• Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Ballad of John Henry

Pete Seeger

When John Henry was a little baby
Sittin' on his daddy's knee
He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel
And cried, "hammer's gonna be the death of me, Lord, Lord
Hammer's gonna be the death of me"

Now the captain he said to John Henry
"I'm gonna bring that steam drill around
I'm gonna bring that steam drill out on these tracks
I'm gonna knock that steel on down, God, God
I'm gonna knock that steel on down"

John Henry told his captain,
"Lord a man ain't nothin' but a man
But before I let this steam drill beat me down
I'm gonna die with a hammer in my hand,
Lord, Lord
Die with a hammer in my hand"

John Henry driving on the right side
That steam drill driving on the left
Says, "'fore I'll let your steam drill beat me down
I'm gonna hammer myself to death,
Lord, Lord
I'll hammer my fool self to death"

Well, captain said to John Henry
"What is that storm I hear?"
John Henry said, "That ain't no storm
Captain, that's just my hammer in the air,
Lord, Lord
That's just my hammer in the air"

John Henry said to his shaker
"Shaker, why don't you sing?
'Cause I'm swigin' thirty pounds from my hips on down
Yeah, listen to my cold steel ring,
Lord, Lord
Listen to my cold steel ring"

Now John Henry he hammered in the mountains
His hammer was striking fire
But he worked so hard, it broke his heart
John Henry laid his hammer and died,
Lord, Lord
John Henry laid down his hammer and died

Well now John Henry he had him a woman
By the name of Polly Ann
She walked out to those tracks, picked up John Henry's hammer
Polly drove steel like a man,
Lord, Lord
Polly drove that steel like a man

Well every, every Monday morning
When a bluebird he began to sing
You could hear John Henry from a mile or more
You can hear John Henry's hammer ring,
Lord, Lord
You can hear John Henry's hammer ring
So you can hear John Henry's hammer ring,
Lord, Lord
You can hear John Henry's hammer ring

Published: 12:00 am Friday, May 09, 2014

Last modified: 12:43 am Friday, May 09, 2014

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