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Song of the Evicted Tenant, lyrics

Song: Song of the Evicted Tenant
Lyrics: Icie Jewell Lawrence (age 11)(1)

Music: to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun"
Year: 1937 (Adaptation 1976)(1)
Genre: Folk
Country: USA

Way down in old St. Francis bottom,(2)
Where they call it the Devil's Den,
Where many a poor tenant has lost their home.
And me, O God, I'm one.

About the twentieth of January(3),
When God sent a great big flood,
It run the planters from their beautiful homes,
And now they live in tenants.
This song was originally posted on
The planter said to the tenants one morning,
"Oh, boys, how do you like this?"
"Oh, boss, it ain't a-hurting me,"
The tenants said to him.

"For if you live in a refugee camp,
Or in some tenant's home,
You'd learn not to be a-feared of ice,
Or fear the burnin' sun."
This song was originally posted on
"Oh, boss, don't you see where you done wrong,
When you throwed me out of my shack.
And I had to build me a tent,
Out of my old picksack."


1 - Information from the Album, Sundown, Agnes `Sis' Cunningham. Adaptation by Agnes (Sis) Cunningham.

2 - St. Francis bottom from Wikipedia. "Bottom" as in "bottom lands," consisting of swamps and low ridges (mostly in the northern region) between it, the highlands and the Mississippi River.

3 - The flood of 1937 from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.