I Lay Around the Old Jail House (John C. Britton)
DESCRIPTION: Perhaps a composite song: The singer complains of life in jail and of working in the coal mines. There follows a brief item about a raid or a race from "Manthus" to Cairo in which John C. Britton suffers a grave loss of men
EARLIEST DATE: 1952 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: prison mining work hardtimes racing war death
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
BrownIII 364, "I Lay Around the Old Jail House (John C. Britton)" (1 text)
NOTES: It's not often that one encounters a song this confusing. The first four stanzas seem to be your standard prison/poverty song. Stanza 5 is a floater. Stanzas 6 and 7 are suspected of being from at least one and perhaps two other songs.
The editors of Brown suggest that the last stanzas might be a description of a Civil War raid. Possible, but if so, it's too small to have left a dent in the standard histories. But I rather doubt it. It looks to me like a race between two boats, the John C. Britton and the (Robert E.?) Lee, from Memphis to Cairo. The rest must be referred to the reader. - RBW
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