me, fingerpicking on my acoustic guitar:


furry lewis, 1928

fred mcdowell

big bill broonzy

mississippi john hurt

lonnie donegan:

hist. slide show


merle travis

woody guthrie

bruce springsteen

I’ve just uploaded TAKE THIS HAMMER – played on my Dobro / resonator steel guitar – with a similar protest message:

wikipedia about TAKE THIS HAMMER:
certain philosophers noticed, that our jobs are making us to work-horses – but they didn’t change much – 10% (in some countries even 1%) of the populations are the owners of 90% of a nation’s wealth
photo by frizztext: Marx & Engels sculpture, Berlin

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

48 responses to “jjj-challenge

  1. What a tremendous post. Bill Broonzy! Merle Travis, Woody, Lead belly. Interesting the variety of styles, nuances in the melody. I love the minor key in some of the white versions. That German guy’s version wasn’t bad either.
    I’ll add mine here. I’ve put this song on my blog a number to times. it’s such a wonderful story and song to play.http://bumbastories.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/john-henry-4/


  2. One of our favorite songs here, thanks for so many different clips! My son sings the Bruce Springsteen song a lot…


  3. Hi there Frizz, this is a great post. The first time I heard of John Henry was through a picture book I reviewed for GatheringBook. Here is the link to my post about the man with the strength of a steam powered hammer: http://gatheringbooks.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/the-man-with-the-strength-of-a-steam-powered-hammer-john-henry-by-julius-lester-with-pictures-by-jerry-pinkney/
    I also included the Fred McDowell clip in my post then. πŸ™‚ How nice to see this here.

    My contribution this week for the photo challenge is our “Journey” from Budapest to Bratislava by train, here is the link:


  4. WOW! What a great tribute for this amazing musician… Thank you, dear Frizz, have a nice day, love, nia


  5. I knew that song….and now I remember why : Woody Guthrie of course….because Joan Baez made a tour with Woody Guthrie songs. But I’m not sure of the fact she sang herself or if it was one of her musician…..
    Good choice for J !


  6. Great song!!! Thanks for looking for so many different versions!!!


  7. What a post, Frizz!! πŸ™‚ All these amazing versions of this incredible song!


  8. Laura Bloomsbury

    A real jamboree of steel driving players here – Mississippi John Hurt is favourite by a whisker. My post is the female equivalent but lacks the music and status


    • hi CEE,
      I found my thrill,
      on South Jetty Hill
      but I don’t know,
      how to get my girlfriend Jill,
      a jellyfish and a jug
      eliminated from my bill …


  9. Haven’t heard “John Henry” in forever.


  10. Hi Frizz, here is my J and music to accompany it this time http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/j-is-for/


  11. Great song, great post. Fascinating to have so many versions brought together like this. Here is my JJJ post: http://travelwithintent.com/2013/09/04/j-is-for-jowls/


  12. In return for magnificent versions of John Henry, Frizz, I give you Joe Sabuni P.I. http://wp.me/pKVAM-iK


    • “…the book was also to be used in Zambian schools, and not only in English, but translated into 6 Zambian languages. This I gather was funded by the World Bank. Someone had the surprising idea that people learn to read best in their own language…” – yes, really good, congratulations!


  13. My belated entry, Frizz. I will try hard to keep up in future. πŸ™‚


    • you’re touching my heart, Jo (J = Jo for me) telling about Poland – because my mother came from Poland – but I’ve never been there – only read a good book about Poland: Roman Polanski’s autobiography …
      greetings by


      • http://www.amazon.de/review/RRQ6QC9PUUU8D
        Roman Polanski, born on august 18, 1933, has written a fascinating autobiography. He is a sinner and a genius, a chaotic man and a passionate, he is a machismo and a vulnerable human being, he overcame the WWII, the Polish ghettos and the Holocaust as a resilient child and he lost his wife Sharon Tate and an unborn child in 1969 by the Manson Group massacre, and on the other hand he overcame (as an adult) a special pattern of machismo-self-destruction (with 13 year old girl accusing him of sexual contact). He had lived a lousy life in Nazi-surpressed Polish ghettos and he had lived with too much pride and arrogance in Hollywood, he was arrested in the United States and nevertheless now he releases movies in Paris (presently married with French actress Emmanuelle Seigner). He is a gifted filmmaker and indeed: a writer, better than any crime-author I know; his book, published in 1984, is not a larmoyant, self-pitiful autobiography alike 1001 others – it is an absorbing story about a personality-mixture-hybrid of a Robin Hood mixed with Mac Beth, an Idi Amin mixed with a Mother Theresa, it is the story of “Roman” P., who started his life 1933 in Paris as “Raymond” P.; the first sentence of his autobiography: “For as far back as I can remember, the line between fantasy and reality has been hopelessly blurred.” That became his helping trick to survive some struggles and tragedies, downfalls and comebacks …


  14. That is a most tumultuous tale, Frizz! I’ve just arrived here now to read it. I will certainly be obtaining the book. Many thanks for your kindness.
    I just completed my J post for my Portugal A-Z Personal Challenge. You will be thinking “is there no escape from this woman?” πŸ™‚


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