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'House of the Rising Sun'

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 21, 2000


Roots in a 'Rising Sun'
With each new generation, the favorite song of a Kentucky miner's daughter takes on a legend all its own.
Though the lyrics have varied from version to version, here are the words to The Rising Sun Blues as they appeared in Alan Lomax's 1941 book Our Singing Country. He credited them to "Georgia Turner, Middlesboro, Ky., 1937" and "other stanzas" to Bert Martin of Manchester, Ky.

* * *

There is a house in New Orleans
they call the Rising Sun.
It's been the ruin of many a poor girl
and me, O God, for one.

* * *

If I had listened what Mamma said,
I'd 'a' been at home today.
Being so young and foolish, poor boy,
let a rambler lead me astray.

* * *

Go tell my baby sister
never do like I have done
to shun that house in New Orleans
they call the Rising Sun.

* * *

My mother she's a tailor;
she sold those new blue jeans.
My sweetheart, he's a drunkard, Lord, Lord,
drinks down in New Orleans.

* * *

The only thing a drunkard needs
is a suitcase and a trunk.
The only time he's satisfied
is when he's on a drunk.

* * *

Fills his glasses to the brim,
passes them around
only pleasure he gets out of life
is hoboin' from town to town.

* * *

One foot is on the platform
and the other one on the train.
I'm going back to New Orleans
to wear that ball and chain.

* * *

Going back to New Orleans,
my race is almost run.
Going back to spend the rest of my days
beneath that Rising Sun.

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