John Brown's Body

by Greg von Teig

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This release serves to commemorate and support those engaged in the systems that oppress and disenfranchise minorities by highlighting two of my favorite martyrs of the cause. I encourage you to read the notes of each song, as they go into great detail about the source material.

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released February 24, 2017

Percussion generated in Ableton. All other instruments performed by Greg von Teig

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Greg von Teig Boston, Massachusetts

Kind of like if Ramshackle Glory collaborated with Bruce Springsteen to cover a Mystik Spiral song from the Lomax archives.

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Track Name: John Brown's Body
“John Brown's Body” by William Weston Patton, abridged

Old John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave,
While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save;
But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,
His soul is marching on.

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true and brave,
And Kansas knows his valor when he fought her rights to save;
Now, tho the grass grows green above his grave,
His soul is marching on.

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah

His soul is marching on
He captured Harper’s Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,
And frightened "Old Virginny" till she trembled thru and thru;
They hung him for a traitor, they themselves the traitor crew,
But his soul is marching on.

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,
The death blow of oppression in a better time and way,
For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day,
And his soul is marching on. .

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
His soul is marching on
Track Name: John Henry
Lyrics surrounded by *these* are my own. All others come from actual prison or field chants.

When John Henry was a little baby,
Sitting upon his father's knee,
His father said, "Look here, my boy,
You must be a steel driving man like me,
You must be a steel driving man like me."

John Henry went upon the mountain,
*The greatest he'd ever found*
The rocks was so tall and John Henry so small,
*But he hammered till the mountain fell down
He hammered until it hit the ground*

*John Henry came home and went to bed
Passing his wife Betsy
He stared at the ceiling didn't know what he was feeling
“This hammer's gonna be the death of me
This hammer's gonna be the death of me”*

John Henry's wife ask him for fifteen cents,
And he said he didn't have but a dime,
*Cause John Henry was the strongest in the world
But he was never paid for his time
No he was never paid for his time*

One day Captain Tommy told John Henry
How he'd bet a man
Bet that John Henry could beat the steam drill down
Because he was the best in the land
He was the best in the land

*The steam drill was atop the mountain
With Tommy and John Henry
Tommy said he'd pay John a fair way
“This hammer's gonna set you free” (John said)
“This hammer be the death of me”­*

The steam drill started at half past six,
John Henry started the same time.
John Henry stuck bottom before the drill
When he laid down his hammer and he died
Yes he laid down his hammer and he died

John Henry had a little woman,
And the dress she wore was red,
She went down the railroad track and never came back,
Said she was going where John Henry fell dead,
Said she was going where John Henry fell dead.

John Henry Oh John Henry
Sing it wherever you can
Let it be known both high and low
He died with a hammer in his hand, Lawd Lawd
He died with a hammer in his hand