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We Shall Overcome

is the name of the new Springsteen album that is a tribute to Pete Seeger. I expected to like it because I like them both, and I really do. One of my favorite songs is John Henry. I have always liked it, and I used to play it on the guitar. It's classic man versus machine story. I was disappointed that one of my favorite verses was missing:

The man who made the steam drill
He thought he was mighty fine
But John Henry drilled 14 feet
And the steam drill only made nine.
Lord, Lord, and the steam drill only made nine.

I looked on the internet and apparently there are as many versions of this song as there are people that recorded it. Many of them don't have this verse. But Alan Lomax recorded this verse, so I think it is pretty authentic after all.

The great thing about folk songs is that you can take verses from different versions and sing it just the way you like it.

My husband is now having fun writing and recording music. Alice Apollo laid down a vocal for his newest song "Leftover Brass On the Beach with Amazing Grace." Check it out here:



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
my third or fourth grade class in Atlanta read the book and sang the song, John Henry...I always remembered it and liked it, although, sensitive as I am, I didnt like that he dies at the end (or if I remember correctly) :)
Apr. 25th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
Yep, he "died with a hammer in his hand, Lord, Lord, he died with a hammer in his hand."
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )