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LEGEND OF JOHN HENRY'S HAMMER (Johnny Cash / June Carter) Johnny Cash - 1962 John Henry's pappy woke him up one midnight He said 'fore the sheriff comes I want to tell you Listen boy he said, learn to ball a jack learn to lay a track Learn to pick and shovel too and take my hammer It'll do anything you tell it to John Henry's mammy had about a dozen babies John Henry's pappy broke jail about a dozen times The babies all got sick and when the doctor wanted money He said I'll pay you a quarter at a time startin' tomorrow That's pay for a steel driver on this line Then the section foreman said hey hammer swinger I see you brought your own hammer boy But what else can all them muscles do And he said I can turn a jack, I can lay a track I can pick and shovel too (can you swing a hammer boy) Yes, well I'll do anything you hire me to (Now ain't you something so high and mighty with your muscles Just go ahead boy and pick up that hammer pick up that hammer) He said get a rusty spike and swing it down three times I'll pay you a nickel a day for every inch you sink it to Go on and do what you say you can do With a steep nased hammer on a four foot switch handle John Henry raised his back till it touched his heels And the spike went thru the crosstie and split it half in two 35 cents a day for driving steel (Swing, swing it boy swing you owe me two more swings) I was born for drivin' steel Well John Henry hammered in the mountain He'd give a grunt and give a groan with every swing The women folks from miles around heard him and come down To watch him make cold steel ring Lord what a swinger, just listen to the cold steel ring But the bad boss come up laughing at John Henry Said you full of vinegar now but you 'bout through We're gonna get a steam drill to do your share of drivin' And what's all them muscles gonna do, ha John Henry Gonna take a little bit of vinegar out of you John Henry said I feed four little brothers And baby sister's walking on her knees Did the Lord say that machines oughta take the place of living And what's a substitute for bread and beans, I ain't seen it Do engines get rewared for their steam John Henry hid in a coalmine for his dinner nap Had thirty minutes to rest before the bell The mine boss hollered get up whoever you are and get a pick-ake Give me enough coal to start another hell And keep it burning, mine me enough to start another hell John Henry said to his Captain a man ain't nothin' but a man But if you bring that steam drill round And I'll beat it fair and honest I'll die with my hammer in my hand, but I'll be laughing Cause you can't replace a steel drivin' man There was a big crowd of people at the mountain John Henry said to the steam drill how is you Pardon me Mr Steam Drill, I suppose you didn't hear me, I said how I are you ha Well can you turn a jack, can you lay a track, can you pick and shovel too Listen this hammer swinger's talkin' to you Two thousand people hollered (go John Henry) Then somebody hollered (the mountain's cawing in) John Henry told the Captain tell the kind folks don't worry It ain't nothing but my hammer sucking wind, it keeps me breathing This steel driver's muscle, I ain't tin Captain tell the people move back further I'm at the finish line and there ain't no drill It's so far behind and yet it ain't got the brains to quiet it When she blows up she'll scatter cross the hills Lord Lord When she blows up she'll scatter cross the hills Well John Henry had a little woman I believe the lady's name was Polly Ann Yes that was his good woman John Henry threw his hammer over his shoulder and went on home He lay down to rest his weary back and early next morning he said Come here Polly Ann come here sugar You know I believe this is the first time I ever watched the sun come up that I couldn't come up Take my hammer Polly Ann and go to that railroad Swing that hammer like you seen me do it And when you're swinging with the lead man they'll know They'll know you're John Henry's woman But tell them that ain't all you can do tell them I can hoist a jack, I can lay a track, I can pick and shovel too Ain't no machine can, that's been proved to you There was a big crowd of mourners at the church house The section hands laid him in the sand Trains go by on the rails John Henry laid They slow down and take off the hats the men do When you've come to the place where John Henry's layin' restin' his back Some of 'em say morning streel driver, you sure was a hammer swinger Then they go by pickin' up a little speed Clickety-clack clickety-clak clickety-clack clickety-clak (Yonder lies a steel drivin' man oh Lord, yonder lies a steel drivin' man Yonder lies a steel drivin' man oh Lord, yonder lies a steel drivin' man)


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