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White House Blues




The McKinley version:
President McKinley was shot in Buffalo NY and Teddy Roosevelt became POTUS in 1901. The surgeons could not find the second bullet. [Wikipedia]

McKinley hollered, McKinley squalled
Doc said, "McKinley I can't find that ball."
From Buffalo to Washington

Roosevelt in the White House, he's doing his best
McKinley in the graveyard, he's taking his rest
He's gone a long long time

Hush up little children, now don't you fret
You'll draw a pension at ye papa's death
From Buffalo to Washington

Roosevelt in the White House, drinking a silver cup
McKinley in the graveyard, he'll never wake up
He's gone a long old time

Ain't but one thing that grieves my mind
That is to die and leave my poor wife behind
I'm gone a long old time

Standing at the station, just looking at the time
See that we're running by half past nine
From Buffalo to Washington

Train, train, she's just on time
She runs a thousand miles from 8 o'clock to nine
From Buffalo to Washington

Yonder come the train, she's coming down the line
Blowing every station, "Mr. McKinley's dying"
It's hard times, hard times

Look here you rascal, you see what you've done
You shot my husband with that Ivor Johnson gun
Get back to Washington

Doc jumped on his horse, he tugged on his mane
Said to that horse, "You've got to outrun that train."
From Buffalo to Washington

Doc looked at McKinley, he taked off his specs
Said, "Mr. McKinley better pass in your checks.
You're bound to die, You're bound to die."

Charlie Pool [lyrics and non-video at oldielyrics]

The Al Smith version:
New York Governor Al Smith, who opposed alcohol prohibition, lost in a landslide to Herbert Hoover in 1928 [wikipedia].

Cal in the White House, preparing for his rest
Al and his buddies are doing their best,
He'll win, bound to win.

Hoover in the northland, he's firing his gun 
Smith in Dixie, he's is winning everyone,
Hard to beat, hard to beat.

We hear people shouting, No booze! they say
It's running free now, you can get it any day
From bootleg-gers [singer accents on "gers"] and killers too.

The sugarhead they make now will make you bounce around
The brandy too will put you flat on the ground,
Bad stuff, hard to drink.

It won't be long now till she will be free
Then we'll make corn likker as pure as can be
Free from lye, and sugar too.

When booze went out, we didn't think then
That we would have the chance to get her back again
She's coming back, back again.

Let's nominate Al Smith, nominate I say 
Then he'll fly through on election day
Get through all the way.

He made a good governor, you all will agree,
He'll make a good president, as good as can be,
Yes he will, yes he will.

Recordings

Charlie Poole's recording is on the [internetArchive] [mp3] [utoob].
As quickly as they can find it, Sony asks Utoob to take it down.

McKinley: bluegrass greats Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Mark O'Connor, Jerry Douglas, Bela Flec.


Al Smith: non-video of a 78 recording of the Carolina Night Hawks.
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