Why Possum's Tails Are Bare

Cat. #1056 (MFH #675) - As sung by Raymond Sanders, Mountain View, Arkansas on May 12, 1970

There's goin' a be an overflow
Said, Noahy lookin' solemn
He took down th Herald
An' he read th river column
Ole Noahy put men to work
For it was gonna' happen
For forty days an' forty nights
Th rain it kept a dropin'

Ole Noahy work -- --
Kept cussin' an' a jawin'
Ole Noah didn't mind ---
Kept chipin' an' a sawin'
Ole Noah laid wide awake
He knew what was gonna' happen
For forty days an' forty nights
Th rain it kept a dropin

Ole Noahy went around gatherin' up
Two of ever kind of beases
Ever show he come upon
He beat them all to pieces
He found a Morgan colt
Several head of Jersey cattle
He drove 'em all on board the Ark
To hear th thunder rattle

And such another fall of th rain
Th rain it fell so heavy
Th river rose immediately
An' bursted through th levee
All tho' people, they were drowned
Cept' Noahy an' th critters
Th man he had to run th boat
An' some to mix th bitters

An' th Ark it kept a salin'
An' a sailin' an' a sailin'
Th lion got his dander up
An' like t' broke a palin'
Th tiger hissed, th panther screamed
They set into fussin'
You could scersly hear th mates
Bossin' 'round an' cussin'

And Ham, th only darkey
That was runin' on th pocket
Got lonesome in th barber-shop
An' couldn't stand th racket
Just t' amuse himself
He steamed some wood an' bent it
An' there they had th banjo made
Th first, was invented

He wet some leather
Stretched on th bridge, screws an' apron
Fit it on a proper neck
So very long an' taperin'
A piece of tin, twisted in
A thimble for to ring it
Then th mighty question rose
How you gonna' string it

Well, th possum has as fine a tail
As this as I am singin'
With hair so long, so stiff an' strong
Just right for banjo stringin'
That darkey shaved 'em close
As wash-day dinner graces
An' he sorted 'em to size
From little E's to basses

He strung it up an' struck a jig
Called, Never Mind Th Weather
It sound like forty-eleven bands
Playin' all together
Some begin to pat, some dance
So Noahy called a figure
Ham, he set an' knocked a tune
Th happiest of all niggers

An' till this day
There hasn't been th slightest an' showin'
Of th hair upon
Th possums tail a growin'
Quite -- some odd folks say
A nigger never lonesome
Where you find th coon
You find th banjo an' th possum