Hold The Woodpile Down

Lyrics: Traditional (see below)
Music: Traditional

Played by Jerry Garcia with the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers in June 1962. Thanks to Matt Schofield for the lyrics.

Went to town the other night
(Hold the woodpile down)
Heard a little noise, sound like a fight
(Hold the woodpile down)
Police running, jumping all around
(Hold the woodpile down)
All the moonshiners come to town
(Hold the woodpile down)

Chorus
And I was rambling, rambling
As long as the world goes round
The backyard shine on the Georgia line
Hold the woodpile down

Saw my love the other night
(Hold the woodpile down)
Everything's wrong and nothing was right
(Hold the woodpile down)
Give a little kiss to make her happy
(Hold the woodpile down)
Make a little love, in walks her pappy
(Hold the woodpile down)

[chorus]

Storekeeper swallowed a nickel one day
(Hold the woodpile down)
Well it was crazy I would say
(Hold the woodpile down)
Folks 'll tell you what it's about
(Hold the woodpile down)
Oh he's a nickel in and a nickel out
(Hold the woodpile down)

[chorus]

Down the packing house, stole a ham
(Hold the woodpile down)
Oh folks don't know how bad I am
(Hold the woodpile down)
Took it home and put it on a shelf
(Hold the woodpile down)
Oh I'm so bad I'm scared of myself
(Hold the woodpile down)

[chorus]

Love my wife and love my baby
(Hold the woodpile down)
Love my biscuits soaked in gravy
(Hold the woodpile down)
Love my dice and throw my passes
(Hold the woodpile down)
Love my flapjack soaked in 'lasses
(Hold the woodpile down)

[chorus]
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     11 Jun 1962 Before The Dead Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers


Origins

The liner notes to "Before The Dead" credit the song to Edward Harringan and Tony Hart, and say
"Premiered in Harrigan and Hartís 1887 Broadway musical Pete as "Haul The Woodpile Down," this song was revived on record by Uncle Dave Macon in 1927. The NLCR covered it on an early 1960s Folkways album. It was particularly popular in the old-time music scene because it was in Doc Watsonís repertoire."
I believe the song in the Broadway musical was in fact written by Edward Harrigan (lyrics) and David Braham (music), though it was performed by the duo Harrigan and Hart. It probably derived from a traditional work-song. The Harrigan lyrics were:
De red cow brushing de old blue fly
Away down in Florida
De white man laugh when de coon go by
Now haul de wood-pile down
De steamboat ready to burn dat pine
Away down in Florida
De grape am ripe on de old black vine
Now haul de wood-pile down

Den traveling, den traveling
As long as de moon am round
Dat black girl mine on de Georgia line
Now haul de wood-pile down

De muskrat hide in de old burnt log
Away down in Florida
De chipmunk laugh at de old house dog
Now haul de wood-pile down
Dars Captain Jim of de old Bob Lee
Away down in Florida
He drinks more rum den he does hot tea
Now haul de wood-pile down

De old roof leaks and de rain comes thro'
Away down in Florida
De nig done die if he touch hoodoo
Now haul de wood-pile down
When I grow wear den I lay down
Away down in Florida
De wench looks sweet in a new clean gown
Now haul de wood-pile down
Uncle Dave Macon's version in 1927 is pretty similar to the version the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers played.

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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