Every one of these songs has verses that have been ignored. And those are the key verses, those are the things that make these songs live. They’re a little heavy for kindergarteners to be singing. The originals are much darker, there’s more protest in them...[cite]Nevertheless, many of NY&CH's renditions skip some of the juicier bits from the history of these songs' performance. Read on for a listing of tracks with some of their darkest verses.
I jump'd aboard the telegraph and trabbled down de ribber,Neil Young mercifully leaves this verse out as well, but he does include the one referencing buckwheat cake, which in the context of a minstrel show would have been a cultural mark of a Southerner, and possibly an indication that Susanna had already married (though I can't find confirmation of that):
De lectrick fluid magnified, and kill'd five hundred Nigga.
De bulgine bust and de hoss ran off, I really thought I'd die;
I shut my eyes to hold my bref--Susanna don't you cry. [cite]
Buckwheat cake was in her mouth2. Oh My Darling, Clementine!
The tear was in her eye
Says I'm comin' from the South
Susannah don't you cry
How I missed her! How I missed her,3. Tom Dula ("Tom Dooley")
How I missed my Clementine,
So I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine
You took her on the hillsideand Dula's plead of innocence:
For to make her your wife;
You took her on the hillside,
And ther you took her life.
You dug the grave four feet long
And you dug it three feet deep;
You rolled the cold clay over her
And tromped it with your feet.
"Trouble, oh it's trouble4. Gallows Pole
A-rollin' through my breast;
As long as I'm a-livin', boys,
They ain't a-gonna let me rest.
I know they're gonna hang me,
Tomorrow I'll be dead,
Though I never even harmed a hair
On poor little Laurie's head."
Hangman, hangman, turn your head awhile,5. Get a Job
I think I see my sister coming, riding a many mile, mile, mile.
Sister, I implore you, take him by the hand,
Take him to some shady bower, save me from the wrath of this man,
Please take him, save me from the wrath of this man, man.
Oh, yes, you got a fine sister, She warmed my blood from cold,
Brought my blood to boiling hot To keep you from the Gallows Pole,
Your brother brought me silver, Your sister warmed my soul,
But now I laugh and pull so hard And see you swinging on the Gallows Pole
Poppa writes to Johnny but Johnny can't come homeOther renditions of the song (such as Billy Grammer's) swap in "Chain gang" for "war".
Johnny can't come home, Johnny can't come home
Poppa writes to Johnny but Johnny can't come home
'Cause he's been in the war too long.
Lord, look at me here,8. Jesus' Chariot (She'll be Coming Round the Mountain)
I'm rooted like a tree here,
Got those sit-down, can't fly
Oh Lord, I'm gonna die blues.
Well, I once knew a man, he worked in a mine
Well, he never saw the sun but then he never stopped tryin'
And then one day that old man he up and he died,
yeah he up and he died, he up and he died.
Well, he wanted to fly and the only way to fly was to die,
Lord I'm gonna die, Lord I'm gonna die, Lord I'm gonna die.
She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes ...Neil Young talks about the lyrical choices in a interview with Fresh Air.
She'll be drivin' six white horses when she comes ...
We'll all go out to meet her when she comes ...
We'll kill the big red rooster when she comes ...
She will take us to the Portals when she comes ...
We'll all sing Halleluiah when she comes ...
As I went walking I saw a sign there10. Wayfaring Stranger
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
In the shadow of the steeple, I saw my people
By the relief office, I'd seen my people
As they stood hungry, I stood there askin'
If this land made for you and me?
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
O Lord, our God, arise,... after which the Neil Young & Crazy Horse veer into "My Country Tis of Thee", which shares the same melody. Let freedom ring!
Scatter thine enemies,
And make them fall
*Confound their politics
Frustrate their empty tricks
On thee our hopes we fix
God save the Queen.
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