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I Have Known Women: Songs by Si Kahn Celebrating Women​’​s Lives and Struggles

by Saro Lynch-Thomason, Sam Gleaves

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1.
I CAUGHT THE SHERIFF Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel That’s how it’s written down Well, I delivered half Of all the people in this town Miners and mill hands Bankers and bums I birthed those babies Caught ‘em every one CHORUS Riding by the tipple Past the one room school Here comes the granny woman On her flop-eared mule Naked as a jaybird Perfect as a pearl Hello, child Welcome to the world The sheriff caught my cousin Running off that corn And I caught the sheriff On the day that he was born He popped out so fast No time to take my stand I just stretched over And caught him with one hand CHORUS Late in the evening Early in the night I’ve delivered babies Brown and black and white Every shape and size Every shade and hue The Lord delivered Daniel Daughter, I’ll deliver you CHORUS
2.
TEN THOUSAND MILES AWAY He is walking down the jetway With the shackles on his hands He is leaving from Hawaii His home and native land He is going from this island Where justice runs and hides Transported to South Georgia To a prison built by lies CHORUS Ten thousand miles away Ten thousand miles away I am dreaming of my child Ten thousand miles away Ten thousand miles away Ten thousand miles away I am dreaming of my child Ten thousand miles away For the crime of being hungry For the crime of being poor For the crime of wanting something For the crime of wanting more For the crime of being angry For the crime of being seen For the crime of on the outskirts For the of in between CHORUS I will go down to the water I will sit down on the sand I will listen for the distance I will listen for the land I will listen for the ocean I will listen for the wind I will listen for his voice That I will never hear again CHORUS (2x)
3.
Aliens 03:28
ALIENS You call us 'aliens' Just like from outer space I am a citizen But of another place Over the mountain Across the water Each lonely immigrant Is some land's native daughter We all have accents When someone's listening We all seem alien When someone new is watching When you say immigrants Are not like others What are you saying About your own grandmothers Over the mountain Across the water Each lonely immigrant Is some land's native daughter Though every nation Will guard its 'purity' We all were immigrants Some time in history We guard our borders Lest 'they' invade Those who arrived last year Are standing at the barricade Over the mountain Across the water Each lonely immigrant Is some land's native daughter What is this impulse To separate our kin We build new houses Then will not let our neighbors in These jagged borders Are sharpest in our minds The human family Is not made up of different kinds Over the mountain Across the water Each lonely immigrant Is some land's native daughter
4.
Conductor 03:54
CONDUCTOR "I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say – I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” –Harriet Tubman I’m the conductor on a railroad That has no tracks or ties That heads out after midnight Beneath the cloud-black skies There are no rocks or gravel There is no slate or stone The conductor on a railroad That runs on hope alone I drive this train through swamps By the long dry riverbed The conductor on a railroad That carries the living dead Through black and thorny woods Heading always towards the light The conductor on a railroad That only runs at night Refrain: I will guide this train I will bring it home No one should ride this train alone Going slowly through the dark Traveling mostly underground The conductor on a railroad That never makes a sound We run through dead of winter When nights are long and black Through harsh and bitter weather Never ran it off the track We go silent through the fields Up and down the living hills I never lost a passenger God grant I never will Through towns named Good and Evil 'Cross roads called Hate and Fear We will reach our destination Thousand miles North from here Refrain (2x)
5.
NOBODY’S BODY BUT MINE There’s war in Afghanistan War in South Yemen War in Somalia War still in Syria They tell us all wars Are far off and foreign But in the United States There’s a war against women Take to the streets Lift up your voice Fight for your life While you still have a choice Tell them Nobody’s body but mine This is nobody’s body but mine Tell them nobody’s body but mine This is nobody’s body but mine They bow down to laws That protect private property While a woman’s not safe In the home or the factory They tell us the courts Are solemn and sacred But in front of the law Only women stand naked CHORUS Though manners and banners Are often expedient The most civil act Is to be disobedient It may be Ohio Or in Mississippi But no jail, no law Will lock up our bodies CHORUS (2x)
6.
Red haired Becky stepped out on a soft May morning Rifle in her hand Saying, I will walk these Allegheny Mountains ‘Til I find who stole my man She went ‘til she came to a fresh cleared field Stumps piled up by the side And there she saw her own sweet Joseph Talking with his new young bride She leaned her rifle behind an oak Stepped out on the fresh cleared land Saying, How do you like your new built cabin How do you like my man Then Joseph spoke in a voice of anger Edge as sharp as a knife If you’ll take off that ring I gave you I will give it to my new young wife I will take off this ring you gave me Though I will surely die But I will go behind this oak So she will not see me cry She turned around with a look of sorrow Went behind that tree Then she stepped out with her red hair blazing Rifle against her knee Red haired Becky went from village to village Saying, have you seen my Joe Some say he’s gone to California To dig the yellow gold We have not seen your own sweet Joseph He’s vanished into air Perhaps he’s gone to the western country To seek his fortune there Red haired Becky sits on the porch of her cabin Baby on her knee Saying, how do you like this new plowed field Some stranger cleared for me There’s a deep dark hole in the bend of the river Where the rapids rush by the creek The trout swim by a rusting rifle Whose voice will never speak
7.
I have known women Who lived on their hands and their knees Scrubbing the floors in the mansions where riches are born I have known women who sewed ‘til their fingers were bleeding Stitching the gowns for the dances where power is worn I have known women who slaved all their lives Asking no more than the chance to survive Will their lives be better because we have votes for the women? Will their work be easier if they pass suffrage at last? Upper class ladies all necklaced and jeweled Well-chosen language, manners so fine Who will they vote for? A proud union miner? Or their husband’s good friend who invests in his mine? I have known women whose bodies were broken by violence There in the factory, the laundry, the home and the mill I have known women who suffered their lives out in silence. Who will speak out for them? Who will stand up with them still? I have known women who stood by their men Only to lose them again and again Will their pain be less now because we have votes for the women? Will their spirits be healed by the men who take office next time? Elegant ladies with poodles and furs Springtime in France, summer in Spain Who are they friends to? The working class woman? Or the owner whose leather-gloved fist holds the chain? I have known women who slept on the floor in a blanket Giving their bed up so I could have rest for the night I have known women who marched against high-powered rifles Stared down the barrels and dared them to fire and fight I have known women whose courage and anger Won them a moment of honor and pride Should they give up the allegiance to class that sustained them? Their faith in the strike and each other that held back the pain? For a small piece of paper without even one woman on it For a small paper ballot that won’t even mention her name
8.
You can hardly see The end of the row Got to be least a mile long I was chopping that cotton Half mile to go Old sun beating down so strong When suddenly a miracle Swept me away Just like a dust-filled wind I saw boll weevil End of the row Staring me down with his grin And I say… CHORUS Praise boll weevil Praise his ornery soul Got me out of cotton ‘Fore I got too old Praise boll weevil Praise him on high Got me out of cotton ‘Fore my time to die I thought I would spend My life in this field Planting the seeds every May Chopping in the summer Picking in the fall Cotton, cotton every day But thanks boll weevil No more days Digging away in that mess The only cotton Gets near me now Is the cotton in my Sunday dress And I say… CHORUS (2x)
9.
The Border 03:03
For weeks we hid in ditches For weeks we crawled through fields For weeks we hid by day And ran by night We sweated up the mountains We shivered through the swamps ‘Til finally the border came in sight CHORUS Across the bloody border Along the barbed wire fence The searchlights on the towers Turn and shine Are you keeping freedom in Are you keeping freedom out With your guns and dogs along the borderline Lying in the bushes My daughter by my side I watch the searchlight Flashing off the guns Do I tell her to go back When there’s nothing left behind Do I tell her just to close her eyes And run CHORUS Now tell me Who makes the borders Who draws the maps Who strings barbed wire through the land Who buys the bullets Who pays the guards Who puts the rifles in their hands CHORUS With your guns and dogs along the borderline
10.
You see me on the highway And you nearly shift your load You take another look good buddy And you nearly leave the road Ain’t you never seen a truck driving woman 90 pounds of fire in a five foot frame And you better move on over ‘Cause I’m right behind you in the left hand lane When you see me in the truck stop And my long hair hangs in curls Don’t you try to buy my coffee I ain’t your good time girl No I’m a truck driving momma Five children waiting when I end my run And I got to get moving Got to be in Georgia with the rising sun So if you see me on the highway And you hear my diesel moan Don’t you whistle at me buddy ‘Cause you know I’m not alone I’ve got my old man beside me Working together that’s the way we feel Yeah, I’m a truck driving woman Night haul from Pittsburgh with a load of steel Yeah, I’m a truck driving woman Mmm-mmm
11.
1920 04:17
Have you seen a long long line As women stand and wait to vote They’ve been waiting for a long long time But now the year is 1920 The last petition, the final prayer The signs and banners stored away One last cheer lingers in the air It echoes down to us today CHORUS Since they stood tall and signed their names One hundred years have come and gone So much has changed, so much remains We go on, we still go on The last march ended, one last song shared The vote for women finally passed The Constitution now repaired Suffrage is the law at last Through years of beatings, torture, jail They stood their ground, they claimed their rights They did not yield to scorn and fear The lamp they lifted still burns bright CHORUS Give thanks to those who showed the way In their history you will find How fierce love and stubborn strength Can help you through the hardest times Hold their courage in your hearts Sisters, workers, children, friends We know the vote was just a start Keep the faith as they did then Since they stood tall and signed their names One hundred years have come and gone So much has changed, so much remains We go on, we still go on We go on, we still go on Did you see that long long line Young women laughing, filled with pride They’re about to vote for the very first time Like in the year of 1920
12.
I worked in that woman’s kitchen Scrubbed that woman’s floors Did that woman’s dishes No more, no more I sewed that woman’s dresses Opened that woman’s doors Kept that woman’s secrets No more, no more No more, no more No more, no more New day coming No more, no more I hung that woman's laundry Washed that woman's drawers Stood still while she beat me No more, no more I rubbed that woman's feet Wrapped that woman's sores Endured that name she called me No more, no more CHORUS Fought off that woman’s husband Diapered that woman’s child Taught that kid good manners Though he still grew rough and wild I waited on that woman’s friends Did that that woman’s chores Made that woman’s life easy No more, no more CHORUS I walked ten miles to home ‘Til my feet grew red and sore Endured that woman's anger No more, no more I covered for that woman's lies Heard her rage and roar Suffered long in silence No more, no more CHORUS (2x)
13.
Room For All 03:18
Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all There is room for the carpenter In the union there is room for all There is room for the janitor In the union there is room for all There is room for the teacher In the union there is room for all There is room for the preacher In the union there is room for all CHORUS: Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all There is room for our neighbor In the union there is room for all There room for all who labor In the union there is room for all There is room for the poor folk In the union there is room for all There is always room for more folk In the union there is room for all CHORUS There is room for the thespian In the union there is room for all There is room for the lesbian In the union there is room for all There is room for the queer folk In the union there is room for all There is no room for fear, folks In the union there is room for all CHORUS There is room for community In the union there is room for all There is room here for unity In the union there is room for all There is room to take a chance here In the union there is room for all There is room for romance here In the union there is room for all Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all Room for all, room for all In the union there is room for all

about

Award-winning singer Saro Lynch-Thomason and Appalachian artist Sam Gleaves present an album celebrating the triumphs and struggles Aof women on the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of U.S. women’s suffrage. Utilizing a blend of old-time, country, and folk, Sam and Saro artfully weave together portraits of women who resist enslavement, cross literal and metaphorical borders, and take to the picket lines. This collection features 13 songs, many never before released, written by master folk musician and organizer Si Kahn.

credits

released May 22, 2020

Saro Lynch-Thomason
(lead vocals, harmony vocal on 8,
Shruti box on 6)

Sam Gleaves
(harmony vocals, banjo,
rhythm & fingerstyle guitar,
lead vocals on 3, 8, 13,
lead guitar on 3)

Liam Purcell
(fiddle, mandolin,
lead guitar on 9, 10)

Hasee Ciaccio
(upright bass)

John Gardner
(percussion on 10, 13)

Songs by Si Kahn, © Joe Hill Music
LLC, except “1920” by Si Kahn,
Saro Lynch-Thomason & Sam
Gleaves, © Joe Hill Music LLC,
Saro Lynch-Thomason &
Fabulachian Music (All ASCAP)

Si Kahn’s songs are administered
by Reel Muzik Werks LLC,
2321 Rosecrans Avenue,
Suite 2225, El Segundo,
California, 90245.

Persons wishing to record or
otherwise use any of Si’s songs
should contact Reel Muzik Werks
at info@reelmuzikwerks.com or
310-321-5621.

Engineered and mixed by Ben
Bateson at the East Tennessee
State University Recording Lab

Vocal on track 8 recorded by
Kenny Miles at Fat Baby Studio

Mastered by Mike Monseur

Photography by Ben Bateson

Graphic design by Fonts + Files

Radio promotion by Art Menius

Published by Strictly Country Records
SCR-83 P & C 2020 | StrictlyCountryRecords.com
Liner notes available at: www.SaroSings.com | www.SamGleaves.com

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about

Saro Lynch-Thomason North Carolina

Saro Lynch-Thomason is a ballad singer, song writer, folklorist, documentarian, and illustrator from Asheville, North Carolina. Her passion for traditional music, people’s struggles and Appalachian traditions calls her to perform, teach and produce media that tell the stories and songs of America’s social history. ... more

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