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Blackfoot singers, for example, know that in Blackfoot cosmology music was given to humans to help them solve the problems they must face in life - Richard Crawford, from America's Musical Life: A History

Author Topic: John Hardy  (Read 2556 times)

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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 »

Online 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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