DESCRIPTION: "I been doin' some hard travelin', I thought you knowed." The singer describes the hard times he's met on his travels: "Workin' in a hard rock tunnel," "Workin' that Pittsburgh steel," facing the lonely task of following Highway 66
AUTHOR: Woody Guthrie
EARLIEST DATE: 1940 (see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: work nonballad loneliness hardtimes rambling train prison farming work worker hobo
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 226, "Hard Travellin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Seeger-AmericanFavoriteBallads, p. 89, "Hard Traveling" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 59, "Hard Traveling" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Greg Vandy with Daniel Person, _26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest_, Sasquatch Books, 2016, p. 14 (copy of one of Woody's own typed texts)
Woody Guthrie, __Roll On Columbia: The Columbia River Collection_, collected and edited by Bill Murlin, Sing Out Publications, 1991, pp. 28-29, "Hard Travelin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston & Sonny Terry [Saunders Terrell], "Hard Traveling" (on WoodyFolk)
Pete Seeger, "Hard Travelling" (on PeteSeeger18)
NOTES [157 words]: Greg Vandy with Daniel Person, 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie's Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest, Sasquatch Books, 2016, p. ix, lists this among Woody's Columbia River songs, which would ordinarily mean it was written in 1941. However, the original version was written in 1940 -- at the home of Harold Ambellan and Elizabeth Higgins in New York, according to Vandy/Person, p. 160; Woody submitted it to the Bonneville Power Administration to increase his song count (he may have done a little rewriting, but there is nothing specific to the Columbia).
The tune is a variant on "This Train Is Bound for Glory."
Vandy/Person, p. 160, say that the term "hard travelin'" has become a tag to separate the singers who had truly lived a folk singer's life from urban singers who have had a relatively sheltered experience. Possibly this helps explain why it is one of Woody's most-recorded songs. - RBW
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