Collected and transcribed by Mary Celestia Parler
Sung by Harrison Burnette Fayetteville, Arkansas July 3, 1958
Reel 292, Item 8
The State of Arkansas
My name it is Bill Stafford, I came from Noble Town,
I've been this wide world over, I've rambled this wide world round, I've had my ups and downs in life and better days I've saw,
I never knew what misery was till I landed in Arkansas.
It was in the year of eighty three in the merry month of June,
I landed into Little Rock one sultry afternoon,
Up stepped a walking skeleton and handed me his paw,
Invited me to his hotel, the best in Arkansas.
I followed my conductor to his accustomed place,
Starvation was depicted, it showed right on his face,
His bread it was corn-dodger, his beef I couldn't chaw,
And that's the kind of hash I got in the state of Arkansas.
I started out one morning to catch the early train,
Says he, "You'd better work for me, I have some land to drain,
I'll give you fifty cents a day, your washing and your chaw,
And you will be a different man when you leave Arkansas."
I worked six months for the son-of-a-gun, Jess Harold was his name,
He was six feet in his stocking feet, he had a neck just like a crane. His hair hung down in rat-tails, his long and lantern jaw,
He was the photographt of all the gents that lived in Arkansas.
He fed me on corn-dodger as hard as any rock,
Till my teeth begin to loosen and my knees begin to knock,
I grew so thin on sassafras I could hide behind a straw,
You bet I was a different man when I left Arkansas.
I started out one morning at half past five,
I started out for Kansas, half dead and half alive,
I got a quart of whiskey, my misery to thaw,
And got as drunk as a son-of-a-gun when I left Arkansas.
Farewell to the swamp-angels, the cane-brakes and the chills,
Likewise to your sassafras and corn-dodger pills,
If ever I see this land again, I'll hand to you my paw,
It will be through a telescope from here to Arkansas.
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