THE DODGER SONG (trad./ALMANAC SINGERS) (1800s/1941)


THE ALMANAC SINGERS, 1941: WOODY GUTHRIE, LEE HAYS, MILLARD LAMPELL, PETE SEEGER
(left to right)


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..."The Dodger" originated with the Western Farmers during the period of agrarian protest following the Civil War. It is linked specifically with the presidential election of 1884 when the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, was running against Republican James Blaine. Cleveland had won the support of progressives by his fight against Tammany Hall in New York, and "The Dodger" was apparently used as a campaign song to belittle Blaine. The version known today is based on a Library of Congress recording by Mrs. Emma Dusenberry of Mena, Arkansas, who learned it in the 1880's. It was transcribed and first published by Charles Seeger in a little Resettlement Administration songbook.
Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, eds., Songs of Work and Protest, New York, NY, 1973, p. 151.


Apparently, the Almanacs had some control over what they were to record. Although the albums were not political, Hays couldn't resist singing "The Dodger Song" which Wally Hille had recently collected from blind Ozark balladeer Emma Dusenberry....
Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, p. 80.


Lyrics as reprinted (with minor corrections by Manfred Helfert) ibid., p. 88.
ORIGINAL ISSUE: "SOD-BUSTER BALLADS," Gen 5018 A (General Album G-21).
[LEE HAYS, lead vocal]


Oh, the candidate's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the candidate's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger too.
He'll meet you and treat you and ask you for your vote,
But look out, boys, he's a-dodgin' for your vote.
We're all a-dodgin',
Dodgin', dodgin', dodgin',
Oh, we're all a-dodgin' out the way through the world.
Oh, the lawyer, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the lawyer, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll plead your case and claim you for a friend,
But look out, boys, he's easy for to bend.

Oh, the preacher, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the preacher, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll preach the gospel and tell you of your crimes,
But look out, boys, he's dodgin' for your dimes.

Oh, the merchant, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the merchant, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll sell you goods at double the price,
But when you go to pay him you'll have to pay him twice.

Oh, the farmer, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the farmer, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll plow his cotton, he'll plow his corn,
But he won't make a livin' as sure as you're born.

Oh, the sheriff, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the sheriff, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll act like a friend and a mighty fine man,
But look out, boys, he'll put you in the can.

Oh, the general, he's a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh the general, he's a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll march you up and he'll march you down,
But look out, boys, he'll put you under ground.

Oh, the lover is a dodger, yes, a well-known dodger,
Oh, the lover is a dodger, yes, and I'm a dodger, too.
He'll hug you and kiss you and call you his bride,
But look out, girls, he's telling you a lie.


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