Midnight Special

Words & Music:

Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter


E                 A                               E

Yonder comes Miss Rosie.  How in the world do you know?

                      B7                         E

I can tell her by her apron & the dress that she wore.

                A                                 E

Umbrella on her shoulder, a piece of paper in her hand.

                     B7                      E

I heard her tell the Captain, "Turn loose my man."

[alt:  "She come to see the Governor; she want to free her man."]



                 A                           E

Let the Midnight Special shine it's light on me.

                     B7                                      E

Oh, let the Midnight Special shine it's ever-loving light on me.


When you get up in the morning, and you hear that work bell ring.

And they march you to the table, you see the same old thing.

Knife & fork are on the table, ain't nothin' in my pan.

But you better not complain, boy, you get in trouble with the man.




If you ever go to Houston; boy, you'd better walk right.

And you better not gamble, and you better not fight.

'Cause Benson Crocker will arrest you & Jimmy Boone will take you down.

[alt: Or the sheriff, he will grab you and the boys will bring you down]

And you bet your bottom dollar that you're Sugarland-bound.

[alt: "And the next thing that you know, boy, well, you're prison-bound"]




Well, jumpin' little Judy, she was a mighty fine girl.

She brought jumpin' to the whole round world

Well, she brought it in the morning just awhile before day.

Well, she brought me the news that my wife was daid ["dead"].

That started me to grievin', whoopin', hollerin' & cryin'.

That started me to thinking 'bout my great long time.




"Midnight Special" Lyric variation


You go a-marching to the table, see the same damn thing

Well, it's on a one table, knife, a fork and a pan,

and if you say anything about it, you're in trouble with the man



Let the midnight special, shine her light on me

Let the midnight special, shine her ever-loving light on me




If you ever go to Houston, you better walk right,

You better not stagger, you better not fight

Sheriff Benson will arrest you, he'll carry you down

And if the jury finds you guilty, penitentiary bound




Yonder come little Rosie, how in the world do you know

I can tell her by her apron, and the dress she wore

Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand

She goes a-marching to the captain, says, "I want my man"




"I don' believe that Rosie loves me", well tell me why

She ain't been to see me, since las' July

She brought me little coffee, she brought me little tea

Brought me damn near ever'thing but the jailhouse key




Yonder comes doctor Adams, "How in the world do you know?"

Well he gave me a tablet, the day befo'

There ain't no doctor, in all the lan'

Can cure the fever of a convict man




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