Sung by: Dorothy Stuart
Recorded in Banner, AR 8/27/63

Click here to listen to the original recording

My name is Sanford Barnes;
I came from Buffalo town.
I’ve traveled this world all over.
I’ve traveled this world around.
I’ve had my ups and downs in life,
And better times I’ve saw,
But I never knew what misery was
'Til I came to Arkansas.

Was in the year of eighty-two,
In the early month of June,
I landed in Hot Springs
One Sunday afternoon.
Up came a walking skeleton
And handed me his paw,
Invited me to his hotel,
The best in Arkansas.

I followed my conductor
To his respected place,
And very poorly was it shown
In his melancholy face.
His hair hung down in ringlets
All o'er his wrinkled jaw.
He was a photograph of all the men
Who were raised in Arkansas.

I started out next morning
To catch the early train.
He says, “You’d better work for me;
I have some land to drain.
I’ll give you fifty cents a day,
Your wash and board and all.
You’ll find you are a different man
When you leave Arkansas.”

I worked six weeks for the son of a gun.
Joe Howell was his name.
He was nine feet in his stocking feet,
And tall as any crane.
His hair fell down in ringlets
All o’er his wrinkled jaw.
He was a photograph of all the men
Who were raised in Arkansas.

He fed me on corn dodgers
As hard as any rock,
‘Til my teeth began to loosen
And my knees began to knock.
I got so thin on sassafras tea,
I could hide behind a straw.
Indeed, I was a different man
When I left Arkansas.

(Mrs. Stewart: “I think there’s just two lines in that song that I . . .”
Dr. Wolf: “There’s one more stanza.”
??: “There’s one more stanza, about ‘The next time I see Arkansas, It’ll be through a telescope.’”
Mrs. Stewart: “I’ve got mixed up.”)

Farewell to all hard countries,
The mountains and the hills.
Farewell to sage and sassafras tea,
And all corn dodger pills.
If ever I view this land again,
I’ll give to you my paw.
I’ll view it through a telescope
From here to Arkansas.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. III, #347, “The State of Arkansas”; Brown, Vol. III, #331, “Arkansas Traveler (II)”; Belden, p. 424, “Bill Stafford.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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