john henry (the steel driving man)

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john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby farmaz » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:51 pm

anyone know who did song first?.........i know its a OLD song but i heard several people cover it like fred mcdowell, leadbelly, sonhouse among others.

anyone know who did it first?
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby beard-of-grey » Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:12 pm

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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby farmaz » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:05 pm



thats the one :wink:

this is the piece that got me from that wiki link you posted.........Songs featuring the story of John Henry have been sung by many blues, folk, and rock musicians, such as: Lead Belly, Take This Hammer, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Paul Robeson, Mississippi John Hurt, Woody Guthrie, Merle Travis, Pete Seeger, Lonnie Donegan, Big Bill Broonzy, Laura Veirs, Josh White, Odetta, Johnny Cash, John Jackson, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Doc Watson, Fred McDowell, Pink Anderson, John Renbourn, John Fahey, Harry Belafonte, Roberta Flack, Dave Van Ronk, The Gun Club, Little Jimmy Dickens, Bill Wood, John Jacob Niles, Joe Bonamassa, Justin Townes Earle, and Drive-By Truckers.

there are alot more people who done this song than i first guessed, gonna be hard to find where it first came from :blink:
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby Rhambama » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:23 pm

One of the most ineresting versions of the song is Swannanoa Tunnel by Bascom Lamar Lundsford. It contains a couple verses from or relating to and variations of "Spike Driver's Blues" by John Hurt, Hurt's version of "John Henry."



One of the neatest versions is Mooreland and Arbuckle's version of "John Henry."

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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby mike932 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:16 pm

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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby jbone1 » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:41 am

the moreland and arbuckle version above is just awesome.
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby LesFromChicago » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:05 am

I doubt it can be learned who originated the song, I think it is probably too old.

Now the question of first recorded it, that one might be answerable with some degree of certainty.
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:09 am

I made a fool 'o myself back in 7th grade, reciting the original poem to a classroom full of Indiana hillbillies, and explaining it to them. :roll:
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby bluescentric » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:32 pm

LesFromChicago wrote:I doubt it can be learned who originated the song, I think it is probably too old.

Now the question of first recorded it, that one might be answerable with some degree of certainty.



I agree. I believe it was a folk song that was sang by whomever quite some time before it was recorded
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby jellyroll baker » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:03 am

Songs like this just tend to grow up out of the ground like carrots. There's a theme from an old tale, verses taken from three other songs, a melody that's been used for half a dozen tunes before it... trying to locate a definate origin can be a hard task.
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby ricochet » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:07 am

Everybody who does it adds or subtracts a bit. There's no "official" version, anyway.
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Re: john henry (the steel driving man)

Postby tinsmith » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:10 am

Joe Bonamassa did a newer take on it recently.
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