Mudcat Café message #23107 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4280   Message #23107
Posted By:
05-Mar-98 - 07:50 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: Poor Howard / Green Corn (Leadbelly)
Subject: Lyr Add: POOR HOWARD (Lead Belly)
I can help a little. I have Leadbelly doing it on a CD called "Lead Belly-In the Shadows of the Gallows Pole". It is a cheapie on a label called "Tradition", but that might be a local name for a different company in the US.

Ol' Howard, po' boy
(plays the tune he just sung)
Ol' Howard he is dead an' gone
left me here to sing this song
left me here to sob and mourn (or moan)

Pretty little girl with a red dress on
(above line repeated two times)
God knows, pretty little girl with a red dress on

(Spoken) Ol' Howard is a po' white(?). He goes all around over the plantations. Plays for the sukey jumps. He is the first man to start the sukey jump playin' in the world, and he would go all around, while po' Howard is dead and gone, everybody sings this song about him.

(singing starts again)
Ol' Howard is dead an' gone
left me here to sing and mourn
Ol' Howard Po' boy
Ol' Howard, he was a po' boy
(repeat last line 2 times)
Ol' Howard, he was a po' boy,
God knows, left me here to xxxxx

(He then commences to tap-dance and then goes into the song "Green Corn")

The xxxx sound like "tell the joke".

I am told that po' Howard was a fidler who went around playing at the dances held by slaves (sukey jumps). I am not sure if he was white, or if I mishear that part.

I would be interested in anyone who could fill me in on that.