Willy, Poor Boy

DESCRIPTION: Floating verses, utterly unconnected. "The train was almost started/The conductor come by with his lamp...." "I asked her if she loved me/She said she loved me some...." "Sometimes I live in the country, sometimes I live in town...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1931 (recording, Roy Harvey & Jess Johnston)
KEYWORDS: railroading love hardheartedness loneliness poverty courting floatingverses lover train death drowning suicide gambling hobo
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 112, "Willy, Poor Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
RECORDINGS:
Roy Harvey & Jess Johnston (or Roy Harvey & the North Carolina Ramblers) "No Room for a Tramp" (Champion 16187, 1931; on TimesAint05)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Willy, Poor Boy" (on NLCR03)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Goodnight, Irene" (words)
cf. "Sometimes I'm in This Country" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Don't Get Trouble in Your Mind" (floating verses)
cf. "Little Maud" (floating verses, some similarity in the tune)
NOTES: This song is almost impossible to describe; it is so disjointed as to be meaningless. - PJS
In fact it seems to consist entirely of lines borrowed from other songs. But it borrows from so MANY other songs that it has to file under its own name.... - RBW
Note that the "Sometimes I live in the country/Sometimes I live in town/Sometimes I take a fool notion/To jump in the river and drown" verse in this song predates the first recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene," with which the verse is usually associated, by two years. - PJS
File: CSW112

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