Jerry Go Oil the Car 1

Singer: 

Michael Cassius Dean

Recorder: 

Robert Winslow Gordon

Recording Date: 

Sep. 1924

Location of Recording: 

Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA

Duration: 

0:38

Transcription: 

Come, all you railroad section hands, I hope you will draw near,
And likewise pay attention to those few lines you'll hear,
Concerning one Larry Sullivan, alas, he is no more,
He sailed some forty years ago [from the green] old Irish shore.

Rights: 

Duplication of sound recordings may be governed by copyright and other restrictions.

Language: 

en-US

Type: 

Music Recording

Format: 

mp3

Publisher: 

Brian Miller, Emma Dowd, Diane Giebink-Skoglind

Original Format: 

Wax Cylinder

Is Part Of: 

AFS Preservation Reel: AFS 19010A
G50
Misc. 79

Notes: 

One of two fragments of this song recorded by Gordon from Dean.

Folk Song Index Numbers: 

Roud #2192
Laws H30

Alternative Titles: 

Jerry, Go and Ile that Car

Song Summary: 

Larry Sullivan has spent 34 years maintaining the railroads. He is proud of the state of the tracks and of never having had a wreck. Larry gives his final request to be buried with the tools of his trade and Mrs. Sullivan closes the song with a eulogy for the now dead Larry.

Tags: 

First Line: 

Come, all you railroad section hands, I hope you will draw near

Full Song Text: 

Come, all you railroad section hands, I hope you will draw near,
And likewise pay attention to these few lines you’ll hear,
Concerning one Larry Sullivan, alas, he is no more,
He sailed some forty years ago from the green old Irish shore.

For four and thirty weary years he worked upon the track,
And the truth to say from the very first day he never had a wreck,
For he made it a point to keep up the lower joints with the force of the tamping bar;
Joint ahead and center back and Jerry go oil the car.

To see old Larry in the winter time when the hills were clad with snow,
It was his pride on his handcar to ride as over the section he’d go,
With his big soldier coat buttoned up to his throat, sure he looked like an Emperor,
And while the boys were shimming up the ties, sure Jerry would be oiling the car.

When Sunday morning came around to the section hands he’d say,
“I suppose you all know that my wife is going to Mass today,
And I want every man for to pump all he can, for the distance it is very far,
And I’d like to get in ahead of number ten, so Jerry go oil the car.”

“And now when my friends are gathered around, there is one request I crave,
When I am dead and gone to my rest, place the handcar on my grave;
Let the spike mawl rest upon my breast with the gauge and the old clawbar,
And while the boys are lowering me down, lave Jerry to be oiling the car.”

“Give my regards to the roadmaster,” poor Larry he did cry,
“And rise me up so I may see the handcar before I die.”
He was so wake he could hardly spake, in a moment he was dead;
“Joint ahead and center back,” were the very last words he said.

Remarks by Mrs. Sullivan.—
God bless you, Larry Sullivan, to me you was kind and good,
For me you’d make the section hands go out and cut the wood,
To the well also for water they would go, and chop the kindling fine,
And if any of them would growl, upon my soul, he’d dam soon get his time.

And now that he is dead I want it to be said that the cars they never got a jar;
Joint ahead and center back and Jerry go oil the car.

Full Song Text Source: