Artist: Johnny Cash | Song: The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer (live)

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Johnny Cash, The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer (live) Tabs

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Country Tabs > Cash Johnny Tabs > The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer (live)

Artist/Band: Cash Johnny Tabs
Song: The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer (live) Tab

The Legend of John Henry's Hammer (Live)
By Johnny Cash
A  (Fast)
John Henry's pappy woke him up one midnight    
                                               E  (Stop)
He said "Before the sheriff comes I wanna tell you,
            (Slow) A                      
" Said "Listen boy Learn to hoist a jack 
     D             A
and learn to lay a track 
learn to pick and shovel too And take that hammer, 
             E                A      
It'll do anything you tell it to."

                                      A (Fast)
John Henry's mammy had about a dozen babies
John Henry's pappy broke jail a dozen times
      A                               D             A
The babies all got sick and when the doctor wanted money
He said, "I'll pay you a quarter at a time startin' tomorrow
                            E               A
that's the pay for a steel driver on this line."

A                                                  (Stop)
Then the section foreman said, "Hey! Hammer-swinger!

Said I see you brought your own hammer boy but, what else

can all them muscles do?" and he said,
(Slow) A                      D            A
      "I can hoist a jack and I can lay a track I can pick 

and shovel too." He said "Can you swing a hammer?” 
                       E                 A
and he said I'll do anything you hire me to."
He said "Now ain't you somethin'! You so high and mighty 

with all them muscles! Go ahead, boy. Pick up that hammer

and show me what you can do! 
         G                                 C         
He said get a rusted spike and swing that hammer
down three times I'll pay you a nickel a day for every 
                                      D               G
inch you sink it to Go on and do what you say you can do
With a steep-nosed hammer on a four foot switch handle
John Henry raised it back till it touched his heels then
     G                                    C            
The spike went through the cross-tie and split it 
half in two

Thirty-five cents a day for drivin' steel
He said "Sweat boy! Sweat! You owe me two more swings!"
             G                      E
said "I was born to drivin' steel"

Well now John Henry hammered in the mountains
He'd give a grunt and he give a groan with every swing
    E                              A                  E
The women-folks from miles around heard him and come down
Said watch him make the cold-steel ring 

"Lord! What a swinger!
                    B          E         Ab         
Watch him make the cold-steel ring"
Then the bad boss come up laughing at John Henry, 
he said you full of vinegar now, but you bout through,
       G                             C                G
we're going to get a steam drill to do your share of drivin,

then what's all them muscles gonna do, huh 
                                       D              G
John Henry, gonna take a little bit of vinegar out of you.

John Henry said I feed four little brothers, and my baby sister's 
                D  (Stop)(Slow)   G
walking on her knees, now did the lord say that machines 
        C                  G 
oughta take the place of living,

then what's a substitute for bread and beans,
                                 D                  G 
I saint seen it, do engines get rewarded for their steam?

John Henry said to his captain, said a man ain't 
nothing but a man, 
             G                                      C 
but you can bring that steam drill round, and I'll beat it
fair and honest, I'll die with that my hammer in my hand,

but I'll be laughing, cause you can't replace a 
D            G
steel drivin man
There was a big crowd of people at the mountain, 
                                           D  (Stop)
John Henry said to the steam drill how is you,
said pardon me mister steam drill, I suppose 
you didn't hear me, I said how you, huh? 
     G(Slow)              C         G
can you hoist a jack, can you lay a track,
can you pick and shovel too, huh?
                             D         G 
listen this hammer swingers talking to you

G G G G G G G      gradually get faster

2000 people hollered go John Henry, then somebody hollered
the mountains caving in,
      G                               C
John Henry told his captain, tell the kind 
folks don't worry, that ain't nothing but my hammer sucking

wind, keeps me breathing,
                    D              G         E    
this steel driver's muscle I ain't tin

Captain tell the people move back further, 
I'm at the finish line and 
          B           E                         A
ain't no drill, it's so far behind but it ain't got the 
brains to quit it, when she blows up she'll scatter cross
the hills, lord lord, when she blows up she'll
 B                 E                 
scatter cross the hills

Well John Henry had a little woman, I believe the lady's name was Polly Ann,
 D  (Stop)

 (Spoken) yeah that was his good woman, John Henry threw his hammer over his
 shoulder and he went on home, early next morning he said come here Polly Ann
come here sugar, said ya know I been layin' here watchin' that sun come up and 
I believe that this is the first time I've seen a sun come up that I couldn't
 come up with it. Dirty minds. He said Take that hammer Polly Ann and go to 
that rail road, and when you swing it with the lead man, you tell them that ain't all I could do tell them 
G (Slow)                  C             G
I could hoist a jack, and I could lay a track, I could pick

and shovel too, ain't no machine can, that's been 
D         G
proved to you

G (fast)
There was a big crowd of mourners at the church house,
                                   D      G
the section hands laid him in the sand, trains go by on the
C                 G
rails John Henry laid,
they slow down and take off their hats, when they come to where he is laying,
 resting his back, they say “Morning Steel Driver, you sure was a hammer 
swinger, then they go on by picking up a little speed, clickity clack, 

yeah, yonder lies a steel driven man lord lord, yonder
          D         G       A
lies a steel driven man. 
yeah, yonder lies a steel driven man lord lord, yonder
        E            A
lies a steel driven man.

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