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I couldn't be _BAD_ if I tried, and believe me, I have tried... - Big Dave MacLean, in concert on why he mostly plays 'happy' blues

Author Topic: John Hardy  (Read 2513 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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John Hardy
« on: October 22, 2009, 07:10:52 PM »
Found while googling: John Hardy, hanging day, 19 January 1894. I had never seen it and was a little surprised. Note the size of the crowd.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 09:19:26 PM »
Is the African American guy John Hardy? Or are these people setting up prior to the event? Its an oddly camera conscious photo. Disturbing not just for the size of the crowd.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 09:37:10 PM »
Thanks for posting that, uncle bud.  It's a striking image, and very sobering.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2009, 07:53:31 AM »
According to the West Virginia Archives site, the black man in the centre is John Hardy. http://www.wvculture.org/hiStory/picoftheweek/pic28.html

Here is a newspaper report from the same site (http://www.wvculture.org/HISTORY/crime/hardyjohn02.html):

John Hardy

Wheeling Daily Register
January 20, 1894


All Were Murderers

Four Men Suffer the Extreme Penalty for Their Crimes

John Hardy Hanged at Welch, McDowell County, for Killing Thomas Drews Last Spring...

Special Telegram to the Register.

WILD E, W. VA., January 19. - John Hardy, for killing Thomas Drews, both colored, was hung at 2:09 p. m. to-day. Three thousand people witnessed his death. His neck was broken and he died in 17 1/2 minutes. He exhibited great nerve, attributed his downfall to whiskey, and said he had made peace with God. His body was cut down at 2:39, placed in a coffin, and given to the proper parties for interment. He was baptised in the river this morning.

Ten drunken and disorderly persons among the spectators were promptly arrested and jailed. Good order was preserved. Hardy killed Drews near Eckman last spring in a disagreement over a game of craps.

BOTH WERE ENAMORED

of the same woman, and the latter proving the more favored lover, incurred Hardy's envy, who seized the pretext of falling out in the game to work vengeance on Drews, who had shown himself equally expert in dice as in love, having won money from Hardy. Hardy drew his pistol, remarking he would kill him unless he refunded the money. Drews paid back part of the money, when Hardy shot, killing him. Hardy was found guilty at the October term.


Offline Slack

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 08:18:00 AM »
Gruesome business.  Damn.

Offline Blue in VT

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2009, 07:16:39 AM »
 :o :o :o :o

17 1/2 minutes!!! Crazy!!!

Blue
Blue in VT

Offline oddenda

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2009, 12:29:06 AM »
Isn't the death penalty "special"!? Why we left the USA.

Peter B.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2009, 02:36:36 AM »
Why we left the USA.

Peter B.

Don't blame you, Pete.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2009, 03:18:55 AM »
Holy frickin'....
Oh my....
Wow.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2009, 02:09:11 PM »
Quote
Why we left the USA.

That one issue in particular?
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 04:28:50 PM »
Hi all,
I thought it might be interesting to take a listen to different recorded versions of "John Hardy".  Here goes with a few of them.

From Buell Kazee:



SOLO

John Hardy married him a loving little wife
The dress she wore was blue
She threw her arms around Johnny's neck, says,
"Johnny, I'll be true to you, poor boy." Says,
"Johnny I'll be true to you."

INTERLUDE

John Hardy was a-standing on the barrel of his gun
So drunk he could not see
When the police came and they took him by the arm, says,
"Johnny, come and go with me, poor boy."  Says,
"Johnny, come and go with me."

SOLO

John Hardy was a-standing in the barroom door
So drunk he could not see
But the police come and they took him by the arm, and said,
"You may go with me, poor boy."  Oh they said,
"You may go with me."

INTERLUDE

John Hardy's mother came to him
Said, "Johnny, what have you done?"
"I've killed me a man in the poker game,
And I'm standing on the barrel of my gun, Lord, Lord,
Oh I'm standing on the barrel of my gun."

INTERLUDE

The night John Hardy was to be hanged
There came a storm of hail
And it blew the hanging scaffold down, and they
Placed John Hardy back in jail, Lord, Lord,
Oh they placed John Hardy back in jail

SOLO

Buell Kazee sang and played the melody differently than anyone else I've heard do the song.  Normally, the song is in the Mixolydian mode, which is like a major scale, but with a bVII.  The progression of the song is

    |    IV    |    IV    |    I    |    I    |
    |    IV    |    IV    |    I    |    I    |
    |    IV    |    IV    |    I    |    I    |
    |    I      |    V     |    I    |    I    |
    |    I      |    V     |    I    |    I    |

with the final line repeating the next-to-last line, lyrically.  The note that Buell Kazee sang differently than anyone else happens over the IV chord in the first three phrases.  That different note falls on the first syllable of "married" in his first verse.  That note is a VII note in the scale in which the song is being done.  Because he is using a major scale, with a major VII note, to sing the melody, rather than the Mixolydian mode, which has a bVII note, that note ends up being a #IV relative to the IV chord it happens over.  To anyone familiar with the song as it is normally sung, that one note change, falling a half-step higher than we're accustomed to hearing it sung, sounds absolutely bizarre the first couple of times you hear it.  That having been said, by about the third verse or so, you begin to get accustomed to it, and it will never again sound as weird as it did the first time you heard it.

Here's the Carter Family's "John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man":



SOLO

John Hardy, he was a desperate little man
He carried two guns every day
He shot a man on the West Virginia line
And you ought to seen John Hardy getting away

John Hardy, he got to the East Stone Bridge
He thought that he would be free
And it's up stepped a man and took him by his arm
Says, "Johnny, walk along with me."

He sent for his Poppy and his Mommy, too
To come and go his bail
But money won't go a murdering case,
And they locked John Hardy back in jail

John Hardy, he had a pretty little girl
The dress that she wore was blue
As she came skipping through the old jail hall
Saying, "Poppy, I've been through [sic] to you."

John Hardy, he had another little girl
The dress that she wore was red
She followed John Hardy to his hanging ground
Saying, "Poppy, I would rather be dead."

"I've been to the East and I've been to the West,
I've been this wide world around,
I've been to the river and I've been baptized,
And it's now I'm on my hanging ground."

John Hardy walked down on his scaffold high,
With his loving little wife by his side
And the last words she heard her John-o say,
"I'll meet you in the sweet bye and bye."

SOLO

Sara Carter sings, on "was" in the first verse, the note Buell Kazee sang a half-step higher, and gives a good example of how the melody is most often sung.

Here is Leadbelly doing the song, accompanying himself on a little squeezebox:



SOLO

John Hardy, he was a desperate little man
He carried two guns every day
He shot a man on the West Virginia line
Might've seen John Hardy gettin' away, poor boy,
Might've seen John Hardy gettin' away

SOLO

John Hardy went up on that Freestone Bridge
Thought he would be free
Up steps a man, and he caught him by the arm
Says, "Johnny, come and go with me, poor boy."  Says,
"Johnny, come and go with me."

SOLO

John Hardy had a mother and a father, too
He sent for them to come and go his bail
There wasn't no bail out for a murderin' man
They shoved John Hardy back in jail, poor boy,
They shoved John Hardy back in jail

SOLO

John Hardy, he had a pretty little wife
The dress she wore was blue
She come to the jailhouse with a loud shout,
Sayin', "Johnny, I been true to you, poor boy."
Sayin', "Johnny, I been true to you."

SOLO

John Hardy was standing in his cell
The tears a-rollin' down his eyes
Sayin', "I have been the death of a many poor man,
And now I am ready to die, poor boy,
And now I am ready to die."

SOLO

"I've been to the East, I've been to the West,
I've been this whole wide world around.
I've been to the rive and I've been baptized,
Now take me to my hangin' ground, Lord, Lord,
Just take me to my hangin' ground."

SOLO

Here is Roscoe Holcomb doing the song:



SOLO

John Hardy was a blustery little man
He carried two guns every day
He shot him a man on the West Virginia line
And you oughta seen John Hardy get away

John Hardy run to that East Stone Bridge
He thought that he would be a-free
Up steps a man and took him by the arm
Sayin', "Johnny, walk along with me."

John Hardy had a lovin' little wife
And the dress that she wore were red
She follered John Hardy to the hanging ground
Sayin', "Johnny, I had rather be dead."

"I've been to the East and I've been to the West,
I've traveled this wide world around
I've been to the river and I've been baptized,
And now I'm on my hanging ground."

Here is Roy Harvey and Jess Johnston and the West Virginia Ramblers' version of "John Hardy Blues", a really odd one in which they conflate "John Hardy" with the old ballad, "Hangman, Hangman, Slack Your Rope", or "Gallis Pole", which norfolk slim had as a Song of the Month selection a little while ago.:



FIDDLE SOLO

"I've been to the East and I've been to the West,
Been all around this wide world.
Been to the river and I've been baptized,
And I'm standing on the hanging ground, I do know,
Standing on this hanging ground."

"Hangman, hangman, hold your rope,
Just a little while.
I thought I heard my father's voice,
He has traveled ten thousand long miles, I do know,
He's traveled ten thousand long miles."

FIDDLE SOLO

"Did you bring any silver or gold
Or money to pay my fee?
Or did you come for to see me hung,
Upon this hanging tree, I do know,
Upon this hanging tree."

"No, I didn't bring no silver nor gold,
No money to pay your fee.
But I did come for to see you hung
Up on this hanging tree, I do know,
Up on this hanging tree."

FIDDLE SOLO

"Hangman, hangman, hold your rope,
Just a little while.
I thought I heard my sweetheart's voice,
She has traveled ten thousand long miles, I do know,
She's traveled ten thousand long miles."

"Oh yes, I brought that silver and gold,
And money to pay your fee.
But I have come for to take you home,
And keep you there with me, I do know,
And keep you there with me."

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 09:32:43 PM by Johnm »

Offline alyoung

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 03:39:21 AM »
Interesting... I'm not seeing anything of John Hardy in the Harvey and Johnson song -- despite the title, it's a version of the song I first heard many a year ago as Leadbelly's "Gallis Pole".

Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2016, 05:33:52 AM »
I made the same point in the post, Al.  Virtually the only thing in common with other versions of John Hardy their version has is its melody and first verse.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2016, 07:03:18 AM »
Some more banjo-based versions:







...and an old time string band 78:



FIDDLE SOLO

John Hardy was a wild and a reckless man,
He carried two guns every day
He killed two men in Shawnee Town
And tomorrow will be hung, poor boy,
Tomorrow will be hung

John Hardy was a reckless gambling man
He lived in the gambling town
And now he's sentenced to be hung
For he shot another gambler down, poor boy,
Shot another gambler down

FIDDLE SOLO

John Hardy had a wife and she lived in the west
She always dressed in blue
And when she heard of Johnny's death
Says, "John Hardy, I was true to you, poor boy,
John Hardy, I was true to you."

Friends and relations was standing around
Says, "John, what have you done?"
"I killed two men in Shawnee Town,
And I'm standing on my hanging ground, poor boy,
Standing on my hanging ground."

FIDDLE SOLO

They took John Hardy to the riverside
He's willing to be baptized
The last words I heard John Hardy say,
"I want to go to Heaven when I die, poor boy,
Want to go to Heaven when I die."

He said, "If I die a gambling man,
Go bury me under the sand.
A pick and shovel at my head and feet,
And a deck of cards in my hand, poor boy,
Deck of cards in my hand."

FIDDLE SOLO



« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 01:23:20 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 01:24:23 PM »
Thanks for posting the additional versions of "John Hardy", Pete.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 01:45:23 PM by Johnm »

Offline Stuart

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2016, 10:05:19 PM »
"John Hardy" by John Harrington Cox The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 32, No. 126 (Oct. - Dec., 1919), pp. 505-520

http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/john-hardy-by-john-harrington-cox.aspx

Offline Rivers

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2016, 06:59:27 AM »
The obvious comment is that John Hardy definitely was not a "little man" as so many lyrics would have it. On the contrary, he towers over the other guys on the platform.

[later: I see Johnm has already made the same comment elsewhere]
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 07:06:46 AM by Rivers »

Offline Pan

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2016, 03:41:12 PM »
Hi all

I was asked to play this tune, out of the blue, last week-end, with a group I was sharing the gig, and since I have actually never played it before, I decided to study it a little further, so I would be a little better prepared for the next time (there's no better motivator, than the fear of screwing up in public). :) Once again, Weenie Campbell proved to be a great resource.

Thanks for Johnm to point to the surprising major key melody on Buell Kazee's version. That sure is a unique take on the tune. I found out, that according to Wikipedia Kazee's 1927 version was preceded with one by Eva Davis in 1924, and Ernest Stoneman in 1925.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hardy_(song)

The Stoneman version was posted earlier in this thread by Lastfirstface, see p. #1. What's interesting is that the earliest known recording by Eva Davis is also sung in the major key, although she does this a little differently, going up to the to the octave root note, and using the major VII note more as a passing note against the IV chord, so the effect is much less striking than in Kazee's version.

It sounds to me, like the Stoneman version is combining these two approaches: the violinist seems to play the melody in major key as I've described above with Eva Davis' case, but Stoneman seems to sing it in the mixolydian mode, with the bVII note.



Anyway, some other noteworthy versions might be by from Clarence Ashley:



SOLO

John Hardy was a desperatin' man, and he
Carried a gun ever' day
He killed him a man at the Shawnee Town
But you oughta seen John Hardy gettin' away
You oughta seen old Johnny gettin' away

BANJO INTERLUDE

John Hardy come tippin' down the street one day
With a .44 gun in his hand
"Kill me a man at the Shawnee Camp",
But they slapped John Hardy back in jail
They slapped old Johnny down in jail

BANJO INTERLUDE

Says, "I don't want your fifteen cents
With your quarter in my change.
All I want is my .44 gun,
Gonna shoot out another man's brains,
Gonna shoot out another man's brains."

BANJO INTERLUDE

Says, "It's where did you get your high-heeled shoes,
And your dress you wear, so fine?"
Got my shoes from a real good man,
Got my dress out of a driver in the mines,
Dress out of a driver in the mines."

BANJO INTERLUDE

John Hardy was a brave young man
And he carried a gun and a knife
Do you think I was at the Shawnee Camp
When he took the other man's life,
When he took the other man's life?"

BANJO INTERLUDE

John Hardy said to his dear little wife,
Says, "Go back home and stay.
Kill me a man at the Shawnee Camp,
Got to make my get-away,
Got to make my get-away.?

BANJO INTERLUDE

HUMMED VERSE






by Frank Fairfield:



Here's a guitar version by Leadbelly. I like how he sticks with only two chords the IV and I.




I noticed that there is also a tendency (although I don't know how widely spread, or how recent) to play the tune in a minor mode, more precisely in Dorian mode, where you have  Im,  IV7, and  Vm chords. Pete Seeger does one such version here, I think, although he plays what sounds like a major I chord between the choruses, if I'm not mistaken.



Here's Pat Conte playing what i believe is a Dorian version, with a banjo. It's a little hard to hear what he plays for a IV chord, but I think it sounds like a major  IV7 chord on his instrumental breaks:



Anyway, I'm again thankful for what I found out about the song here, and I hope that some of you might enjoy my thoughts.

Here's a (subjective) playlist I made on YouTube, with the songs discussed in this thread + a few more. I might add to it, if there is more discussion here or elsewhere.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNEJV1lNKyyXO_vva4xmc5UKgwHS7ZvCn

Cheers

Pan








« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 02:40:49 PM by Johnm »

Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2016, 10:01:38 AM »
Thanks very much for posting the additional versions of "John Hardy", Pan, and for your musical analysis.  I like Eva Davis's and Clarence Ashley's use of the word "desperatin'" to describe John Hardy.  I am going to add John Hardy to the Song Family category in Weeniepedia.  It will take me a little while to get that together and get the lyrics transcribed.  I'm looking forward to that.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2016, 11:20:04 AM »
Hi all,
Here are a couple of more versions of "John Hardy".  The first is from the old Folkways album, "The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover", and it features Everett Lilly on mandolin and vocal, Bea Lilly on guitar, Don Stover on banjo and Herb Hooven on fiddle.  All of the players except Herb Hooven were from West Virginia originally and ended up spending most of the adult lives in the Boston area.  Here is their version:



MANDOLIN SOLO

John Hardy, he was a desprous little man
He carried two guns every day
He shot a man on the West Virginia line, and you
Ought to seen John Hardy getting away, Lord, Lord,
You ought to seen John hardy getting away

BANJO SOLO

John Hardy got down to the East Stone Bridge
He thought there he would go free
But up stepped a man and took him by his arms, said,
"Johnny, walk along with me, poor boy,
Johnny walk along with me."

FIDDLE SOLO

They took John Hardy and they locked him in the cell
They tried to go his bail
But money won't go on a murderer's bail, so they
Locked John Hardy back in jail, Lord, Lord,
They locked John Hardy back in jail

MANDOLIN SOLO

John Hardy, he had a pretty little girl
The dress she wore was blue
She came, a-skipping through the old jailhouse, saying,
"Papa, I've been true to you, Lord, Lord,
Papa, I've been true to you."

BANJO SOLO

John Hardy, he had another little girl
The dress she wore was red
She came, a-skipping through the old jailhouse, saying,
"Papa, I would rather be dead, Lord, Lord,
Papa, I would rather be dead."

FIDDLE SOLO

"I've been to the East and I've been to the West,
I've been all around this world.
Been to the river and I've been baptized, and
Now I'm on my hangin' ground, Lord, Lord,
Now I'm on my hangin' ground."

Here is an exotic-sounding version from Mike Seeger's "Old-Time Country Music" album on Folkways.  He's playing the banjo in the seldom-encountered open G minor tuning--gDGBbD.



SOLO

John Hardy was a desperate little man
He carried two guns every day
Killed him a man on the West Virginia line
You oughta seen John Hardy getting away, poor boy,
Seen John Hardy getting away

SOLO INTERLUDE

He went on across to the East Stone Bridge
It was there he thought he'd be free
But up steps a sheriff and takes him by the arm, says,
"Johnny, come along with me, poor boy,
Johnny come along with me."

SOLO

He sent for his Mama and his Papa, too,
To come and go his bail
But there weren't no bail on a murder charge, so they
Threw John Hardy back in jail
Threw John Hardy back in jail

SOLO INTERLUDE

John Hardy had a pretty little girl, and the
Dress that she wore was blue
She threw her arms around his neck, saying,
"Daddy, I have always been true,
Daddy, I have always been true."

SOLO

"I've been to the East and I've been to the West,
Traveled this wide world around.
Been to the river and I've been baptized, and
Now I'm on my hanging ground,
Now I'm on my hanging ground."

SOLO

All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 12:28:03 PM by Johnm »

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2016, 11:49:51 AM »
I enjoy Chris Smither's version:


Offline Johnm

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Re: John Hardy
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2018, 10:51:17 AM »
Hi all,
I just found a version by the African-American banjo player Dink Roberts on youtube.  Here it is:



All best,
Johnm

 


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