Poor Boy
01. Poor Boy
(Woody Guthrie/Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., BMI)

Track 1 – Poor Boy (MASTER MA 50)
There are probably as many titles for this traditional ballad – it tells a story, so it qualifies as such – as there are versions of the song. Folk song scholar Malcolm G. Laws in his Native American Balladry has catalogued this as “The Coon-Can Game” (Laws I 4) but also offers the following titles for it: “Poor Boy,” “Ten Thousand Miles Away from Home,” “As I Set Down to Play Tin Can,” and so on. Other versions have it as “I Got Mine” and “The Coon Crap Game.” (The definitive study of this tangled ballad is in Marina Bokelman’s UCLA master’s thesis of 1968, “The Coon Can Game.”) Guthrie T.Meade, Jr., Dick Spottswood, and Douglas S. Meade in their invaluable Country Music Sources (Southern Folklife Collection, University of North Carolina Press, 2002) cite no fewer than forty commercial recordings of this ballad known throughout the Southeast and Southwest. Guthrie may have learned it from one of these records, or over the air, or from a local singer.Wherever, he makes it his own by using the truly evocative melody of the distinctly different song “Danville Girl.” (And complicates folk song scholarship even more.)
02. Worried Man Blues
(Woody Guthrie/Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., BMI)