I Don't Like No Railroad Man
DESCRIPTION: "I don't like no railroad man, Railroad man he'll kill you if he can, I don't like no railroad man." "I don't like no railroad boss, Railroad boss got a head like a hoss...." "I don't like no railroad fool, Railroad fool got a head like a mule...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1913 (Brown)
KEYWORDS: railroading nonballad floatingverses discrimination Black(s)
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Sandburg, p. 326, "I Don't Like No Railroad Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 481, "Don't Like a Rich White Man Nohow" (1 short text)
Roud #11802 and 11865
cf. "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" (floating lyrics)
NOTES: The similarity in lyrics between the Brown and Sandburg versions clearly make them the same, though Brown's is a clear reminiscence of the bitter era in the American South after the Civil War, when Jim Crow laws made life miserable for Blacks. The Brown lyrics are much more explicit:
Don't like a rich white man nohow (x2),
Head like a hoss, and he tries to be de boss,
An' I don't like a rich white man nohow.
Don't like a poor white man nohow (x2),
Head like a mule, an' he tries to act a fool....
An' I don't like a poor white man nohow.
The resulting texts, though almost entirely the same in form, have completely different feelings. I have to suspect Sandburg's text is a cleaned up version -- but it too is seemingly early, and it was indexed first, so I retain its title. - RBW
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