PM

I recorded Uncle Dave's version on Handful of Songs. I didn't know nothin' about it other than that of Uncle Dave liked it, that was good enough for me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 08:47 PM

I've done a little research on the term "dominicker" in my ethnographic studies of north Florida people in conjunction with my research on Ida Goodson, who was tri-racial.

The term "dominicker" was used as a pejorative term for bi-racial or tri-racial individuals in the panhandle of Florida in the late nineteenth century. They were said to be the color of a dominicker hen, that is bi-colored.

This definition is from Wikipedia:

The Dominickers were a small biracial or triracial ethnic group that was once centered in the Florida Panhandle county of Holmes, in a corner of the southern part of the county west of the Choctawhatchee River, near the town of Ponce de Leon. The group was classified as one of the "reputed Indian-White-Negro racial isolates of the Eastern United States" by the United States Census Bureau in 1950[1].

This group of individuals had spanish, scottish, African American, and Creek bloodlines (specifically Euchee Indians)as do many of the old timers in the panhandle of Florida. The Holmes Creek community dominickers were said to have migrated to Louisianna where they were called "redbones". They experienced a great deal of discrimination in Florida in spite of the fact that many of them appeared to be mostly white.

Here is some more history of the dominickers of Holmes, Washington, and Walton county in the panhandle: http://www.pineywoodshistory.com/native.html

Chief Story was a dominicker who migrated down the Choctawhatchee to escape racial discrimination in this part of the state. Story Landing, where I have searched for Ivory Bill Woodpeckers is supposed to be the spot where he launched with his group down the "Choc" as the Choctawhatchee is known. His people were Yuchi or euchee Indians of the Creek Nation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am A Hard Road To Travel
From: Amos
Date: 23 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM

The Newport version has several other verses, and no reference to rracist terms I could hear. One has to do with "y' oughta see them tomaters..."; another starts "Times are getting mighty hard, down where I've been boardin'...". A third has a couple of lines about running into a hornet's nest, "an' didn't get stuck hardly any....".

A


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Subject: Lyr Add: JORDON AM A HARD ROAD TO TRABEL (Briggs)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Aug 08 - 08:24 PM

From the Levy Collection. (See nutty's link above.) Although I dislike it, I have preserved all the "eye dialect" and idiosycratic spelling and punctuation.

JORDON AM A HARD ROAD TO TRABEL
Characteristic
Ethiopian Banjo Melody
Respectfully Dedicated To
W. K. Northall, Esq.
By T. F. Briggs
(The world's renowned banjoest.)
New York
Published by C. G. Christman 605 Broadway.
New Orleans C. G. Christman & Son 37 Canal St.
[1852]

1. I Ribed into New York, to pass de time away,
A trabelld over de Russ Pave'nt accordin
Dar gawne to hab it finished when de City hall Bell sounds
Ober on de order side ob Jordon

CHORUS: I took off my coat and roll up my slieve,
Jordon am a hard road to trabell,
I took off my coat and roll up my sleeve,
Jordon am a hard Road to trabell I believe.

2. Den I look to de Norf I look to de East,
Holler for de ox Cart to come on
Wid Four grey horses driven on de lead,
To take us to de order side of Jordon.

3. Clem in de hay loft tryin to get asleep,
Massa John went out to maul um
He hit him on de head wid a bar of soft soap,
An it sounded on de order side of Jordon.

4. I went an made a banjo so well I kept it strung,
An ranged all my Music now accordin
I played up a tune. Call'd go it while your young,
An dey sing it on de order side of Jordon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel
From: Severn
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 01:52 AM

To hear The song played in Minstrel style with the original words, there are bands that specialize in the minstrel music that mostly play and market their music through the Civil War re-enactment circuit. Two recordings that contain this song as it was first played are:

Joe Ayers-"Old Dan Tucker"
The Amoskeag Players-"Minstrels Of Great Reknown"


Labels unknown. Ayers is painstakingly authentic. From tapes someone gave me back when I reenacted. I guess you'd Google or go to the tents in the sutlery at your next local reenactment. I've been out of that scene for some years now, so there's probably more stuff like it issued since that's floating around.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:05 PM

Reviving this antique thread, there's one verse I can't quite hear, despite Tex Logan's cut-glass diction in the other verses - he's just singing too fast in this one:

Ham and eggs is getting mighty scarce
Down where I've been boarding
Listen here, boy, tell you why
(...) Jordan

Anyone know what that last line is?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel
From: GUEST,jopiper
Date: 19 Jan 10 - 11:17 PM

I lived in the east, I lived in the west, I lived in 'ol Virginny
I lived 40 days in a hornets nest, and didn't get stung hardly any

Ham & eggs are gettin mighty scarce, down where I been boardin,
Listen here boys, tell you why, things gettin thin around Jordan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel
From: GUEST,Joseph Stevenson
Date: 11 Jul 10 - 02:33 PM

I heard this song first time in the 1970s in an great up-tempo rendition on an obscure LP by an old-timey trio called the Old Hat Band. Later I heard Puckett's, and it's wonderful to get all this additional material and history. I hope to use this in a staged revue of Mark Twain's adventures out west even tho I realize its roots are elsewhere -- I love it so much. Thank you all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 28 Feb 16 - 01:52 PM

Looking at the picture of the handsome dominique (dominicker) rooster on Wikipedia, I have to say, I would (if I were a hen). Fine thing!
Still wondering what the second half of the verse on the Bluegrass at Newport album is that starts:

Ham and eggs is getting mighty scarce
Down where I've been boarding
Listen here, boy, tell you why…

A friend whose father came from a state she always referred to as Misery sang Footsteps in the Snow for me, another song on that album, but she had a wonderful way of dropping her voice tactfully on the words "just stepped out for a while". Killed by an outhouse! What a fate!


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