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Lyr Req/Add: Poor Howard / Green Corn (Leadbelly)

Related thread:
Chords Req/Add: Poor Howard (11)


Dan Duryea 05 Mar 98 - 02:34 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 05 Mar 98 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,mfury84@hotmail.com 19 Dec 00 - 12:24 PM
Doctor John 19 Dec 00 - 02:16 PM
GUEST 06 Mar 05 - 01:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Mar 05 - 09:15 AM
Midchuck 06 Mar 05 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Martin 17 Aug 06 - 12:07 PM
greg stephens 17 Aug 06 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,kareem 20 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Guest : Music Index / Timberland Library Sys 15 Aug 07 - 08:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Aug 07 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 16 Aug 07 - 09:42 AM
Leadbelly 17 Aug 07 - 04:56 AM
Susan of DT 17 Aug 07 - 07:07 AM
Joe Offer 25 Mar 08 - 04:53 PM
Joe Offer 25 Mar 08 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,withaderbyon 11 Mar 09 - 02:15 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 14 Mar 09 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Jim I 14 Mar 09 - 10:31 PM
Azizi 29 Dec 09 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,tineet12 30 Jan 10 - 03:02 AM
George Ellias 16 Mar 10 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,Ladd Curator 17 Dec 10 - 06:35 PM
BrooklynJay 17 Dec 10 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Alania 11 Apr 11 - 10:12 PM
BrooklynJay 11 Apr 11 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Bill 07 Nov 11 - 02:19 PM
kendall 27 Apr 12 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Olivia 11 Oct 16 - 06:04 PM
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Subject: Lyric req: poor howard
From: Dan Duryea
Date: 05 Mar 98 - 02:34 PM

I'm look for lyrics for a (I think) Leadbelly song:

Part of chorus is:

"Poor howard dead and gone" "left me here to sing this song"

If found on the WEB, I would be also interested in know what you did to find it. Nothing I tried worked.


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Subject: Lyr Add: POOR HOWARD (Lead Belly)
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 05 Mar 98 - 07:50 PM

I can help a little. I have Leadbelly doing it on a CD called "Lead Belly-In the Shadows of the Gallows Pole". It is a cheapie on a label called "Tradition", but that might be a local name for a different company in the US.

Ol' Howard, po' boy
(plays the tune he just sung)
Ol' Howard he is dead an' gone
left me here to sing this song
left me here to sob and mourn (or moan)

Pretty little girl with a red dress on
(above line repeated two times)
God knows, pretty little girl with a red dress on

(Spoken) Ol' Howard is a po' white(?). He goes all around over the plantations. Plays for the sukey jumps. He is the first man to start the sukey jump playin' in the world, and he would go all around, while po' Howard is dead and gone, everybody sings this song about him.

(singing starts again)
Ol' Howard is dead an' gone
left me here to sing and mourn
Ol' Howard Po' boy
Ol' Howard, he was a po' boy
(repeat last line 2 times)
Ol' Howard, he was a po' boy,
God knows, left me here to xxxxx

(He then commences to tap-dance and then goes into the song "Green Corn")

The xxxx sound like "tell the joke".

I am told that po' Howard was a fidler who went around playing at the dances held by slaves (sukey jumps). I am not sure if he was white, or if I mishear that part.

I would be interested in anyone who could fill me in on that.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Lyric req: poor howard
From: GUEST,mfury84@hotmail.com
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 12:24 PM

Howard was a po whitey. xxxx "to shout with joy" Who knows the lyrics to Green corn? Please help.


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Subject: RE: Lyric req: poor howard
From: Doctor John
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 02:16 PM

More...
Who's been here since I've been gone?
Pretty little girl with a red dress on - or -
Great big man with a Derby on. (X2)

Poor Howard was his mother's poor boy...etc
Left me here to shout for joy

Green Corn
Green corn, come along Charlie (X2)
Green corn, green corn, come along Charlie(X2)

All I want in this creation, Pretty little wife and a big plantation.
Two little kids to call me poppa, One named Slop and the other named Gravy. (x2)
One's gonna flop and the other's gonna save me.

Green corn...

Wake snake day's a breaking, Peas's in the pot and howcakes a baking.

Green corn... Dr John


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Subject: green corn
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 01:53 AM

green corn come along charlie
green corn, don't you tell molly

all I want in this creation
is a pretty little wife and a big plantation

all I need to make me happy are two little
boys to call me pappy

one named Bill and the other named Davey
they'll like their biscuits soaked in gravy

green corn...


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Subject: RE: Lyric req: poor howard
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 09:15 AM

another verse

who been here since I been gone
great big man with a derby on


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Subject: RE: Lyric req: poor howard
From: Midchuck
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 09:47 AM

I believe Leadbelly sang this, with the verse:

Who's been here since I've been gone?
Big black nigger with a derby on...


The weavers recorded it, changing the lyric to:

...Great big man with a derby on.

This was like, the early '50s. It may have been the very first manifestation of what later came to be known as political correctness.

Peter.


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Subject: ADD: Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Martin
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 12:07 PM

The version I've got sounds like this...

^^

GREEN CORN

green corn come along charlie
green corn come along charlie
green corn go and tell Polly
green corn go and tell Polly

green corn
green corn
green corn
green corn

all I want in this creation
's a little bitty wife and big carnation

Two little boys to call me pappa
One named [Thomas?] another named Davey

One named [Thomas?] another named Davey
One's gonna put up, other's gonna save me

green corn come along charlie
green corn come along charlie
green corn go and tell Polly
green corn go and tell Polly

green corn
green corn
green corn
green corn

Wake Jake day's a breaking, Peas's in the pot and [?]cakes a baking

green corn
green corn

Stand around, stand around the demi-john [sounds like 'Jimmy John']
Stand around, stand around the demi-john
Stand around, stand around the demi-john
Stand around, stand around the demi-john

[Talks a bit about demi-johns]

Stand around, stand around the demi-john
Stand around, stand around the demi-john
Stand around, stand around the demi-john
Stand around, stand around the demi-john

green corn
green corn
green corn

M


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Aug 06 - 12:52 PM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Howard TABS
From: GUEST,kareem
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM

how about the tabs. I think this song would sound good on the piano as well, I know its in G but thats about it. an tips.    -kareem


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Subject: ADD: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Guest : Music Index / Timberland Library Sys
Date: 15 Aug 07 - 08:13 PM

Poor Howard
(Huddie Ledbetter)

Poor Howard's dead and gone
Left me here to sing this song
Poor Howard's dead and gone
Left me here to sing this song
Poor Howard's dead and gone
Poor Howard's dead and gone
Poor Howard's dead and gone
Left me here to sing this song

Who's been here since I've been gone?
Pretty little girl with a red dress on (repeat twice)

Who's been here since I've been gone?
Great big man with a derby on.. (repeat twice)

Source Folksinger's Wordbook 1973 Attributed to "Huddie Ledbetter" (Leadbelly), copyright Folkways, 1936


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Aug 07 - 09:54 PM

Leadbelly was discussing the sukey jumps (local dances) he attended when he was young, not those of slavery times.
www.rounder.com/series/lomax_alan/ledblly.html
Lead Belly


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Subject: Lyr Add: GANDY DANCER'S BALL (M Howard, P Weston)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 16 Aug 07 - 09:42 AM

Fascinating to see that alternate take of Green Corn with the "demijohn" verse. The version of Green Corn I first heard and always loved on one of Leadbelly's 1950s Stinson LPs didn't include that. Wonder if it was always part of the song, or was a separate play party song, and he just "borrowed it into" Green Corn that one time???

Clearly that's one place where composers Paul Weston and Paul Mason Howard got their inspiration for "The Gandy Dancers' Ball." Since Weston was sometime lyricist and arranger for the Weavers, and Howard was the wonderful zither duettist with Leadbelly on "Ella Speed," it was a natural. Zip! another 50s pop song with folk roots.

Re "stand around the jimmy-john" -- the Weavers, on their recording, seem to pronounce the word somewhere between there and "demijohn." Compare (hope this isn't too much thread creep for a thread that has already crept from Poor Howard to Green Corn):

^^ The Gandy Dancer's Ball

By Paul Mason Howard / Paul Weston. Recorded by the Weavers, Tennesee Ernie Ford and Frankie Laine in 1952.

GANDY DANCER'S BALL
(M Howard, P Weston)

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

The Gandy Dancer is a railroad man
And his work is never done
With his pick and his shovel and his willing hands
He makes the railroad run
There's Macanaw Mack and Toledo Jack
And the boys from Idaho
And the Frisco kid and Saginaw Sid
And good old Cotton-eyed Joe

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

The boys will gather at the great affair
The Gandy Dancer's ball
A-kissin' their ladies with perfumed hair
And prancin' round the hall
They got the biggest band in all the land
And the rhythm rocks the room
And they holler out with a mighty shout
When the big bass drum goes boom

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

The railroads bring `em to the great affair
The Gandy Dancer's ball
An' every line is represented there
The big ones and the small
There's the MKT and the old SP
And the Lee High Valley too
The C and J and the Santa Fe
The Southern and the Sioux

Oh they danced on the ceiling
And they danced on the wall
At the Gandy Dancer's ball
Hey! Swing around, Swing around,
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
The Jimmy, Jimmy John
Swing around, Swing around
Swing around the Jimmy John
Swing the pretty girl round
The Jimmy, Jimmy John

They danced all day
And they danced all night
They all danced till the broad daylight
At the Gandy Dancer's ball

(Swing around, swing around
Swing around, swing around
The Jimmy John)


(Transcribed by Bill Huntley - February 2005)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: Leadbelly
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 04:56 AM

I think this song would sound good on the piano as well (Kareem)

That's absolutely true, Kareem. "Poor Howard" Stith once did it on piano.

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: Susan of DT
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 07:07 AM

[Bob Coltman - I wish you would sign in and read your PMs instead of always being guest. I sent you a PM months ago]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 04:53 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index doesn't have much on "Poor Howard":

Poor Howard

DESCRIPTION: "Poor Howard's dead and gone, Left me here to sing this song." "Who's been here since I've been gone? Pretty little girl with a red dress on." "Who's been here... Great big man with a derby on" And so forth, through as many visitors as desired
AUTHOR: Huddie Leadbetter
EARLIEST DATE: 1936 (copyright)
KEYWORDS: nonballad death
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Silber-FSWB, p. 63, "Poor Howard" (1 text)
Roud #11673
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Stavin Chain" (lyrics)
File: FSWB063

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibliography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2011 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD: Stavin' Chain
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 06:00 PM

Stavin' Chain

1 Stavin' Chain is dead and gone,
Left me here to carry his good work on.

Chorus:
I'm makin' it down, baby, like Stavin' Chain, ol' Stavin' Chain
I'm makin' it down, just like Stavin' Chain.

2 I'm goin' away to wear you off my mind,
You keep me worried and bothered all the time.

3 Stavin' Chain was a man like dis,
Stood on the corner an' wind his fist.

4 Long and tall, just about my height,
Won't mistreat you to save yo' life.

5 I tell you, baby, like the Dago tol' the Jew,
"If you don' likee me, I don' likee you."

6 It ain't but one thing worried my mind,
Brown-skin gal quit me in the wintertime.

7 I got ten little puppies, one little shaggy houn',
Take all them puppies to run my brown-skin down.

8 Looky here, gal, you need not squall,
Goin' to take the wig I bought you, let your head go bald.

9 Some of these days, an' it won't be long,
You call my name an' I'll be gone.

10 All the women found out that Stavin' was dead,
Rushed right home and they dressed in red.

11 Stavin's Chain is dead and gone,
He's in hell with his Stetson on.

Sung by 'Tricky Sam' of Huntsville, Texas, 1934

from Our Singing Country, Lomax & Lomax, pp. 305-306


tune available on request

Recording of a bawdy version of this song on The Unexpurgated Folk Songs of Men


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,withaderbyon
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 02:15 AM

The origin of Poor Howard may have been the real-life Billy Waters, a well-known fiddlin' busker from London in the 1780s who was black and may have fought in the American War of Independence. Here is a verse from his will:

Thus poor Black Billy's made his Will,
His Property was small good lack,
For till the day death did him kill
His house he carried on his back.
The Adelphi now may say alas!
And to his memory raise a stone:
Their gold will be exchanged for brass,
Since poor Black Billy's dead and gone.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 09:50 AM

Justr a thought about "stand around the demi-john"

I remember reading somewhere (sorry, no reference available) that old-time dancers sometimes demonstrated their skill by stepping around - and over - a demi-john (a gallon liquor jar) without touching it (A bit like the bacca-pipes jig or the broom dance.)

Since "Green corn" is clearly a dance tune, this might be how the demi-john got in there.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 10:31 PM

Some years ago - No! Many Many years ago, I had an LP by Tom and Smiley which had a track with a verse that went

Hot corn, cold corn, bring along your demi-john (repeat twice)
Farewell Uncle Bill, see you in the morning, Yes Sir!

or words to that effect. I can't find the album although I think it may be in the attic, and that's all that I remember.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard (from Leadbelly)
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 08:08 AM

This may already have been mentioned, but it occurs to me that the "Poor Howard dead and gone" lyrics may have come from the
"Pompey is dead" family of children's game songs.

Those songs originated in Great Britain and were known to 19th century (and earlier?) African Americans by the name "Old Ponto Is Dead" and other similar titles.

See page 1936 of the 1925 book "One The Trail Of Negro Folk Songs" by Dorothy Scarborough and Ola Lee Gulledge for a version of that song as well as a description of its performance activity. That page is available on http://books.google.com/books?id=Ys3T_6clobAC&pg=PA136&lpg=PA136&dq=pompey+is+dead+and+laid+in+his+grave&source=bl&ots=kxEiLw-cK


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard/Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,tineet12
Date: 30 Jan 10 - 03:02 AM

I'm so GLAD I found this site! I really, really wanted to know these lyrics. I have this song (Come Along, Charlie/Green Corn) by Josh White...downloaded from Amazon. I play it constantly and have it on repeat. I could not figure out the green corn part. Thank you for that. I still am not sure if they are saying demi-john, jimmy-john, jimmy-jug? I would appreciate any help with this.


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard/Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: George Ellias
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 10:31 PM

In case you guys don't know... There are several takes that go like this.

"All I want in this creation is a little bity wife and a big plantation"


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard/Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Ladd Curator
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 06:35 PM

Here's my take:

-- Poor Howard --

Ol' Howard poor boy
Ol' Howard's dead and gone
Left me here to sing this song
Who been here since I been gone
Pretty lil' gal with a red dress on (x3)
God knows, pretty lil' gal with a red dress on

[spoken]
Old Howard's a poor boy and he goes around all o'er the plantation
Played for the sukey jump
He's the first man who started th' sukey jump playin' in the world
And he go around the whole time, an' How [false start]
Ol' Howard's dead and gone and everybody sing this song about 'em

[singing]
Ol' oward's dead an gone
Left me here to sing this song
Ol' Howard poor boy
Old Howard he was a poor boy (x2)
Old how was a poor boy, God knows,
Left me here to shout with joy


-- Green Corn --

Green corn
Come along Charlie
Green corn
Go an' tell Polly
Green corn

All I want in this creation
A little bit of wine an' a big plantation
Two little boys to call me pop
One name Solom the other name Grady
Green corn
Come along Charlie
Green Corn
Go an' tell Polly
Green corn
etc.

Two boys to call me poppa
One name Solom one name Grady
One's gonna put 'em(?) one's gonna save me
Green corn
etc.

Stand around, stand around th'demijohn
Green corn
etc.

Wake snake, day's a-breaking
Peas in the pot and hoecakes a-bakin'

-- NOTES --

I've heard "Solom" before in the song "Old Time Religion" - it sounds to me like "Solom'n" as though it were an abbreviated pronunciation of Solomon, a Biblical name

A "demijohn" is an apparatus used in fermenting alcohol, such as with wine, beer, or mead - the way Lead Belly says it, it sounds like "Jimmy John" which may be a colloquial way of saying it (i.e. misheard, and repeated by uneducated people)

Hoecakes are johhny cakes - little pancakes native to American Indian culture


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard/Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 17 Dec 10 - 09:51 PM

Here are the lyrics and notes to Poor Howard, transcribed from page 53 of Lead Belly - No Stranger To The Blues:

Transcribed from 1940 Library of Congress sessions now available on Lead Belly/Gwine Dig A Hole To Put The Devil In, Rounder CD 1045. Other Lead Belly recordings: Lead Belly/In The Shadow Of The Gallows Pole, Tradition CD 1018, Lead Belly/Bourgeois Blues and Lead Belly Memorial Vols. 3 & 4, Collectables Cds 5183 and 5604 (1939 Musicraft sessions). Additional Library of Congress recordings are included in two monologues on square dances or sooky jumps: Lead Belly/Go Down Old Hannah, Rounder CD 1099 and Lead Belly/The Library of Congress Recordings, Elektra boxed LP set EKL-301/2.

He was the first fiddler after Negroes got freed in slavery times. Po' Howard was a Negro, used to play for 'em at the sooky jumps and the number he played it was "Po' Howard, Po' Boy." ...Because they dance so fast, the music was so fast and the people had to jump, so they always called them sooky jumps...Sooky, well that's a cow - sometimes when you tell it "sooky, sooky, sooky", you know, sookin' the cow away.
                                                Huddie Ledbetter, 1940


Old Howard's poor boy.
Old Howard's dead and gone.
Left me here to sing this song.

Left me here to sing this song. (3)
Who's been here since I've been gone? (2)

Pretty little girl with a red dress on. (2)
Pretty little girl with a red dress on, old Howard's poor boy.
Left me here to shout for joy.
Old Howard's dead and gone.

Left me here to sing this song. (2)
Left me here to sing this song, old Howard's dead and gone.
Old Howard's poor boy, old Howard's poor boy.
Left me here to shout for joy, goodbye Howard, dead and gone.

(additional lyrics from Elektra Library of Congress recording)

Who's been here since I been gone?
Big black man with a derby on,

The day I left my mother's home
The day I left my home
The day I left my father's door
The day I left my home
The day I left my friends (4)


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard/Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Alania
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 10:12 PM

Green Corn Lyrics

(boys) all i need to fill my life is a good piece of land and a pretty little wife
(girls all i need from this big land is a pretty little house and a big strong man
(both) green corn come along molly green corn wontcha fetch polly green corn come along molly green corn lets all be jolly
(boys) all i need to make me happy are two little kids to call me pappy
(girls) one named daisy and the other davey they like their biscuits slopped with gravey
(both)
(boys) all i need in this creation are three months work and nine vaction
(girls) pick the crops and sell em in town then dance and sing till the sun goes down
(both)
    THOSE ARE THE REAL LYRICS SO SING THESE LYRICS NOT THOSE OTHER ONES!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Poor Howard/Green Corn (from Leadbelly)
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 11:32 PM

Ah...how's that again?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Poor Howard / Green Corn (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 02:19 PM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Poor Howard / Green Corn (Leadbelly)
From: kendall
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 12:58 PM

Whos been here since I've been gone? J.Arthur Rank with a great big gong. (Or Dong)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req/Add: Poor Howard / Green Corn (Leadbelly)
From: GUEST,Olivia
Date: 11 Oct 16 - 06:04 PM

Kendall,
Poor Howard's dead and gone, left me here to sing this song
Poor Howard's dead and gone x3
Left me here to sing this song

Who's been here since I've been gone
Pretty little girl with a red dress on x3
Left me here to sing this song
(Then you can do another poor Howard if you want)
Who's been here since I've been gone
Little old man with a derby on x3
Left me here to sing this song

That's pretty much it, I learned the words from Leadbelly and Ramblin' Jack Elliott ml


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