Work Song

music by Cannonball Adderley

lyrics by Oscar Brown, Jr.

performed here by Nina Simone, live at Carnegie Hall, 1963

Breaking rocks out here on the chain gang
Breaking rocks and serving my time
Breaking rocks out here on the chain gang
Because they done convicted me of crime
Hold it steady right there while I hit it
well reckon that ought to get it
been working and working
but I still got so terribly far to go

I commited crime Lord I needed
Crime of being hungry and poor
I left the grocery store man bleeding (breathing?)
When they caught me robbing his store
Hold it steady right there while I hit it
Well reckon that ought to get it
been working and working
but I still got so terribly far to go

I heard the judge say five years
On chain-gang you gonna go
I heard the judge say five years labor
I heard my old man scream “Lordy, no!”
Hold it right there while I hit it
well reckon that ought to get it
been working and working
but I still got so terribly far to go

Gonna see my sweet honey bee
Gonna break this chain off to run
Gonna lay down somewhere shady
Lord I sure am hot in the sun
Hold it right there while I hit it
well reckon that ought to get it
been workin’ and workin’
been workin’ and slavin’
an’ workin’ and workin’
but I still got so terribly far to go

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