Timber (Jerry the Mule)

Josh White
Language: English

List of versions

Related Songs

Grizzly Bear
(Harry Belafonte)
Graveyard Shift
(Uncle Tupelo)
Diamond Joe
(Harry Belafonte)

Ancora una canzone attribuita a Josh White, da lui più volte incisa negli anni 50 e 60. Ma – come denuncia il titolo stesso del primo album di White in cui è contenuta, “Spirituals and Ballads”, pubblicato dalla Nuova Mayor di Milano (!) nel 1952 – il testo risale sicuramente ad una work song precedente di autore anonimo. Un testo simile si trova col titolo “Mule On De Mount” nella raccolta “Mules and Men”, a cura di Zora Neale Hurston, pubblicata nel 1935.

Spirituals and Ballads

Nelle note di un altro disco, “Josh At Midnight” del 1956, si può leggere quanto segue:

When Josh and Sam Gary wrote this song over ten years ago, they had in mind the Negro convicts in country road gangs which they frequently saw in their travels. Wondering how men could take the kind of treatment at which any mule would have balked, this song was a natural expression of their feeling. It's the story of a mule who had the sense to say "Enough!".

At The Gate Of Horn
The Midnight Special

Il brano è stato interpretato anche da Odetta (album “At The Gate Of Horn” del 1957) e da Harry Belafonte, con il titolo "Did You Hear About Jerry?" (la trovo in un disco che ho la fortuna di possedere, “The Midnight Special” del 1962).

Stubborn as a mule

Inserisco ovviamente il brano anche nel percorso “Asini (e muli) contro la guerra (e contro il lavoro)”…
Got to pull this timber 'fore the sun goes down,
Get it cross the river 'fore the boss comes 'round,
Drag it down that old dusty road,
Come on, Jerry, let's dump this load,

Hollerin' timber! (timber!)
Lord, this timber's gotta roll.

My old Jerry was an Arkansas mule
Been everywhere and he ain't no fool.
Weighed nine hundred and twenty-two,
Done everything a poor mule can do...

Hollerin' timber! (timber!)
Lord, this timber's gotta roll.

Jerry's old shoulder was six foot tall,
Pulled more timber than a freight can haul,
Work got heavy, Ol' Jerry got sore,
Pulled so much he wouldn't pull no more...

Hollerin' timber! (timber!)
Lord, this timber's gotta roll.

Boss hit Jerry and made him jump,
Jerry reared up and kicked that boss in the rump,
Now my old Jerry was a good old mule,
If it had-a been me I'd-a killed that fool...

Hollerin' timber! (timber!)
Lord, this timber's gotta roll.

The boss he tried to shoot my Jerry in the head,
Jerry ducked the bullet and stomped him dead,
Stomped that boss till I wanted to scream,
Should have killed him myself, he was so danm mean...

Hollerin' timber! (timber!)
Lord, this timber's gotta roll.

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2016/2/8 - 16:16

Splendida versione!!! What a Voice!!!
Si tratta di Jewel Brown, classe 1937, la quale - chissà perchè - ebbe una breve carriera e quasi solo come "sidegirl" di Louis Armstrong. Si ritirò dalle scene già nel 1971. Peccato...
E' tornata nel 2012 con un disco per la Dialtone Records, insieme al chitarrista Milton Hopkins, ma senza suscitare grande clamore...

Bernart Bartleby - 2016/2/8 - 20:18

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