FANNIN STREET

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • FANNIN STREET
    This song is autobiographical, telling the story of how Leadbelly left his parent’s home as
    a young teenager to go to the bars and bawdy houses on Fannin Street in Shreveport, only
    ten miles from his home in Mooringsport.
    John Lomax described it as the gayest and saddest song in his repertoire. His drinking
    and carousing that began on Fannin Street certainly served to make his life more difficult
    than it might have been, yet his craving for fun and action also fed his talent for making
    music.
    Being one of Lead Belly’s masterpieces, it is not an easy song to play, especially for a
    beginner. But don’t let that stop you!! Like so many of his songs, to play it in the way he
    did will require a lot of study, but a quick and dirty arrangement is easy to do, as long as
    you feel like singing the melody.
    There’s a crooked street in Houston town,
    It’s a well born path I’ve traveled down
    Now there’s ruin in my name, I wish I never got off the train,
    I wished I’d listened to the words you said.
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    You’ll be lost and never found
    You can never turn around
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Once I held you in my arms, I was sure
    But I took that silent stare through the guilded door
    The desire to have much more, all the glitter and the roar,
    I know this is where the sidewalk ends.
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    You’ll be lost and never found
    You can never turn around
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    When I was young I thought only of getting out
    I said goodbye to my street, goodbye to my house
    Give a man gin, give a man cards, give an inch he takes a yard,
    And I rue the day that I stepped off this train.
  • Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street
    You’ll be lost and never found
    You can never turn around
    Don’t go down to Fannin Street