A Black Man Tells His Son the Whole Story

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A Black Man Tells His Son the Whole Story

by Lenard D. Moore
Southern Cultures, Vol. 21, No. 3: Music

"For fifty years I sweat my dues, / wept salt liquor from the blues. / This story I tell wherever I go."

I never had the chance to stay in school.
My daddy said “work,” and his word was rule.
This story I tell wherever I go.

No one denies the truth about my hands
that worked the fields, the roads, the shoeshine stands.
This story I tell wherever I go.

For fifty years I sweat my dues,
wept salt liquor from the blues.
This story I tell wherever I go.

Lord knows it’s so hard living like a hound.
I pray alone, my bony knees strike ground.
This story I tell wherever I go.

I cannot call back how my words spew out,
spill the gritty troubles without a doubt.
This story I tell wherever I go.

I want my story told after I die.
How I pulled peanuts in the fields to dry.
This story I tell wherever I go.

Like the rising winds, our names must blow.
This story I tell wherever I go.
This story I tell wherever I go.

TAKE TWO

Never had the chance to learn in school,
Say, I never had no chance to stay in school—
Daddy said “work”— He made the golden rules.

This story I tell wherever I go!

No one denies the truth about my hands,
Say, no one denies the truth about my hands
that worked scorched fields, roads, and shoeshine stands.

This story I tell wherever I go!

For fifty years I just sweated my dues.
Say, for fifty years I sweated my dues,
and wept scrap- iron from weary blues.

This story I tell wherever I go!

Lord knows it’s so hard living like a hound.
Say, Lord knows it’s so hard living like a hound.
I pray alone, my bony knees strike ground.

This story I tell wherever I go!

I can’t recall how my words spew out.
Can’t just call back how my words spew out,
spilling gritty troubles—no doubt.

This story I tell wherever I go!

I want my story told after I die.
Say, I want my story told after I die.
How I pulled peanuts in the fields to dry.

This story I tell wherever I go!

Like the rising winds, our names must grow.
Say, like the rising winds, our names must grow.

This story I tell wherever I go!
This story I tell wherever I go!