Well John Henry was a little baby Sittin' on his daddy's knee He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel And cried, "Hammer's gonna be death of me, Lord, Lord Hammer's gonna be the death of me"
Now the captain he said to John Henry "I'm gonna bring that steam drill around I'm gonna bring that steam drill out on these tracks I'm gonna knock that steel on down, God, God I'm gonna knock that steel on down"
John Henry told his captain "Lord a man ain't noth' but a man But before I let that steam drill beat me down I'm gonna die with a hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord I'll die with a hammer in my hand"
John Henry driving on the right side That steam drill driving on the left Says, "Fore I let your steam drill beat me down I'm gonna hammer myself to death, Lord, Lord, I'll hammer my fool self to death"
Well captain said to John Henry "What is that storm I hear?" John Henry said, "That ain't no storm captain That's just my hammer in the air, Lord, Lord That's just my hammer in the air"
John Henry said to his shaker "Shaker, why don't you sing? Cause I'm swingin' thirty pounds from my hips on down Yeah, listen to my cold steel ring, Lord Lord
Listen to my cold steel ring"
John Henry he hammered in the mountains His hammer was striking fire But he worked so hard; it broke his heart John Henry laid down his hammer and died, Lord, Lord
John Henry laid down his hammer and died
Well, now John Henry he had him a woman By the name of Polly Ann She walked out to those tracks Picked up John Henry's hammer Polly drove steel like a man, Lord, Lord Polly drove that steel like a man
Well every, every Monday morning When a blue bird he began to sing You could hear John Henry from a mile or more You could hear John Henry's hammer ring, Lord, Lord You can hear John Henry's hammer ring I say, You can John Henry's hammer ring, Lord, Lord You can John Henry's hammer ring