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Origins: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Travellin' Man (from Tommy Hunter) (13)
Lyr Req: Travelling Man (from David Bromberg) (8)
Chord Req: travelling man (13)
Lyr Req: Mama Where Did You Stay Last Night? (12)
Lyr Req: Traveling Kind (from Country Gentlemen) (14)
REQ: Travellin' Man (8)
Pink Anderson (10)
Lyr Req: Travelin' Man (from Doc Watson) (5)
Lyr Req: Travelin' Man (Pink Anderson) (3) (closed)
(origins) Origin: Travellin' Man (Charlie Byrd) (1)


Joe Offer 15 Feb 01 - 05:08 AM
Murray MacLeod 15 Feb 01 - 06:41 AM
Mrrzy 15 Feb 01 - 01:57 PM
Stewie 15 Feb 01 - 05:52 PM
Stewie 15 Feb 01 - 05:59 PM
Joe Offer 16 Feb 01 - 03:49 AM
Murray MacLeod 16 Feb 01 - 07:04 AM
Stewie 16 Feb 01 - 07:04 PM
Stewie 20 Feb 01 - 06:16 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 20 Feb 01 - 10:10 PM
RWilhelm 21 Feb 01 - 12:52 AM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 01 - 02:04 AM
BlueJay 21 Feb 01 - 02:13 PM
Stewie 19 Mar 01 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 20 Mar 01 - 07:59 AM
Stewie 28 Dec 07 - 09:23 AM
GUEST 08 Oct 09 - 03:48 PM
billhudson 09 Oct 09 - 11:52 AM
open mike 09 Oct 09 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,guest 06 Jul 10 - 12:25 AM
Cool Beans 06 Jul 10 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Hillary 15 Mar 11 - 06:02 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Mar 11 - 08:39 PM
PHJim 08 Jul 14 - 06:57 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Jul 14 - 02:20 AM
GUEST,Jerry Krantman 11 May 16 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: TRAVELING MAN
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 05:08 AM

I think I first heard this song when Robin & Linda Williams sang it on Prairie Home Companion several years ago, and I loved it immediately. I think Doc Watson has also recorded a version (but I can't find it), and it's on the Black Texicans CD of the Alan Lomax "Deep River of Song" Collection. I found the lyrics here (click). Can anybody furnish more information about the song? I returned the Texicans CD to the library - does anybody have it, and can you tell us what the CD booklet says?
-Joe Offer-

TRAVELING MAN

Tell this story bout a traveling man
Born down in Tennessee
Made a living by a-stealing chickens
And he stole everything he see
He stole 10,000 dollars
And he tore off down the road
Made no difference how fast a train run
This fool would get on board

He was a traveling man
Tell you was a traveling man
Travelingest fool ever come through the land
He traveled east and he traveled west
He's known for miles around
He didn't give up, he wouldn't give up
Til the police shot him down

This fool stole 10,000 dollars
Right in the broad day time
The people all said he was desperate
For doing such a brave old crime
That desperate old fool said take comfort
He told his people not to cry
He crossed his legs and winked one eye
And sailed up to the sky.

Now he's taken a Springfield rifle
Shot this fool through the head
The fool come tumbling down from the sky
Everybody thought he was dead
They boxed him up, sent him down south
To drive away his mother's care
She went to open the coffin and look at her darling son
He begin to disappear.

This fool went to Liverpool England
Just to swim the ocean blue
He saw the Titanic coming 10 miles away
And he ride it the whole day through
The people all said he was crazy
Everybody called him a fool
But when the Titanic sunk in the deep blue sea
He was shooting dice in Liverpool

Now they sent this fool to the spring
Just to get a couple buckets of water
The distance from that house back to that spring
Was only 10 miles and a quarter
He got his water all right
But he stubbed his foot and hit the ground
He run on home and got two more buckets
Caught that water fore it hit the ground


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 06:41 AM

I first heard David Bromberg sing this in 1975 , his lyrics are broadly similar but contain many differences. I have heard that it was composed by Pink Anderson, but I don't know if that could ever be verified.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 01:57 PM

I have this by Doc Watson, on Southbound, I believe. Or Ballads from Deep Gap, actually, now that I think about it. Slight variation, detailed here:

The chorus is different, and he lives through the song.

Travelin' man, yes he musta been a travelin' man
Travelin, a-ramblin man, he was the swiftest in the land
Gamblin' a-ramblin' Joe, they knowed him in every town
He wouldn't (I forget, set up maybe), no, he wouldn't give up, and for that he never settled down.

It has the verse about He ran to the house and he grabbed another bucket, caught the water fore it hit the ground. It has the verse about "sailing up through the air (now ain't that faith?)" but under different circumstances, he's being tried for his crimes and this is how he escapes. "Joe looked at the judge, at the jury, He said bow down your head in prayer, He crossed up his legs and then he winked one eye...

He was sentenced to hang, but he never did anything worse than steal, at least not in this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 05:52 PM

Hi Joe, the note in the CD booklet for 'Black Texicans' is quite brief. Performed by Phineas Rockmore (v,gtr) and recorded by John and Ruby Lomax in 1940 in Lufkin, Texas. The note:

This extremely funny song likely represents a development of the theme heard in 'He Rambled'; certainly, the melody and the spirit of the two songs are very similar. Rather than identify with a lusty ram though, the hero is now the near-indestructable travelling man, one of the classic inventions of black folklore. He flouts every law and thwarts every attempt to bring him down, defying gravity and physics in the process.

Some verses of the song allude to legends about slaves who were able to fly and spirit themselves back to Africa by sheer will.

Roy Bookbinder recorded a fine rendition of Pink Anderson's version on a record of that title. The record has been reissued on CD: Roy Bookbinder 'Travelin' Man' Adelphi/Genes GCD 1017. As Murray pointed out above, Anderson's version has many differences to the 'Black Texicans' text.

The 'Black Texicans' text in the booklet has 'coon' in place of 'fool'. This suggests a late 19th or early 20th century origin for the song.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 05:59 PM

Joe, I should have remembered that Paul Oliver has an extensive discussion of this song in his 'Songsters & Saints'. He says Odum and Johnson collected 3 versions and Luke Jordan recorded an early version under the title 'Traveling Coon'. There's heaps of info, but I will have to get back to you with it because I am supposed to be somewhere else in few minutes time.

--Stewie.


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Subject: Add: TRAVELING MAN (Pink Anderson)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 03:49 AM

There is a version of the lyrics in the Rise Up Singing songbook, which also attributes the song to Pink Anderson. Can anybody come up with a transcription of the tune?
-Joe Offer-

TRAVELING MAN
(Pink Anderson)

Folks, I want to tell you 'bout a man named Bloom
He come from down in New Orleans
And made his living stealing chickens
And anything he could see
That popeyed man could run so fast
That his feet wouldn't stay in the road
And if a freight train passed, no matter how fast
He could always get on board

CHORUS
He was a travelling man
Certainly was a travelling man
He was the most travellin'est man
There ever was in the land
He travelled East, he travelled West
Was known for miles around
And he never got caught & he never got whupped
Til the police shot him down

Well the police shot him with a rifle
And the bullet went through his head
The folks was comin' from miles around
Just to see if that boy was dead
Telegrammed down south where his mama lived
She was all upset with tears
She walked up & opened the coffin lid
But that fool had disappeared

Now Bloom was on the Titantic Ship
When it was sinking low
He was standing outside the railing
And he had his head hung low
Well the people who saw him jump overboard
Said 'Get a load of that crazy fool!'
But just 45 minutes after that
He was shooting craps in Liverpool

Now the police caught that Bloom at last
They had him up to hang one day
The judge leaned over, said 'My good man
Do you have any last words to say?'
He asked the courtroom to bow their heads
To bow their heads in prayer
Then he crossed one leg & winked one eye
And vanished straight up in the air

Well Bloom went down to the spring one day
To fetch himself a pail of water
The distance this rascal had to traverse
Was approximately three miles & a quarter
Now he filled up the bucket & started back
Then he stumbled & fell down
He ran back to the house, grabbed another bucket
And caught the water b'fore it hit the ground

© Pink Anderson Estate. All rights reserved.
In SingOut! 22-3. On David Bromberg "Bandit In a Bathing Suit", Roy Bookbinder'Travlin' Man" & "Going Back to Tampa", Doc & Merle Watson "Bal fr Deep Gap' & Bob Bovee "Roundup". Bookbinder learned the song from Anderson. Watson says he learned it from the blues singer Luke Jordan.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 07:04 AM

That is pretty much how David Bromberg did it. Except on the "Titanic" verse he sings:

Bloom jumped on board the Titanic,
Just as she sailed off to sea
He played B-flat clarinet in the orchestra
That played "Nearer my God to Thee"

I always suspected that this was Bromberg's own interpolation !

Murray


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Subject: Lyr Add: TRAVELING COON and TRAVELING MAN
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 07:04 PM

Hi Joe, here is the information from Paul Oliver 'Songsters & Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records' Cambridge Uni Press 1984. The following material is from pages 93 to 95. I hope it is of use to you. I unreservedly commend Oliver's book to you - it is a wonderful read and a goldmine of information.

Odum and Johnson collected 3 versions - one from a quartet that came to Dayton, Tennessee; another by Kid Ellis of Spartenburg,, South Carolina, himself a professed 'travelling man'; and a third from a North Carolina Negro youth who had travelled through several states. [Howard W. Odum and Guy B. Johnson 'Negro Workaday Songs' Chapel Hill: Uni of Nth Carolina Press 1925, p59].

Luke Jordan, born in 1872, came from Appomatox, Virginia and lived most of his life in Lynchburg. His version of 'Travelling Coon' began:

Folks let me tell you about a travellin' coon
His home was down in Tennessee
He made his livin' stealin' people's chickens
And everything he seen
Policeman got [straight] behind this coon
And certainly made him take the road
There never was a passenger train run so fast,
That Shine didn't get on board

He was a travellin' man, he was a travellin' man
He was the travellin'est man, finest was in the land
He was a travellin' man, it's known for miles around
He never give up, no, he wouldn't give up
Till the police shot him down

They sent the travellin' coon to the spring one day
To fetch a pail of water
I think the distance from the house to the spring
Sixteen miles and a quarter
The coon went there and he got the water all right
Came back stubbed 'e toe and fell down
He ran back home, he got another pail
He caught the water 'fore it hit the ground

He was a travellin' man etc.

[Luke Jordan 'Travelin' Coon' Victor 20957, recorded Charlotte, Nth Carolina, 16 August 1927.

Percy F. Dilling collected the song from 'a traveling minstrel at King's Mountain, Cleveland County, NC, in 1919. It was 'obviously of vaudeville or street-singer origin', Newman White considered, noting that several years before - possibly before 1920 - it 'circulated in Durham NC as a printed 'ballet''. This could account for the marked similarity of all collected versions in the Eastern seaboard states, but Coley Jones, who led a stringband in Dallas, Texas, probably learned it from another singer. He added a couple of verses not in the text versions:

That coon stole ten thousand dollars
It was in the broad open day time
Folks said the man was desperate
For doin' such a dirty crime
Police squad went 'n arrested
But he didn't have no fear
They tied the handcuffs around the darkey's arms
And the coon begin to disappear
He was a travelin' man, certainly was a travelin' man etc

They sentenced this coon now to be hung
He knowed his time was near
Folks all ganged up for miles around
Because the didn't have no fear
Tied a rope around this darkey's neck
Everybody begin to sigh
He crossed his legs, winked one eye
Sailed up to them skies .

[Coley Jones 'Traveling Man' Columbia 14288-D, recorded in Dallas, Texas, 4 December 1927].

Jim Jackson also recorded it. Including the 'stealing chickens' and 'pail of water' verses which are common to all versions, he added a variant of a favourite final verse:

Well a policeman got right in after this man
He run and jumped on the Titanic ship
And started up that ocean blue
He looked out and spied that big iceberg
And right overboard he flew
All the ladies on the deck of that ship
Says, 'that man certainly was a fool'
But when the Titanic ship went down
He's shootin' craps in Liverpool

[Jim Jackson 'Traveling Man' Victor V38517, recorded Memphis, Tennessee, 4 September 1928]

Oliver goes on to cite Lawrence Levine:


In his study of black oral culture, Lawrence Levine discusses the 'Travelin' Coon' (which he considers, for some reason, to a quasi-minstrel song). He sees the 'traveling man' as a trickster hero. Indeed he is, in the sense that he possesses superhuman powers, a characteristic which he shares with other trickster figures like Brother Bill or High John the Conqueror. Unlike Br'er Rabbit, the Traveling Man does not engineer the circumstances in which he plays his tricks; instead he finds himself in situations from which he escapes by magic or his wits. But not indefinitely; the Traveling Man, who as a hero in Levine's account 'is caught but not even the gallows can contain him', does succumb. Levine does not quote the chorus, but in every version 'he never give up, till the police shot him down'. He is not proof against bullets, and one gathers from the context, he was defenceless. For the Traveling Man wins through his cunning when the opportunity arises, and wins with his superior skill when he can use it. We never learn how the police shot him down, or under what circumstances. Newman White suggested that the song may relate to 'The Derby Ram' and its refrain 'he rambled and he rambled, till the buchers cut him down'. [Oliver p95].


The note to 'Black Texicans' also suggests a connection with 'He Rambled'. Oliver goes on to point out that the song was not sung, nor indeed recorded, solely by black singers. Henry Whitter, Doc Walsh and other white country singers recorded it about the same time. There was a considerable overlap of repertoires of black and white singers - hardly surprising given the common availability of records, sheet music and radio, and similar audiences for medicine show.

Oliver makes no mention of Pink Anderson. Except for a quartet of sides with Simmie Dooley in 1928, Anderson did not record until after 1943. Did he actually make a recording of 'Travelin' Man' or did Bookbinder etc learn his version from him orally? I have only a Riverside recording of Anderson and it is not on that.

--Stewie.



1927 Luke Jordan recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM3TOF5OhmQ


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Subject: Lyr Add: PO SHINE (?)
From: Stewie
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 06:16 PM

Yesterday, I was rereading Alan Lomax's excellent book, 'The Land Where the Blues Began', and I came across the following excerpt of a piece that Lomax says was popular in Coahoma County, Mississippi. Surely this Po Shine must have been a cousin to the Travelin Man. Whatever, as Lomax notes, Po Shine 'ain't sheddin' no salty tears' when 'the rich folks who could afford the luxurious passage pay for their past sins of greed and pride'.
It was on the fifth of May
When the great Titanic went down
Po Shine was on the bottom deck
The captain and his mate was havin' a little chat
Po Shine ran up to the top of the deck
Say, 'Captain, captain, the water is now
Comin' in the boiler room door'
He say, 'Go back, Po Shine, and pump the water back'
Po Shine dashed his black ass overboard and began to swim
The captain say, 'Come back, Po Shine, and save po me
I'll make you just as rich as any son-of-a-bitch can be'
Po Shine looked back over his shoulder and said,
'What good is money to me, in the middle of the sea?'
Went right ahead
Just then a millionaire girl walked from the bottom of the deck
She say, 'Come back, Po Shine, and save po me
I might turn your wife it's true'
He looked back over his shoulder and said,
'Honey, you're purty-lookin' jelly roll, it's true'
He said, 'There are a thousand
In New York as good as you'

He swim right ahead
Just then a whale, he jumped up and grinned
Po Shine looked back
Over his shoulder and again at him –
Jumped up and walked the water
Like Christ did in Galilee

When the Titanic went down
Po Shine was down in Harlem
Almost damn drunk
The Devil was laying across his bed
He got up and walked to the door
And he looked out and he said
'They been a long time comin',
But they welcome to Hell'

Quoted in Alan Lomax 'The Land Where the Blues Began' Minerva 1995 pp 53-54.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 20 Feb 01 - 10:10 PM

This reminds me. Canadian Mudcatters, does anyone have the lyrics to the Travellin' Man song of Tommy Hunter's? This title just reminded me of that song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: RWilhelm
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 12:52 AM

Hi Stewie, Nice work. I've been thinking about learning this song and now I'm going to do it. I have a greater and greater appreciation for Pink Anderson because he played and recorded these old songs long after most. While I would love to hear the song as it was originally performed I think Pink Anderson kept the spirit of the song but distilled the lyrics down to something we can sing today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 02:04 AM

Stewie Always does nice work. Damn good music scholar, he is.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: BlueJay
Date: 21 Feb 01 - 02:13 PM

Thanks,Joe, for this thread. I love this song so much, I've started a new thread under the Charlie Byrd moniker. I'd almost forgotten it. BTW, my dictionary says it's OK to use either one or two L's in "travelling". I used two in the other thread, because that's what is on my Charlie Byrd album. On the few occasions I have played this song, I've pretty much stuck with the Bromberg Variation, as it suits my taste best. Thanks again, BlueJay


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Subject: Lyr Add: TRAVELIN' MAN (from Will Stark)
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 07:04 PM

In his 'Land Where the Blues Began', Lomax also gave a version from the singing of Will Stark of Mississippi. It is differs sufficiently from the above versions to warrant posting. I meant to do this when the thread was on foot, but I must have lost my 'round tuit'.

TRAVELIN' MAN

We'll tell you folks about a travellin' man
Was born in Tennessee.
Made his livin' stealin' chickens
And everything else he see.
If the police got after him,
He certainly got over the road.
Don't care how the freight train ran,
That nigger would get on board.

Chorus:
Travelin' man,
He certainly was a travelin' man,
Travelin' man,
That was ever in the land.
Travelin' man,
He was known for miles around.
He didn't get enough,
He didn't get enough,
Till the police shot him down,
Until the police shot him down.

Sent this travelin' man to the spring
To bring a pail of water.
The distance he had to go
Was two miles and a quarter.
He went and got the water all right,
But he stumbled and fell down.
He went back to the house and got another pail
Caught the water before it hit the ground.
Travelin' man …

They caught this travelin' man down in Savannah, Georgia,
Sentenced him to be hung.
The people all in this town
Thought the nigger's time had come.
Allowed him three minutes to say a speech,
They was carried away in tears.
He crossed his legs and walled his eyes
And sailed through the air.
Travelin' man …

The police took a Winchester rifle
And shot the nigger right through the head.
The nigger come tumblin' down to the ground,
Everybody thought he was dead.
They sent him down South where his mother had gone,
She was carried away in tears.
The opened up the coffin for to see her son
And the fool had disappeared.
Travelin' man...

Source: from the singing of Will Stark, Coahoma County, Mississippi. Quoted in Alan Lomax 'The Land Where the Blues Began' Minerva 1995, pp 194-196.

In relation to the second last stanza, Lomax referred to 'Drums and Shadows: Survival Stories Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes' Savannah Writers Project, WPA, Uni of Georgia Press 1940. J.D. Elder, a Tobagonian wiseman, was raised on stories about how some of his ancestors, grown weary of their hard plantation existence, put corncobs in their armpits and, as they uttered words of magic, rose into the sky and sped of east toward home. The passage goes on to detail how the oldest slaves on the Georgia Sea Islands reportedly witnessed such an incident among recently arrived Africans. The foreman cruelly whipped them and they 'stick duh hoe in duh fiel, riz up in the sky, and tun heself intuh buzzuds an fly right back to Africa'. Another witness remembered that they downed their hoes, danced their way into the air, moving in a circle, faster and faster till 'dey riz up and fly lak a bud back to Africa'. [Lomax 'Land Where the Blues Began' p 195].

Lomax also made this comment:


Like their ancestors, who had herded cattle and hunted game on foot, blacks in the Old South depended on fleetness of foot to get them out of trouble, away from the walking boss, the patrollers, the high sheriff, and the lynch mob. Br'er Rabbit was their first hero, the Travelin' Man their next.


--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 07:59 AM

There is a video of Doc Watson doing that song. You can make out Watson's words pretty well from that. I am not at home and don't have access to my video collection at the moment, but I think it is a Yazoo or Vestapol video.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Traveling Man
From: Stewie
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 09:23 AM

Here's a link to Roy Bookbinder performing Pink Anderson's version:

Click

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 03:48 PM

one of my relatives recorded this song it's on an album called grasshoppers in my pillow. In my view the best version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: billhudson
Date: 09 Oct 09 - 11:52 AM

Been doing this song for years and 1st. heard it from a David Bromberg LP years ago. The meter of the words is a lot of fun once you get use to it. But Roy Bookbinder has a ton of fun on this song.
The songbook Rise Up Singing also has the words to this one. Its a good book to have around, kind of like a National Geographic magazines, you just want to keep it around.
Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: open mike
Date: 09 Oct 09 - 12:09 PM

David Bromberg sings averse about this Travellin' man turning off the light switch and getting in bed before the room gets dark.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 12:25 AM

I certainly hope Billy Faier is not completely forgotten. It's hard for me to imagine a more definitive version of Travelin' Man than the one on his album of the same name from, I think, the late 50's. He said, I believe, that he'd gotten it from Uncle Dave and "corrected" the lyrics himself.

He's still going strong, to judge by his website:

http://www.billyfaier.com/


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: Cool Beans
Date: 06 Jul 10 - 02:33 PM

Paul Geremia also recorded an excellent version of "Travelin' Man" on his first album, "Paul Geremia" (in 1968 or 1969), crediting it to Pink Anderson. It's very similar to "I Got Mine" and uses the same chords. If you can play one, you can play the other.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: GUEST,Hillary
Date: 15 Mar 11 - 06:02 PM

my mama always sang this to me when i was just a baby. she said its from Kokomo Indiana from round 1925-35. she lernt it from an old black man. and she sang it like this:

Now just lemme tell ya bout a man name-a coon
whose home was in Tennessee
made his living a-stealin chickens
and anything he could see
but this cockeyed man he run so fast
his feet wouldn't stay in the road
and when a freight train passed
no matter how fast
he'd always get on board

now ya know he was a travelin man
lord he certainly was a travelin man
he was the travelest man ever in the land
he traveled everywhere
was know for miles around
but he didn't get caught
he didn't get whopped
till the police shot him down

the police hired an autombile
for the purpose-a chase ole coon
they chased him from 6 o'clock in the mornin
till 7 in the afternoon
now this cockeyed man he run so fast
fire come from his heels
and he starched the corn, burn the cotton
cut a road though the farmer's fields

chorus

the police shot him with a rifle
and the bullet went through his head
all the people had come from miles around
to see the man who was dead
telegramed home to his mother
she was all taken away with grief
an she came up and opened the coffin lid
and the fool had disappeared

chorus

this boy went down to the spring one day
to get himself a pail of water
the distance that he had to go was
about two miles and a quarter
got there and got his water
and then he started home
but he stumbled and fell down
so he went back home
got himself another bucket
caught the water for it hit the ground

chorus

now this boy was on the titanic ship
and it was sinkin down
he was sittin out on a tired with his head hung down
when this boy jumped over board
everybody thought he was a fool
but 15 minutes after that
you know he shootin craps in Liverpool

and he said:
I'm a travelin man...(chorus)


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Subject: Lyr Add: TRAVELING MAN (from Coley Jones)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Mar 11 - 08:39 PM

You can hear this recording at The Internet Archive. Here's my transcription:


TRAVELING MAN
As recorded by Coley Jones, Dec. 3, 1927, Columbia 14288D.

1. Tell ya a story 'bout a trav'lin' man that 'uz born down in Tennessee.
He made his livin' by stealin' chickens. Stoled ever'thing that he'd see.
Police got after that coon one day an' he tore off right down the road.
No matter how fast a freight train was flyin', that coon 'ould get right on boa'd.

CHORUS: He was a trav'lin' man, cert'nly was a trav'lin' man.
Trav'lin'est coon that ever was in the land.
Travel, he was known for miles around.
He wouldn't give up, he never give up till the pólice shot 'im down.

2. That coon stole ten thousand dollars. It was in the broad open-day time.
The folks said the man was desp'rate, for doin' such a dirty crime.
The pólice squad had(?) arrested, an' he didn't have no fear.
They tied the handcuffs around the darky's arms, an' the coon begin to disappear.

3. Sentenced this coon now to be hung. He knowed his time was near.
Folks all ganged up from miles around, because he didn't have no fear.
Tied the rope round this darky's neck. Ever'body began to sigh.
He crossed his legs, winked one eye, sailed up th'ough them skies.

4. Now they sent this coon to Liverpool, England, now, to swim that ocean blue.
He saw the iceberg ten thousand miles away. Right over both he flew.
Now the people on the Titanic they all said, "Well, that coon is a mighty big fool."
When the Titanic went down in that big blue sea, he was shootin' dice out in Liverpool.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: PHJim
Date: 08 Jul 14 - 06:57 PM

The Titanic verse makes me think of Lead Belly's Midnight On The Sea, in which he says that the Titanic was a Jim Crow ship and no black folks went down on the ship. I wonder how true that was.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TRAVELIN' MAN (from Pink Anderson)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Jul 14 - 02:20 AM

TRAVELIN' MAN
As sung by Pink Anderson on "Blues Legend" and on "Medicine Show Man"

1. I just want tell you 'bout a man named Coon; his home was in Tennessee.
He made his livin' stealin' chickens, and everything that he could see.
That pop-eyed man he run so fast, his feet couldn't stay in the road.
When a freight train passed, no matter how fast, he'd always get on boa'd.

CHORUS: He was a travelin' man; he cert'nly was a travelin' man.
He's one o' the trav'lin'est men was ever in the land.
He traveled, and known for miles around.
He didn't get caught, didn't give up till the police shot him down.

2. Well, the police hired him a automobile, o' purpose to chase ol' Coon.
He run him from six o'clock in the mornin' till seven in the afternoon.
That pop-eyed man he run so fast, till fire came from his heel.
He burned up the cotton and he scorched the corn; he cut a road through the farmer's field.

3. Well, the police shot him with a rifle, and the bullet went th'ough his head.
All the people they came from miles around to see the man was dead.
They telegramed down south to his mother; she's all carried away in tears.
She walked in the house, opened up the coffin lid, and that fool had disappeared.

4. This man was on the Titanic ship and it was sinkin' down,
Sitting out on a ... with his head hung down.
When this boy jumped overboa'd, ev'rybody said he was a fool,
And about three minutes after that, he was shooting dice over in Liverpool.

5. This boy he went to the spring one day to get a pail o' water.
The distance the rascal had to go was about two miles and a quarter.
He got then, got his water; when he started back, he stumbled and fell down,
But he went to the house and got him another bucket, caught the water 'fore it hit the ground.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Travelin' Man (from Pink Anderson)
From: GUEST,Jerry Krantman
Date: 11 May 16 - 12:52 PM

Not only can it be verified that the song is from Pink Anderson,
here's a recording of it on Youtube.com

This was 1920's medicine show music.
Gather the suckers with fun music,
then bring up the snake oil salesman.
I don't know whether Pink Anderson actually sold the tonics.


Youtube.com recording of the song as sung by Pink Anderson


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Mudcat time: 20 August 8:24 PM EDT

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