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State of Arkansas (Tune: somewhere between Joe Bowers and a recitation) My name is Charlie Brennan, from Charlestown I come. I've traveled this wide world over, some ups and downs I've had. I've traveled this wide world over, some ups and downs I saw, But I never knew what mis'ry was till I hit old Arkansas. I landed in St. Louis with ten dollars and no more. I read the daily papers till both my eyes were sore. I read them evening papers, until at last I saw Ten thousand men were wanted in the State of Arkansas. I wiped my eyes with great surprise when I read this happy news. And straight off I went to see the agent, Billy Hughes. He said "Pitch me five dollars, and a ticket you shall draw To ride upon the railroad to the State of Arkansas. I started off next morning at a quarter after five. I started from St. Louis, half dead and half alive, I bought me a quart of whiskey, my misery to thaw And I got drunk as a boiled owl when I left for Arkansas. 'Twas in the year of '82 in the merry month of June I landed in Ft. Smith on a sultry afternoon. The air so hot and dusty, my breath I could not draw But I got off to see what was in the State of Arkansas. I dodged behind the depot, to duck the oven wind. There I met a walking skeleton, his name was James T. Glynn. His hair hung down in rat-tails o'er his long and lantern jaw. Invited me to his hotel "the best in Arkansas." I followed my conductor into his dwelling place. There mis'ry and starvation could be seen in ev'ry face. His bread it was corn dodger, his meat I could not chaw But he charged me a half a dollar in the State of Arkansas. I started off next morning, in a hard and driving rain. He says to me "If you will work, I have some land to drain I'll pay you fifty cents a day, your board and wash and all You'll find yourself a different man when you leave old Arkansas. He fed me on corn dodgers, as hard as any rock, Till my teeth began to loosen and my knees began to knock. I grew so thin on sassafras tea, I could hide behind a straw And, indeed I was a different man when I left old Arkansas. So farewell to swamp-angels, to canebreaks and fever chills Farewell to sage and sassafras and corn-dodger pills. If I ever see this land again, I'll give to you my paw But it'll be though a telescope, from Hell to Arkansas. Recorded by Lee Hayes DT #643 Laws H1 RG
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!