John Henry's Burial

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Phil Lesh

Sisters and brothers we're here today
To sing hallelujah - preach and pray
To lay John Henry beneath the clay
His spirit cut loose and flew away

Moan in bitter misery
Fall upon your bended knee
Such a man you'll never see
Again in railroad history


He could hammer and he could sing
Two score pounds of cold steel swing
Twenty in the left hand, twenty in the right
From early morning till late at night

Moan in bitter misery
Fall upon your bended knee
Such a man you'll never see
Again in railroad history


When he was just a little boy
His papa's pride, his mama's joy
A nine pound hammer was his toy
God rest that steel drivin' boy

Moan in bitter misery
Fall upon your bended knee
Such a man you'll never see
Again in railroad history


Ain't never seen his like before
That's all there is there ain't no more
We'll still remember what he stood for
When railroads reach from shore to shore

Moan in bitter misery
Fall upon your bended knee
Such a man you'll never see
Again in railroad history

Background
Robert Hunter gives the following background in Box Of Rain:
"This lyric was written for a sixth grade production of the story of John Henry. Phil Lesh set it to music and performed it at the school show, accompanied by Pete Sears on piano."