Long John - Lightning

It’s a long John,
He’s a long gone,
Like a turkey through the corn,
Through the long corn.

Well, my John said,
In the ten chap ten,
"If a man die,
He will live again."
Well, they crucified Jesus
And they nailed him to the cross;
Sister Mary cried,

Well, long John,
He’s long gone,
He’s long gone.
Mister John, John,
Old Big-eye John,
Oh, John, John,
It’s a long John.

Says-uh: "Come on, gal,
And-uh shut that do',
" Says, "The dogs is comin'
And I’ve got to go."

It’s a long John,
He’s long gone,
It’s a long John,
He’s a long gone.

"Well-a two, three minutes,
Let me catch my win';
In-a two, three minutes,
I’m gone again.

He’s long John,
He’s long gone,
He’s long gone,
He’s long gone.

Well, my John said
Just before he did,
"Well, I’m goin' home,
See Mary Lid."

He’s John, John,
Old John, John,

John and Alan Lomax recorded southern musicians (African-American, white, and Mexican-American) for the Library of Congress. They recorded “Long John,” a work song, sung by a man identified as “Lightning” and a group of his fellow black convicts at Darrington State Prison Farm in Texas in 1934. Black prisoners working in gangs to break rocks and clear swamps relied on the repeated rhythms and chants of work songs (originating in the forced gang labour of slavery) to set the pace for their collective labour. “Long John” mixed religious and secular concerns, including the notion of successful escape from bondage, a deeply felt desire of both slaves and prisoners.