Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tony Rice & Friends Perform "White House Blues"


The original and far superior version, which I just learned by ear, no small feat for me, from my musical hero — Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers-White Ho:use Blues (September 20, 1926). "Very different attitude than the often mawkish songs we heard when Kennedy was shot," said one commenter of the lyrics
    McKinley hollered, McKinley squalled
    Doc said to McKinley, "I can't find that ball",
    From Buffalo to Washington

    Roosevelt in the White House, he's doing his best
    McKinley in the graveyard, he's taking his rest
    He's gone a long, long time

    Hush up, little children, now don't you fret
    You'll draw a pension at your papa's death
    From Buffalo to Washington

    Roosevelt in the White House drinking out of a silver cup
    McKinley in the graveyard, he'll never wake up
    He's gone a long, long time

    Ain't but one thing that grieves my mind
    That is to die and leave my poor wife behind
    I'm gone a long, long time

    Look here, little children, (don't) waste your breath
    You'll draw a pension at your papa's death
    From Buffalo to Washington

    Standing at the station just looking at the time
    See if I could run it by half past nine
    From Buffalo to Washington

    Came the train, she's just on time
    She run a thousand miles from eight o'clock 'till nine,
    From Buffalo to Washington

    Yonder comes the train, she's coming down the line
    Blowing in every station Mr. McKinley's a-dying
    It's hard times, hard times

    Look-it here you rascal, you see what you've done
    You've shot my husband with that Iver-Johnson gun
    Carry me back to Washington

    Doc's on the horse, he tore down his rein
    Said to that horse, "You've got to outrun this train"
    From Buffalo to Washington

    Doc come a-running, takes off his specs
    Said "Mr McKinley, better pass in your checks
    You're bound to die, bound to die"

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