Collected by Bob Blackston Sung by Mr. Ed Alford
For M. C. Parler Delmar, Arkansas
January 3, 1960
Reel 325, Item 9
Hard Times in Jail
Just the other day I heard the jailer say That he wouldn't give us water but once a day,
It's hard times poor boys, it's hard times in jail.
I went to the jailor to borrow his knife The nits and the lice they threatened my life,
It's hard times poor boys, It's hard times in jail.
When I lie down in my rags and rugs,
And I wake up all covered in bugs,
It's hard times poor boys, it’s hard times in jail.
The nits and lice were jumping the jist "joist"
One fell back and yelled jimminy christ,
It's hard times poor boys, it's hard times in jail.Mr. Ed Alford lives at Delmar, Arkansas, and has lived there all of his life. He is 73 years old. Mr. Alford is highly respected in his community as a person, and for his singing ability. Most of the songs he sings are committed to memory, and very few of them are written down.
One of the most interesting things Mr. Alford told me was about how he and his sister used to sing for the neighbors. They were on a party line with everyone who lived in this valley where he lived. Someone would call Mr. Alford in the evening and ask him to sing; so, he and his sister would begin to sing, and soon everyone on the party line would be listening. They would request different numbers and sometimes this singing would last for hours.
Mr. and Mrs. Seaf Blackston, who are my parents, live on a farm near Oak Grove, Arkansas, and the songs that I collected from them are songs which they learned when they were very young. My mother is 50 years old and my father is 53.
Owen Alford lives in Springdale, Arkansas. He is about 40 years old. He learned these songs as a young boy.
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