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For an in-depth discussion of this track, see the album notes: tinyurl[dot]com/V5NATnotes


John come home all in a wonder
Rattled at the door went like thunder
"Who is there?" Mister Hendley cried
"It’s my husband! You must hide!"

His wife held the door 'til old man Hendley
Jumping and jerking went up the chimbley
John come in, he looked all around
But not a soul could be found.

John sit down by the fireside weeping
Up the chimbley got to peeping
There he saw the poor old soul
Sittin' a-straddle of the pot-rack pole.

John built on a rousing fire
Just to suit his own desire
His wife cried out with a free good will,
"Don't do that, for the man you'll kill."

John reached up and down he fetched him
Like a raccoon dog he catched him.
He blacked his eyes and then did better
And he kicked him out upon his yes sir.

His wife she crawled in under the bed,
He drug her out by the hair of her head.
“Now, when I'm gone, remember this"
And he kicked her where the kicking is best.

The law came down and John went up
He didn't have the chance of a yellow pup
So they took him back to the old chain gang
For beating his wife, the dear little thing.

They took John back to the old town jail
His wife she come and paid his bail.
John didn't holler and John didn't cry
But when he got close, he socked her in the eye.


from Survey of Traditional Music, Vol. 5: Grown on American Soil, released August 7, 2023
Recorded by MW, Bel Air, MD, 3/2/73. Previously unissued.


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