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"Danville Girl" is a traditional folk song that has been written and sung any number of ways, throughout the years. There have, however, been two particularly well-known renditions recorded. Perhaps the most familiar of these was recorded by Woody Guthrie. Adapted by Guthrie and Cisco Houston in 1964, from pre-existing versions, this rendition's lyrics are as follows:

I went down to the railroad yard, watch that train come by,
Knew the train would roll that day, but I did not know what time.

I did not know what time, boys, did not know what time.
Knew the train would roll that day but I did not know what time.

Good morning Mister Railroad Man, what time does your train roll by?
Nine-sixteen and two-forty-four, twenty-five minutes 'til five.

At nine-sixteen, two-forty-four, twenty-five minutes 'til five.
Thank you Mister Railroad Man, I wanna watch your train roll by.

Standing on the platform, smoking a big cigar,
Waitin' for some old freight train that carries an empty car.

I rode her down to Danville Town, got stuck on a Danville girl,
Bet your life she was a pearl, she wore that Danville curl.

She wore her hat on the back of her head like high-tone people all do,
Very next train come down that track, I bid that girl adieu.

I bid that girl adieu, poor boys, I bid that girl adieu,
The very next train come down that track, I bid that girl adieu.


More recently, in 1993, well-known folk singer and environmentalist Pete Seeger recorded it, using the following lyrics:

My pocket book was empty, my heart was full of pain.
Ten thousand miles away from home, bumming a railroad train.

I was standing on the platform, smoking a cheap cigar
Listening for that next freight train, to carry an empty car.

Well I got off at Danville, got stuck on a Danville girl
You bet your life she's out of sight, she wore those Danville curls.

She took me in her kitchen, she treated me nice and kind
She got me in the notion , bumming my last time.

She wore her hair on the back of her head, like high-toned people do,
But the very next train come down that line, I bid that girl adieu.

I pulled my cap down over my eyes, walked down to the railroad track
Then I caught a westbound freight; never did look back.





Arguably, the most historically relevant anecdote regarding this song is the fact that Bob Dylan's "Brownsville Girl" is based on "Dansville Girl". Now, while Dylan's connection to Guthrie is well-documented, one need merely consider that the original version of his song was called "New Dansville Girl". Finally, examining the following chorus from Dylan's song...

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls,
teeth like pearls shining like the moon above
Brownsville girl, show me all around the world,
Brownsville girl, you're my honey love.

...the similarities become readily apparent.


(Non-authoritative) versions of "Dansville Girl" lyrics from: http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/pages/tiDANVILL2.html and http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/pages/tiDANVGIRL.html, respectively, with corrective editing done by me.
Dylan excerpt from http://bobdylan.com/songs/brownsville.html, and is (c) 1986 Special Rider Music

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