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John Henry (The True Story of a Steel Drivin Man)

Posted by Marc Nerenberg


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- Play count: 1042

Size: 5,034kb, uploaded 4/7/2010 10:53:10 AM
Genre: Unknown/None Chosen / Playing Style: Unknown/None Chosen

Played on my 1909 Fairbanks tuned eAEAE, with the first and fifth strings being the same note. The tuning is possible without risk of breaking the first string because I keep the Fairbanks tuned a tone and a half low. The banjo, however, is capoed at the 3rd fret, but the fifth string is not raised correspondingly - which is what I generally do, i.e. leave my fifth string as an E no matter what tuning or capo position I am using on the other strings thus: eCGCG. I recorded this about a year ago, just after having developed this version. While many of the lines are traditional, a little more than half of the lyrics in this version are my own, based on the book: STEEL DRIVIN' MAN - JOHN HENRY - THE UNTOLD STORY OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND (Oxford University Press, 2006), by historian Scott Reynolds Nelson, who believes he has found the real historical John Henry. While there is much dispute between different historians who each think they’ve found the actual guy, I think this one is a compelling story about real people that takes place shortly after the Civil War.

2 comments on “John Henry (The True Story of a Steel Drivin Man)”

Frisco Fred Says:
Friday, August 13, 2010 @4:49:36 PM

A story of the times, well done

JanetB Says:
Saturday, February 15, 2014 @2:52:14 PM

This song suits your style to a T. Terrific, Marc! And clawhammer in heaven with a train whistle--that's a happy ending to a heroic story.

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