Here are a few folk songs for your listening and singing-along-with pleasure.

First a Tom Paxton song from 1964: The Last Thing on My Mind. images images-1

I always liked Tom Paxton very much. I think he’s been a bit overlooked as a folksinger and songwriter. Paxton wrote some very fine songs and sung and played them simply and beautifully. I suppose all the folksingers from the sixties get compared to Bob Dylan, which is an unfair comparison. Paxton is in the folk tradition of Woody Guthrie (Paxton’s also from Oklahoma). He was influenced by Cisco Houston, Mississippi John Hurt, and others. Anyway, here’s one of his songs, Last Thing on My Mind, which I was playing last week. Lyrics below to help you sing along

It’s a lesson too late for the learnin’
Made of sand, made of sand
In the wink of an eye my soul is turnin’
In your hand, in your hand.

Are you going away with no word of farewell?
Will there be not a trace left behind?
Well, I could have loved you better,
Didn’t mean to be unkind.
You know that was the last thing on my mind.

You’ve got reasons a-plenty for goin’.
This I know, this I know.
For the weeds have been steadily growin’.
Please don’t go, please don’t go.

[Cho:]

As we walk, all my thoughts are a-tumblin’,
Round and round, round and round.
Underneath our feet the subways rumblin’,
Underground, underground.

(Chorus)

As I lie in my bed in the mornin’,
Without you, without you.
Every song in my breast dies a bornin’,
Without you, without you.

Here are two more folk songs. Both attributed to and associated with the great Hudie Ledbetter, also known as Leadbelly – either for the bullets he supposedly still carried around in him after getting shot, and/or for the proximity of Leadbelly to his real name Ledbetter.images-6 images-4

Anyhoo, here’s Pick a Bale of Cotton played mostly on harmonica (key of G)

And Midnight Special (in G!) which I hope you can also sing along with and/or play. I’ve featured this song before on this blog. Check out links to Leadbelly. See also Frizz’s Flickr Comments blog for his Midnight Special and for various other versions of this song. Lots of blues singers have done it.

Yonder comes Miss Rosie. How in the world do you know?
Well, I know her by the apron and the dress she wore.
Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand,
Well, I’m callin’ that Captain, “Turn a-loose my man.”

Let the Midnight Special shine her light on me.
Oh let the Midnight Special shine her ever-lovin’ light on me.

When you gets up in the morning, when that big bell ring.
You go marching to the table, you meet the same old thing.
Knife and fork are on the table, ain’t nothing in my pan.
And if you say a thing about it, you have a trouble with the man.

Let the Midnight Special shine her light on me.
Oh let the Midnight Special shine her ever-lovin’ light on me.

If you ever go to Houston, boy, you better walk right,
And you better not squabble and you better not fight.
Benson Crocker will arrest you, Jimmy Boone will take you down.
You can bet your bottom dollar that you’re penitentary bound.

Let the Midnight Special shine her light on me.
Oh let the Midnight Special shine her ever-lovin’ light on me.

Well, jumping Little Judy, she was a mighty fine girl.
She brought jumping to this whole round world.
Well, she brought it in the morning just a while before day.
Well, she brought me the news that my wife was dead.
That started me to grieving, whooping, hollering, and crying.
And I began to worry about my very long time.

Let the Midnight Special shine her light on me.
Oh let the Midnight Special shine her ever-lovin’ light on me.

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