John Hardy
Traditional - Allan Lomax - Lead Belly

John Hardy was a desp’rate little man
He carried two guns everyday
He shot down a man on the West Virginia line
You oughta seen John Hardy gettin’ away (poor boy) (2)

John Hardy stood at the gamblin’ table
Didn’t have no int’rest in the game
Up stepped a yellow gal and threw a dollar down
Said: Deal John Hardy in the game (2)

John Hardy took that yellow gal’s money
An’ then he began to play
Said: The man that wins my yellow gal’s dollar
I’ll lay him in his lonesome grave (2)

John Hardy drew to a 4-card straight
An’ the Chinaman drew to a pair
John failed to catch and the Chinaman won
And he left him sittin’ dead in his chair (2)

John started to catch that East-bound train
So dark he could not see
Up stepped the police and took him by the arm
Said: Johnny, come and go with me (2)

John Hardie father came to him
Come for to go his bail
No bail was allowed for a murderin’ man
So they shoved John Hardy back in jail (2)

The took John Hardy to his hangin’ ground
They hung him there to die
And the very last word I heard him say:
My 40-gun never told a lie (2)

I’ve been to the East, I’ve been to the West
I’ve traveled this wide world around
I’ve been to the river, I’ve been baptized
And now I’m on my hangin’ ground (2)

John Hardy had a lovin’ little wife
And children she had three
But he cared no more for his wife and his child
Than he did for the rocks in the sea (2)


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