SPIKE DRIVER BLUES

Latest update on 30/10/2017

Artist: Mississippi John Hurt
Author: traditional
Label: Okeh
Year: 1928

Mentioning John Henry in the lyrics (see there). This second song about him concentrates on the working conditions of these railroad men. This man is fed up with it all, delivers his hammer to the captain and calls it quits. A job is important but so is freedom. Thematically linked with Nine Pound Hammer (see there) and lyrically linked with I Got A Bulldog by the Sweet Brothers & Ernest Stoneman (Gennett - '28). This John Hurt song is featured on the Anthology Of American Folk Music.

Covers:

1934:

Lead Belly [as Take This Hammer; Lomax recording in Angola Prison Farm]

1936:

Jimmie Strothers [idem; Lomax recording in Virginia]

1937:

Blind Teddy Darby

1937:

South Carolina Ditch Diggers [as Ten Pound Hammer]

1940:

Lead Belly & The Golden Gate Quartet

1949:

Bascom Lamar Lunsford [in Swannanoa Tunnel]

1954:

Jesse Fuller [as Railroad Blues]

1954:

Emmett Brand [former slave, older than Lead Belly; recorded when he was an old man]

1955:

Ken Colyer [with Alexis Korner]

1957:

Odetta [as Take This Hammer]

1957:

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee [idem]

1957:

Big Bill Broonzy [idem]

1959:

Lonnie Donegan [idem]

1961:

Dave Van Ronk

1963:

Jean Ritchie

1966:

Spencer Davis Group [as This Hammer (Hammer Song) on second lp]

1971:

Doc Watson

1984:

Philadelphia Jerry Ricks

1989:

Brendan Croker [as Railroad Worksong]

1990:

Notting Hillbillies [idem; vocal: Brendan Croker]

1992:

Ray Stubbs [as Take This Hammer]

1999:

Taj Mahal & Toumani Diabate [idem]

2003:

Harry Manx & Kevin Breit [idem]

2006:

Marianne Faithfull [on The Harry Smith Project Revisited]

2006:

Meindert Talma & The Negroes [as John Henry]

2009:

Pines

2013:

Rory Block

2014:

Yusuf Islam [as Tell 'Em I'm Gone, taking the credits]

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

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