We have many versions of The Hearse Song on Mama Lisa’s World. You can find one version here with a recording and a lot of other versions here. I recently received yet another one, which has an interesting backstory. Here’s the email I received from Ananda Patterson:
This version is from my grandfather, who was born in 1919 in Monticello, Illinois (at the time, a small farming community). When he was a boy, he liked to head down to the hobo jungle along the Illinois Central Railroad tracks (headed for Decatur) and hang out with the hobos and listen to their songs and stories. One song he remembered for me was (apparently) the hearse song, although he didn’t have a name for it. He said he was about 12 when he heard it, so that would be 1931. Anyway, here is the version Grampy told me:
Did you ever think when the hack goes by
That someday too both you and I
Will travel along in that same old hack
With nary a thought of coming back.
They’ll lower your body into the ground
And the men with shovels will stand around
They’ll throw in some dirt and they’ll throw in some rocks
That’ll fall with a thud on your old pillbox.
The worms will crawl out and the worms will crawl in
They’ll crawl all over your face and chin
They’ll call in their friends and their friends’ friends too
And you’ll look like hell when they’re through with you.
That’s as much as he could recall at age 92, but I imagine there may have been more to it. It struck me since I had sung the more common version as a kid (the pinochle on your snout version), so I pestered him to remember it as best he could and wrote down his answer. I notice it’s quite different from the other versions on your web site, so I thought I’d send it along.
PS Grampy spoke the song rather than sang it, so I don’t know how it goes aside from some cadence [Did you ever think (pause) when the hack goes by (pause) etc.] – each line is broken in the middle. I originally typed in the commas at the breaks but it looked weird. It wouldn’t work with the melody my friends and I sang the worms song to, the cadence is all wrong.
Thanks for sharing Ananda!
This article was posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 10:34 am and is filed under American Kids Songs, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, England, English, Folk Songs, Halloween Songs, Holiday Songs, Languages, The Hearse Song, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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