John Hardy

Jerry Reed

About John Hardy

"John Hardy" is a traditional American folk song based on the life of a railroad worker living in McDowell County, West Virginia in the Spring of 1893. The historical John Hardy is believed to have gotten into a drunken dispute during a craps game held near Keystone, and subsequently killed a man named Thomas Drews. Hardy was found guilty of murder in the first degree, and was hanged on January 19, 1894, with 3,000 people allegedly in attendance. Hardy is believed to have made peace with the Lord the morning before his death by being baptized in a river. The song has been performed by numerous artists from the 1920s through the present, including (in alphabetical order) Tom Adams, Clarence "Tom" Ashley, Tony Rice, Long John Baldry, Bobby Bare, Leon Bibb, Norman Blake, Dock Boggs, Jimmy Bowen, The Carter Family, Billy Childish, Roy Clark, Michael Cleveland, The Coachmen, Fred Cockerham, Country Gazette, The Country Gentlemen, The Dillards, Lonnie Donegan, The Easy Riders, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Paul Evans, Raymond Fairchild, Flatt & Scruggs with Doc Watson, Bela Fleck, Michael Fracasso, Bill Frisell, The Gun Club, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Roy Harvey, Higher Ground Bluegrass, Wayne Henderson, Bart Hopkin, Lightnin' Hopkins, Cisco Houston, Burl Ives, Tommy Jarrell, Buell Kazee, Kentucky Colonels, The Kingston Trio, Koerner, Ray & Glover, Tim Lake, Lead Belly, The Lilly Brothers, Laura Love, Manfred Mann (as the B-side to their hit single "Sha La La"), Ed McCurdy, John McEuen, Katy Moffatt, Bill Monroe, Andrew Morse, Alan Munde, Northern Lights, Osborne Brothers, Peter Ostroushko, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Jerry Reed, Ola Belle Reed, Don Reno, Luther Russell, Doug Sahm, Earl Scruggs, Charles Seeger, Mike Seeger, Pete Seeger, Silver Apples, Martin Simpson, Sir Douglas Quintet, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Hobart Smith, Chris Smither, Roger Sprung, John Stewart, Ernest Stoneman, The String Cheese Incident, Steve Suffet, Todd Taylor, George Thorogood, Tony Trischka, The Twilights, Uncle Tupelo, Ben Webster, The Williamson Brothers and Glenn Yarbrough. The earliest known recordings are credited to Eva Davis for Columbia in 1924, Ernest Stoneman for Okeh in 1925, and Buell Kazee for Brunswick in 1927. As with many other traditional folk songs, lyrics change from version to version. Early folk historians confused the ballads of John Hardy and John Henry. This has led to a mixing of stories related to Hardy and Henry. In fact, the historical John Henry was a steel driver, not a railroad worker. 


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John Hardy, he was a desperate little man
Carried two guns every day
Shot a man down by the West Virginia line
They saw John Hardy get away
They saw John Hardy get away

They cornered John Hardy on the Tombstone bridge
He thought that he was free
'Til the deputy sheriff came and grabbed him by the arm
Said "Johnny, come along with me"
"Johnny, come along with me"

John Hardy, he stood inside his cell
Tears running down his eyes
Said "I've seen the death of many a poor boy
Now I'm ready to die
Now I'm ready to die"

Well, I've been to the east and I've been to the west
I've been the whole world round
I've been to the north and I've been to the south
Now I'm going to my hanging ground
I'm going to my hanging ground

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Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed Hubbard (March 20, 1937 – September 1, 2008), known professionally as Jerry Reed, was an American country music singer, guitarist, and songwriter, as well as an actor who appeared in more than a dozen films. His signature songs included "Guitar Man," "A Thing Called Love," "Alabama Wild Man," "Amos Moses", "When You're Hot, You're Hot" (which garnered a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance), "Ko-Ko Joe", "Lord, Mr. Ford", "East Bound and Down" (the theme song for the 1977 blockbuster Smokey and the Bandit, in which Reed co-starred), "The Bird," and "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)". more »

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Written by: BURL IVES

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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