Down the Old Plank Road

Uncle Dave Macon

Uncle Dave Macon recorded this with Sam McGee in New York on April 14, 1926. You'll fnd it in Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. Much of Uncle Dave's music draws on minstrel and vaudville traditions (see 'Rise When the Rooster Crow') this is more traditional with verses borrowed from several other songs (e.g. Tennesee Line Hard Times, Down in the Valley).

For a time, a banjo player was expected to be the comic relief in a band. Uncle Dave commented on first hearing Earl Scruggs "He ain't the least bit funny!"


Rather be in Richmond with all the hail and rain
Than to be in Georgia boys wearin' that ball and chain

Won't get drunk no more
Won't get drunk no more
Won't get drunk no more
Way down the Old Plank Road

I went down to Mobile, but I got on the gravel train
Very next thing they heard of me, had on that ball and chain

Doney, oh dear Doney, what makes you treat me so
Caused me to wear that ball and chain, now my ankle's sore

Knoxville is a pretty place, Memphis is a beauty
Wanta see them pretty girls, hop to Chattanoogie

I'm going to build me a scaffold on some mountain high
So I can see my Doney girl as she goes riding by

My wife died on Friday night, Saturday she was buried
Sunday was my courtin' day, Monday I got married

Eighteen pounds of meat a week, whiskey here to sell
How can a young man stay at home, pretty girls look so well