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For an in-depth discussion of this track, see the album notes: tinyurl[dot]com/V1NATnotes.


There was an old preacher, he thought himself bold.
He preached for the money but not for your soul.
He’d ride the circuit twelve times every year,
If you lost your soul, he didn’t much care,
And it’s hard times.

There was an old jeweler had watches to sell.
He said they’d keep time all the time very well.
The very first time your head’s turned away,
They gain forty minutes the very next day,
And it’s hard times.

There was an old blacksmith, you better take care,
He said he’d mend your plows for a year.
He’d mend an old shoe, and he’d sharpen an old plow,
And the very next day he would take your best cow,
And it’s hard times.

Now there was an old doctor, I like to forgot,
I swear I believe he’s the worst of the lot.
He’d tell you he’d cure you for half you possess,
And then he’d kill you, and he’d take all the rest,
And it’s hard times.


from Survey of Traditional Music, Vol. 1: From British Tradition, released August 7, 2023
Recorded by Mark Wilson and Roger Cooper, South Portsmouth, KY, 10/14/97.


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