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THE CAT CAME BACK (Traditional - Harry Miller) Fiddlin' John Carson - 1924 Also recorded by: New Christy Minstels; Don McLean; Yodeling Slim Clark; Wendy Wiseman; Bill Harrell; Merle Travis; Tex Morton; Marais and Miranda; Fred Penner: ......... and others. Now old Mr. Johnson had troubles of his own He had an old yellow cat that wouldn't leave home Tried everything he knew to do to keep the cat away Took him up to Canada and told him for to stay... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away On the telegraph wire the birds were sittin' in a bunch Saw an even number, thought he'd' have `em for his lunch Climbed softly up the pole, until he reached the top Put his foot upon the electric wire, tied him in a knot... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away This old cat had company out in the backyard Somebody threw a boot, and threw it awful hard Hit the cat behind the ear and he thought it was a slight And down came a brick and knocked him out of sight... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They threw him in the kennel where the dog was asleep And the bones of cats lay piled in a heap That ol' kennel burst apart and the dog flew out the side With his ears chewed off and holes in his hide... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They sneaked into the shop with the butcher not around And they dropped him in the hopper where the meat was ground The old cat disappeared with a blood-curdling shriek And that shop's hamburger tasted furry for a week... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They put him in a cotton sack and give him to a girl Who was startin' on a bicycle all around the world Well over there in China, a terrible wreck was found She's singin' now in heaven with the angels all around... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away Now this cat was a terror and they thought it would be best To give him to a feller who was goin' out West Train ran around a curve and hit a broken rail Not a blessed soul aboard the train lived to tell the tale... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They gave the old cat to the man in the balloon And they told him to give him to the man in the moon Well the balloon, it busted and everybody said, "Ten miles away they picked a man up dead"... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away Well at last they found the way this cat they'd really fix They put him in an orange crate on Highway Sixty-Six Come a ten ton truck with a twenty ton load Scattered pieces of the orange crate a mile down the road... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They put him on a boat bound for Cambridge town They thought with all the rain there, he'd surely drown When the rain come down on the ninety-second day The whole darn city just a-floated out the bay... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away Now the farmer on the corner said he'd shoot the cat on sight And he loaded up his gun with nails and dynamite And he hid in the garden till the cat come around Seven little pieces of the man was all they found... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They put him on the White House lawn, I'll tell you the reason why They thought with all those golf balls flyin' there, he'd surely die The very next morning, what do you think they found Ninety-four squirrels lyin' dead upon the ground... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They took him down to Cape Canaveral and they put him in a place And they shot him in a satellite way into space They thought that cat was beyond human reach Then they got a phone call from Miami Beach, sayin'... The cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away ****** ALTERNATE VERSION (1): Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own He had a yellow cat which wouldn't leave its home He tried and he tried to give the cat away He gave it to a man goin' far, far away But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea The man around the corner swore he'd kill the cat on sight He loaded up his shotgun with nails and dynamite He waited and he waited for the cat to come around Ninety seven pieces of the man is all they found But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea He gave it to a little boy with a dollar note Told him for to take it up the river in a boat They tied a rope around its neck, it must have weighed a pound Now they drag the river for a little boy that's drowned But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea He gave it to a man going up in a balloon He told him for to take it to the man in the moon The balloon came down about ninety miles away Where he is now, well I dare not say But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea He gave it to a man going way out West Told him for to take it to the one he loved the best First the train hit the curve, then it jumped the rail Not a soul was left behind to tell the gruesome tale But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea The cat it had some company one night out in the yard Someone threw a boot-jack, and they threw it mighty hard It caught the cat behind the ear, she thought it rather slight When along came a brick-bat and knocked the cat out of sight But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea Away across the ocean they did send the cat at last Vessel only out a day and making water fast People all began to pray, the boat began to toss A great big gust of wind came by and every soul was lost But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea On a telegraph wire, sparrows sitting in a bunch The cat was feeling hungry, thought she'd like 'em for a lunch Climbing softly up the pole, and when she reached the top Put her foot upon the electric wire, which tied her in a knot But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea The cat was a possessor of a family of its own With seven little kittens till there came a cyclone Blew the houses all apart and tossed the cat around The air was full of kittens, and not a one was ever found But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea The atom bomb fell just the other day The H-Bomb fell in the very same way Russia went, England went, and then the U.S.A. The human race was finished without a chance to pray But the cat came back the very next day The cat came back, we thought he was a goner But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away Away, away, yea, yea, yea ****** ALTERNATE VERSION (2): Freddy Wilson had a cat that he didn't want to keep He offered it for sale, but no-one would buy it cheap He called upon the preacher to ask for his advice The preacher said just leave him here, for it would be so nice But the cat came back, he wouldn't stay away He was sitting on the porch on the very next day The cat came back, he didn't want to roam The very next day he was home sweet home Freddy put the cat on board a ship, was headed for Ceylon The ship was overloaded, about forty thousand ton Not many miles from shore that gallant ship went down There wasn't any doubt about it, everybody drowned But the cat came back, he wouldn't stay away He was sitting on the porch on the very next day The cat came back, he didn't want to roam The very next day he was home sweet home Freddy put the cat on board with a man in a balloon Who would give the cat away to the man up in the moon The balloon it didn't rise, it burst in bits instead Ten miles away they found the man stone dead But the cat came back, he wouldn't stay away He was sitting on the porch on the very next day The cat came back, he didn't want to roam The very next day he was home sweet home Freddy Wilson took his gun and he hid behind a bush In the barrel of his gun lead and powder he did push He aimed it at the spot where the cat would appear The next day all they found was Freddie Wilson's ear But the cat came back, he wouldn't stay away He was sitting on the porch on the very next day The cat came back, he didn't want to roam The very next day he was home sweet home Now the cat sat on the porch and he ate a piece of cheese An Irishman came by, he was feeling well at ease The cat he was a-smiling, for he was fully fed The Irishman sang "Rule Britannia" and the cat fell dead But his ghost came back, he wouldn't stay away He was sitting on the porch on the very next day His ghost came back, he didn't want to roam He haunted Freddy's house and his home sweet home ****** ALTERNATE VERSION (3) Little Bennie had a cat that they wouldn't let him keep So he put her up for sale at a price he thought was cheap He took her to a neighbour to ask him for advice He said, "Leave the kitty here, she can help me with the mice" But the cat came back, she wouldn't stay away She was sitting on the porch the very next day The cat came back, she didn't want to roam The very next day it was Home, Sweet Home Then Bennie met a man who was driving way out West He would take the cat along as a special honored guest The steering wheel was wobbly, he drove into a tree The car was just a total wreck as anyone could see But the cat came back, she wouldn't stay away She was sitting on the porch the very next day The cat came back, she didn't want to roam The very next day it was Home, Sweet Home So Bennie bought a gun from the Human Cannonball He put the cat inside with tri-nitro-toluol When he pulled the trigger, the cannon made a roar The neighbours all surrendered 'cause they thought it was a war But the cat came back, she wouldn't stay away She was sitting on the porch the very next day The cat came back, she didn't want to roam The very next day it was Home, Sweet Home Then Bennie gave the cat to a man who had a bomb When he took the cat away, she was acting cool and calm And then the bomb exploded, it made an awful sound They searched and searched for ages but the man was never found But the cat came back, she wouldn't stay away She was sitting on the porch the very next day The cat came back, she didn't want to roam The very next day it was Home, Sweet Home ****** As recorded by the NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS: Well, just like everybody you have troubles of your own But let me tell you, Mister, of the sorrow I have known I had an old gray cat, that I couldn't bear to keep He spent the nights a-howl'n and he wouldn't let me sleep So I put him in a box and I tied it up quite well. I had some fellows help me and I paid them not to tell We put it in a boxcar, the Westbound Seven-Ten The train pulled away and was never seen again But the cat came back, the very next day Yes the cat came back and he wouldn't stay away Meow, kitty! Meow, so pretty! Meow, such a pity, but the cat came back So I took him to the harbor and I put in on a ship I bid him bon voyage! for that oceanic trip The captain was obligin' and glad to help us out We tied him to the anchor so that there could be no doubt Well, we heard that sad report of that might storm at sea And though it may sound heartless, I was happy as could be The paper said the ship went down beneath a heavy gale And not a single soul was left to tell the awful tale But the cat came back, the very next day Yes the cat came back and he wouldn't stay away Meow, kitty! Meow, so pretty! Meow, such a pity, but the cat came back So I gave him to a scientist, destined for the moon The cat was used for ballast in an outer space balloon I guess you know what happened, that balloon's up there still And early that next morning, guess what came across the hill (Meow! That's right) Now, everyone in town was sworn to shoot that cat on sight With that crazy cat around you couldn't sleep at night We even formed a posse just to hunt that critter down You could hear the guns a-blazin' as they ran him out of town But the cat came back, the very next day Yes the cat came back and he wouldn't stay away! Meow, kitty! Meow, so pretty! Meow, such a pity, but the cat came back ****** As recorded by MARAIS & MIRANDA: Now old Mr. Johnson had troubles of his own He had an old yellow cat that wouldn't leave home Tried everything he knew to do to keep the cat away Took him up to Canada and told him for to stay... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away On the telegraph wire the birds were sittin' in a bunch Saw an even number, thought he'd' have `em for his lunch Climbed softly up the pole, until he reached the top Put his foot upon the electric wire, tied him in a knot... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away This old cat had company out in the backyard Somebody threw a boot, and threw it awful hard Hit the cat behind the ear and he thought it was a slight And down came a brick and knocked him out of sight... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They threw him in the kennel where the dog was asleep And the bones of cats lay piled in a heap That ol' kennel burst apart and the dog flew out the side With his ears chewed off and holes in his hide... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They sneaked into the shop with the butcher not around And they dropped him in the hopper where the meat was ground The old cat disappeared with a blood-curdling shriek And that shop's hamburger tasted furry for a week... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They put him in a cotton sack and give him to a girl Who was startin' on a bicycle all around the world Well over there in China, a terrible wreck was found She's singin' now in heaven with the angels all around... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away Now this cat was a terror and they thought it would be best To give him to a feller who was goin' out West Train ran around a curve and hit a broken rail Not a blessed soul aboard the train lived to tell the tale... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They gave the old cat to the man in the balloon And they told him to give him to the man in the moon Well the balloon, it busted and everybody said, "Ten miles away they picked a man up dead"... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away Well at last they found the way this cat they'd really fix They put him in an orange crate on Highway Sixty-Six Come a ten ton truck with a twenty ton load Scattered pieces of the orange crate a mile down the road... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They put him on a boat bound for Cambridge town They thought with all the rain there, he'd surely drown When the rain come down on the ninety-second day The whole darn city just a-floated out the bay... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away Now the farmer on the corner said he'd shoot the cat on sight And he loaded up his gun with nails and dynamite And he hid in the garden till the cat come around Seven little pieces of the man was all they found... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They put him on the White House lawn, I'll tell you the reason why They thought with all those golf balls flyin' there, he'd surely die The very next morning, what do you think they found Ninety-four squirrels lyin' dead upon the ground... But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away They took him down to Cape Canaveral and they put him in a place And they shot him in a satellite way into space They thought that cat was beyond human reach Then they got a phone call from Miami Beach, sayin'... The cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back `Cause he wouldn't stay away ****** As recorded by TEX MORTON: Now, old Mr. Johnson had worries of his own He had an old yeller cat that wouldn't leave home Tried everything he knew to do to keep the cat away He took him up to Canada and told him for to stay But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back He wouldn't stay away Now, this cat was a terror, so they thought it was the best To give him to a feller who was going out West Train ran around a curve and it hit a broken rail Not a blessed soul aboard the train lived to tell the tale But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back He wouldn't stay away Now, they throwed him in a kennel where the dog was asleep And the bones o' cats lay piled in a heap That kennel burst open and the dog come out the side His ears chewed off and holes in his hide But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back He wouldn't stay away Oh, they snuck into a shop when the butcher wasn't 'round And they throwed him in the hopper where the meat is ground The ol' cat disappeared with a blood curdlin' shriek And the town's minced meat tasted furry for a week But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back He wouldn't stay away (SPOKEN: I like this bit, heh-heh) Now, the farmer on the corner said he'd shoot the cat on sight Loaded up his gun with nails and dynamite He waited in the garden 'til the cat came around Seven little pieces of the man was all they found But the cat came back The very next day the old cat came back Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back He wouldn't stay away (SPOKEN: Heh, how many lives does a cat have?) Well, they put him in a rocket ship headin' for the stars Got a message back sayin' "Landed up on Mars" Said the men were doin' fine, and the monkey and the rat But they couldn't find a trace of the old yeller cat And the cat showed up The very next day the old cat came home We don't know how he did it, but the cat came back He wouldn't stay away No, he wouldn't stay away (Transcribed by Mel Priddle - October 2005) ******

    


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