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Hong Kong Blues

[Hoagie Carmicheal]

Sung by Martin Carthy on his 1998 album Signs of Life and accompanied by himself on guitar and Chris Parkinson on harmonica. Martin Carthy commented in the record's sleeve notes:

My parents were Hoagie Carmicheal fans and I can't begin to tell you how many points I got when I sang them The Old Music Master one day. But one of their favourites was Hong Kong Blues and the only person I knew who knew any of it was Marion Gray when we worked together in the Thameside Four.

Lyrics

It's the story of a very unfortunate African man
Who got arrested down in old Hong Kong
He got twenty years' privilege taken away from him
When he kicked old Buddha's gong

And now he's poppin' the piano for to make the price
Of a ticket to the land of the free
He says his home's in Frisco where they send the rice
But he's really from Tennessee

And so he says, I need someone to love me
Need somebody to carry me home to San Francisco
And bury my body there
I need someone to lend me a fifty dollar bill and then
I'll go home to San Francisco and happiness once again

Won't someone believe, oh I yearn to see that Bay again
But each time I try to leave, sweet opium won't let me fly away

It's the story of a very unfortunate African man
Who got arrested down in old Hong Kong
He got twenty years' privilege taken away from him
When he kicked old Buddha's gong