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Nine Pound Hammer

Composer: Traditional

Jerry Garcia

info Been All Around This World, Garcia / Grisman, 2004

Other recordings

as Nine Pound Hammer
no info Hill Billies, 1927
no info Single, Monroe Brothers, 1936
info Folk Songs of the Hills, Merle Travis, 1947
info This Lusty Land, Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955
info Music For Moonshiners, Laurel River Valley Boys, 1958
info Mountain Music Bluegrass Style, Various Artists (Smiley Hobbs), 1959
no info Robert Pete Williams, 1959
info Long Journey Home, The Stanley Brothers, 1961
info Bluegrass Ramble, Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys, 1962
info Folk Songs of Our Land, Flatt & Scruggs, 1962
info The Greenbriar Boys, The Greenbriar Boys, 1962
no info Brothers Four Greatest Hits, Brothers Four, 1962
no info Behind These Walls, Hank Ferguson, 1963
info Got A Mind To Ramble, Tom Rush, 1963
info Hootenanny: A Bluegrass Special, The Country Gentlemen, 1963
info Bluegrass Country, The Country Gentlemen, 1963
info Songs of the Southland, Harry and Jeannie West, 1963
no info The World's Best Five String Banjo, Don Reno and Red Smiley, 1963
info Pickin' and Grinnin', Bluegrass Hillbillies (w/ Curtis McPeake), 1963
no info Single (Nine Pound Hammer / Hot Corn, Cold Corn), Adcock Family, 1964
info All Star Hootenanny, Various Artists (Johnny Cash), 1964
info Appalachian Swing!, The Kentucky Colonels, 1964
info Let's Sing Out, Various Artists (Flatt & Scruggs), 1964
info Folk Jamboree, Various Artists (Johnny Cash), 1965
info Triangle, The Beau Brummels, 1967
info Don Reno and Bill Harrell with the Tennesse Cutups, Don Reno and Bill Harrell with the Tennesse Cutups, 1967
info Earl Scruggs: His Family and Friends, Earl Scruggs, 1972
info Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 1972
info Got Me A Martin Guitar, Tony Rice, 1973?
no info The Kentucky Colonels, Kentucky Colonels, 1974
info Lester Flatt Live! Bluegrass Festival, Lester Flatt, 1974
info Feast Here Tonight, Monroe Brothers, 1975
info Live At McClure, Ralph Stanley & Guests, 1976
info Live at McCabe's, Norman Blake, 1976
no info I Wasn't Born To Rock 'n Roll, Roland White, 1976
info Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas, Townes Van Zandt, 1977
no info Outright Bold-Faced Lies, Art Thieme, 1977
info The Bluegrass Sessions, Vassar Clements, 1977
info Live!, Country Store, 1977
no info Live In Las Vegas, Tex Williams, 1979
info Manzanita, Tony Rice, 1979
info Guitar, Tony Rice, 1979?
info Live in Telluride 1979, Vassar Clements, 1979?
no info Recordings Of Grayson and Whitter, Grayson and Whitter, 197?
no info Guitar, Tony Rice, 197?
no info Bluegrass Classics, Jim and Jesse and The Virginia Boys, 197?
info California Bound, Phil Salazar Band, 1984
info Old Time North Carolina Mountain Music, David and Billie Ray Johnson, 1985
no info Live At The Bluegrass Festival, Lester Flatt, 1986
no info The Epic Bluegrass Hits, Jim and Jesse, 1987
no info Back Home, Merle Travis, 1987
no info Are You From Dixie? Great Country Brother Teams of the 1930's, Various Artists (Bill Monroe), 1988
info Home Is Where The Heart Is, David Grisman, 1988
no info Stanley Brothers, The Stanley Brothers, 1988
info Blues, Songs and Ballads, Tom Rush, 1990
info Marimac Anthology: Deep in Old Time Music, Various Artists (Cephas & Wiggins), 1996
info Monroe Brothers, Vol. 1: What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul, The Monroe Brothers, 2000
no info Merle Travis 1944-1946, Merle Travis, 1990
no info Blues, Songs and Ballads, Tom Rush, 1990
info Bluegrass 1959-1969, Bill Monroe, 1991
no info Capitol Collectors Series, Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1991
no info Come Along and Ride This Train, Johnny Cash, 1991
no info Collection, Hank Thompson, 1991
info Are You from Dixie?: Great Country Brother Teams of the 1930s, Various Artists (Monroe Brothers) , 1991
info 1959-1963, Flatt and Scruggs, 1992
no info The Fool, Sanford Clark, 1992
no info Great American Train Songs, Various Artists (Merle Travis), 1993
no info Rockin' Rollin', Sanford Clark, 1993
info Saturday Night Shuffle: A Celebration of Merle Travis the Man & His Music, Various Artists, 1993
info The Kitchen Tapes, Red Allen and Frank Wakefield, 1994
info The Music Of Bill Monroe, Bill Monroe, 1994
info Bluegrass And More, Jim & Jesse, 1994
info Guitar Rags & A Too Fast Past, Merle Travis, 1994
no info Folk Songs of the Hills (Back Home/Songs of the Coal Miners), Merle Travis, 1994
info 1968-1974, The Osborne Brothers, 1995
no info Behind the Barn, The Krüger Brothers, 1995
info Appalachian Stomp: Bluegrass Classics, Various Artists (Kentucky Colonels), 1995
info Live In Holland, Jimmy Gaudreau Bluegrass Unit, 1996
info Short Life of Trouble: Songs of Grayson and Whitter, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, 1996
info Rounder Bluegrass Guitar, Various Artists (Kentucky Colonels), 1996
info Classic Railroad Songs, Vol. 1 Steel Rails, Various Artists (Doc Watson / David Grisman), 1997
info 20 Bluegrass Favorites, Don Reno and Bill Harrell, 1997
info Used to Be: Blues from Pacific Delta, Various Artists (Dickell Brothers), 1997
info Too Many Years, Jorma Kaukonen, 1998
info High Lonesome Sound, Roscoe Holcomb, 1998
info High Lonesome: Complete Starday Recordings, The Country Gentlemen, 1998
info Railroad Fever: Songs of America's Railroads, Wayne Erbsen, 1998
info Through The Years, 1937-1975, E. C. and Orna Ball, 1998
info Flatt On Victor Plus More, Lester Flatt, 1999
info Sounds Like Bluegrass to Me, Tony Ellis, 1999
info Treasury of Folk Music: Folk Favorites 1956-1964, Various Artists (Johnny Cash), 1999
info Time-Life Treasury of Folk, Vol. 3, Various Artists (Johnny Cash), 199?
no info Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters, 19??
no info Hillbilly Music....Thank God, Vol. 1, Various Artists (Merle Travis), 19??
no info Folk Songs Of Our Land, Flatt and Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys, 19??
no info The Railroad in Folk Song, Various Artists (Monroe Brothers), 19??
no info The Legendary Monroe Brothers Collection, Monroe Brothers, 19??
no info Songs Of The Railroad Recorded 1924-1934, Various Artists (Al Hopkins And His Buckle Busters), 19??
no info Shenandoah Valley Cut-Ups, 19??
info Earl Scruggs: His Family and Friends / Nashville Airplane, Flatt & Scruggs, 2000
info Kentucky Home, Tim Lake, 2000
info 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals, Clarence White, 2000
info Live!, The Beau Brummels, 2000
info Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Vol. 2: 1928-1929, Grayson & Whitter / Robinette & Moore, 2000
info Aged To Perfection, George Shuffler, 2000
no info American Roots: A History of American Folk Music, Various Artists (Merle Travis), 2000
info Time-Life's Treasury of Bluegrass (30 tracks), Various Artists (Jim & Jesse), 2000
info Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Volume 4, Various Artists (Monroe Brothers), 2000
info American Roots Music, Various Artists (Merle Travis), 2001
info Blue Moon of Kentucky 1936-1949, Bill Monroe, 2002
info Live at Vanderbilt, Lester Flatt & Bill Monroe, 2002
info Pickin' & Grinnin', South Austin Jug Band, 2002
info On The Road: July 16, 2002, Darien, NY, String Cheese Incident, 2002
info Time-Life's Treasury of Bluegrass (24 tracks), Various Artists (Jim & Jesse), 2002
info All the Classic Releases 1937-1949, Bill Monroe, 2003
info In Boston 1959, Merle Travis, 2003
info An Evening Long Ago: Live 1956, The Stanley Brothers, 2004
info On The Road: April 1, 2004, Glasgow, UK, String Cheese Incident, 2004
info Live And In Person, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, 2004
info Pure Pickin': Classic Bluegrass Instrumentals, Various Artists (Kentucky Colonels), 2004
info On The Road: April 3, 2005, Park City, UT (afternoon show), String Cheese Incident, 2005
no info What's in a Name, Grass Backwards, 2006
info Fonotone Records 1956-1969, Various Artists (Adcock Family), 2005
info Sound Traditions: The Best of Bluegrass, Various Artists (Don Reno), 2006
info Appalachian Stomp Down, Various Artists (Grayson & Whitter), 2006
info 36 Bluegrass Hits, Various Artists (Joe Maphis), 2006
info Not Too Far from the Tree, Bryan Sutton, 2006
info Classic Bluegrass Collection, Vols. 1-4, Various Artists (Jim & Jesse), 2007
info Definitive Collection, Merle Travis, 2008
info The Unsung Father of Country Music 1925-1934, Ernest V. Stoneman, 2008
info Folk Songs of Our Land/Fabulous Sounds of..., Flatt & Scruggs, 2009
info Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Concert: Vol 4, Various Artists (Sons Of Ralph), 2011

as Roll On Buddy
no info Monroe Brothers, 1937
no info The Rambling Boys, Jack Elliott and Derroll Adams, 1958
info Our Singing Heritage, Vol 1, Various Artists (Paul Clayton), 1958
no info Pickin' and Blowin', George Pegram and Red Parham, 195?
no info Folk & Bluegrass Favorites, Mac Martin & the Dixie Travelers, 1962
no info Long Journey Home, Kentucky Colonels, 1964
info Look! Who Is Here: Old Timers of the Grand Ole Opry, The McGee Brothers and Arthur Smith, 1964
no info Mac Martin and the Dixie Travelers, 1964
info Jack Elliott, Jack Elliott, 1964
no info Ed Vogler and Cullen Galyean with the Partners, 1966
info Bluegrass Time, Bill Monroe, 1967
no info Belafonte On Campus, Harry Belafonte, 1967
info Doc Watson On Stage, Doc Watson & Merle Watson, 1971
no info Fiddlers Convention In Mountain City, Tennessee, Various Artists (Charlie Bowman and His Brothers), 1972
no info Bean Blossom, Bill Monroe, 1973
no info Belafonte - Concert In Japan, Harry Belafonte, 1974
no info Essential, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, 1974
no info Feast Here Tonight, Monroe Brothers, 1975
info Close To Home, Roscoe Holcomb, 1975
no info Music From South Turkey Creek, George Pegram and Red Parham, 1976
no info Live In Japan, Del McCoury, 1980
info Live In Japan, Spectrum, 1981
info Let Me Fall: Old Time Bluegrass from the Virginia-North Carolina, Cullen Galyean and Bobby Harrison, 1984
no info Old Time North Carolina Mountain Music, David and Billie Ray Johnson, 1985
no info With The Greatest Respect, Alex Campbell, 1987
no info A Man And His Music, Harry Belafonte, 1989
info The Puritan Sessions, Kenny Baker & Josh Graves, 1990
no info Remembering Merle, Doc Watson, 1992
info Bluegrass 1959-1969, Bill Monroe, 1991
no info The Music Of Bill Monroe, Bill Monroe, 1994
info Old Time Music, The New Lost City Ramblers & Friends, 1994
info The Vanguard Years, Doc Watson, 1995
info The Vanguard Years Sampler, Doc Watson, 1995
info Kentucky Old-Time Banjo, Various Artists (Paul Smith), 1999
info Great Memory Folk Songs, Various Artists (Ramblin' Jack Elliott), 19??
info Blue Moon of Kentucky 1936-1949, Bill Monroe, 2002
info Vanguard: Roots of Folk, Various Artists (Ramblin' Jack Elliott), 2002
info Traditional Bluegrass, Vern Williams Band, 2004
info 25 Bluegrass Classics: Vintage 60's: Songs of Rural America, Various Artists (Red Smiley), 2002
info The Definitive Collection, Bill Monroe, 2005
info Sound Traditions: The Best of Bluegrass, Various Artists (Red Smiley), 2006
info Best Of Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups, Vol. 2, Red Smiley & The Bluegrass Cut-Ups, 2006
info Appalachian Stomp Down, Various Artists (Charlie Bowman), 2006
info Make It Your Sound, Make It Your Scene: Vanguard Records & The 1960s Musical Revolution, Various Artists (Kentucky Colonels), 2012

Notes

Played by the Hart Valley Drifters at the College of San Mateo in San Mateo on November 10th 1962. Possibly played by the Wildwood Boys at the Monterey Folk Festival in 1963 but no tape circulates. Played by the Black Mountain Boys on the 7th March 1964.

The version on the Black Mountain Boys tape is often listed as Roll On Buddy but this is the same song as Nine Pound Hammer. The lyrics of the Black Mountain Boys version are as follows;

See this nine pound hammer, nine pound hammer,
Is a little too heavy, little too heavy,
For my size, for my size,
For my size.

Now roll on buddy, roll on buddy,
Don't you roll so slow, roll so slow,
How can I roll, how can I roll,
When the wheels won't go.

I'm going on a mountain, going on a mountain,
To see my baby, to see my baby,
And I ain't coming back, ain't coming back,
No I ain't coming back.

Now roll on buddy, roll on buddy,
Don't you roll so slow, roll so slow,
How can I roll, how can I roll,
When the wheels won't go.

Ain't one hammer,
In this tunnel, in this tunnel,
That rings like mine, rings like mine,
That rings like mine.

Now roll on buddy, roll on buddy,
Don't you roll so slow, roll so slow,
How can I roll, how can I roll,
When the wheels won't go.

Now roll on buddy, roll on buddy,
Don't you roll so slow, roll so slow,
How can I roll, how can I roll,
When the wheels won't go.

The first three lines of each verse and of the chorus are sung as two parts, the echo phrase slightly overlapping the first statement of the phrase. The echo phrase is missed during the first line of the last verse.

Nine Pund Hammer is a traditional song that occurs with a wide range of variants and names. The most popular name used is Nine Pound Hammer, this use perhaps being due to the popularity of recordings using the name by, for example, Merle Travis and Flatt and Scruggs. Roll on Buddy is also used commonly. There are other 'Roll On' names such as Roll On John.

One theory of the evolution of this song is given in Tennessee Strings by Charles K Wolfe. Charles Bowman, the fiddler with the Hill Billies, claimed to have learned some of the song from railway construction gangs in East Tennessee in 1905. He added to it and with Al Hopkins, also of the Hill Billies, arranged it for a recording session in 1927. It is this arrangement that has become the 'traditional' song of the present day.