John Henry

As performed by Doc Watson. Key of E.

Some of these lyrics are not correct because I couldn’t understand what he said but they are as close as I could come up with.

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8 bar break

John Henry was a steel driving man
Drove steel all over the land
And he said “fore I let that ole steam drill beat me down
I’ll die with my hammer in my hand, lord, lord,
Die with my hammer in my hand’

Now the man that made that old steam drill
He fine-le-mighty-find
But John Henry drove down 14 feet
While that steam drill only made him 9, lawd, lawd,
Steam drill only made him 9.

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John Henry’s captain and he sat down on a rock
Said “I think this tunnel’s fallin’ in’
Then John Henry smiled at his captain and he said,
‘now boss, that’s my hammer suckin’ wind, lawd, lawd,
boss, that’s my hammer suckin’ wind.’

8 bar break

John Henry, he had a sweet little woman
Her name was Polly Ann
And while John he was sick and he laid down on his bed
Little Polly drove that steel like a man, lawd, lawd,
Polly drove that steel like a man.

John Henry hammered in the mountain side
Till his hammer caught on fire
And the last word that old John Henry said
“give me a cool of drink of water fore I die, lawd, lawd,
 a-cool drink of water fore I die.’

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They took John Henry to the graveyard
6 feet under the sand
And every time a freight train would come a-rollin’ by
They’d say “yonder lies a steel driving man, lawd, lawd,
Younder lies a steel driving man.’
8 bar break