ON THE TRAIL OF NEGRO FOLK-SONGS

A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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RAILROAD SONGS
251
fact, like a big, wild engine himself, when, fired by "ole corn whiskey," he starts forth, to ride down any person or thing that in­terposes obstruction in his path. There is a movie rapidity of action and visibility of scene and characters about the stanza, for we fairly see Railroad Bill shooting the lights out of the brakesman's hand, and we see the policemen coming down the sidewalk two by two, "dressed in blue." We can guess at the emotional reactions of the brakesman, or of "ole Culpepper" — minor figures, of no interest in themselves, memorable in verse only because they encountered Railroad Bill. He it is who is the daring figure. What matter if the law did clutch him later on, and penalize him? He had had his glori­ous hour of corn whiskey and publicity. There are various Negro versions of Railroad Bill, the best that I have found being given by Professor Odum in the Journal of American Folk-lore.
It's Lookin' fer Railroad Bell
Railroad Bill mighty bad man, Shoot dem lights out o' de brakeman's hand — It's lookup fer Railroad Bill.
Railroad Bill mighty bad man, Shoot the lamps all off the stan' — An* it's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.
First on table, next on wall, Ole corn whiskey cause of it all — It 's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.
Ole McMillan had a special train, When he got there wus a shower of rain — Wus lookin' fer Railroad Bill.
Ev'ybody tole him he better turn back, Railroad Bill wus goin' down track —
An* it's lookin' fer Railroad Bill-Well, the policemen all dressed in blue, Comin' down sidewalk two by two,
Wus lookin' fer Railroad Bill.
Railroad Bill had no wife, Always lookin' fer somebody's life — An' it's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.
Railroad Bill was the worst ole coon, Killed McMillan by the light o' the moon — It's lookin' fer Railroad Bill.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III