American Ballads and Folk Songs: page - 0240

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American Ballads and Folk Songs
Dr. S. Newton Gaines, now professor of physics in Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, in a letter dated 1911:
"The song was composed by Sam Houston, a white desperado and horse stealer, while he was in jail in Austin, Texas, in 1880. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in Huntsville- George Winn, then a colored boy of fourteen, heard him, and the song made a deep imĀ­pression. George said, when he gave the song to me, that he had not thought of it in fifteen years. The tune is cynical but lively. George Winn is now in charge of the old Whipple place on the hill to the ' northeast of Austin, and lives there."
Then follow six four-line stanzas practically identical with those herewith printed. The Cryderville jail becomes, in Texas, Waco jail, Dallas jail, etc.
Old Dad Morton has got us in jail,
'Tis hard!
Old Dad Morton has got us in jail,
Both father and mother refused his bail,
'Tis hard!
With the doors all locked and barred,
With a big log chain bound down to the floor,
Damn their fool souls, how could they do more?
'Tis hard times in the Cryderville jail,
Tis hard times, I say [or poor boys].
The new material in each verse consists of just two linesj the rest is all repeated as above.
There's a big bull ring in the middle of the floor, And a damned old jailer to open the door.
Your pockets he'll pick, your clothes he will sell, Your hands he will handcuff, Goddam him to Hell!
It's both of my feet bound in the cell,
My hands tied behind, Goddam him to Hell!