SOLDIERS JOY

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
SOLDIERS JOY
“Soldier’s Joy” is probably the best known fiddle tune of all, with versions being found in
Scandinavia and France. It has been known as “King’s Head,” “King’s Hornpipe,” “I Love
Somebody” and “Payday in the Army.” Just about every old-time and bluegrass fiddler
and banjo player knows a version. The title could refer to payday for soldiers or even
opiates in light of the verse: “Well twenty-five cents for the morphine, and fifteen cents
for the beer. Twenty-five cents for the old morphine now carry me away from here.” It
appears that the extra ten cents for the morphine could have been well worth it.
First I thought a snake had got me it happened dreadful quick
T’was a bullet bit my leg, right off I got sick
I came to in a wagon load of ten more wounded men
Five was dead by the time we reached that bloody tent
Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy, you know what I mean
I don’t want to hurt no more my leg is turnin’ green
The doctor came and looked at me and this is what he said
Your dancin’ days are done, son, it’s a wonder you ain’t dead
Then he went to work with a carvin’ knife sweat fell from his brow
‘Bout killed me tryin’ to save my life when he cut that lead ball out
Give me some of that Soldier’s Joy, ain’t you got no more
Hand me down my walkin’ cane I ain’t cut out for war
Red blood run right through my veins run all over the floor
Run right down his apron strings like a river out the door
He handed me a bottle and said, son drink deep as you can
He turned away then he turned right back with a hacksaw in his hand
Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy you know what I like
Bear down on that fiddle boys just like Saturday night
Gimme some of that Soldier’s Joy you know what I crave
I’ll be hittin’ that Soldier’s Joy til I’m in my grave